Dear members of the UBC community.
Welcome to the new academic year. I hope you’ve had a good summer.
Whether you’re a new or returning student, a faculty member or a staff member, this year will be like none we’ve ever experienced before.
But even though this year will be different, we have been working to ensure that every student still has an enriching experience at UBC and that all faculty and staff are able to do their jobs in a safe and healthy environment.
Of course, the major difference is that classes will be primarily online, with some in-person learning.
Another difference is that the majority of staff and faculty will be working from home.
Many students will be able to access their courses in their regular time slots, with a mix of asynchronous and recorded elements, if time-zones and schedules don’t allow it. This will provide more flexibility for learners managing a variety of other demands on their time.
The shift to online has been a major undertaking for our faculty and staff. They have worked diligently for months now to adapt more than 3,000 courses to an online or blended environment.
I would like to go over the key precautions and measures that we have put in place to ensure health and safety on UBC campuses:
- First, all faculties, administrative units and other facilities need to have approved safety plans before their people can return.
- We are limiting the number of people allowed in labs, classrooms and other university facilities.
- We have increased handwashing stations.
- We have installed signage to help preserve physical distancing and remind our community of key health steps they can take.
- All staff, faculty and students must complete a mandatory training module before being allowed to return to campus.
I know that we will have students attending classes online from across Canada and throughout the world. Please remember to follow the proper health and safety protocols in place wherever you are. In particular:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently or use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.
- Maintain a safe physical distance from others of at least two metres.
- If you are sick or come into contact with a person who is sick, stay home.
- Get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- When indoors, or when other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, we strongly advise wearing a mask if you are able to.
With regard to Winter Term 2, we are looking for opportunities to increase face to face teaching and learning as appropriate and in keeping with Provincial health and safety guidance.
I want to thank everyone for your hard work in combatting COVID 19 and your dedication to preserving the excellence in teaching, learning and research that UBC is known for.
Together, we will get through this. Yes, this term will be different, but UBC is well placed to adapt to ensure that we still deliver a high quality learning experience and a safe and healthy environment in which to work, study and research.
Thank you and stay safe.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor