Updates from the President

  • September Planning Update: June 14, 2021 - 2:00 p.m.

    Today, the Province of B.C. and Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced that we will move into Phase 2 of BC’s Restart plan. Here is what today's announcement means for UNBC at a high level:

    • Masks are still required in public indoor settings.
    • Physical distancing is maintained
    • If you or anyone in your family feels sick, stay home and get tested.
    • Small, in-person meetings are permitted.

    We have included more information regarding what Step 2 means for UNBC on our COVID-19 web page.

    As vaccination rates climb, and COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations and transmission rates decrease, we are moving to a renewal phase for UNBC. We are not “going back to the way things are,” and we are not “going to a new normal” either. We are doing a bit of both, which requires a lot of planning and participation from all of us. 

    I am sure some of you have concerns, and are feeling hesitancy, uncertainty and even stress regarding our planned return to more in-person operations in September. I understand that; please know that your health and safety remains our top priority.  

    We are exploring every facet of our operations to ensure our campuses are a safe environment to which we can return. For example, we have installed MERV 14 filtration to our air handling system that exceeds both WorksafeBC and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) guidelines for COVID-19 response. Housing is setting aside a few extra vacant suites in case of emergency. New directional signage will help with traffic flow to provide a bit more space. We will continue with changes and preparations as we transition back over the coming weeks and months.  

    We are not, however, doing this work in isolation; we are consulting with our labour unions, student leadership, and multiple employee groups to make decisions about how we proceed safely. We are gathering information that we will distribute on our website, on social media, via email, through the student portal, and more. Our goal is to always keep you up to date on where we are in the transition.

    We have faced exceptional circumstances over the past 15 months. In our current mindset, it is challenging to look ahead and see that September is going to look vastly different than today from a public health perspective. But it will. Dr. Bonnie Henry projects cases and transmission rates will continue to drop. And vaccination rates will climb, as vaccine availability has improved from the early days of the vaccination program. For example, just this week alone Canada will receive more than nine million doses! (If you have not registered to receive one, please do so.) 

    I know you have questions, and we want to hear them. Please send them to unbccommand@unbc.ca - we are collecting them, gathering the information, and will send out more frequent updates as our planning continues through the summer. But don’t wait for updates. The best source of information remains our COVID-19 website.

    Thank you all again for being a part of this exceptional community; I am, as always, inspired by all your collective efforts!

    Sincerely,

    Geoff Payne 
    UNBC President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)

Previous updates

  • The coming academic term is going to be different from any other we’ve experienced at UNBC.  I am exceedingly grateful to our phenomenal faculty and staff who dedicated so much of their time and energy the past few... more
  • It is wonderful to see more people on campus this week as final preparations for the new academic term are wrapping up and students are beginning to return to campus. Beginning next week, there will be even more... more
  • If you blinked, you may have missed the summer weather this year. It feels as though the past few months have gone by in a flash and it is hard to believe we are ready to begin the Fall academic term. I am very grateful... more
  • The summer continues and we get closer to the Fall semester! We continue to develop our response and action plans regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all while heeding direction from the Provincial Health... more
  • It has been a few weeks since the last update but wanted to let you know that planning continues with all our stakeholders. We also continue to monitor advice from the Provincial Health Officer, public health agencies... more
  • We continue to monitor advice from the Provincial Health Officer, public health agencies and various ministries regarding UNBC’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In today’s update: Return-to-Campus... more
  • The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to present challenges to us all at UNBC, but as I have highlighted many times, our community is responding in tremendous fashion.   In today’s update:... more
  • We continue to adapt to new processes and new approaches in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I remain impressed with how our students are showing tremendous resilience and patience in such uncertain... more
  • Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and questions with me as we adapt to change during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Today I’ll address a couple of the frequent themes that have come our way.  In... more

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