From Catherine Dauvergne & Wade Parkhouse | Planning for the fall term

March 08, 2021

This message is sent on behalf of: Catherine Dauvergne, vice-president academic and provost; and Wade Parkhouse, vice-provost and associate vice-president, academic. It has been sent to all staff and faculty and posted on

Dear colleagues,

You may have heard that B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, today advised all public colleges and universities to prepare for a full return to on-campus education this September. This news follows the government’s work to ramp up vaccination efforts so that all British Columbians are expected to have access to COVID-19 vaccination by this summer.

SFU welcomes this announcement. As we shared in February, we are well positioned to continue working toward a return to our campuses in September.

We know many students, faculty and staff are eager to return to campus, while others may be feeling a bit anxious. Our priority is to return to campus safely, within the parameters of public health guidance.

Young adults have been negatively affected by the pandemic in ways that have become clearer over time. It is important to resume on-campus instruction to support the well-being of our students. Our experience over the past year proves we can do this by following public health guidelines and safety precautions, which protect us should there be any slippage from the current population vaccination goals.

How we got here

We have been working toward this goal since the fall of 2020 when we began carefully re-introducing in-person instruction for courses that required experiential learning such as labs, theatre and dance, and some graduate courses. We ensured each course had a safety plan. Later, we developed the SFU COVID-19 Go-Forward Plan, which guides health and safety protocols across the university. Since then, we have continued to increase the amount of in-person instruction and activity on our campuses, and have proven we can do this safely.

Public colleges, institutes and universities across B.C. will continue to work with Dr. Henry to update the provincial Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-Secondary Sector to provide high-level guidance on how students, faculty and staff can safely return to campus.

This work will be done in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, the Provincial Health Office, student associations, labour representatives, First Nations partners and the Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Training.

Next steps

There is much more work to do as we prepare for the fall term. We will be regularly sharing updates about our autumn planning, and, we want to hear from you.

We launched an undergraduate student survey in late February and we are planning an online townhall with faculty and staff on Thursday, April 8, 2021, 1-2 p.m. We will share details through the What’s On faculty and staff newsletter soon.

We will need everyone—students, faculty, and staff—across the organization working together to make this return to campus happen, while ensuring we implement the valuable lessons learned during the pandemic.

If you have questions, please check out the COVID-19 FAQs. If you would like to access one of our previous updates, have a look at the COVID-19 Updates for staff and faculty. If you have questions, send them to

Yours truly,

Dr. Catherine Dauvergne, QC
Vice-President Academic and Provost

Wade Parkhouse
Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic