COVID–19 — Santa Ono’s address to the community

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

I promised to communicate on a regular basis regarding UBC’s response to COVID-19.

In my latest update, I discuss the extension of the on-campus research curtailment and Remote Work Arrangements, supports for both domestic and international students, and the important work that UBC researchers are doing with regard to COVID-19. There’s also a musical treat at the end of the video.

You will find my update, in both video and text format, at https://president.ubc.ca/letter-to-the-community/2020/04/03/covid-update-april-3/.

For the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and UBC’s response, I encourage you to visit https://covid19.ubc.ca/.

Thank you for your patience, your understanding and your empathy as we navigate this challenging time. Together, we will get through this.

Stay safe.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


This message was sent to faculty, staff and students in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

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Seeking nominations for the triennial election

As you know, UBC is continuing to navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Although this is presenting many challenges, it is important to maintain the university’s governance process for Senate elections.

At this stage in the triennial election process, we would like to welcome nominations for two (2) faculty members from each Faculty to represent their Faculty on the Senate of their respective campus.

For information on eligibility and the nomination process please visit:https://facultystaff.students.ubc.ca/2019-2020-triennial-elections

Please note: The Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration and the Peter A. Allard School of Law, conduct their own elections for these positions. If you are interested in elections for theses Faculties, please contact the relevant Dean’s Office.

The nomination period will close at 4pm on Thursday April 16, 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact elections.information@ubc.ca.

Kate Ross
Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services and Registrar


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Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment — extended to end of April

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

As you know, on March 16, UBC embarked on a three-week pilot for Remote Work Arrangements for faculty, staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and student employees who are able to work remotely.

On March 19, the university also announced it was curtailing on-campus research activities at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan. This curtailment was initially in effect until April 15. To continue research activities on our campuses, researchers must receive an exemption to be classed as critical research or maintaining critical research resources.

The situation regarding COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing has not yet eased, and is even more important now. In light of this, and continuing to follow guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, we will be extending the Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment until the end of April.

This will be reassessed at the end of April, based on information about COVID-19, and in conjunction with our government and health stakeholders.

As a reminder, a series of FAQs have been developed to support you during this time:

Once again, we would like to thank you for your commitment to the university. We understand that COVID-19 is impacting you in many ways, and we appreciate your ongoing flexibility as we continue to navigate this challenging situation.

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources

Gail Murphy
Vice-President, Research & Innovation


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COVID–19 — UBC’s spring graduation ceremonies

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

Many of you have been asking about the university’s plans for one of the highlights of the year, spring graduation.

Earlier today, I sent a message to our graduating students, informing them of the fact that — in light of the current circumstances — we have had to make the very difficult decision to not hold in-person spring graduation ceremonies at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.

This was not an easy decision, and I know how disappointing it will be, not only for our graduating students, but also our faculty members, staff and the broader UBC community. As I told the students, we will come together online to celebrate. No virtual gathering can match our in-person ceremonies, but I promise you, it will be special, and it will be meaningful.

I also want to let you know that UBC is committed to holding a postponed graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, when safe to do so, that has all elements of a traditional graduation ceremony. Further details will be available at graduation.ubc.ca and graduation.ok.ubc.ca.

As you have heard me say many times, we are experiencing unprecedented challenges as we navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Each week brings something new, and I continue to be grateful for your patience, understanding, empathy, flexibility and selfless efforts during this time.

Stay safe.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


This message was sent to faculty and staff in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

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COVID–19 — Important information for secure remote working

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

With an increase in the number of faculty and staff currently accessing UBC’s systems and networks remotely, we would like to remind you of the IT resources and support available to you at this time.

Keeping UBC’s systems and networks safe

While we already have several technologies in place to help secure remote access, please remain extra vigilant when accessing UBC files and logging in to UBC’s systems and networks. This includes:

  • Using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to remotely connect to the UBC network. Visit hxxps://it.ubc.ca/telecommute* for details on how to log-in.
  • Ensuring you are enrolled with an Enhanced Campus-Wide Login for multi-factor authentication.
  • Logging out of VPN and your devices when not in use.
  • Not clicking on links from unfamiliar sources. Doing so can download malware onto your computer even without further action on your part.
  • Reporting any suspicious emails to security@ubc.ca, so the UBC Cybersecurity team can investigate them.
  • Implementing a strong password on all of your accounts and log-ins, and keeping it secure. Please do not use UBC accounts or passwords for any other websites.
  • Completing the mandatory Privacy and Information Security Fundamentals training at hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca*

UBC’s Cybersecurity Team is also working on additional security software and precautions to ensure UBC information remains protected. More details will be shared internally with IT departmental administrators this week. Please ensure you are following any guidance that may be issued to ensure you take the necessary precautions and have the appropriate security software installed to protect UBC’s data.

Bookmark hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca* for more tips and resources on information security.

IT guide to working remotely

IT has compiled some key technical resources to support you in working remotely, including programs that will help you stay connected to your colleagues through audio conferencing, virtual meetings and instant messaging. Access them here: hxxps://it.ubc.ca/ubc-it-guide-working-campus*

Contacting the UBC IT Helpdesk

Currently, the preferred method for requesting assistance from UBC IT is to submit a ticket with the Help Desk. Please find the relevant links below:

  • UBC Vancouver: hxxps://it.ubc.ca/selfservice*
  • UBC Okanagan: hxxps://helpdesk.ok.ubc.ca/itmdb/*

*We avoid the use of clickable links in UBC Broadcasts that pertain to cybersecurity-related information. Please copy and paste the address into your browser and replace the ‘hxxps’ with ‘https’ and you will be taken to the proper website.

On behalf of the Privacy and Information Security Management (PrISM) Executive Leadership Committee, thank you for keeping UBC’s systems and networks safe and secure.

Hubert Lai, Q.C.
University Counsel

Peter Smailes
Vice-President, Finance & Operations

Andrew Szeri
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver


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COVID–19 — Status of summer terms

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

As you know, the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve with new developments on a daily basis. Many in our community are asking what the status of our summer terms will be in the light of these uncertain times.

To aid our students, faculty and staff as they plan, and in clear recognition that current mitigations may need to continue for an as yet undetermined period, I am announcing that Term 1 of Summer Session (running May 11 – June 18) at UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square will be online. The Summer Session for Vantage One (Arts, Science and Engineering) programs will also be online.

Please note that online application is simply not available to all courses. In those instances, courses may have to be postponed or redesigned. For classes that cannot be accommodated online, we will be issuing further information through our Faculties. (Faculties and program areas will differ in their approaches to these courses.)

Planning is also underway for the possibility that Term 2 of Summer Session (July 6 – Aug. 13) may need to go online. We will update our community as soon as we determine the final status of the Term 2 of Summer Session.

UBC’s campuses will remain open where possible and university operations will continue as much as possible, per the guidance and directives of health agencies and UBC’s operational imperatives.

These past weeks have seen this university make enormous shifts in its academic delivery and its operations. I know this has added to the stress levels and workloads of all our students, faculty and staff.

I thank all of you for adapting to the challenges as they arise and for your commitment to our university and the wellbeing of our community. As a reminder, you can see the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and UBC’s response at https://www.ubc.ca. This situation will take time to resolve. There will no doubt be more challenges in the days and weeks ahead. We can and will work together to overcome those challenges.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


This message was sent to faculty, staff and students in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

UBC Broadcast is used to communicate time sensitive, organization-wide information to faculty, staff and students. Learn more


COVID–19 — Curtailing research activities on UBC campuses

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

As part of UBC’s response to COVID-19, the university is curtailing on-campus research activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. This is in line with social distancing protocols regarding remote teaching and working arrangements implemented in the last week.

This curtailment is in effect until April 15, 2020 and may be extended. To continue research activities on our campuses, researchers must receive an exemption to be classed as critical research or maintaining critical research resources.

For all other research on UBC’s campuses, research teams should immediately start to develop and implement plans to work remotely, and to have these plans fully operational by the end of day on Tuesday, March 24. Researchers based at health authority sites should follow site-specific directives.

The exemption process is outlined at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19. It involves approval at the departmental, Faculty and Vice-President, Research & Innovation levels. Examples of critical research may include COVID-19 research and clinical trials. Critical research resources may include data, cell lines, materials and reagents that are deemed essential and difficult to replace.

The exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves mean we can only continue the most essential research operations. Guidance, a planning checklist and FAQs are available at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19. These guidelines facilitate the temporary curtailment of most on-campus research activities and prioritize health and safety, first and foremost.

We understand that this curtailment will have a significant impact on research programs and research personnel. The university is in active discussions with funding agencies and other bodies to identify ways to mitigate these impacts.

Thank you for your continued support as UBC continues to navigate this challenging, and unprecedented, situation.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Gail Murphy
Vice-President, Research & Innovation


This message was sent to faculty and staff in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

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COVID-19 – Remaining assessments and final exams for all students

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

Please note that the following message was issued to all UBC students this morning:

In light of the growing national response to COVID-19, all UBC students planning to travel home may now do so. This includes all undergraduate international and domestic students. We ask students in post-baccalaureate and professional graduate programs to verify program adjustments with their academic advisors before making travel plans.

Online instruction will continue and final exams will NOT take place in person. You will be provided details on arrangements for exams through your Faculties and course instructors, as soon as possible.

Residences and most services for students remain open in Vancouver and the Okanagan. Students in residence who wish to stay may do so. UBC is not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty or staff.

We appreciate these are extremely challenging times for our students, and our faculty are working exceptionally hard to adjust courses that will allow you to continue and complete your studies this term. This series of events is unprecedented and rest assured we will provide you with information as we receive it.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Andrew Szeri
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Okanagan


This message was sent to faculty and staff in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

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COVID-19 – remote working for faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

Further to Friday’s UBC Broadcast, I would like to inform you of the university’s measures to support faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees, working remotely.

As UBC continues to navigate our response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in support of social distancing protocols, we are beginning a three-week pilot of Remote Work Arrangements. The duration of the pilot will be reassessed based on new information about COVID-19 that would change the situation.

Starting this week, those faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees, who are able to work from home should do so, in conjunction with job appropriateness and in discussion with their manager, research lead, or principal investigator. For those unable to work remotely, they should come to their normal place of work.

As a reminder, the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the risk as low for Canada. We also do not currently have any confirmed cases within our faculty, staff or student community.

However, it is important that we continue to put measures in place to support social distancing and help prevent the spread of illness. This is aligned with the guidance we are receiving from the Provincial Health Officer, BC Provincial Government.

Initial steps

A UBC Bulletin has been issued, advising managers and supervisors of this three-week pilot, and the need to explore ways to allow all employees to work remotely. The message asked that measures be put in place to allow as many employees as possible to do all (or part) of their work from home.

Telecommuting and VPN guidelines

UBC has telecommuting guidelines which you can access athttp://www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty-staff-resources/telecommuting/. In addition, IT has provided an online guide to working remotely at https://www.it.ubc.ca/telecommute. The guide outlines resources when working remotely including how to access emails and files, tools for virtual meetings, and security requirements.

Additional FAQs have been developed by HR to support this pilot. You can view them at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/covid-19/. As a reminder, please also visithttps://ubc.ca for updates related to COVID-19 and UBC’s response.

We appreciate this pilot will require us all to explore and accommodate new ways of working. We also want to acknowledge that you may feel separated or even isolated when working from home, as you won’t have in-person interactions with your colleagues. We encourage you to explore creative ways to address these barriers within your unit or department. You are also reminded of resources available through UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program http://www.hr.ubc.ca/wellbeing-benefits/benefits/details/employee-family-assistance-program/

Under these circumstances you have our commitment to fully support and provide campus services to students, faculty and staff, as best as we can. Thank you for helping UBC navigate this unprecedented scenario.

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources


This message was sent to faculty and staff in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

UBC Broadcast is used to communicate time sensitive, organization-wide information to faculty, staff and students. Learn more


Transition to online classes at UBC

As you know, governments and institutions around the world are grappling with the spread and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation continues to evolve and it has become an unprecedented scenario for the university.

Today I am announcing the transition to online classes effective Monday March 16, 2020 for the remainder of the term. For classes that cannot be accommodated online, we will be issuing further information through our Faculties. This will apply to UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square. Information regarding exams will be shared next week.

UBC’s campuses will remain open and all university operations will continue as normal, as we transition. Updates continue to be posted to https://www.ubc.ca.

We are working as quickly as possible to inform our faculty, in order to assist them in preparing their materials for online. We understand this shift in delivery will have a significant impact on our community and you have many questions. I would ask for your patience as we seek to answer those questions.

It is important to note that the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are leading the coordinated response to COVID-19 within British Columbia. UBC’s actions are aligned with advice from the Provincial Health Officer announced on March 12, 2020.

A working group is also exploring the potential to offer exams remotely and considering any potential impacts on graduation ceremonies. We will communicate further updates and decisions as they become available.

Additional measures taken this week include:

  • As of March 13, UBC has cancelled all on-campus and off-campus events with more than 250 people (including sporting events), whether indoors or outdoors, that are organized by students, faculty and staff.
  • Events at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts are also cancelled for the time being.
  • All inbound and outbound study abroad programs for students are cancelled. Further, the Vancouver Summer Program for both June and July have been cancelled.

To be clear, we are not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty or staff. However, we understand the need to be prepared as a university and act accordingly – aligned with guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

I would also like to offer my thanks to all UBC faculty and staff who have assisted in moving the university through this uncharted territory. Many people are involved in UBC’s response to COVID-19 and they are working as hard as possible.

To the faculty engaged in research about this global issue, your work is invaluable and I thank you.

Finally, to all of the students, faculty and staff that make up UBC’s community, I want to say I am inspired by the level of support and assistance you are providing one another during this immensely challenging time.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor



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