COVID-19: Faculty of Education Updates: Student Questions



May 8, 2020 | 3:00 pm

Today is the launch of the UBC Keep Learning website, a partnership between the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and the Chapman Learning Commons. Keep Learning compiles resources to help students get set up, learn effectively online, understand learning technologies, and get academic, technology, wellness, and financial support.

April 24, 2020 | 4:30 pm

Dear Faculty of Education students and colleagues,

As you have no doubt heard, the Prime Minister has announced a suite of funding mechanisms to support students struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement represents a federal investment of $9 billion. The Prime Minister’s announcement is viewable here with more details from the press release.

The Prime Minister began his announcement by recognizing that many students will be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), but many will not. As a result, the government is moving forward with the following targeted supports for students:

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

  • A benefit of $1,250/month for students from May to August.
  • If students have a disability or are caretakers for others, they are eligible for up to $1,750 each month (an additional $500 a month).
  • This benefit is designed to support students who are struggling to pay rent, groceries, etc.
  • Students currently enrolled in post-secondary education are eligible, in addition to students beginning post-secondary in September or who graduated in December 2019.
  • Students who have a job but only make up to $1,000 a month are also eligible.
  • Payments will begin on May 1, and will be delivered through the CRA.

Creation of New Jobs… read more

  • In recognition of the difficulty students may face in finding employment this summer, the Government of Canada is creating 116,000 jobs for young people, which will be in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
  • The placements will be in key sectors that require additional labour support, or are on the front lines of the pandemic.

Support for Student Researchers and Graduate Students

  • The government is investing $291.6 million to support student researchers and graduate students by extending scholarships, fellowships and grants.
  • The government also expects to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the NRC.

Canada Student Service Grant – Support for Student Volunteers

  • Recognizing that a lot of productive and important work during this pandemic has been done by student volunteers, students volunteering in the fight against COVID-19 this summer will be eligible for $1,000 to $5,000 (depending on their hours) through the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will go towards the students’ education in the fall.

Doubling Student Grants

  • The federal government is doubling the non-repayable grants students can expect to receive from the Canada Student Loans Program for the 2020/21 school year.
  • This doubling will bring grants to $6,000. The government is also increasing the amount students can borrow under the Canada Student Loans Program from $210 to $350 a week, meaning an additional $11,000 per year. For part-time students, this will be an increase of up to $3,600 per year. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.
  • Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut who manage their own student aid programs will receive funding directly.
  • The Government is also broadening eligibility for financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions for 20/21,

Targeted Support for Indigenous Students

  • The government is also providing an additional $75.2 million in support for Indigenous post-secondary students in the fall.

Please note that all of this funding proposal will require legislation to be implemented, and the Prime Minister indicated he will be working with opposition parties on moving this forward.

Please also note that Faculty of Education departments, units and schools will be receiving details on these various measures and will send further information once next steps are confirmed.

April 21, 2020 | 2:30 pm

Cancellation of Events

UBC has cancelled all on-campus and off-campus events until June 30, 2020, whether indoors or outdoors, that are organized by students, faculty and staff. Events at the Chan Centre are also cancelled for the time being. The full directive may be found online here.

Survey for Post-Secondary Students

Statistics Canada has just launched a study on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on postsecondary students. The information will be used by governments and other organizations to evaluate educational, employment and financial impacts. Students are asked to respond about their academic future and their current financial realities of paying for tuition, rent and other expenses. The questionnaire can be accessed between April 19 and May 1, 2020.

April 3, 2020 | 10:00 am

A new website for students was launched: It provides information about resources and access to UBC resources and services, including information for students facing temporary financial shortfalls, about accessing UBC Health and Wellbeing resources and services and learning to manage stress and anxiety, and about COVID-19 impacts on immigration, work eligibility, and health insurance for international students. It also has updates about, and eligibility information for, resources from the Government of Canada, Government of BC and the City of Vancouver.

April 2, 2020 | 4:45 pm

Emergency Funding for Students

This is a reminder that students facing financial distress may contact their Enrolment Services Advisor to schedule a confidential advising appointment. If students do not already know who their ES Advisor is, they can log onto the Student Services Centre and find them under “Personal Info” > “UBC Contacts”. More information here.

March 30, 2020 | 8:30 am

These are unprecedented times for our generation, and the uncertainty and upheaval they are causing are especially difficult to navigate when it is the health and wellbeing of so many that are at stake.

I’m writing on behalf of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to let you know that we are aware that many of you are experiencing especially difficult challenges right now – in your personal circumstances, your research, and your academic work – and to assure you that we, and those at all levels at UBC, are working extremely hard to find ways to alleviate the challenges you face. You may find that some of your concerns and questions are addressed on our website, and I encourage you to visit it:

Briefly, the following are the measures that we and the University are taking to date:   read more

Academic issues

  • As courses and assessments go online, we realize that this can entail many uncertainties. Your instructors have the capacity to alter the grading schemes or standing options for current courses if necessary, and requests for concessions are always available to you. In concordance with the Senate, we are also delaying the deadline for grade submission. The Assessment FAQ shows details sent to grad programs and course instructors; please connect with your course instructors for details regarding your own course(s) if you have not already heard from them.
  • We understand that interruptions in your ability to progress in your programs, whether because of personal circumstances, research curtailment, or other issues, may result in delayed completion of your program. We will therefore effectively extend deadlines for milestones (e.g. candidacy) and program completion by at least one term. Although process details of this are still being determined, please be assured that we will eliminate justification requirements for extensions related to the pandemic.
  • Final doctoral exams are successfully proceeding completely online, and will continue as such as long as necessary.
  • There will be a slight delay only in the granting of degrees, however the graduation ceremony has been indefinitely postponed.
  • We appreciate that some of you may decide to take a leave of absence for some period in the near future. While this may be feasible for some, please note that leaves come with certain restrictions, especially in terms of funding and student employment as outlined in our general FAQ.
  • We realize that research projects for many have been put on hold for diverse reasons. We encourage you and your supervisor(s) to explore other opportunities for furthering your research and academic progress throughout this time of curtailment, while also planning ahead for how to proceed when the curtailment eases. Examples of such opportunities and suggestions for practices that promote effective continuity of supervision and academic progress have been compiled and are being sent to supervisors. Please view a copy of this message in our announcements. We, and the University and research community more broadly, are continuing to deliberate on the longer term ramifications and potential mitigating strategies of research curtailment.


The pandemic and related public health measures are naturally causing significant stress and anxiety for many. At the same time, there is much to be grateful for in our current environment, including the many people across UBC and beyond stepping up to make the situation better. The following are among the resources available to you now:

  • Mental health support, including Student Health Services and Counselling Services, continue to be provided (virtually). Note that EMPOWER ME provides confidential counselling 24/7, and it’s free for all UBC students. Please review other related student services.
  • There are also numerous resources on enhancing wellbeing in the current environment at the above sites. One example is the Wellness Centre Online, a space for engaging in topics relevant to student wellbeing. Students can self-enrol.

Financial challenges

While we haven’t yet determined the most effective ways to ease the burdens many of you face, we are exploring a range of options. We will keep you informed as measures are taken, and are also communicating with programs to better learn what is needed. Please note the following:

  • Be assured that all major University-wide multi-year scholarships will continue to be paid throughout the eligibility period.
  • If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) we strongly encourage you to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. An advisor will assess your financial situation and provide the best course of action for you. It may not be possible for Enrolment Services to provide immediate support in all circumstances, but meeting with an advisor will also enable the University to gather a clearer picture of the needs that exist and to direct its financial support resources more effectively.
  • Indigenous graduate students with inquiries or issues with financial difficulties/distress should contact an Indigenous Enrolment Services Advisor. The Indigenous ESA Team can be reached at
  • We are reviewing information about the support offered by the federal and provincial governments, to understand what may be applicable to graduate students – recognizing that these supports may help some, but certainly not all, students who require financial support.

Support for international students

We know many of our international graduate students may have questions about returning to Canada, your options to stay in Canada, traveling abroad, completing your studies, and working in Canada. To help answer some of these questions, International Student Advising (ISA) has recently published an FAQ on the UBC International Student Guide. If you have any questions not addressed in the FAQ, we encourage you to reach out to ISA directly. Please note that although ISA is not providing in-person services at this time, they will continue to advise students by email (include your student number):

Professional development

Many UBC units have moved their workshops and one-to-one advising online. This may be an opportune time for many to make use of these helpful resources. The following are a few key links.

As new information and opportunities arise in the coming days and weeks, we will communicate them to you. In the meantime, I encourage you all to look after yourselves and others. Please know that your sustainment, wellbeing, and ongoing scholarly formation are our first priorities throughout this challenging time.

With best wishes to you,

March 27, 2020 | 3:10 pm

Emergency Funding: Information for Students

Today, Dr. Jennifer Shapka, Director of Graduate Studies in Education released additional information about emergency funds that are available for students during COVID-19. Please read Dr. Shapka’s full message below at the 10:15 am update.

Undergraduate students facing severe financial hardship are encouraged to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. For BEd students in the Teacher Education Program, the point of contact in Enrolment Services is

March 27, 2020 | 10:15 am

Dear Students,

Over the coming days, grad studies will be sending out emails to faculty and students to address many of the questions you may have about your program of studies. Please note that to receive the direct communications from G+PS, your contact information on the SISC must be accurate.

There is also an up-to-date FAQ on the G+PS website:, which covers many of the questions you may have. This page is being updated regularly.

Regarding financial hardship, as a reminder, there are two sources of emergency funding available…   read more

  1. The Faculty of Education has created a small emergency fund to provide relief for students. This is short-term funding that can be used to get you through a few days or a week. The amount available is small, and should only be seen as an emergency, short-term solution. If you are a graduate student in need of this level of support, please contact Aloy at Please include your name, department, and student number in your email to Aloy.
  2. Through enrolment services, domestic and international students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) may be eligible for financial assistance: You will need to make an appointment with a financial advisor who will help assess your need. I have been informed that very few graduate students are accessing these funds, but they are not sure why. If you are in need, please reach out to them.


Jennifer D Shapka, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies in Education

March 26, 2020 | 4:45 pm

Graduate Student Leave Absences

A message from Brendan Morey, Asst. Dean, Student Administration and Awards, was sent to graduate advisors and staff yesterday outlining options for graduate students with regard to different scenarios for possible leave requests for the summer term (May-Aug 2020). Read more here:

March 25, 2020 | 4:55 pm
Updated on April 9, 2020 at 11:30 am

To all Education graduate and undergraduate students (including KIN, TEO):

We hope you are doing well during this extraordinary time, recognizing that you are understandably worried about your health and safety as well as those of your family and friends. You have been receiving communications from your department, program, school, advisors and others with updates, and we in the Dean’s Office are conveying information from central UBC administration, BC Health, Ministries of Education and Advanced Education, and others to keep our communities as informed as possible. Your instructors have been working hard to make alternate arrangements for course delivery, assignments, exam administration and other aspects of course instruction, and we recognize that this has had a significant impact.

You are no doubt concerned about how your programs will continue now and in the days ahead and what the various changes in delivery and other processes will mean to your overall progress. We know that some of you are juggling some very challenging situations requiring as much flexibility as possible. To that end, we would like to advise how grading will proceed, including the options from which you may select the one that best fits your circumstances.

Course Grading

A message to all undergraduate and graduate students that was sent today outlines options for grading for courses that are currently completing, underway and/or scheduled for upcoming terms for the foreseeable future:

  1. Those enrolled in undergraduate courses (including KIN students and those in certificate and diploma programs; excluding TEO candidates) have the following options*:
    • accept assigned grade,
    • withdraw from course and accept “W” on your transcript (no course credit, no tuition refund), or
    • choose Credit/D or F standing
      • Credit: assigned when grade is 55% or higher. Degree credit earned.
      • D: assigned when grade is 50-54%. Degree credit earned.
      • F: assigned when grade below 50%. No degree credit earned.

*In the case of courses with an exam, the choice of option can be made after exam result is provided.

If a student opts to not accept the assigned grade, the dates for applying for a concession listed above is between April 22 and May 6, 2020…   read more

  1. Those enrolled in the Teacher Education Program (BEd degree) will be advised by the TEO as to alternate means by which your courses will be delivered, including information regarding fulfilling practicum requirements as these become known. Grading will continue to be provided on a Pass/Fail basis.
  2. Those enrolled in graduate courses have the following options:
    • accept assigned grade, or
    • withdraw from course and accept “W” on your transcript (no course credit, no tuition refund).

For those involved in practica, field experiences, certifications, etc., you will be advised by your program and/or Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as to next steps for alternate experiences as these become known. Please reach out to your supervisors to discuss and adjust as necessary for the continuation of research projects and other aspects of your graduate work.

Please know that instructors, administrators, support staff, and advisors in your department, program and Faculty are here to support your progress and your wellbeing. We will continue to provide current information as we receive it. I encourage you to regularly check the COVID-19: Faculty of Education Updates site, your department, school or program website and to reach out to any of us in the Faculty if and as you need to.

March 20, 2020 | 4:15 pm

Study and Other Leaves

Faculty Relations has advised that a notice outlining provisions for study and other leaves is forthcoming. It will be posted to the Faculty COVID-19 site.

March 19, 2020 | 5:20 pm

UBC Senior Leadership | Situation Updates

Action taken

  • Late payment of tuition and fees: Enrolment Services will defer sponsors’ payments and the application of late payment fees by a month for the winter term
  • Refunds for Summer Session: Students are asking if they should pay tuition for summer session and what will happen if programs cannot be delivered. Enrolment Services has a notice on the website indicating that refunds will be provided if classes are cancelled
  • The Office of the Senate developed a memo regarding take/home remote exams and the importance of not making them all due or occur on the last day of the exam term (for mental health reasons and instructors and deans’ offices being able to manage marking and submission of grades).

Work in progress

  • Plans for congregation and communications should be ready by Friday. The intention is to grant degrees and issue parchments (by mail probably) in May. New convocation rules are being drafted to allow the Chancellor to confer degrees in absentia.
  • Refunds for Winter Session: Enrolment Services will have a proposal ready by tomorrow for undergraduate programs; any programs with practicums/clerkships, etc. need a different solution and ES needs to know how these programs are modifying the curriculum to help with decision making.

March 19, 2020 | 12:19 pm

As you are well aware, UBC has made many significant decisions over the last week in response to the COVID-19 situation. I’d like to update you on some key student mobility activities overseen or supported by the VP International Office.

Student Mobility Programs (Outbound)

  • We have cancelled all summer programs effective immediately. These include student study abroad at partner universities, term-based exchange beginning in the coming weeks, Global Seminars led by UBC faculty members, and research abroad. To our knowledge, all summer programs led by faculties and supported by Go Global’s Student Safety Abroad team (eg., Community Field Experience in Education, co-operative education programs, global immersion programs in the Sauder School of Business) have been cancelled…   read more
  • We have cancelled all current programs effective immediately, and are working around the clock to support students to return to their homes. We are utilizing International SOS (our safety service provider) to book flights and assist students when they/our Go Global team are unable to move quickly enough, usually due to complexity/demand with diminishing travel options. We have been working closely with colleagues in the faculties/co-op offices. Some students in university programs outside of Go Global have not registered in our Student Safety Abroad registry (despite our request that they do so) – should you become aware of students needing support please contact Go Global:  We are monitoring this mailbox and will respond very quickly.
  • The University is providing financial support to facilitate travel home.
  • The University is providing on-site housing for students needing to self-isolate upon their return when there are no other alternatives available to them.
  • In total, 689* UBC students have been asked to return. In those cases where students have decided not to follow UBC’s request for them to return, we will still continue to provide support as needed, though we will not be able to facilitate travel home or provide financial support (except in a very extenuating circumstance). We have asked these students to ensure that they are registered with Global Affairs Canada and are in touch with local consular offices.

Student Mobility Programs (Inbound at UBC)

  • There are 700 visiting students studying at UBC this term including students on exchange, in the Tec-UBC Joint Academic Program, and International Visiting students. In addition, we have 333 Visiting International Research Students (VIRS).
  • Go Global advisors are supporting students around their decisions to stay/return home, complete courses online remotely, seek academic concession, and deal with housing concerns. We are well connected to our academic advising offices, immigration resources through International Student Advising, and Wellness supports.
  • We have been in touch with VIRS students and faculty supervisors. We have suspended accepting future VIRS applications until further notice.

*Number includes students who have completed the Student Safety Abroad Registry. We are working with faculties to determine numbers of students they may have out (graduate studies, research) that have not been captured in our database

Best regards,

Dr. Murali Chandrashekaran [Vice Provost, International, University of British Columbia]

March 14, 2020 | 4:45 pm

Please see for an extensive FAQ with information about UBC’s response to COVID-19 and links to resources. From the Provost’s Office, below are some answers to recently asked questions.

Are we cancelling graduation ceremonies?

At this time, UBC congregation/convocation ceremonies are scheduled to proceed in May/June 2020 at UBC Vancouver/UBC Okanagan, though we are considering alternatives should that be required.

Can students go home now given that exams are going to be online?

We are working on the possibility of remote exams now. However, until those plans are in place and we are required by health agencies to deliver exams remotely, students should remain where they are. Information regarding final exams will be shared next week…   read more

Are we proceeding with spring and summer sessions?

The announcement about transitioning to online applies only to the remainder of the current term. At this time we are consulting with health agencies regarding spring and summer sessions. We will update the community if there is a change. For now, we are assuming that we will return to normal operations by the time of spring session.

How about final exams? Doing it online too?

We are working on the possibility of remote exams now. However, until we are directed by health agencies to change exam delivery, students should plan for on-campus exams. Information regarding exams will be shared next week.

Will the library still be open if we need books for papers?

Yes, all university operations, including the libraries, are open as normal. We will update the community if that changes.

Should I should stay home from school?

Starting Monday Mar. 16 classes will transition to online where possible. Some smaller classes may continue to meet in-person. All university operations, including the libraries are open as normal.

Are student residences staying open?

Residence operations, food services and all student health services and other support services continue as normal.

Should I get tested given I have some mild – moderate symptoms?

For health information, please go to and

What puts me at risk?

For health information, please go to and

How can I keep myself safer when I have a condition such as asthma?

For health information, please go to and

What’s happening with the borders and can we get home safely?

For the latest government travel advisories related to COVID-19 visit

Can we have a COVID-19 testing site on campus?

For information on testing, please refer to and

Are there people with confirmed diagnoses living in residence?

We are currently not aware of any cases amongst our students, faculty and staff, both within BC or abroad. In the event of a confirmed case, information would be provided to the public by the relevant health agency, according to their protocols.

Are we providing students with emergency funds to allow them to go home (domestic and international)?

Within British Columbia, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are leading the coordinated response.