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

  • I hope this finds you staying safe and healthy as more and more people are rolling up their sleeves to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. I am highly recommending that everyone eligible in our community receive the... more
  • As the first week of May comes to a close, and the spring semester is about to begin on Monday, I hope you all took some much-needed time for rest, self-care and reflect on the last four months. It’s important that we... more
  • I’m following up Wednesday’s COVID-19 update with some more news that impacts the entire UNBC community. I felt it was important to share it with our students, faculty and staff so you can stay as informed as possible... more
  • As the last week of final exams wraps up for the Winter semester and the May semester draws closer, I commend our students, faculty and staff for enduring another challenging semester. It is because of the dedication of... more
  • As we approach the Easter long weekend and the last few weeks of classes of the Winter semester, it is important to remind ourselves that following COVID-19 safety protocols such as wearing mandatory face masks in... more
  • Good afternoon,  Today, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advised all public colleges and universities in B.C. to prepare for a full return to on-campus education this September. ... more
  • Well, January and the first part of February seems to have gone by in a flash! I hope the new semester is bringing some renewed energy following the holiday break as well as some optimism as we look towards the coming... more
  • You’ve done it! Our University community has made it through one of the most trying years in our history. As we put the wraps on 2020, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reinforce a few key points for us all to... more
  • I know many of you are in the midst of wrapping up the semester, be it completing exams and final assessments to finishing off some end-of-year projects. Thank you all for your continued commitment to UNBC and to... more