Community Update, August 27, 2021: Mandated Masks and Vaccinations

Dear members of the UBC community.

I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking to you from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

Yesterday, I sent out a UBC Broadcast relating to vaccinations, masks and COVID-19 testing. I encourage you to read the message in full as it contains important details, including helpful links regarding testing and vaccination locations and availability. You can find the message at broadcastemail.ubc.ca.

I would like to thank the provincial government and the Provincial Heath Officer for issuing a new Public Health Order mandating the wearing of non-medical masks in public indoor settings and for investing in the provincial proof of vaccination program, which includes a vaccine certification component.

The Order requiring non-medical masks is now in effect for all indoor public areas on both UBC campuses, including classrooms, labs, lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and elevators.

We know that mandated masks and vaccines have been key concerns within our community and we have continued to express those concerns in our discussions with the provincial government.

Further to yesterday’s announcement, we wish to clarify that UBC will require COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Rapid antigen testing will be implemented to screen those individuals who have not been vaccinated or are uncomfortable being vaccinated. The provincial proof of vaccination program is expected to be ready before the start of the Fall term on September 7.

We will also consult with multiple stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff associations and unions as we implement these programs, recognizing that we need to allow for a transition period to give all UBC community members an opportunity to access vaccinations.

We are confident these additional measures will augment the already high number of students who have been vaccinated. A recent survey of all registered UBC Vancouver students shows that 92% of the responding students are partially or fully vaccinated and 83% are fully vaccinated, with the majority of the remainder intending to be vaccinated before the start of classes.

If you’re not already vaccinated, I strongly recommend that you become vaccinated before returning to campus, if you are eligible.

Vaccines are available at multiple locations – including airports and on both campuses – to everyone aged 12 and older, including students arriving from international destinations, who can receive their vaccinations after arriving in Canada. You can learn more at immunizebc.ca.

I would like to thank the many people, including faculty, student and staff groups for their engagement on these issues – your input and insights have been pivotal to getting us to where we are today. Because of you, we are better positioned to ensure a healthy and safe return to campus.

I would also like to thank the provincial government and the Provincial Heath Officer for their collaboration and partnership.

As we approach the start of term, I know there will be additional questions. We will be communicating further in the days ahead as we look forward to a safe and healthy return to campus.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor