COVID-19 — UBC’s approach for the fall term

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A few weeks ago, I sent a message regarding Summer Term 2 in which I said we were actively planning for how we might teach later this year. I am now pleased to confirm the approach that UBC is going to take to ensure a high-quality experience for our students in fall 2020.

COVID-19 has created many challenges for our students, faculty and staff. It has also highlighted the incredible commitment you have towards UBC – and our commitment to creating an enriching experience for our new, and returning students.

As part of our planning, we are working closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines and WorkSafeBC.

UBC’s approach will allow us to deliver high-quality teaching and learning – while ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. It is based on the guidelines and direction of the Provincial Health Officer, public health agencies, and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. These include:

  • Prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff.
  • Demonstrating our commitment to delivering a quality educational experience.
  • Collaborating with other post-secondary institutions, and the provincial government.
  • Adopting a phased approach to in-person learning (under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer).

UBC’s approach to fall 2020

During fall 2020, UBC will primarily offer larger classes online with selected smaller classes conducted in-person, adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements. We will maintain a clear focus on ensuring high-quality face-to-face instruction, where possible, and high-quality remote instruction. Individual Faculties will be sharing updates about specific programs in the coming weeks.

Supporting our students

We are working to ensure that the necessary supports are provided for our students, particularly those who are experiencing financial challenges, or who need extra advising or counselling. The requirement to maintain physical distancing also includes planning for any potential impact that travel restrictions might have on our international students, such as obtaining study permits or having difficulty travelling. Details about plans for residences and co-curricular activities will be shared as soon as they are confirmed.

Ensuring our health and safety

We are pleased to see positive signs of ‘flattening of the curve’ in BC, but we know that we must take care and proceed in keeping with provincial public health directives and guidelines. Our planning for fall 2020 is intended to be both robust and nimble. While we are keen to facilitate more people on campus, it is important to stress that health and safety remains our first priority as we continue to ensure that our plans are consistent with provincial public health requirements.

Thank you to our students for your patience and commitment during recent weeks, and we are excited for the new students who will be joining us. Thank you once again to all our faculty and staff for your commitment to the university.

The last few weeks have shown what we can achieve together, as a university. Looking ahead, we are excited to see how UBC can continue to create enriching experiences this fall. Whether you are a student, staff or faculty member – we look forward to engaging with you in fall 2020.

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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