Return-to-campus transitional planning update: August 17, 2021 - 4:00 p.m.

August 17, 2021

I hope you are safe and healthy and have had the opportunity to indulge in some much-needed downtime this summer. After a challenging 18 months, taking care of our mind, body and spirit is essential as the Fall semester draws closer.

In today’s update:

Planning for September

We continue to see an evolving set of approaches across Canada and indeed around the world in the post-secondary sector with regards to return-to-campus planning for the Fall semester. Here in B.C., from Day One of the pandemic, the post-secondary sector made the thoughtful and strategic decision to approach the pandemic as a sector; that is, we have a unified approach to how we address challenges, make decisions, and develop our planning. All of this has been informed by a sector roundtable made up of experts in their fields, including those such as health and safety. And, ultimately, we have accepted and implemented the guidance we receive from the Provincial Health Officer and other partners, including our own Ministry and the Health Authorities across B.C..

I have heard your concerns regarding masks and vaccines in anticipation of the Fall semester. I, too, absolutely share your concerns and have actively made those concerns known to those responsible for framing the guidelines in BC’s Restart Plan. I will continue to advocate for effective planning measures that reflect the needs of our community when it comes to your health and safety. We have been collaboratively working with our respective labour and student leadership bodies in finding solutions for the UNBC community and appreciate that opportunity. I also want you to know that I remain committed to our sector-wide approach to problem solving; it has served us well for the past 18 months and I am convinced it will continue to do so.

Vaccination and masks

It is critical that members of our community who can, get vaccinated. The science shows us that vaccines are a formidable opponent to COVID-19. The Delta variant is largely being experienced by those with one dose or none at all, so it is critical that as many of us be vaccinated as possible to help provide a safer environment for all. For more information on how to register to receive your vaccination, visit the Get Vaccinated BC or This is Our Shot Canada.

While masks, at this point, have not been mandated in our setting by the Provincial Health Officer as part of BC’s Restart Plan, we can all make personal decisions that help bolster public health. Wearing a mask reduces the transmission of COVID-19; given that many members of our community are not yet fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised, I appreciate our community’s ongoing commitment to safety and public health. 

Library re-opening

In response to inquiries from our students and as they begin to return to activities on campus, the Geoffrey R. Weller Library has re-opened the bookable student study rooms and space on the second, third and fourth floors, including access to the book stacks.

Workstations, seating, and computers remain laid out with some physical distancing in place for the remainder of the summer and additional sanitization sprays will be located throughout the areas. Please visit the Geoffrey R. Weller Library website for more information about their hours and contact with any questions.

Remember, we regularly update our Transition and Return-to-Campus from COVID-19 website with the latest information and resources. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for there, or if you have questions, let us know at

I’ll end by thanking you all for your collective efforts. These have been very challenging, uncertain times for us all, professionally and personally. As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we will work together as community.

Stay safe, and thank you!

Geoff Payne
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)

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