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!


    Geoff Payne 
    UNBC President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)

Previous updates

  • The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have an impact around the world and we are coming together as a community to address the situation. Be sure to visit our website frequently for the most recent updates.... more
  • We continue to work collaboratively as a community in our planning and reaction to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our campuses remain open. Be sure to visit our website frequently for the most recent updates. In... more
  • Given the ever-changing situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we continue to follow guidance provided by Northern Health, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills... more
  • In addition to my update this afternoon, I wanted to send a special announcement this evening. Effective tomorrow, based on guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer, classes of greater than 50 people can no... more
  • Once again, it’s worth starting this message with a thank you to the entire University community. When we made the decision to move to alternate modes of course delivery and assessments, I recognized the burden this... more
  • The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a fluid, rapidly evolving situation. Your health and safety is my top priority. In consideration of that, we are actively planning for all contingencies across the University,... more
  • I’ll start by thanking the entire UNBC community for the work you are doing to not only respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, but to continue providing an exceptional post-secondary experience for our students... more
  • UNBC continues to plan and respond to the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Earlier today I sent a message that was reflective of where we were as an institution at that time. Late this afternoon, I received word... more
  • The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is a rapidly changing, fluid situation. UNBC takes the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and other community members very seriously. I am... more