Joy Johnson discusses rapid testing availability on February Senate meeting

Initial shipment of testing kits will be for priority groups

AQ building and pond with people in background
PHOTO: Allyson Klassen / The Peak

By: Yelin Gemma Lee, News Writer

President Joy Johnson announces SFU will be receiving shipments of rapid tests

SFU president Joy Johnson emphasized SFU values community perspectives and is working closely with public health to ensure a safe return to campus. In response to concerns of rising cases on campus and poor communication, Johnson said although there have been positive cases on campus, they “have not heard any reports about large clusters of infections.”

Johnson reported SFU will soon have limited access to rapid tests. Due to the current limited supply, they will be following public health guidance which means these tests will only be given to symptomatic individuals. 

“Based on the guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control, we’re going to be allocating the first shipment of rapid tests to priority groups. These groups are students living in residence and housing, Indigenous students, and faculty and staff working in-person on our campuses including front-line food service, janitorial, and security contractors,” said Johnson.  

Johnson said as more shipments of rapid tests arrive, they will be looking into wider distribution and access. 


Senate discuss concerns about course deadline extension

Former SFSS president Gabe Liosis said UBC Vancouver Senate had recently approved an extension of course drop deadlines “to extend a compassionate and flexible approach to students during the unusual start to the Spring semester.” 

According to Liosis, the Senate committee of undergraduate studies (SCUS) had discussions of implementing similar measures but ultimately decided against it. 

Liosis asked for a “thorough overview” of the committee’s argument for and against the measure, and the committee’s reason for not implementing these measures.   

Elizabeth Elle, vice-provost and associate vice-president learning and teaching responded. Elle said the question of whether or not to extend course drop deadlines was mainly due to the concerns of students not knowing what to expect of their courses within the first two weeks of online learning. 

“Course expectations, the assessment mode, the content, and even information about the instructor would have been clear during the first two weeks of term,” said Elle. “The student members of SCUS helped the committee understand that a major concern they were hearing from other students was the uncertainty regarding how the term would unfold.” 

Elle said to address this uncertainty, SFU sent out an announcement on January 11 of a definite return to campus on January 24. The in-person return to campus was met with resistance from students, staff, and faculty. A walkout took place on the first day of in-person classes, and multiple petitions and student groups called for remote options for the Spring semester.

She explained another reason to keep the current course drop deadlines was an issue of fairness for many students being put on waitlists for courses — keeping the current deadline would allow these students to add themselves to classes should others drop the course within the start of the semester. 


Senate approve motion for Master of Science in Professional Cyber Security  

Vice-president academic and provost Catherine Dauvergne moved the motion for Senate to recommend the proposal for Master of Science in Professional Cyber Security in the School of Computing Science to the Board of Governors for approval. Senator Eugene Fiume seconded the motion.

Senator Colin Percival raised his concerns on the motion.

“Although I think this is a wonderful program, I am slightly concerned by the fact that it seems to be taught entirely by people on the academic and theoretical side of the field,” said Percival. “I think it would be very advantageous to the students going through this program if they had some contact with people actually working out there in the field.”

School of Computing Science professor Uwe Glässer clarified the program is training and application-oriented, featuring two six-credit lab courses in collaboration with industry partners. 

The motion was passed and the program is expected to take effect in Spring 2023 or later.