UBC cancels in-person exams, students can make plans to travel home

UBC has announced that final exams will no longer be taking place in-person due to growing concerns about mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UBC President Santa Ono made the announcement on his Instagram earlier today. A broadcast email was also sent out to students, signed by Ono, UBC Vancouver Provost and Vice-President Academic Andrew Szeri and UBCO Provost and Vice-President Academic Ananya Mukherjee Reed. A UBC spokesperson confirmed that an email will also be sent to faculty and staff in the afternoon.

The email confirmed that all international and domestic undergraduate students planning to travel home could do so now. Students enrolled in post-baccalaureate and professional graduate programs have been asked to communicate with academic advisors about program adjustments before making plans to leave UBC.

“Online instruction will continue and final exams will NOT take place in person. You will be provided details on arrangements for exams through your Faculties and course instructors, as soon as possible,” reads the email.

The news comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an announcement earlier today saying that Canada would bar entry to all travellers except Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Americans.

Additionally, international flights will only be allowed to land at four international airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal starting on March 18 to allow for advanced screening measures. Travellers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will also not be allowed to board flights to Canada.

"I know that these measures are far-reaching. They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures," Trudeau said at the press conference.

While students will be allowed to travel to their home countries, student services and residences will remain open and students will be allowed to stay in residence if they wish to do so.

UBC also said it is unaware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, staff and faculty.

“We appreciate these are extremely challenging times for our students, and our faculty are working exceptionally hard to adjust courses that will allow you to continue and complete your studies this term,” reads the email.

“This series of events is unprecedented and rest assured we will provide you with information as we receive it.”

This article has been updated to confirm that faculty and staff will receive an email in the afternoon.