VCC International

President’s message: Expect a return to campus in September 2021

Posted on March 8, 2021

A message from VCC president Ajay Patel

Dear college community,

I’m pleased to share that on March 8, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang announced that the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Dr. Bonnie Henry advised all B.C. post-secondary institutions to begin planning for a return to safe, on-campus teaching and learning in September 2021.

“I’m encouraged by Dr. Henry’s advice that a return to in-person instruction can be done safely this fall for all students, staff, and faculty. In fact, it’s important to do so for people’s well-being,” said Minister Kang. 

This announcement is an outcome of the demonstrated leadership of the post-secondary sector in responding to COVID-19, including adopting new health and safety protocols and quickly adapting to remote learning. It is an exciting and eagerly anticipated step forward in our journey together through the pandemic.

What happens now

While this is encouraging news, please keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and we must continue to follow all active health guidelines in order to realize this goal.

Looking ahead to September, VCC's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will immediately convene a Campus Recovery Working Group to ensure a safe, robust, and comprehensive process for returning to on-campus activities that adheres to the province’s Go-Forward guidelines [PDF].

It is important to note that VCC has continued to operate essential learning activities safely on campus during the pandemic, and we have every confidence that, over the next six months, we will be able to plan for a safe return in the fall.

As this is new information, the EOC will share plans and details as they become available.  

Let’s do this together

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult and stressful time for everyone, including VCC students, faculty, and staff. This past year has challenged all of us in ways we could never have expected. We know that young adults have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic — as evidenced by worsening mental health, increased financial instability, and concerns over diminished future prospects.

The safe return to VCC campuses will benefit everyone’s health and well-being. That’s why it is vital that we resume delivery of our programs and robust educational experiences for our students.  

Many students, faculty, and staff are eager to return to campus, while others may be feeling a bit anxious. Please be assured that at every step, we will be working with Dr. Henry and all our partners to make sure the right measures are in place to keep people safe.

A return to on-campus learning is excellent news for VCC, as well as for the economic health and strength of our communities and province. We need to get back to doing what we do best: delivering innovative, experiential learning for life.

VCC has shown that we can do amazing work in difficult times. In the year ahead, we will continue to do so. On behalf of the VCC Board of Governors, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and admiration to all VCC employees and students for your hard work and perseverance during the past year. Brighter days are ahead.


Best wishes,  

Ajay Patel
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College