Dear members of the UBC community.
It’s just twelve short weeks before the beginning of the Fall term, and UBC faculty and staff are busy preparing to welcome back thousands of new and returning students.
This year UBC will be welcoming students from across Canada and from over one hundred and fifty countries around the world.
The diversity of ideas and experiences that people bring to UBC, and which people find and explore here, helps us to achieve – together – our goal of creating a better world.
Cette année, l’université de la colombie britannique accueillera des étudiants venant de tout le Canada et de cent cinquante pays par tout le monde.
La diversité d’idées et des expériences que les personnes apportent à l’université de la colombie britannique et ce que les personnes trouvent et découvrent ici, cela nous aide à parvenir – tous ensemble – notre objectif de créer un monde meilleur.
Of course, this will be a very different Fall term. Because of COVID-19, we won’t be able to welcome new students with our traditional orientation events in Vancouver and the Okanagan. But we are working on welcoming them virtually to UBC in a way that will be special and memorable. We’ll be providing more details over the coming weeks.
We’re also working on the details of course delivery. As you know, classes will primarily be online this fall. Individual Faculties have already shared updates about specific programs or are in the process of doing so.
A number of people have asked me about student residences. On both the Okanagan and the Vancouver campus, Student Housing has implemented plans to provide the best possible accommodation for our residents given the COVID-19 challenge.
Health and safety remains our first priority and we continue to work closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines.
Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we recognize many first-year students want to be on campus due to academic requirements and personal preferences. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for qualifying students who want to be on campus.
Students who have applied for residences have been sent the information they need.
I’m proud of the work our faculty and staff have done together and continue to do to prepare for the fall.
We continue to work in partnership with the Provincial Health Officer and government to determine when it will be safe to return to normal operations. I’m looking forward to seeing students – undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral – on our beautiful campuses again.
Now I’d like to send a special message to parents of UBC students. First, if your child is new to UBC – congratulations! As a father of two girls I know how proud you must be that your child is joining our community. It’s an important milestone in your child’s life, but I know it’s also a big moment in yours too.
Secondly – to ALL parents – I want you to know that student safety is a top priority for UBC. That’s why we made the decision to move many courses online this fall and to rearrange our teaching methods such that every learning experience is effective and safe.
Finally, my weekly #songsofcomfort contribution is Lacrimosa from The Requiem in D minor, K. 626 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Calvin Yang plays the viola and I play the violoncello.
I hope you enjoy it. In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, be kind, be calm and be safe.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor