Dear members of the UBC community.
Last month UBC confirmed that we are planning for a return to on-campus activity for Winter Session, Term 1, with the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the public health teams in the health authorities.
Dr. Henry has been clear that post-secondary institutions, such as UBC, should be confident that a return to on-campus instruction and increased levels of on-campus research activity can be undertaken safely and successfully.
As we continue to prepare for this increase in on-campus activity, I would like to provide some further updates.
Faculties are currently planning the fall course schedule, with as much on-campus instruction for our students as possible. Planning is being done in conjunction with ongoing guidance from the provincial government and public health agencies. Some courses (or elements of courses) may remain online. Faculties will confirm details about the mode of delivery before the course schedule is finalized in mid-May.
UBC Student Housing plans to open student residences for the 21/22 Winter Session, and will provide specific updates as we approach housing allocation periods.
Orientation programs will be available for new-to-UBC students for Winter Session, Term 1, as well as other extracurricular activities. The details will be determined as we work with public health to ensure the safety of these activities.
This past year many of us have been required to work remotely, while others, who could not perform their work remotely, have served with dedication throughout the pandemic to follow through on their responsibilities on campus.
Now, as we plan to return to on-campus activity, we have an opportunity to reflect and consider future work practices and requirements. We are concurrently developing a remote work approach suitable for some employees, with a targeted announcement date of mid-June.
A few days ago, I was fortunate to be eligible and receive my first, AstraZeneca, Covid-19 vaccination. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated when possible so we can beat this pandemic together.
Vaccines are the best way to protect against COVID-19. They do more than protect you, they also protect everyone around you. The more people in a community who are immunized against COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread. You can learn more at immunizebc.ca.
We now have additional FAQs to help inform and support our UBC community, with regard to the Campus Return Plan which can be found at covid19.ubc.ca and ok.ubc.ca/covid19. Further updates and FAQs will be posted in the coming weeks and months.
Thank you again to all our community members. COVID-19 has required us to be agile in our response as the situation continually evolves; however, we remain committed to returning to the vibrancy of our campus activities in the fall.
This week’s unsung heroes are second-year UBC medical student Amanda Feng and fourth-year dentistry student Ian Wong. Amanda and Ian are the creators of the Colour Project, a new free mental health peer texting initiative that provides support for students struggling with anxiety and depression.
Since its launch earlier this year, the initiative has seen more than 10,000 messages exchanged between peer support volunteers and those reaching out for support across Canada.
Successfully connecting more than 100 help-seekers with 26 volunteers together, the Colour Project is still expanding its helpline and hoping to provide a safe space for more people to come. Amanda and Ian, thank you for creating the Colour Project.
Finally, I’d like to wish all UBC students the best of luck on your final exams.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor