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Upcoming staff and faculty townhall to help chart SFU’s return to on-campus education
As B.C. universities prepare for September’s full resumption of on-campus education, SFU is hosting a townhall for staff and faculty to answer questions and solicit employee feedback to help guide the return for all faculty, staff and students.
The townhall, which will be held at 1 p.m. on Apr. 13, 2021, will be livestreamed here. Staff and faculty are encouraged to submit any questions ahead of time using this webform or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry advised the province’s universities to prepare for a full return to in-person education this September, because the majority of people in B.C. will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by early this summer.
“We know many students, faculty and staff are eager to return to campus,” says Catherine Dauvergne, SFU’s provost and vice-president, academic. “Some may be anxious, and I want to reassure you our priority is to return to campus safely by following public-health guidelines.”
The move to remote instruction, necessitated last spring during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been particularly difficult for students and demanding for staff and faculty members. The move back to on-campus education will improve the learning experience for young adults and support their wellbeing.
SFU recently conducted two surveys to gather feedback on pandemic response: the learning experiences transition survey that was recently sent to students and the staff survey of risk management effectiveness. The findings confirmed that students, faculty and staff want to provide more input into planning, have more opportunities to ask questions and understand their role in recovery, and be able to share their experiences and perceptions to inform decision-making. SFU has adopted that feedback and used it to inform recovery planning.
Deans will lead the academic decision-making for their faculties, with support and guidance from the central academic planning group and the Office of the Vice-President, Academic. In addition, the Office of the Vice-President, Research is leading a pair of working groups, including a Back On Campus Advisory Group, of faculty experts who will provide data-driven advice to support the return to campus.
Any decisions will be made with guidance from the provincial health officer to protect the well-being, both physical and emotional, of students, faculty, and staff. In addition, all decisions will prioritize accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion.
“Our experience over the past year proves we can do this safely, while ensuring we implement the valuable lessons learned during the pandemic,” says Dauvergne. “The university will work to retain best practices and incorporate lessons learned from this period of remote learning.”