Updated: August 5, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

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Will SFU ensure classrooms and areas at the university are clean and disinfected?

SFU will continue to implement prevention measures at all stages of recovery, including maintaining a clean environment. Per the Communicable Disease Safety Plan, SFU will: 

  • Maintain a clean environment through routine cleaning processes.
  • Ensure building ventilation (HVAC) systems are operating and meet WorkSafeBC requirements, as well as relevant ASHRAE standards for indoor air quality.
  • All classroom and learning area air systems are flushed at the beginning of each day to ensure each area is ready for use. This will continue into the fall. 
  • Promote hand hygiene by providing facilities with appropriate supplies, including hand sanitizing stations in public areas.
  • Encourage and support vaccinations. Read more here

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Will bus service increase for the fall?

Translink will be offering webinar information sessions for students on August 27 at 1 p.m. and August 30 at 5 p.m. These will provide an opportunity for students to ask questions regarding transit plans for fall. More information on how to sign up for these sessions will be coming in early August.

We are working closely with the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafeBC, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training’s Return-to-Campus Guidelines, as well as other post-secondary institutions to support the healthy and safe return to on-campus activities.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are prepared to respond to changes in public health orders as they arise. 

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Will SFU be performing contact tracing with students and staff?

While it is possible that COVID-19 contact tracing and notification protocols may still be required in the fall as part of the transition back to campus, local medical health officers will guide public health approaches as people continue to get vaccinated. Read more here, page 6.

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Will all student spaces be open this fall?

We expect all student spaces, including the Student Union Building (SUB), to be open this fall. We will be following all Communicable Disease Plan safety protocols.

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What accommodations are being made for immune-compromised students? Will hybrid options be made available to these students?

Vaccinations are recommended to everyone who can and wants to get one. SFU is offering a selection of all-remote, hybrid-remote, and traditional distance education courses this fall. Seats will be reserved for students whose medical circumstances allow them to be registered with SFU’s Centre for Accessible Learning, who want to be on campus but cannot attend. A number of the remote course sections will have some reserved seats for identified student groups that may face barriers to attending in-person classes in September. As identified in the COVID-19 Go Forward Guidelines for BC, these groups include international students not returning to Canada, Indigenous students, and students registered with the Centre for Accessible Learning.

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Due to visa delays or flight bans from some countries, some students may need to start the fall term online. Can I shift from online to offline mid semester? Or can I switch from in-person to remote?

Everyone's situation is unique. Students should speak with their academic advisor. However, generally, for the term, students are required to remain in the section they have registered for, whether that be online or in-person courses. If you’re going to be missing classes, we encourage you to reach out to your instructor.

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What is SFU doing to address expected increase in student mental health supports and resources?

We are aware more support is needed and have hired additional mental health professionals to help students who may wish to connect with someone. We are also adding resources to the Centre for Accessible Learning. We have created specific, culturally-sensitive mental health programs for Black students, Indigenous students, and LGBTQI2S+ students. Information about these programs can be found on the Health and Counselling website. Students who need supports can reach out to the Office of Student Support, Rights & Responsibilities.

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Will online (besides Distance Education) classes still be offered in the Fall 2022 school year?

SFU is a predominantly in-person campus. However, we do offer some select courses via Online and Distance Education. Our Fall 2022 course schedule has not been developed yet, but we expect the majority of our courses to be in-person, as with our programming prior to the pandemic.

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If a student does not feel comfortable yet being in a closed classroom with other classmates, can he/she attend the course online?

SFU is offering a selection of all-remote, hybrid-remote, and traditional distance education courses this fall. There are seats being reserved in these courses for certain groups (international, Indigenous and CAL students who want to be on campus but cannot to attend), as well as for the general population. The expectation with our in-person courses, however, is that they take place on campus. Although some instructors may record their lectures, we are expecting that if you register for an in-person course, you can participate in person.

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What will recreation and athletics look like on campus?

We are expecting a full return to NCAA competition, including hosting varsity games in our new stadium; SFU students get free admission to all varsity games, a return to recreation programming, including intramurals, fitness centre, drop-in, sport clubs and more. Check out the SFU Athletics + Recreation website for more information.

We will be following the PHO guidelines for our recreation facilities and athletics team. Currently the BC Restart Plan is expected to go to Stage 4 on September 7, which means in-person sporting events will return to full capacity. Recreation is open and available for students on campus.  

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How will you be supporting low-income students financially in terms of their return to campus?

Financial Aid and Awards staff are available to meet with and support students, as each case is unique. They will be able to walk through funding options and the application process for student loans, scholarships, awards and bursaries.

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Why is SFU increasing tuition when we were learning online? Will the tuition increase again?

We understand that this is a challenging time for many, and that COVID-19 continues to place a financial burden on students, some more than others. Although tuition did increase, we are actively working to address student affordability challenges.

We offered over 3 million dollars in emergency support to students who lost income opportunities, or needed financial assistance to find secure housing or fund cancelled travel costs. We will continue to support students facing financial difficulty by directing increased funding to student supports. We have also established a working group in partnership with the Simon Fraser Student Society and Graduate Student Society to find solutions to student affordability.

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Will all lectures/classes be required to be recorded with notes online?

We are encouraging faculty to record classes and post notes and other materials, and generally be more flexible regarding both the resources provided to students and their expectations for in-class participation. There are some reasons why some faculty may choose not to record a particular class, including sensitivity of the course material and associated discussions, the format of the interactions in the class, and other reasons. However, our faculty know that recordings have greatly improved the student learning experience during emergency remote instruction, and that this is something we should endeavor to keep doing. We are also encouraging faculty to consider accommodating learning differences through the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), for instance including closed captioning.   

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Will courses shift from online to in-person part way through the term?

No, a course should remain in the format in which it was designed to be offered. SFU will respond to any public health order that would force a change in operations, but it is not our intention to shift from online to in-person, or vice versa, this fall. Remember, there are online courses that may be an option for some students who cannot return to campus, and we are encouraging faculty to make materials available online via Canvas if students need to occasionally stay away from campus. 

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What will happen if an instructor becomes ill with COVID-19, or has symptoms and needs to stay home? Will the courses move online?

We truly hope this does not happen, but in that unlikely event, there are a number of possible solutions – just as there were with unexpected events in the past when faculty were not able to complete a term. The decision will be up to the department offering the course, and will depend on the ability of other instructional staff to assist with teaching the course, as well as the best way to deliver the course.

More generally, we are encouraging everyone who is part of our campus community to stay home when they feel unwell. This may be due to a cold or flu, or some reason other than COVID-19. We have been encouraging all faculty to build some flexibility into their courses, should they become temporarily sick, so they can cancel a class or move a lecture online. However, this would be a very temporary disruption and one that your instructors will have considered prior to the term.

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