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Thompson Rivers University 50th Anniversary
Thompson Rivers University 50th Anniversary

COVID-19: Employees

The safety of our university community, and our responsibility to the health and safety of others is paramount in this time. For this reason, we have transitioned away from face-to-face instruction for the time being, as well as encouraged our employees where possible, to work from home.

TRU is open and our focus remains on supporting the educational needs of our students. This will look and be delivered differently during COVID-19, but we are still here.

Read the announcement below

Below are questions to some of the questions you may have. Should you not find an answer, send us an email and we will either post the question here, or put you in touch with someone directly.

Faculty FAQs

 What options do students have with respect to their final grades?

TRU recognizes circumstances related to COVID-19 may be impacting students’ ability to focus on and succeed in their academics. We want to help minimize the impact this may have on your academic progress and success in the future.

As a temporary measure, students who feel their final grades have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 situation may elect to withdraw from the course, resulting in a grade of “W” with no impact on their GPA.

This applies to campus-based courses delivered in the winter 2020 semester as well as Open Learning courses that were not completed as of March 15, 2020 and commenced between August 15, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

Tuition and fees are non-refundable. Final grades resulting from Academic Integrity Committee rulings are not eligible for withdrawal.

 Will TRU offer pass-fail (credit/non-credit) grading?

TRU cannot offer a credit/non-credit (sometimes referred to as pass-fail) grading option at our institution. Having different students or courses within the same program subject to different systems of grading would require software re-coding and manual entry into official university records—essentially, the redesign of existing information technology, academic processes and policies. Such complicated changes under time pressure, with COVID-19 and related demands already stretching our university systems, would risk damaging the very systems on which all of our students and faculty rely at this critical time of year.

The one exception to this ruling is the Faculty of Law, which already has special grading arrangements whereby students’ final grades are 85% to 100% based on their performance in a single, final exam.

 Will a student’s financial aid be impacted by withdrawing from courses?

Student Aid BC has provided assurances that students in receipt of student loan and grant funding won’t be disadvantaged due to interruptions in their studies caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. If students choose to withdraw from a TRU course, even after they receive final grades, their financial aid won’t be impacted.

 Will other financial support be available to students facing financial pressures?

The Student Awards and Financial Aid and the Office of Advancement are exploring one-time financial assistance options for those students who may have been laid off from jobs and are experiencing financial pressures. Further, the TRU Students’ Union has generously allocated $100,000 for emergency student financial assistance.

 What other TRU services can students access during this time?

TRU’s Student Services specialists are available to help students with everything from writing, studying, time management and learning effectively at a distance, to looking after their emotional, mental and physical health and well-being, to exploring special accommodations through Accessibility Services.

Should students need to connect with Accessibility Services, please direct them to email to book appointments and ask questions. For Counselling Services, students can email to book appointments and ask questions. Students can also call 250-828-5023 to leave a voicemail and have someone return their call.

 What is happening with Convocation and Commencement?

In compliance with current provincial health regulations, TRU is cancelling the Convocation and Commencement ceremonies that would normally take place in spring. As it is important to recognize and celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of all our graduates, this year we plan to do that in a slightly different way.

Further details will be shared as decisions are made.

FAQs For All Employees

 I have transitioned to working from home. What now?

Though we are adapting to a new way of working, our priority at TRU remains the same: to support our students and future students as they pursue educational goals and opportunities.

Your manager is here to help with this transition, and is available to discuss work assignments, set regular virtual meetings and answer questions.

All employees should read about working remotely while protecting personal and confidential information.

Regarding equipment and remote access, please refer to the IT Services information page.

 Will I be able to work on campus?

Working from home is being encouraged (but not mandated) to support social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that some work requires individuals to be on campus, and some employees may see their workweek or day split between home and their university workspace. For employees that may be splitting time between a virtual home office and the university or working entirely on campus, extra cleaning will continue, as will measures to support social distancing between individuals.

 Am I able to access my office or labs?

TRU has restricted access to most buildings, and closed some entirely, to protect the community. If you require access to a building or zone that is closed, you will need to contact Campus Security (250-828-5033) and show valid photo ID.

View the current list of closed buildings.

 How will we deliver service to students if staff are working remotely?

TRU is maintaining our core operations—our delivery of education, and all the related supports. Registration for spring and summer semesters remains open as we plan for alternate ways of delivering courses. Student support services are now offered virtually and other services are moving in the same direction. How we provide service may change in the days ahead, but our core services will remain in place to support the operation of the university and our core mandate.

 With students no longer on campus for day-to-day classes, how will my work change?

It is possible that the nature of your work may change for a period of time. This will be an opportunity to assist other departments that may need support and to catch-up on projects that have been put on the back burner. Please discuss directly with your manager.

  I am unable to work due to family circumstances related to COVID-19. What should I do?

We recognize that the current situation has placed strain on many of our employees. Please discuss your personal circumstance with your manager.

  I’m struggling with working from home. What can I do?

First, talk to your manager. And check out some of the resources for working remotely shared by HR and others this week:

For Leaders:
 I’m struggling — full stop.

This is a difficult, uncertain time. Access to quality mental health resources can help. Some online resources include:

 I have just come back from vacation. What should I be doing?

If you have returned from travel outside of Canada, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Depending on your circumstance, this period may be covered by sick time and/or a combination of sick and vacation time.

For employees who have chosen to travel after the Provincial Health Officer recommendation to stop all international travel (effective March 13, 2020), employees will not be able to use sick time for this 14-day required period of self-isolation.

Additional resources

Please refer to the following links for additional information on COVID-19.

President's announcement

Working from home and other transitions

March 18, 2020

Dear TRU Community,

Further to the announcement this week of moving away from face-to-face classroom instruction, TRU will be enabling faculty and staff to work from home wherever possible. This measure will support social distancing at our campuses and regional centres and help control the spread of the coronavirus in our communities.

Working from home arrangements will be made at a department level and factor in such considerations as department operational needs, technical requirements for working remotely, as well as employees’ individual circumstances. We are acutely aware that with yesterday’s provincial announcement of the indefinite closure of public schools, and the potential closure of daycares, some of our employees are facing particular hardship. These will all be part of the considerations on working remotely, as we want you to feel as safe and well as possible in this unprecedented time.

As we move through this next transition, it is important to remember that TRU is open, and that our focus remains on our students—providing for their education, supporting their health and wellness, but in ways that will be different than we are accustomed.

Working remotely will not be feasible for all employees, as there are essential operations that will need to be maintained in our physical locations. For those who remain on campus and at our regional centres, we remain committed to your health and safety. This means continuing with our enhanced cleaning and putting in measures that support social distancing.

For those who will be working from home in the future, IT Services has created tips for setting up your remote workspace. In addition, there are privacy and security matters that will need to be reviewed with your manager.

We are also in the process of establishing an employee section on our COVID-19 webpage, which will have answers to some of your questions. This section is anticipated to be up by noon today. Please check the page regularly, both the employee section and general areas of the COVID-19 page, to stay informed.

The measures we are taking have been well thought-out and are based on current public health guidance. Last Friday, TRU activated our Emergency Operations Centre, which allows us to make such decisions in a coordinated and swift manner in times such as these. I would like to thank our Provost and Vice-President Academic and Research, Christine Bovis-Cnossen and Vice-President Administration and Finance Matt Milovick for their leadership.

In closing, the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic has without question, placed enormous stress on many of us. I encourage you to practice care and kindness to one another and avail yourself of our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EAP), LifeWorks, for added support.


Brett Fairbairn
President and Vice-Chancellor

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