Dear members of the UBC community.
Earlier this week, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, provided information for B.C. public post-secondary institutions to guide planning for a return to on-campus activity this fall.
Based on current immunization timelines and vaccine approvals, and with strong and effective safety plans in place, I can confirm that UBC is planning for a return to on-campus activity for Winter Session, Term 1, in September.
Dr. Henry is clear that post-secondary institutions, such as UBC, should be confident that a return to on-campus instruction and increased levels of on-campus research activity can be undertaken safely and successfully. Recently, the Provincial Health Office indicated that current projections of the COVID-19 vaccine supply in B.C. suggest everyone, who is eligible, will receive a vaccination by mid-summer.
It is important to stress that the health and wellbeing of our UBC community remain our first priority. As such, we are embarking on further planning, in collaboration with public health, to accommodate more on-campus activities. This includes transit planning; quarantine arrangements for international students (if required); options for on-site immunization; and the availability of study spaces.
We are also streamlining the COVID-19 Safety Plan process, informed by new Go-Forward Guidelines, which will be provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. More information about the safety planning process will be provided as it becomes available.
Updates regarding the fall course schedule and various orientation activities will be provided in the coming weeks. We will also provide specific information regarding student housing and course registration as we approach housing allocation and registration periods.
As we work towards more in-person activity, we will continue to support our community in maintaining the preventive practices of daily health self-assessment; hand hygiene; wearing non-medical masks; early detection and testing; and isolation, when indicated — the public health and social measures that we have all become familiar with and responsible for over this past year.
We will keep you informed as planning progresses. In the meantime, you are encouraged to visit covid19.ubc.ca and ok.ubc.ca/covid19 for general updates as they become available.
For our faculty and staff, unless specified in your Faculty/unit’s COVID-19 Safety Plan, remote work arrangements should continue to stay in place at this time.
Thank you to all our students, faculty and staff for your perseverance as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and its impact on our daily lives. I’m looking forward to seeing our UBC community return, making our campuses vibrant once more.
Today, I’m pleased to recognize Tomas Beuzen, an instructor in the Master of Data Science program, as a UBC unsung hero. Tomas was recommended by his own students, who wrote to me that the material he has put together for his classes are exceptional resources that will serve their class and future classes well into the future.
He does not stop at simply answering the question, his students say; instead, he consistently goes above and beyond to provide additional context and help the learner master the material in question. Tomas Beuzen, your students thank you, and UBC thanks you.
Finally, my #songsofcomfort selection this week is from UBC piano student Joseph Stacy, who will perform the Scriabin Preludes. I hope you enjoy it.
Santa J. Ono
President & Vice-Chancellor