Many postsecondary classes closed during Olympics

Many postsecondary students are going to have time to party during the Olympics.

Colleges and universities across the Lower Mainland will have extended reading breaks starting on February 12, the day the Games start. Capilano University, Vancouver Community College, and Langara College will not hold classes from this day until the end of February.

BCIT will continue to hold classes, but no part-time–studies classes will be scheduled between February 13 and 28, according to the institute’s Web site. Students at Emily Carr University will be off between February 14 and 27. Douglas College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University will have no classes starting on February 15.

Students at the Burnaby and Downtown Vancouver campuses of SFU will have their reading break from February 15 to 26. Spokesperson Susan Jamieson-McLarnon told the Georgia Straight that the main floor of the downtown campus will be used by the German Olympic delegation.

Staff will continue to report to work at the two SFU campuses. According to Soizic Wadge, coordinator of the university’s Teaching Support Staff Union, the semester will be extended by two weeks, which will pose a problem for some members of the union. “For graduate students [who are members of the union], that will have a particular impact because usually the last three weeks of the semester are kind of slow, and that’s the time that they use for their own graduate studies,” Wadge told the Straight by phone.

UBC’s reading break goes from February 15 to 26. “We have extended the reading break from one week to two, so that our students can participate in a variety of ways in the Games,” Michelle Aucoin, director of UBC’s 2010 Olympic and Paralympic secretariat, told the Straight in a phone interview.

Aucoin also said there will be road closures on the campus starting in January. She added that buses that run on Wesbrook Mall, East Mall, and Thunderbird Boulevard will be rerouted. UBC’s Thunderbird Arena is a venue for a number of Olympic hockey competitions.

The university expects to have more people on campus during the Olympics. “We anticipate that our students who live in residence are going to invite their friends from near and far to join them during Games time,” Aucoin explained.

Basil Waugh, a UBC spokesperson, told the Straight that about a thousand students will use their reading break to do volunteer work with Downtown Eastside schools and nonprofit organizations.