Dear members of the UBC community:
Recently, the number of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia has been increasing dramatically. This past Friday alone, there were 132 new cases. Hospitalization from COVID-19 are at their highest in four months.
We all must do what we can to fight COVID19.
Therefore, UBC is implementing a new measure to help limit COVID-19. As of Wednesday, September 16, UBC students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear non-medical masks, when indoors on our campuses.
The health and safety of the UBC community is our first priority, and we continue to monitor COVID-19 and follow effective safety practices as understanding of the virus evolves. The requirement to wear non-medical masks indoors recognizes that transmission is reduced when face masks are worn in conjunction with physical distancing and other safety practices.
Wearing a non-medical mask is one step you can take to protect yourself, your friends, your loved ones, your colleagues and your community.
The requirement for the use of non-medical masks applies to shared indoor spaces within UBC buildings, such as hallways, stairways, building entryways, washrooms and study spaces, classrooms, common areas in residences and other high-traffic areas. Further details related to the policy, its implementation, and the COVID-19 Safety Plan can be found at covid19.ubc.ca and ok.ubc.ca/covid19.
Exceptions will be provided for people with underlying medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear masks. Masks may also be removed when taking part in certain athletic or fitness activities and in situations where wearing a mask impedes delivery and receiving of services.
Even when wearing a mask, please continue to observe physical distancing as much as possible, as a mask is not a substitute for this practice. For those who are not able to wear a mask, for medical or other reasons, please be careful to maintain a safe distance for the protection of yourself and those around you.
As part of UBC’s commitment to the health and safety of our community, and the responsibility we all share in preventing the potential for COVID-19, students, faculty, staff or visitors are required to follow UBC’s COVID-19 Campus Rules when on campus, such as assessing yourself daily for COVID-19 symptoms and following signage and floor markings when moving around premises. You can find the rules at the UBC Covid-19 websites.
You are also asked to adopt public health measures such as staying home if sick, maintaining physical distance wherever possible, and frequent hand hygiene regardless of non-medical mask usage. Please refer to information about staying healthy, including advice on identifying COVID-19 symptoms and safety practices such as handwashing, at https://covid19.ubc.ca/health-guidance/. Useful FAQs related to UBC’s response to COVID-19 can also be found at https://covid19.ubc.ca/.
Thank you for your support in following this health and safety practice. By following this new policy, and continuing to adopt public health measures including avoiding large groups and practising physical distancing, we can all play a role in helping to limit COVID-19 and keeping ourselves, our families and our community safe.
And now, as is my custom, I would like to end with a #songsofcomfort selection. Today, I’m proud to present a performance by a new School of Music student, Owen Kirby, who will be performing Paquito de Habana, by Rick Hirsch, on alto, tenor and baritone saxophone.
Thank you, and, in the words of BC Provincial Health Officer and UBC faculty member Dr. Bonnie Henry, be kind, be calm and be safe.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor