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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Last Updated: Thu, 12 Nov 2020 5:00 PM

COVID-19 FAQs

For information specific to students, staff/faculty and campus services, please check out the links below.

FAQs for Students

Q: Will Classes be in-person or remote for the spring 2021 semester?

SFU will offer most courses remotely during the spring 2021 semester and has carefully approved some in-person portions of courses so that students, faculty and staff can continue to learn and work safely amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See the list of classes with in-person components and learn more about the plans for the spring 2021 semester read Getting ready for the spring 2021 semester

Q: What courses will be offered in-person this spring semester?

SFU will offer most courses remotely during the spring 2021 semester and has carefully approved some in-person portions of courses so that students, faculty and staff can continue to learn and work safely amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In-person instruction will be for courses that require research and experiential learning and some graduate-level courses, which tend to be smaller in size. See the list of courses being offered in the spring with an in-person component.

Q: Are there places to study on campus?

Yes. We’ve made a number of study spaces available for students on all three campuses.

Q: Will remote classes be delivered asynchronously (not at set times)?

With most classes currently being delivered through remote means, we are aware that many students are learning in different time zones and have varying schedules, making synchronous (live) classes challenging to attend. For this reason, instructors have been encouraged to adopt asynchronous learning where possible and when consistent with the learning outcomes of the course.

Q: Can I hold an in-person meeting or event?

The ability to hold in-person meetings/events with six or more people is determined by the SFU COVID-19 Impact Scale. When the Impact Scale is Extreme, in-person meetings/events are not allowed. When the COVID-19 Impact Scale is High or Moderate, approvals may be required. Read the Guidance and Application for In-Person Meetings and Events at SFU to learn more.

Q: Will there be a reduction in tuition or student fees for the spring semester?

SFU remains committed to delivering a high-quality education and learning environment. Building on our experience gained in the spring and summer terms, we will ensure that remote learning and teaching continues to provide a high-quality experience. Students are still learning the same curriculum from the same faculty, many of whom are already well-versed in delivering curriculum outside of a traditional classroom.

Students who are learning remotely currently do not have to pay recreation fees or additional fees related to the use of materials in laboratory courses.

Student Services fees are still being charged because all services are still available. Beyond the administrative units required to run the university (recruitment, admissions, student records, accounts, etc.) other supports such as health and counselling, academic advising, career services, financial aid support are all still available. For more information on what services are available please visit the student support and resources webpage.

We recognize that many students are having financial difficulties during this time. We are providing options for students to join a payment plan if they cannot pay fees by the extended deadline, and will allow students to register for fall courses if they still owe fees but are on the payment plan. More information can be found on the Student Services website.

Q: What financial support is available to students?

Any student currently experiencing any food and/or housing insecurity challenges should email student_support@sfu.ca to arrange a phone call, virtual meeting, or email follow-up with a Student Services case manager.

Career & Volunteer Services has created several resources on their website dedicated to looking for work during the pandemic. Similarly, our Co-op program is available and has also updated their websites with relevant information.

Q: Is convocation being cancelled?

Following information and advice about COVID-19 from regional and provincial health officers regarding large events, SFU made the decision to host a virtual Fall 2020 Convocation ceremony to ensure the safety of the SFU community. This virtual celebration was not intended to be a replacement of an in-person graduation ceremony. We look forward to inviting graduates back to campus in the future to celebrate a live Convocation when it is safe to physically gather.

We will continue to provide updates here and on the convocation FAQ  page as details, including options to attend a future in-person convocation ceremony, are confirmed.

Q: What precautions is SFU taking to protect the health and safety of graduate students who may return to campus because of research work?

We are working carefully and cautiously to enable additional on-campus research when possible, as well as limited in-person instruction and activities.

We have a central process for health and safety compliance, as well as to ensure physical distancing for anyone on campus. Guidelines are being developed for all areas to follow; many different groups are coordinating our recovery efforts. In addition to academic and research groups, there are committees dedicated to determining requirements and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning, physical distancing, and health screening on campus.

Before resuming activities that require additional faculty, staff, or students to return to campus, a university-approved, unit-specific safety plan is required for that area. The safety plan will comply with WorkSafe BC requirements and demonstrate that physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, compliance monitoring and training will be in place. Once safety plans are approved, they will be posted and shared publicly.

We will consider issues of accessibility and equity when determining who needs to work in-person. Employees and students with extenuating circumstances will be accommodated.

Q: Can recent alums access Career and Volunteer Services?

Yes. Recent alumni can access this service for one year following their graduation. For more information, visit the Student Services website.

Q: If I need to self-isolate, who should I inform at SFU?

If you live in residence, email Residence and Housing at housing@sfu.ca. Residence and Housing will provide further information and support. For any other support during self-isolation whether you live on or off campus please contact student_support@sfu.ca.

Contact your instructors to let them know and ask for a modification or accommodation if needed. Should you have concerns about the response, contact the Chair of the department (or for Continuing Studies, write learn@sfu.ca). Finally, if needed, contact the Dean's office.