Ensuring a safe start to the new academic year

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Next week sees the start of Winter Session, Term 1, and a return to campus for many of us. Whether you are a new or returning student, a faculty or staff member, we look forward to welcoming everyone back.

For those returning to in-person teaching and learning, research, or working on campus, we would like to help you resume activity in a way that best supports the safety and wellbeing of all members of our community. Here’s what you need to do to help ensure a safe environment for yourself and those around you:

  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and complete a daily health assessment. If you are sick, stay at home. Learn about the self-assessment tool at https://bc.thrive.health.
  • Make sure you have a non-medical mask, as they are required in public indoor spaces on campus including classrooms.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • If you are not yet vaccinated, make a plan to receive your COVID-19 vaccination. You can book your first and second doses via https://immunizebc.ca. Drop-ins are welcome at all Vancouver Coastal Health clinics. For details visit http://www.vch.ca/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine#vaccination. In the Okanagan, information about immunization clinics can be found at https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/covid-19-immunization-clinics/.
  • As a reminder, in BC, free vaccines are available to students arriving from international destinations and other provinces.

Last week a series of Public Health Orders related to COVID-19 safety measures were announced. These include the requirement to wear non-medical masks in public indoor spaces and the introduction of the BC Vaccine Card (which applies to students living in student housing, participation in varsity and intramural sports, and participation in other discretionary activities, including restaurants and ticketed events on campus). UBC Okanagan is still subject to additional public health measures.

The BC Centre for Disease Control and BC Ministry of Health have also issued return to campus public health guidance. You can find details at http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID_public_guidance/Public_Health_Guidance_Campus.pdf.

UBC recently announced a decision to require COVID-19 rapid testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We would now like to provide an update.

COVID-19 rapid testing for all students, faculty, and staff

UBC will require COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A process for confidential self-disclosure of vaccination status, with functionality for verification, will be implemented next week. Details will be provided at that time. Once the program is live, you will be asked to go online and use your Campus Wide Login (CWL) to complete the following steps.

  1. You will be prompted to answer questions about your vaccination status.
  2. If you declare that you have been fully vaccinated, no further action will be needed.
  3. If you respond that you are not fully vaccinated, or prefer not to disclose your status, you will be given information about how to access rapid testing and report your results, on a recurring basis.

Members of the community without online access will be provided with a paper copy.

Students living in student housing

As a reminder, students living in student housing are required to provide proof of vaccination in order to obtain their BC Vaccine Card. The BC Vaccine Card requirement is different from UBC’s rapid testing program. We recognize that we need to allow for a transition period beyond September 7 for those students who are arriving from outside BC and Canada, to give them an opportunity to access vaccinations and obtain a BC Vaccine Card. Specific updates will be provided to students as they become available, to help navigate this requirement. More information on how to obtain a BC Vaccine Card once it is available can be found at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/proof.

If you were vaccinated in another province or country, no matter what vaccine you received, you may upload your information in order to obtain your BC Vaccine Card. If you need a BC Personal Health Number to upload your information, call a BC Services agent at: 1-888-268-4319 then upload at https://immunizationrecord.gov.bc.ca.

Thank you to all our community members who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. I am confident that the program of rapid testing will add another layer of protection for our community and ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone as we begin the academic year.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

This message was updated after being issued, to clarify that the self-disclosure process will include functionality for verification.

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

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