UBC COVID-19 Updated Guidance Regarding Events and Travel

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause concern within our community. This is also reflected in the fast-changing nature of the situation, and the response from the BC Provincial Government.

Events with more than 250 people in attendance

Yesterday, the Office of the Provincial Medical Health Officer, BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health recommended the immediate cancellation or postponement until further notice of all events with more than 250 people in attendance.

In accordance with that recommendation, and as of today (March 13, 2020), UBC is cancelling all on-campus and off-campus events with more than 250 people (including sporting events), whether indoors or outdoors, that are organized by students, faculty and staff.

Events at the Chan Centre are also cancelled for the time being. At this time, planning for graduation ceremonies continues as normal, though we are considering alternatives should that be required.

We are working with CTLT, Enrolment Services and Faculties to identify classes with more than 250 students and ways in which to transition lecture components of those classes to online or alternate delivery modes. These classes are suspended until alternate arrangements are in place.

Smaller classes will continue as normal. As noted in previous correspondence, we are working to develop a system whereby faculty have the option to provide remote instruction. UBC is taking direction from the BC Provincial Government as we plan and consider next steps.

Yesterday we issued a UBC Broadcast to faculty and staff detailing ways in which courses can be delivered online. A new website (https://keepteaching.ubc.ca/) has been launched with guidance on how to offer lectures, group work and discussion, and quizzes online through Canvas. UBC Okanagan faculty are encouraged to contact the Center for Teaching and Learning (https://ctl.ok.ubc.ca).

Updated travel guidance and self-isolation

The Office of the Provincial Medical Health Office, BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health are also recommending British Columbians avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States.

Anyone who travels outside of Canada, whether for business or pleasure, including to the United States, will be required to stay home from work or school for 14 days upon return to Canada. This does not include travellers who have returned to Canada up to or before March 13. (Previous mandated self-isolation requirements for travellers returning from Hubei Province, China, Iran, and Italy remain in effect.)

Any students returning from outside Canada after March 13 are advised to contact their instructor.

We are requiring faculty and staff to answer the following questions, while the self-isolation related to travel outside of Canada is in place. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you must bring this to the attention of your manager or supervisor. It will mean that you must self-isolate for the 14 days immediately following your return to Canada.

  • Are you and/or anyone in your household currently travelling outside of Canada and returning after March 13, 2020?
  • Have you or anyone in your household come into contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Do you have plans to travel outside of Canada in the foreseeable future?

As a reminder, UBC has guidelines to support telecommuting – which permits certain employees to do at least some of their regular work from home rather than attending at the office. More specific information regarding telecommuting will be made available in the coming days.

We recognize that this is an extremely stressful time for our community. The university is working as hard as possible to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We are also in daily contact with BC’s public health agencies to ensure we have the most current information.

As a reminder, regular updates are being posted to https://www.ubc.ca

Ainsley Carry
Vice-President, Students

Andrew Szeri
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Okanagan

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources

*as seen in UBC Broadcast 13MAR2020