Dear members of the UBC community:
As you know, since September 16, masks have been required on UBC campuses. I’ve been impressed by how quickly the university community – students, faculty, staff and visitors – have adapted to the new requirements.
Thank you everyone for doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
But we must do more. As Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry notes, masks are the last line of defence. Physical distancing, keeping your social circle small, frequent hand washing, staying home if you’re sick and other factors are also very important.
We need to stay vigilant in order to protect ourselves, our friends and families and our community. No one is immune from COVID-19, but its effects can be especially serious for the elderly – our parents and grandparents, and even older faculty and staff members – and those with compromised immune systems.
We must follow the provincial guidelines as well as UBC’s own COVID-19 rules. These guidelines include staying two metres apart from people outside your safe group of six people. It means frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.
As I said last week, you must wear a mask in 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.
It’s also important to stay home if you’re sick.
If you’re concerned that you, or someone you know, has been exposed to COVID or may be experiencing symptoms, call Public Health at 8-1-1. They will advise you on whether you need to self-isolate, or be tested. If you do need to be tested, they can help you find the most convenient testing site.
Students can also book an appointment with Student Health Service on the Vancouver campus or the Student Health Clinic at UBC O.
Please, avoid large gatherings. The province – and UBC – prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people. We all want to meet up with our friends, but as long as the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, we must take care. Keep in mind what Dr. Henry says, “stick with six”.
If you’re invited to a party, don’t go unless unless you’re sure that all health and safety guidelines will be followed, including the limit on the number of people. If you’re hosting a party, please follow the guidelines. If you don’t, you may face legal consequences. The police have shut down several parties in British Columbia with the hosts facing hefty fines.
We’re doing all we can to keep our campuses and our people safe.
Our COVID protocols include physical distancing protocols, signage and orientations, heightened personal hygiene standards and messaging, heightened cleaning protocols in all open areas, wearing masks in residence dining server areas, closure of many communal and common residence spaces, bans on large in-person community events and activities and more.
We continue to monitor activity within buildings at UBC and are prepared to make the necessary adjustments to minimize the spread of COVID on our campuses.
Our buildings are equipped with upgraded high quality air filters and building operations staff continually inspect and service the building ventilation systems to ensure they are in good operating condition.
Before I close, I’d like to thank those faculty members and elected governors who have provided valuable recommendations and suggestions for UBC’s COVID response. And thank you, everyone for complying with UBC’s COVID-19 guidelines. Let’s stay vigilant and keep our community safe.
And now, as usual I end with a #songsofcomfort selection. This week, I’m pleased to present Jupiter from Holst’s The Planets. This duet is with Clement Yu, a 7th Grader at Emily Carr Elementary School. He has studied with Oskar Falta, and currently studies with Laine Longton at UBC.
Stay safe and best wishes.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor