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UVic cancels in-person exams, citing rising COVID-19 cases

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The University of Victoria is cancelling in-person exams amid rising COVID-19 cases on campus.

The university announced in a statement Sunday that it would be "adjusting" its examinations for the remainder of the December 2021 exam period, effective Monday.

"To reduce the frequency and number of students sitting together for extended periods of time in examination gyms and rooms, we will not be holding further in-person exams and we are asking instructors to offer their assessments online or in another format," the statement reads.

"We know this is short notice for those with exams scheduled for Monday, and we are reaching out to instructors with guidance to make this transition as smooth as possible."

Earlier this week, Island Health's top doctor, Dr. Richard Stanwick, told CTV News that at least 30 cases had sprung up in a cluster among UVic students.

Stanwick said the cluster had been traced to two off-campus parties held last weekend by business students and varsity athletes. At the time, the university said it was adjusting exams for just those two groups. 

The university did not provide an updated case count in its statement Sunday, but did say it has been seeing "new trends" in COVID-19 infections during the exam period.

UVic said it made the decision to cancel in-person exams in consultation with Island Health, and reminded students not to come to campus if they feel unwell or are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

"These recent events serve as a reminder to us all to take extra care this holiday season," the university said. "Our university population has done tremendous work in getting vaccinated but it is still important to monitor ourselves for symptoms, and refrain from gathering if we feel unwell, to help protect family and friends."

Though in-person exams will not be held, other activities on campus will continue, according to UVic's statement.

Student, administrative and support services will remain open for their usual exam-period hours, as will research centres and labs, study spaces and dining halls, the university said.

Meetings should be held online, in-person social events must be cancelled or postponed, and training for varsity sports has been suspended, the university added.

More information can be found on the UVic website.  

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