COVID-19 Response and Planning Update, January 10, 3:45 p.m.

January 10, 2022

The first week of the winter semester is behind us. To those students who have returned to UNBC, we’re glad to see you again. And for those of you who are new, welcome!

The start of the semester has been unusual, and I am appreciative of the work and commitment being demonstrated by our University community. Your ongoing positive responses to the challenges we face are inspiring.

I write today to confirm the plans we have previously sent to you.

  • This Friday, Jan. 14, will mark the end of our temporary transition to online learning.
  • Beginning Monday Jan. 17 many courses will resume in-person, but some will temporarily remain being offered through alternate modes of delivery until Jan. 28.
  • Instructors will provide students with more details about the delivery method for courses.
  • UNBC campuses and services are open, including counselling, the medical clinic, the Access Resource Centre, on-campus housing, the Agora Dining Hall, First Nations Centre, and the Geoffrey R. Weller Library.
  • When service delivery can be maintained, remote work is an option to consider; supervisors should work with employees in consultation with the Remote Work Arrangements Principles and Guidance document.
  • Tomorrow we will distribute medical masks to publicly accessible space on campus, including regional campuses.
  • We continue to evaluate the situation, including the impact of illness or service disruption in other sectors that may have an impact on you. We will provide further updates as the situation requires.

As we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed a solution for the Winter semester that is right for UNBC. We’re keeping in mind the balance of the health, safety and well-being of the UNBC community while ensuring an excellent academic experience for students.

Throughout the pandemic, we have planned to deal with potential variants of concern. For example, last semester approximately 70 per cent of our classes were in-person. We have targeted a similar percentage of in-person classes for this semester after the end of January.

We also continue to seek guidance from public health experts, including our Provincial Health Officer. In a recent letter sent to all B.C. post-secondary institutions presidents, she indicated that based on our experience in B.C. and internationally, educational settings are low-risk for COVID-19 transmission. The prevention measures detailed in the Return-to-Campus Guidelines and the respective institutional safety plans have been very effective at preventing COVID-19 in a wide variety of post-secondary settings across B.C. and are expected to support a successful return to campus in January.

We regularly update our COVID-19 Response and Planning website. If you have questions, please send them to

In closing, please get vaccinated and continue to wear masks. Those efforts make a difference in yours and others’ lives! Thank you for your patience and your enthusiasm regarding this new semester. We’ll get through this as a community.

Stay safe,

Geoff Payne
President and Vice Chancellor (Interim)

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