Dear members of the UBC community. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.
We’ve seen in the news lately that we’re definitely flattening the curve here in BC – thanks to all of us doing our part – and the province is gradually beginning to re-open. Not only that, but the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.
Though we’ve turned the corner, we’re not out of the woods yet. There is still no vaccine for COVID-19 and there may not be one for many months. The risk of a second wave is very real.
That’s why the province – and UBC – are proceeding cautiously. Gatherings of more than 50 people are still forbidden. Physical distancing and face masks are still recommended.
As you know, summer term courses are completely on-line and fall courses will be a mixture of online and face-to-face courses, depending on the program. Individual Faculties will share updates about specific programs in the coming weeks.
Regardless of whether your program is face-to-face, online or a mixture of the two, we look forward to welcoming you back to UBC. We’re getting our residences ready for the fall term, while adhering to directives from local and provincial health authorities. Student Housing will email updated information to current residents and to those students who have applied to live in residence as soon as it is available.
We are committed to continuing to provide services and amenities that help create a healthy, safe and supportive community environment to the very best of our abilities.
To help students get the best out of their courses, we have put a number of supports in place, including:
- Academic advisors for general academic questions about topics like program planning, degree requirements, or academic concessions; and
- Accessibility advisors who can help with disabilities or specific challenges which make learning more difficult.
We’re also offering a series of online learning skills workshops starting next month. These cover such topics as balancing learning and living at home; online group presentations; online communication skills and time management while learning online. You can find out more at keeplearning.ubc.ca.
We also offer financial support for students who face barriers to accessing online learning. Information about emergency financial support and work-learn opportunities can be found at students.ubc.ca/covid. I promise you, we will do all we can to ensure you have an outstanding educational experience at UBC.
I’m proud of how the UBC community has risen to the challenge of COVID-19. You’ve not only adapted to remote learning and physical distancing; you’ve shown your ingenuity and selflessness in many ways.
For example, the UBC law students who are continuing to do legal work for clients at the Indigneous Community Legal Clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. They’ve found a way to keep in touch with their clients by phone, email and Zoom. They’re not only helping their clients navigate the legal system, they’re gaining valuable practical experience.
Then there’s UBC international economics student Patrisse Chan, who has developed an online platform that allows Canadians to buy a meal from a local restaurant and have it delivered to staff at a hospital or care home.
And just this week, I was excited to learn that researchers in UBC’s BioProducts Institute have designed what could be the very first N95 mask that can be sourced and made entirely in Canada. It’s also possibly the world’s first fully compostable and biodegradable medical mask.
There are many, many stories like theirs. You can find some of them online at news.ubc.ca. I’m proud of all of you.
And now, I’d like to end as usual with a #SongsofComfort selection. So please enjoy UBC piano student Nicole Linaksita performing Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise.
Stay safe and healthy, everybody.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor