Dear members of the UBC community.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to you from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
With the start of the academic year just three months away, I’m looking forward to welcoming back our students, faculty and staff.
According to BC’s Restart plan, we can return to normal social contact beginning September 7, provided more than 70 percent of the 18+ population has received a first vaccine dose, along with low case counts and low COVID-19 hospitalizations.
We are now seeing steady reductions in COVID-19 case counts, declining COVID-19 hospitalizations, and increased vaccinations. It looks like everyone in the province will have the chance to be fully vaccinated by the end of August.
But we need to do our part. I urge all UBC students, faculty and staff to take part in the provincial COVID-19 vaccination program. Now is the time to support each other and raise the rate of immunization. If you haven’t yet received your vaccine, please register and encourage your families and friends to join the ‘This is our shot’ campaign at thisisourshot.ca.
Here at UBC, we are taking a phased approach to facilitate a return to in-person teaching, learning, research and other on-campus activities. We continue to monitor the course of the pandemic, working closely with public health officials and will adjust our approach as required.
The phased approach we are taking reflects input and listening sessions with students, faculty and staff on both campuses and other feedback from you, the members of our community.
While our campuses are safe for our return, I recognize that some students, faculty and staff may have concerns about returning to campus, and about COVID-19 and its variants. Students who may be experiencing anxiety can access support at students.ubc.ca and students.ok.ubc.ca. Faculty and staff can access support for mental health and wellbeing at hr.ubc.ca/health-and-wellbeing.
For more than a year now, you, the members of the UBC community, have stepped up to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Thank you for your ongoing patience and adaptability, and for continuing to provide the high quality of teaching, learning, and research that UBC is known for. We look ahead to the fall with a continued commitment to the health and safety of our community, and with hope and excitement for a more vibrant campus.
My unsung hero shoutout this week goes to UBC Okanagan Student Union president Tashia Kootenayoo. Tashia, who is from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, also does advocacy work focused on supporting student survivors of sexualized violence and creating more accessibility to education through open educational resources. Tashia, thank you for everything you do.
Stay safe and best wishes.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor