Here we are a month in to the 2021 Fall Semester already. It’s a good time to reinforce a few items and to check in, especially with COVID cases on the rise again in northern B.C.
In today’s update:
- Return-to-Campus Progress
- Confidentiality Expectations
- Changes within Northern Health for COVID-19 test booking
- A Few Reminders
I am exceptionally pleased with the return to campus for a largely in-person semester. Every time I walk the hallways of our Prince George campus, I see an abundance of masking and plenty of responsible behaviours. And under those masks, I am sure there are a lot of smiles! I want to thank everyone within our community for their commitment to the mandatory mask mandate. I have decided that masks will be required until January 2022 and will revisit that then.
The lead up to this semester, a unique one in our history, was filled with expectations, unease, excitement and discomfort. Yet as a community, through effective planning and honest, open conversations regarding the challenges we face, we’ve come back from 18 months of largely online experiences to a more in-person format. We’ve done this with your safety top of mind. I’m sure many of those elements of discomfort remain for some of you, but we have a path forward, and I trust we can be confident in the framework being set for us by public health experts.
Remember we are here to support you as you return to attend or teach face-to-face classes, resume your research, or work on campus in a safe and effective manner.
It is particularly important that we maintain people’s privacy. Individuals may choose to disclose their health status to friends, colleagues or co-workers; that is their prerogative and in fact quite responsible, as it allows that person to not only take ownership of their own decision-making, but also demonstrate responsible concern for those around them. It is inappropriate for any of us to disclose another’s health status to a third party and beyond. When we do that, we violate individual privacy and can create greater uncertainty, especially when we may not have all the details. Health officials have processes in place for monitoring COVID transmission, exposures and outbreaks and have communication procedures in place. We are in regular contact with local and provincial experts and will continue to seek their guidance and follow their direction.
Changes within Northern Health for COVID-19 test booking
Any person over two years of age who is physically located within the Northern Health Region and experiencing new COVID-19 symptoms is to complete an online Northern Health COVID-19 Test Booking Form. A testing centre will then contact you to arrange an appointment for the test.
A Few Reminders
As we continue to navigate this pandemic path, please remember the following:
- Know the COVID-19 symptoms and complete a daily health assessment. If you are sick, stay at home.
- Wear a mask (if you are able). By order of the Provincial Health Officer, masks are required in public indoor spaces on campus including classrooms, lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms, labs, as well as within the Library, Bookstore and Northern Sport Centre.
- In accordance with the BCCDC Interim Guidance for Management of COVID-19 Cases and Contacts the requirement to self-isolate, even if considered a close contact of a person with COVID-19 is minimal and dependent upon your own vaccination status; most persons are only required to self-monitor.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- While Tuesday’s announcement requiring proof of vaccination for all B.C. public service employees does not apply to UNBC, we strongly encourage all members of the community to get vaccinated.
- If you are not yet vaccinated, you can book your first and second doses via the Immunize B.C. website. Drop-ins are also welcome at most Northern Health clinics. Visit Northern Health’s COVID-19 immunization clinics website for details.
- The Vax2U pop-up mobile clinic is returning to the Agora Courtyard at the Prince George campus on Wednesday, Oct. 6, and Thursday, Oct. 7 from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
- Vaccines are available to students arriving from international destinations and other provinces at no cost to the student.
- Certain health care facilities including our own medical services here at the Prince George campus require medical masks to be worn in accordance with the provincial health authority. This requirement applies to all non-clinical staff and contractors that may need to access this space.
I want to wish everyone a continued great Fall 2021 term and know we will continue to update the community to ensure you are up-to-date. I also remind people to check our Transitions website that is updated regularly or, send questions to UNBC command, email@example.com
Stay safe, and thank you!
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)