UBC Okanagan Global Message

This email is being sent to all faculty and staff at UBC's Okanagan campus on behalf of the UBC Okanagan Resumption Planning and Coordination Committee.

COVID-19: Resumption activities and updates

This biweekly Global email is sent to faculty and staff at UBC Okanagan to highlight institutional information pertaining to campus resumption, and to provide updates that are specific to the successful, safe return of the UBC Okanagan campus community. Expect the next issue of this Global email on July 14.

Dear colleagues,

We'd like to first thank you for your ongoing, proactive work to support each other as we move forward with campus resumption. Your flexibility and dedication to a safe, measured return is appreciated.  

This is the fourth edition of our biweekly update and we continue to make progress in our return plans. You will notice that this falls outside the biweekly schedule; the reason for this is because of the recent roll out of the campus Safety Plans, which we wanted to highlight as soon as possible.

As always, if you have questions that are specific to the pandemic, resumption planning or health and safety on campus, you can contact ready.ok@ubc.ca. We further encourage you to check the UBC Okanagan COVID-19 website regularly as we make every effort to post the latest information as it becomes available.

Safety Planning Framework

In consultation with Public Health, UBC is streamlining the safety planning process to align with the BC Restart Plan and what has been learned about COVID-19 over the past year. This Safety Planning Framework will provide consistent infection prevention programming while reducing the administrative burden.

Amended Campus Rules

The COVID-19 Campus Rules are framed around Step 3 of the BC Restart plan. The Safety Planning Framework includes the Campus Rules, which are aligned with the Step 3 Restart Plan, which begins no earlier than July 1 and will extend until the start of Step 4, anticipated to begin September 7, 2021, at the earliest.

  • A daily self-health assessment is required before attending campus. If you are feeling sick, do not come to campus and seek medical guidance.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands, or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
  • Non-medical masks are recommended in indoor common spaces.
  • Respect everyone’s personal choices.

Detailed campus rules are available at ok.ubc.ca/covid19/health-safety.

Safety Plans updated

Under Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan, effective July 1, there are seven new UBCO COVID-19 Safety Plans that do not require customization, just implementation, and are applicable UBC-wide. They are based on current work activities and are available under the following categories:

Safety plans and more information are available at ok.ubc.ca/covid19/resumption-planning.

Rapid testing on campus

Following a successful rapid testing clinic pilot at the Vancouver campus, an Okanagan campus pilot has been proposed and will build on the learnings from Vancouver.

The pilot is for three clinics per week over an eight-week period. Two clinics per week would take place at a fixed indoor location, with scheduling by appointment, and a third “pop-up” clinic would be scheduled each week near areas of high campus activity in order to increase participation (locations to be determined on a case-by-case basis). 

The rapid testing clinic pilot will begin July 5 and is planned to end on August 27. Information on the clinic can be found online at ok.ubc.ca/covid19/testing-reporting.

Mandatory safety training

All faculty and staff currently working-on or returning to campus must complete the mandatory online training module, UBC Go Forward COVID-19 Safety Planning Training. To complete the module through the Workplace Learning (WPL) platform, you must enroll in the course after logging in with your CWL. Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their teams have completed this training. Health and safety information is available at ok.ubc.ca/covid19/health-safety.

Update on building and ventilation safety measures

This fall, UBC Okanagan will meet all COVID-19 ventilation standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and BCCDC guidelines. Improvement work is already underway, including upgrading air filtration, flushing building air daily before opening, and increasing maintenance to ensure our HVAC systems are functioning properly.

Updated information on building readiness is available at ok.ubc.ca/covid19/operations.

Booking and events update

As the province moves to Step 3 of resumption, there are changes to the status of events and the number of participants who can attend. As the university prepares for a return to on-campus activity, there are changes to the events application process. A Safe Event Application is still required for certain types of events. For details on bookings, please visit the Finance & Operations website. Questions and Safe Events Applications can be sent to ready.ok@ubc.ca.

Student Health and Wellbeing supports available

There are a variety of supports available for students and student employees who may be seeking mental health and wellbeing assistance. Programs and services are available from Health and Wellness, which will be open for in-person, virtual and phone services for Winter Term 1. UBC students can also access the UBC Student Assistance Program (SAP), a free 24/7 wellness resource available to UBC students anywhere in the world and in more than 180 languages.

Summer hours updated

With reduced academic, research and operational activity on campus during the summer, some building hours and access will be limited from July 1, 2021, to mid-August.

Learn more about building access and hours.

Updated guidance for conducting / resuming in-person research

As UBC Okanagan moves to Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan the requirements for conducting in-person research have changed. Please visit the UBC's Behavioural Guidance during COVID-19 Research Restrictions for the most up-to-date information.

In case you missed it …

Student town hall recording is now available

On June 7, a Student Town Hall was held to share survey data regarding student preferences and concerns about the return to in-person learning, as well as provide new and returning students an opportunity to learn what classes may be like in fall 2021.

If you missed the town hall you can view the recording.

Step 3 of the BC Government Restart Plan begins tomorrow

Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan is currently planned to start no earlier than tomorrow, and will include the following:

  • Masks are recommended in public indoor settings.
  • Increased capacity at both indoor and outdoor organized gatherings is permitted with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.
  • Recreational travel throughout the country will be allowed. This allowance permits student athletes to travel freely between UBC Okanagan and their home locations.
  • Offices and workspaces will allow for continued return to work measures, including seminars and bigger meetings.
  • Indoor fitness classes will be allowed at regular capacity and indoor games will allow for limited spectators.

Step 4 of the BC Restart Plan is expected to start no sooner than September 7. Information on BC's Restart Plan is available at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart.

Additional resources

On behalf of the Resumption Planning and Coordination Committee, we’d like to thank you again for your continued diligence, hard work and patience. Together we are making great strides in preparing UBCO for a safe and enjoyable return to campus this fall.

Our next message to you is scheduled for July 14, but in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out via email with any questions to ready.ok@ubc.ca.


Shelley Kayfish
Director, Campus Operations and Risk Management
Co-chair, UBC Okanagan Resumption Planning and Coordination Committee

Prof. Michael Burgess
Associate Provost, Strategy, UBC Okanagan
Professor and Chair in Biomedical Ethics, School of Population and Public Health, UBC Faculty of Medicine
Co-chair, UBC Okanagan Resumption Planning and Coordination Committee