COVID-19 – IOF


Communications

June 30, 2021

Message from Scott Finestone, Chair of the Local Safety Team for the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory (AERL):

Dear AERL building users,

As of July 1, 2021 UBC will be operating under a new COVID Safety Plan (Word document), which represents a departure from the protocols we’ve been under since the spring of 2020. (NOTE that this plan is approved but may change – older linked versions will be replaced by revised documents, and you will be informed).

This email and the linked safety plan above cover changes to building use protocols, but do not constitute a re-occupancy plan for the building. For the immediate future, as of tomorrow (July 1) and until a further update is sent, re-occupancy of AERL workspaces will be limited to individuals who had existing workspaces assigned from prior to March, 2020, assuming the conditions listed below are met. (More thorough re-occupancy (Return to Campus) plans for other users of each AERL department (IOF and IRES) are still being developed, and will be shared shortly.)

  1. All building users must complete a self-check for symptoms of COVID-19 daily before reporting to UBC, but you are no longer required to report your results to UBC. As such, we will no longer be using the Qualtrics survey tool to log self-assessments. Instead, Self-Assessment instructions (Word Document) will be posted on the door and sign-in table in AERL, or you can follow this link to the Thrive BC assessment tool.
  2. All users must sign in and out of the building each day they are in the building.
  3. Wearing of non-medical masks are recommended, in alignment with Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan, in indoor common spaces like hallways, washrooms, elevators etc.
  4. A new COVID-19 training course is being developed, and will be communicated out to the UBC community shortly. Once this is made available, all building users will be required to complete the course prior to their next on-campus work shift.
  5. All building users must obey all signage in the building – signage will be updated early next week.
  6. All users will continue to need a UBC card to access the building, until further notice. However, you are no longer required to register or otherwise request access to the building via any of the calendaring or other tools previously used for that purpose.

In addition to the above conditions, please note that July 1 is intended to be the day we start reoccupying our building, but we expect this to be a slow and deliberate process. All UBC community members are reminded that the transition back to campus (and post-pandemic life generally) may not be as easy for some as others. In particular, only individuals whose roles involve student-facing interactions that cannot happen online (I don’t believe that is any of us in AERL) can be mandated back on campus right now. As such, all meetings, etc., should continue to happen online for the time being. Additional information will be sent to faculty members and supervisors of staff with other considerations for managing your teams’ return.

Best Regards,

Scott A. Finestone

Chair, Local Safety Team, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver Campus
2202 Main Mall | Vancouver BC | V6T 1Z4 Canada
Phone 604 827 5999
s.finestone@oceans.ubc.ca

Understanding Mental Health
Description: Understanding mental health can be difficult. Learning how to support someone who might be in a mental health crisis can be even more challenging. The goal of this session is to increase mental health literacy while providing tools and skills to respond effectively in a caring and respectful way.
Date and Time: Part 1: August 10 9:00 a.m -9:45 a.m. Part 2: August 18, 2021 9:00 a.m -9:45 a.m.
Attendance: Please attend both Part 1 and 2 of this workshop.
Location: Zoom.
Participants will:

  • Learn to better understand mental health and mental illness
  • Understand structural and social stigma as barriers to seeking help
  • Learn how to respond when concerned about a family member, friend or colleague

Audience: Staff and faculty, particularly those in front-facing or first-responder roles.
Time: 1.5 Hours (2 x 45-minute sessions)

While quick in person check-ins via phone or visually are a great way to give your colleagues a boost and stay connected, here are resource links that may also help. Some you may have seen before, but there a few that are new:

Staff and Faculty

Students

Students/Faculty/Staff with children

Struggling to balance working from home at the same time as caring for children and their learning needs? These sites may help

2021

The suspension of direct flights from India has been extended to August 21, 2021. See the alert on suspension of flights for more information. Mental health supports are available through UBC health services and the BC government.

As of July 5, 2021fully vaccinated travellers who have received vaccines approved by Canada at least 14 days prior to the day you enter Canada are exempt from the 3-night government hotel stay, the 14-day quarantine, and day-8 COVID-19 test, if meeting all eligibility requirements.

Starting August 9, 2021 at 12:01am EDT, all travellers coming to Canada by air will no longer require a 3-night stay in a government approved hotel, but those who are not fully vaccinated must still quarantine for 14 days. Furthermore, the government plans to allow fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents currently residing in the US to enter Canada for non-essential travel, such as parents from the US  travelling to accompany or visit you.

Starting September 7, 2021, provided Canada’s COVID-19 epidemiology remains favorable, the government intends to open Canada’s borders to all fully-vaccinated travellers for non-essential travel.

See the backgrounder and news release for more details and for information on additional upcoming changes.

If you are required to quarantine upon entry to Canada to begin or continue your studies, you may be eligible for the UBC Quarantine Bursary.

FOR MOST CURRENT UPDATES.

July 22, 2021

In just a few weeks we will be welcoming the start of Winter Session. Whether you are transitioning back to campus, or you remained on campus, I would like to thank you for your support over the last year.

On July 1, the provincial government shifted to Step 3 of BC’s Restart plan (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart). Moving to Step 3 signaled the end of the longest provincial state of emergency in BC’s history. BC’s public health emergency remains in effect to support amended public health orders from the provincial health officer, with reduced requirements:

  • Non-medical masks are now recommended but not mandatory for indoor public spaces.
  • Indoor social gatherings are allowed for up to 50 people or 50% of capacity, outdoor social gatherings are allowed for up to 5,000 people or 50% capacity.
  • Indoor fitness classes, gyms and recreation facilities are allowed to have normal capacity.
  • If the situation continues to improve, we could move to Step 4 by September 7.

On July 5, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training published newCOVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines for all BC post-secondary institutions, (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/covid19-return-to-campus-guidelines-web.pdf). The guide was developed by a team of experts from BC’s post-secondary sector, representatives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the executive lead for BC’s vaccination program, in partnership with Indigenous leaders, student leaders, senior university administrators and others.

According to the guide, experience over the last year has shown that educational activities supporting teaching, learning, research, and student development are low-risk sites for COVID-19 transmission. Therefore, the Provincial Health Officer has indicated that there are no limits on the number of participants for in-class educational activities, and fall classes can be scheduled without physical distancing requirements.

The guide also provides direction for UBC’s streamlined safety planning process. Institutions are not required to manage the flow of pedestrian traffic within buildings or confined areas, or post occupancy limits for spaces, such as elevators or washrooms. UBC continues to monitor provincial health direction and advice from regional health authorities and sector-specific regulators to ensure we comply with the latest orders, notices and guidance. You can learn more about UBC’s safety planning process and access resources at:

You can also learn about UBC’s building ventilation and safety measures at:

The COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines state that post-secondary institutions should not introduce COVID-19 prevention measures into their work and learning areas that are different from those supported by public health professionals. The last year and a half have shown us how important it is to follow guidance from our province’s public health professionals, and this is even more crucial as we transition to the next stage of returning to campus.

The guide also indicates that COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for post-secondary students, faculty or staff, nor will students, faculty and staff be asked to disclose their vaccination status. Vaccinations are being managed by the regional health authorities and they are accelerating availability of vaccination appointments for both first and second doses.

BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and BC’s health authorities have determined that with the expected number of partially and fully vaccinated individuals, the health risk is low for the return to campus this fall. Current vaccination rates in the province show 80% of all adults have received their first dose, more are registered, and second doses are progressing well. Students travelling from abroad, and who haven’t been vaccinated upon arrival, also have rapid access to the BC immunization program.

We appreciate that many of you may be reflecting on your experiences over the last number of months, and some of you may feel anxious about the next stage of transition. UBC has worked, and continues to work diligently to ensure that the concerns of our community are heard and addressed in as timely a manner as possible. The health and safety of the UBC community is first and foremost in all planning processes, which are informed by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the relevant health authorities, and in accordance with BC’s Restart plan and COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

I hope you also feel optimistic about returning to our campuses, bringing back the energy and vibrancy that is a key part of the UBC experience. As we continue this transition, it is important to remember some key elements for our success:

Get vaccinated

It is vital that all UBC faculty and staff participate in the provincial COVID-19 vaccination program. Vaccines save lives. They protect those around us. And, they are safe. Now is the time to support each other and raise the rate of vaccination. You can find out more at https://immunizebc.ca.

UBC's Campus Rules

To ensure we all remain as safe as possible, everyone is required to follow the COVID-19 Campus Rules. You can learn more at https://srs.ubc.ca/covid-19/ubc-campus-rules-guidance-documents.

COVID-19 mandatory online training

UBC has launched a new campus-specific COVID-19 training course. Whether you have previously completed safety training because you’ve been on campus, or are planning your return, please ensure you complete this online training. You can find training for both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan at https://wpl.ubc.ca.

Being aware of our mental health, and the health of our friends and colleagues

The last year has significantly impacted many of us, as well as our loved ones. I strongly encourage you to take the time to access resources available to support your mental health and wellbeing: https://hr.ubc.ca/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health/faculty-and-staff-mental-health-resources.

Ongoing updates

Useful updates and FAQs continue to be posted to https://covid19.ubc.ca/ and https://ok.ubc.ca/covid19. I encourage you to visit these sites regularly.

Finally, I would like to offer an expression of gratitude to all of you for your contribution to UBC over the last year. Whether you were delivering our courses, conducting research, maintaining essential services, supporting our IT capabilities, taking care of our prospective and registered students, supporting faculty or staff, or any one of countless other roles – UBC could not have navigated this pandemic without you. Thank you.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

July 10, 2021

As UBC begins to open back up and we move towards fully in-person research activities, we thought it might be useful to share a few things to consider when interacting with your students and postdocs. Although there are feelings of relief and positive anticipation as we move back, this is also a time of uncertainty, and as at the beginning of the pandemic, this may come with some confusion and worry.

When asking your students and postdocs to return to campus, there will likely be a number of issues to address as the situation continues to evolve.  While it is appropriate to articulate the importance of returning in person to research settings, a key guiding principle is to consider your students’ and postdocs’ physical and mental health, safety, and sense of wellbeing (see UBC Campus Return Planning Guide).

First and foremost, we recommend open communication, including a sincere attempt to understand each others’ concerns and needs. Agreed-upon expectations between you and your graduate students and postdocs is the goal, taking into account the power differential in mentor/mentee relationships (see Principles of Graduate Supervision). As with all interactions, we encourage respect, kindness, and a consideration of individual circumstances for all parties. It is understood that not all research labs, environments, or relationships may proceed identically through this transitional time.

Some issues to consider:

  1. Students’ and postdocs’, and your own sense of comfort, which may differ from person to person, in fully returning to the in-person context. Ideally, all parties can come to a mutual understanding on issues such as the specifics of mask-wearing and distancing. As comfort levels and circumstances change, the arrangements may change. For some students and postdocs, a more gradual return may be feasible and desirable. Consider scheduling regular individual check-ins to revisit ongoing comfort level with any decisions.
  2. Your own and your students’ and postdocs’ geographic locations, commuting requirements, any added responsibilities or factors (e.g. child care), or vacation schedules, that might impact a return to campus or availability for meetings.
  3. The continuity of research progress. If some aspects of research are still not possible, what other progress can be made? (see Supervision during Covid-19).

Over the next few months, we will experience another unprecedented time in our generation as we transition away the pandemic – not just back to ‘normal’, but in many ways to new ways of working and being. We trust that all of us will have sufficient patience, wisdom, and generosity of spirit as we navigate these times together.

As always, our office is available for advice or support. Please contact Emily Pitcher (Associate Director, Student Academic Support, emily.pitcher@ubc.ca), Dr. Theresa Rogers (Associate Dean, Faculty and Program Development,theresa.rogers@ubc.ca) or Hourik Khanlian (Sr. Manager, Postdoctoral Fellows Office, hourik.khanlian@ubc.ca) for any questions or requests related to supervision in this context.

Sincerely,

Theresa Rogers, PhD
Associate Dean, Faculty and Program Development

Susan Porter, PhD
Dean and Vice Provost

2021

July 22, 2021

In just a few weeks we will be welcoming the start of Winter Session. Whether you are transitioning back to campus, or you remained on campus, I would like to thank you for your support over the last year.

On July 1, the provincial government shifted to Step 3 of BC’s Restart plan (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart). Moving to Step 3 signaled the end of the longest provincial state of emergency in BC’s history. BC’s public health emergency remains in effect to support amended public health orders from the provincial health officer, with reduced requirements:

  • Non-medical masks are now recommended but not mandatory for indoor public spaces.
  • Indoor social gatherings are allowed for up to 50 people or 50% of capacity, outdoor social gatherings are allowed for up to 5,000 people or 50% capacity.
  • Indoor fitness classes, gyms and recreation facilities are allowed to have normal capacity.
  • If the situation continues to improve, we could move to Step 4 by September 7.

On July 5, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training published newCOVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines for all BC post-secondary institutions, (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/covid19-return-to-campus-guidelines-web.pdf). The guide was developed by a team of experts from BC’s post-secondary sector, representatives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the executive lead for BC’s vaccination program, in partnership with Indigenous leaders, student leaders, senior university administrators and others.

According to the guide, experience over the last year has shown that educational activities supporting teaching, learning, research, and student development are low-risk sites for COVID-19 transmission. Therefore, the Provincial Health Officer has indicated that there are no limits on the number of participants for in-class educational activities, and fall classes can be scheduled without physical distancing requirements.

The guide also provides direction for UBC’s streamlined safety planning process. Institutions are not required to manage the flow of pedestrian traffic within buildings or confined areas, or post occupancy limits for spaces, such as elevators or washrooms. UBC continues to monitor provincial health direction and advice from regional health authorities and sector-specific regulators to ensure we comply with the latest orders, notices and guidance. You can learn more about UBC’s safety planning process and access resources at:

You can also learn about UBC’s building ventilation and safety measures at:

The COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines state that post-secondary institutions should not introduce COVID-19 prevention measures into their work and learning areas that are different from those supported by public health professionals. The last year and a half have shown us how important it is to follow guidance from our province’s public health professionals, and this is even more crucial as we transition to the next stage of returning to campus.

The guide also indicates that COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for post-secondary students, faculty or staff, nor will students, faculty and staff be asked to disclose their vaccination status. Vaccinations are being managed by the regional health authorities and they are accelerating availability of vaccination appointments for both first and second doses.

BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and BC’s health authorities have determined that with the expected number of partially and fully vaccinated individuals, the health risk is low for the return to campus this fall. Current vaccination rates in the province show 80% of all adults have received their first dose, more are registered, and second doses are progressing well. Students travelling from abroad, and who haven’t been vaccinated upon arrival, also have rapid access to the BC immunization program.

We appreciate that many of you may be reflecting on your experiences over the last number of months, and some of you may feel anxious about the next stage of transition. UBC has worked, and continues to work diligently to ensure that the concerns of our community are heard and addressed in as timely a manner as possible. The health and safety of the UBC community is first and foremost in all planning processes, which are informed by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the relevant health authorities, and in accordance with BC’s Restart plan and COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

I hope you also feel optimistic about returning to our campuses, bringing back the energy and vibrancy that is a key part of the UBC experience. As we continue this transition, it is important to remember some key elements for our success:

Get vaccinated

It is vital that all UBC faculty and staff participate in the provincial COVID-19 vaccination program. Vaccines save lives. They protect those around us. And, they are safe. Now is the time to support each other and raise the rate of vaccination. You can find out more at https://immunizebc.ca.

UBC's Campus Rules

To ensure we all remain as safe as possible, everyone is required to follow the COVID-19 Campus Rules. You can learn more at https://srs.ubc.ca/covid-19/ubc-campus-rules-guidance-documents.

COVID-19 mandatory online training

UBC has launched a new campus-specific COVID-19 training course. Whether you have previously completed safety training because you’ve been on campus, or are planning your return, please ensure you complete this online training. You can find training for both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan at https://wpl.ubc.ca.

Being aware of our mental health, and the health of our friends and colleagues

The last year has significantly impacted many of us, as well as our loved ones. I strongly encourage you to take the time to access resources available to support your mental health and wellbeing: https://hr.ubc.ca/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health/faculty-and-staff-mental-health-resources.

Ongoing updates

Useful updates and FAQs continue to be posted to https://covid19.ubc.ca/ and https://ok.ubc.ca/covid19. I encourage you to visit these sites regularly.

Finally, I would like to offer an expression of gratitude to all of you for your contribution to UBC over the last year. Whether you were delivering our courses, conducting research, maintaining essential services, supporting our IT capabilities, taking care of our prospective and registered students, supporting faculty or staff, or any one of countless other roles – UBC could not have navigated this pandemic without you. Thank you.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

On the weekend of July 4th and 5th 2020, UBC's Zoom account will be transitioned from US-based hosting to Canadian-based hosting. During this maintenance window, UBC's Zoom service will be unavailable and you will not be able to log in to your account or host meetings.

Additionally, all users whose account is pending activation at this time will be removed. If you have received an email invitation to create an account, we strongly recommend that you activate your account before July 4th, otherwise you will need to request an account again.

Following this change, attendees participating in meetings hosted by users on UBC's account will have video and audio data flow through a Canadian data centre. Account information and passwords will also reside exclusively in a Canadian data centre.

We understand that this maintenance window may impact your ability to conduct teaching, learning and business activities. Your relevant support team is available to assist with making alternative arrangements for any meetings that you are unable to reschedule.

For all staff and faculty based at UBC Vancouver:
Call: 604-822-7956
Email: av.helpdesk@ubc.ca

For all staff and faculty based at UBC Okanagan:
Call: 250-807-9000
Visit: hxxps://helpdesk.ok.ubc.ca

For general information on Zoom at UBC, visit hxxps://it.ubc.ca/zoom

2021

July 22, 2021

In just a few weeks we will be welcoming the start of Winter Session. Whether you are transitioning back to campus, or you remained on campus, I would like to thank you for your support over the last year.

On July 1, the provincial government shifted to Step 3 of BC’s Restart plan (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart). Moving to Step 3 signaled the end of the longest provincial state of emergency in BC’s history. BC’s public health emergency remains in effect to support amended public health orders from the provincial health officer, with reduced requirements:

  • Non-medical masks are now recommended but not mandatory for indoor public spaces.
  • Indoor social gatherings are allowed for up to 50 people or 50% of capacity, outdoor social gatherings are allowed for up to 5,000 people or 50% capacity.
  • Indoor fitness classes, gyms and recreation facilities are allowed to have normal capacity.
  • If the situation continues to improve, we could move to Step 4 by September 7.

On July 5, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training published newCOVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines for all BC post-secondary institutions, (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/covid19-return-to-campus-guidelines-web.pdf). The guide was developed by a team of experts from BC’s post-secondary sector, representatives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the executive lead for BC’s vaccination program, in partnership with Indigenous leaders, student leaders, senior university administrators and others.

According to the guide, experience over the last year has shown that educational activities supporting teaching, learning, research, and student development are low-risk sites for COVID-19 transmission. Therefore, the Provincial Health Officer has indicated that there are no limits on the number of participants for in-class educational activities, and fall classes can be scheduled without physical distancing requirements.

The guide also provides direction for UBC’s streamlined safety planning process. Institutions are not required to manage the flow of pedestrian traffic within buildings or confined areas, or post occupancy limits for spaces, such as elevators or washrooms. UBC continues to monitor provincial health direction and advice from regional health authorities and sector-specific regulators to ensure we comply with the latest orders, notices and guidance. You can learn more about UBC’s safety planning process and access resources at:

You can also learn about UBC’s building ventilation and safety measures at:

The COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines state that post-secondary institutions should not introduce COVID-19 prevention measures into their work and learning areas that are different from those supported by public health professionals. The last year and a half have shown us how important it is to follow guidance from our province’s public health professionals, and this is even more crucial as we transition to the next stage of returning to campus.

The guide also indicates that COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for post-secondary students, faculty or staff, nor will students, faculty and staff be asked to disclose their vaccination status. Vaccinations are being managed by the regional health authorities and they are accelerating availability of vaccination appointments for both first and second doses.

BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and BC’s health authorities have determined that with the expected number of partially and fully vaccinated individuals, the health risk is low for the return to campus this fall. Current vaccination rates in the province show 80% of all adults have received their first dose, more are registered, and second doses are progressing well. Students travelling from abroad, and who haven’t been vaccinated upon arrival, also have rapid access to the BC immunization program.

We appreciate that many of you may be reflecting on your experiences over the last number of months, and some of you may feel anxious about the next stage of transition. UBC has worked, and continues to work diligently to ensure that the concerns of our community are heard and addressed in as timely a manner as possible. The health and safety of the UBC community is first and foremost in all planning processes, which are informed by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the relevant health authorities, and in accordance with BC’s Restart plan and COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

I hope you also feel optimistic about returning to our campuses, bringing back the energy and vibrancy that is a key part of the UBC experience. As we continue this transition, it is important to remember some key elements for our success:

Get vaccinated

It is vital that all UBC faculty and staff participate in the provincial COVID-19 vaccination program. Vaccines save lives. They protect those around us. And, they are safe. Now is the time to support each other and raise the rate of vaccination. You can find out more at https://immunizebc.ca.

UBC's Campus Rules

To ensure we all remain as safe as possible, everyone is required to follow the COVID-19 Campus Rules. You can learn more at https://srs.ubc.ca/covid-19/ubc-campus-rules-guidance-documents.

COVID-19 mandatory online training

UBC has launched a new campus-specific COVID-19 training course. Whether you have previously completed safety training because you’ve been on campus, or are planning your return, please ensure you complete this online training. You can find training for both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan at https://wpl.ubc.ca.

Being aware of our mental health, and the health of our friends and colleagues

The last year has significantly impacted many of us, as well as our loved ones. I strongly encourage you to take the time to access resources available to support your mental health and wellbeing: https://hr.ubc.ca/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health/faculty-and-staff-mental-health-resources.

Ongoing updates

Useful updates and FAQs continue to be posted to https://covid19.ubc.ca/ and https://ok.ubc.ca/covid19. I encourage you to visit these sites regularly.

Finally, I would like to offer an expression of gratitude to all of you for your contribution to UBC over the last year. Whether you were delivering our courses, conducting research, maintaining essential services, supporting our IT capabilities, taking care of our prospective and registered students, supporting faculty or staff, or any one of countless other roles – UBC could not have navigated this pandemic without you. Thank you.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

July 10, 2021

As UBC begins to open back up and we move towards fully in-person research activities, we thought it might be useful to share a few things to consider when interacting with your students and postdocs. Although there are feelings of relief and positive anticipation as we move back, this is also a time of uncertainty, and as at the beginning of the pandemic, this may come with some confusion and worry.

When asking your students and postdocs to return to campus, there will likely be a number of issues to address as the situation continues to evolve.  While it is appropriate to articulate the importance of returning in person to research settings, a key guiding principle is to consider your students’ and postdocs’ physical and mental health, safety, and sense of wellbeing (see UBC Campus Return Planning Guide).

First and foremost, we recommend open communication, including a sincere attempt to understand each others’ concerns and needs. Agreed-upon expectations between you and your graduate students and postdocs is the goal, taking into account the power differential in mentor/mentee relationships (see Principles of Graduate Supervision). As with all interactions, we encourage respect, kindness, and a consideration of individual circumstances for all parties. It is understood that not all research labs, environments, or relationships may proceed identically through this transitional time.

Some issues to consider:

  1. Students’ and postdocs’, and your own sense of comfort, which may differ from person to person, in fully returning to the in-person context. Ideally, all parties can come to a mutual understanding on issues such as the specifics of mask-wearing and distancing. As comfort levels and circumstances change, the arrangements may change. For some students and postdocs, a more gradual return may be feasible and desirable. Consider scheduling regular individual check-ins to revisit ongoing comfort level with any decisions.
  2. Your own and your students’ and postdocs’ geographic locations, commuting requirements, any added responsibilities or factors (e.g. child care), or vacation schedules, that might impact a return to campus or availability for meetings.
  3. The continuity of research progress. If some aspects of research are still not possible, what other progress can be made? (see Supervision during Covid-19).

Over the next few months, we will experience another unprecedented time in our generation as we transition away the pandemic – not just back to ‘normal’, but in many ways to new ways of working and being. We trust that all of us will have sufficient patience, wisdom, and generosity of spirit as we navigate these times together.

As always, our office is available for advice or support. Please contact Emily Pitcher (Associate Director, Student Academic Support, emily.pitcher@ubc.ca), Dr. Theresa Rogers (Associate Dean, Faculty and Program Development,theresa.rogers@ubc.ca) or Hourik Khanlian (Sr. Manager, Postdoctoral Fellows Office, hourik.khanlian@ubc.ca) for any questions or requests related to supervision in this context.

Sincerely,

Theresa Rogers, PhD
Associate Dean, Faculty and Program Development

Susan Porter, PhD
Dean and Vice Provost

2020

June 29

As you know, UBC is introducing a COVID-19 safety planning process to allow for a gradual resumption of programs and activities on our campuses over the four phases of the BC Restart Plan.

Thank you to everyone who continues to work remotely and those who are providing crucial on-campus services. I appreciate that it has been a significant adjustment for everyone, balancing work and home life at the same time as you have so ably transitioned during the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic. Please know that your efforts do not go unnoticed and I am proud of all our faculty and staff for your ongoing dedication to UBC.

Over the past several weeks, the UBC Executive has been working closely with the COVID-19 Safety Planning Steering Committee to establish a robust process for the resumption of academic, administrative and ancillary services. The safety planning process is built on guiding principles focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of students, faculty, staff and the public; anchored in health and safety guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and public health agencies including WorkSafeBC; adopting a gradual, phased approach; and recognizing that we may need to reinstate restrictions should public health guidance change.

The process involves Faculties, administrative units and ancillary services completing a COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) and submitting it to the COVID-19 Safety Plan Steering Committee or to the appropriate approver as identified in the websites below.

Details regarding the COVID-19 Safety Plan submission process, plan templates and other helpful tools can be found at:

All faculty and staff are also required to complete mandatory online training if their work requires them to be on-campus. This training has been designed to help us all in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 on our campuses. More information is available on the websites noted above.

In addition, UBC has developed broad guidelines for the review and approval of COVID-19 Safety Plans. Overall, prioritization will be based on five categories. Please note that other factors may be considered as necessary in the timing of the approval of individual plans. The five categories include:

  1. Academic/research resumption
  2. Services that directly support the resumption of research, teaching and learning
  3. Revenue-generating units
  4. University ancillary services
  5. Administrative units

Planning for a phased approach to on-campus research resumption began in early June. Information relating to the resumption of on-campus research, including information about that process can be found on the UBC Research + Innovation website: https://research.ubc.ca/phased-resumption-campus-research-scholarship-and-creative-activities

It is also expected that remote work will continue for many faculty and staff. However, remote work may not be appropriate for some, and any changes to individual remote work arrangements will be considered based on a number of factors, including the ability to perform work safely, privacy issues and technology considerations. Changes to your current work arrangements will only be considered after your department/unit’s respective safety plan has been reviewed and has received approval. If your role has required you to continue to work on campus, your department/unit is also required to submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

It is vital that we maintain health and safety standards for those returning to our campuses. This includes promoting the importance of staying home if you are ill, getting tested if you have symptoms, continuing to practice good hygiene by frequent hand washing and maintaining physical distancing as much as possible.

The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, but I am heartened to see UBC moving forward on gradual re-occupancy and the measured resumption of on-campus programs and services. I know that providing our students with the best experience possible at UBC, while ensuring the health and safety of our community, continues to be our first priority.

Thank you for all you do for the university.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

May 22

Dear members of the UBC community. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.

We’ve seen in the news lately that we’re definitely flattening the curve here in BC – thanks to all of us doing our part – and the province is gradually beginning to re-open. Not only that, but the days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.

Though we’ve turned the corner, we’re not out of the woods yet. There is still no vaccine for COVID-19 and there may not be one for many months. The risk of a second wave is very real.

That’s why the province – and UBC – are proceeding cautiously. Gatherings of more than 50 people are still forbidden. Physical distancing and face masks are still recommended.

As you know, summer term courses are completely on-line and fall courses will be a mixture of online and face-to-face courses, depending on the program. Individual Faculties will share updates about specific programs in the coming weeks.

Regardless of whether your program is face-to-face, online or a mixture of the two, we look forward to welcoming you back to UBC. We’re getting our residences ready for the fall term, while adhering to directives from local and provincial health authorities. Student Housing will email updated information to current residents and to those students who have applied to live in residence as soon as it is available.

We are committed to continuing to provide services and amenities that help create a healthy, safe and supportive community environment to the very best of our abilities.

To help students get the best out of their courses, we have put a number of supports in place, including:

  • Academic advisors for general academic questions about topics like program planning, degree requirements, or academic concessions; and
  • Accessibility advisors who can help with disabilities or specific challenges which make learning more difficult.

We’re also offering a series of online learning skills workshops starting next month. These cover such topics as balancing learning and living at home; online group presentations; online communication skills and time management while learning online. You can find out more at keeplearning.ubc.ca.

We also offer financial support for students who face barriers to accessing online learning. Information about emergency financial support and work-learn opportunities can be found at students.ubc.ca/covid. I promise you, we will do all we can to ensure you have an outstanding educational experience at UBC.

I’m proud of how the UBC community has risen to the challenge of COVID-19. You’ve not only adapted to remote learning and physical distancing; you’ve shown your ingenuity and selflessness in many ways.

For example, the UBC law students who are continuing to do legal work for clients at the Indigneous Community Legal Clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. They’ve found a way to keep in touch with their clients by phone, email and Zoom. They’re not only helping their clients navigate the legal system, they’re gaining valuable practical experience.

Then there’s UBC international economics student Patrisse Chan, who has developed an online platform that allows Canadians to buy a meal from a local restaurant and have it delivered to staff at a hospital or care home.

And just this week, I was excited to learn that researchers in UBC’s BioProducts Institute have designed what could be the very first N95 mask that can be sourced and made entirely in Canada. It’s also possibly the world’s first fully compostable and biodegradable medical mask.

There are many, many stories like theirs. You can find some of them online at news.ubc.ca. I’m proud of all of you.

May 15

Dear Members of the UBC Community:

I hope you and your loved ones are well.

This week the university made three important announcements as it and the province start phased returns.

First, we told you about the status of the fall term.

As you know, COVID-19 required the university to shift to online instruction in mid-March and for the Summer terms. Since then we’ve been working hard to plan for how we might teach later this year.

During fall 2020, UBC will primarily offer larger classes online with selected smaller classes conducted in-person, adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements. We will maintain a clear focus on ensuring high-quality face-to-face instruction, where possible, and high-quality remote instruction. Individual Faculties will be sharing updates about specific programs in the coming weeks.

We are working to ensure that the necessary supports are provided for our students, particularly those who are experiencing financial challenges, or who need extra advising or counseling. The requirement to maintain physical distancing also includes planning for any potential impact that travel restrictions might have on our international students, such as obtaining study permits or having difficulty travelling. Details about plans for residences and co-curricular activities will be shared as soon as they are confirmed.

Our approach is being taken to ensure a high-quality experience for all of our students in fall 2020, and it reflects UBC’s commitment to creating an enriching experience for our new, and returning students.

This plan was developed in close consultation with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure we are all aligned with health and safety guidelines and WorkSafeBC.

I would like to extend my personal thanks, not only to our new and returning students for their understanding and patience, but also to our dedicated faculty who are working diligently and flexibly to adapt their materials to virtual instruction. Your efforts, and those of the staff who are working with you, are greatly appreciated.

UBC’s second announcement this week focused on plans for the phased resumption of on-campus research.

And this is particularly relevant in view of this morning’s announcement of $450M in new support for researchers at universities to be administered by our tri-councils. We are very grateful for this and the earlier $291M in research support focused on Canada’s COVID-19 response

The university introduced curtailment of non-essential on-campus research in Vancouver and in the Okanagan in mid-March to comply with public health guidelines.

Since then, many of our researchers have made great efforts to support this transition conducting their research and scholarly activity remotely.

We recognize the impacts for our researchers, their graduate students and their research teams and thank them for their ongoing commitment.

In collaboration with faculties, UBC is now planning for a phased resumption of on-campus research starting the beginning of June. This will be a gradual approach over the summer and applies to those researchers who require on-campus resources and cannot conduct the work remotely.

In keeping with public health guidelines, the majority of our faculty and staff will need to continue to work remotely wherever possible.

As with the fall term planning, research resumption planning is being undertaken with our government and health agency partners and other post-secondary institutions in the province to ensure we are following health and safety guidelines.

The health and safety of our community remains UBC’s top priority.

And the third announcement was with regard to operational and safety planning. Post-secondary institutions will be in Phase 3 of the province’s recovery plan, which will take place between June and September, providing transmission rates remain low.

We are developing an operational safety plan and approval process that Faculties and administrative units will be required to complete before any changes can be made to the remote work arrangements currently in place.

We will provide you with more information about this process within the next two weeks.

Finally, I’d like to thank immigration minister Marco Mendicino and the federal government for adjusting the rules regarding post-graduation work permit rules. Their flexibility will greatly help international students and Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Before I close, I’d like to talk about UBC’s climate emergency response.

As you know, in December UBC declared a climate emergency. The declaration included a commitment to establish a task force, a climate emergency community engagement process and recommendations to the Board of Governors.

We set up the UBC Climate Emergency Task Force — which includes UBC students, faculty and staff — to advise on the gathering of ideas from UBC’s diverse and insightful community on addressing the climate emergency and the recommendations resulting from the engagement process.

Starting next Tuesday, May 19, we will hold a series of online community dialogues on Zoo to give the UBC community a chance to learn, engage and discuss bold actions around the climate crisis. You can find more details at climateemergency.ubc.ca.

May 14

Last week, Premier John Horgan announced the gradual reopening of provincial sectors as set out in BC’s Restart Plan for COVID-19. We would like to take this opportunity to update you on this plan and UBC’s approach to operational and safety planning.

The four phased Restart Plan was received with both appreciation and a recognition that this reopening must be a cautious process and that foremost is the health and safety of British Columbians.

The province is currently in Phase 1 and expected to enter Phase 2 after the May long weekend when additional sectors will be reopened under enhanced protocols. BC will enter subsequent phases as transmission rates stay low and continue to decline. Post-secondary institutions have been identified as a component of Phase 3, which will take place between June and September, if transmission rates remain low. The final phase will be reached at the time when there is wide vaccination, community immunity, or broad successful treatments for COVID-19.

The provincial government is working with representatives from various sectors to develop the health and safety measures that will need to be in place before moving to the next phase. In parallel with these sector plans, UBC is developing an operational safety plan and approval process that Faculties and administrative units will be required to complete before any changes can be made to the remote work arrangements currently in place. We will provide you with more information about this process within the next two weeks.

Please do not change your current personal work arrangements until your Faculty’s or administrative unit’s operational and safety plans or reopening plans have been approved by the Executive.

A series of core measures* are set out in the Restart Plan for the post-secondary sector, which include:

          • Routine daily screening for all students, faculty and staff.
          • Routine and frequent environmental cleaning.
          • Explicit policy for students, faculty and staff who have the symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19 with coughing or sneezing not coming into classes or taking part in extra curricula activities and sports.
          • Increased use of online learning balanced against the need of social interaction for learning and development.
          • Early arrival and self-isolation for 14 days of international students.

* Please note: we expect further guidance from the provincial government regarding implementation of the core measures within the next few weeks.

As you know, there are many different types of service and activity provided at UBC, including health services; museums, art galleries, and libraries; child care; agriculture; retail; recreation and sports; and restaurants. UBC’s operational safety plans will take into account the standards of practice for these specific sectors as identified in the Restart Plan.

We anticipate that before mid-June, the post-secondary sector will receive information on the safe organizational practices, as approved by WorkSafe BC. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.

Thank you, once again, for your ongoing commitment to the health and safety of the UBC community.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

May 12

In March, UBC introduced curtailment of on-campus research on both our Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. Since that time many of you have made great efforts to support this transition, conducting your research and scholarly activity remotely.

We recognize that the on-campus curtailment has had significant impacts for many of you, your graduate students and your research teams. Thank you once again for your commitment to the university.

In collaboration with our Faculties, we are now planning for the phased resumption of on-campus research from the beginning of June, adopting a gradual approach over the summer months. Conducting on-campus research and scholarship will be limited to those who require on-campus resources and cannot conduct this work remotely. As a reminder, and in keeping with public health guidelines, the majority of our faculty and staff will need to continue working remotely, wherever possible.

As part of our planning, UBC is working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure we are aligned with health and safety guidelines and WorkSafeBC. The phased resumption of on-campus research is also being informed by feedback we received during consultation with Faculties and units, including town halls that engaged more than 950 faculty members.

We have asked the Faculties to develop plans to embark on this phased approach. The plans will be led by Deans and Associate Deans of Research, with coordination and guidance provided by the Office of the VP, Research & Innovation. Given the complexity of coordinating safe access to different spaces within buildings, and managing the associated demand for multiple on-campus services, there is still significant planning to be done.

It is important to stress that health and safety remains our priority. As such, UBC will continue to work closely with the provincial government to ensure our plans are consistent with public health requirements. We also recognize that this will be an iterative process, and we may need to be prepared to reinstate curtailment measures, should the situation regarding COVID-19 change.

For more information, please visit https://research.ubc.ca/COVID-19/phased-resumption.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Gail Murphy
Vice-President, Research & Innovation

May 11

A few weeks ago, I sent a message regarding Summer Term 2 in which I said we were actively planning for how we might teach later this year. I am now pleased to confirm the approach that UBC is going to take to ensure a high-quality experience for our students in fall 2020.

COVID-19 has created many challenges for our students, faculty and staff. It has also highlighted the incredible commitment you have towards UBC – and our commitment to creating an enriching experience for our new, and returning students.

As part of our planning, we are working closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines and WorkSafeBC.

UBC’s approach will allow us to deliver high-quality teaching and learning – while ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. It is based on the guidelines and direction of the Provincial Health Officer, public health agencies, and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. These include:

          • Prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff.
          • Demonstrating our commitment to delivering a quality educational experience.
          • Collaborating with other post-secondary institutions, and the provincial government.
          • Adopting a phased approach to in-person learning (under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer).

UBC’s approach to fall 2020

During fall 2020, UBC will primarily offer larger classes online with selected smaller classes conducted in-person, adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements. We will maintain a clear focus on ensuring high-quality face-to-face instruction, where possible, and high-quality remote instruction. Individual Faculties will be sharing updates about specific programs in the coming weeks.

Supporting our students

We are working to ensure that the necessary supports are provided for our students, particularly those who are experiencing financial challenges, or who need extra advising or counselling. The requirement to maintain physical distancing also includes planning for any potential impact that travel restrictions might have on our international students, such as obtaining study permits or having difficulty travelling. Details about plans for residences and co-curricular activities will be shared as soon as they are confirmed.

Ensuring our health and safety

We are pleased to see positive signs of ‘flattening of the curve’ in BC, but we know that we must take care and proceed in keeping with provincial public health directives and guidelines. Our planning for fall 2020 is intended to be both robust and nimble. While we are keen to facilitate more people on campus, it is important to stress that health and safety remains our first priority as we continue to ensure that our plans are consistent with provincial public health requirements.

Thank you to our students for your patience and commitment during recent weeks, and we are excited for the new students who will be joining us. Thank you once again to all our faculty and staff for your commitment to the university.

The last few weeks have shown what we can achieve together, as a university. Looking ahead, we are excited to see how UBC can continue to create enriching experiences this fall. Whether you are a student, staff or faculty member – we look forward to engaging with you in fall 2020.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

May 8

Dear Members of the UBC Community:

I hope you and your loved ones are well.

The university made the very difficult decision in March to cancel in-person graduation ceremonies in order to follow provincial health guidelines.

We promised then we would work on a virtual ceremony so we can honour our graduating students for their achievements.

It takes dedication, perseverance and commitment to earn a degree – not to mention a lot of hard work and more than a few sleepless nights.

And I know the team at UBC that continues to design our virtual ceremonies is putting in some very long hours to make sure we can give our graduating students an event to remember.

That work is not over yet, but I’m pleased to say virtual ceremonies for the class of 2020 will be held on Wednesday June 17 – one for students graduating from UBC Vancouver, and one ceremony for students graduating from UBC Okanagan.

The ceremonies will include many elements of a traditional ceremony, and some unique ones as well.

I know what an important event this is for our faculty members, in particular, to see our students successfully completing their years of study. While I understand this virtual ceremony will not be the same as seeing our students graduate in person, it is an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate their outstanding achievements.

Being a virtual ceremony also means it can be opened up to our entire community, so I encourage you, whether you know someone who is graduating or not, to join us. It is more important than ever that we stay connected, support and celebrate each other. I would also like to reiterate that UBC is committed to holding an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 when it is safe to do so.

The team will provide more details of the virtual ceremonies online in the coming weeks. Vancouver students should check graduation.ubc.ca and Okanagan students should go to graduation.ok.ubc.ca for more information.

Of course the ceremonies team is not alone in tackling complex issues at UBC during COVID-19.

UBC Okanagan’s Health, Safety and Environment group and UBC Vancouver’s Safety and Risk Services have been working to coordinate campus response to COVID-19 for months.

In Vancouver, the emergency management team enacted the Emergency Operations Centre – or EOC. The EOC helps ensure that decisions are made quickly and efficiently. Processes that would normally take weeks to finalize can be mapped out and agreed to in record time. More than 100 people from across the university work through the EOC structure.

The UBCO Health, Safety and Environment team has been coordinating its response through the Infectious Disease and Pandemic Planning Committee and follows similar practices as UBC Vancouver. Both teams have been in regular communication with each other to share resources and information.

There are far too many people involved across the campuses to thank them all individually, so on behalf of the university, thank you all for your outstanding work and commitment to keeping our campuses and operations safe and healthy for students, faculty and staff.

We also have many students, both current and former, making a difference in the community as we navigate COVID-19.

UBC nursing double alumna and clinical nurse specialist at Vancouver General Hospital Jenifer Tabamo saw the loneliness some of her patients were experiencing and wanted to help.

She and a team of experts from the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre designed a way to attach iPads to an articulated arm connected to repurposed hospital equipment.

The result is the devices are now more accessible to patients in hospital beds and those patients can better video chat with family and loved ones, play games, listen to music and feel connected to the world around them even when physical distancing requirements mean they can’t have visitors.

It’s a great story and an important reminder that while we are all experiencing COVID-19 in unique ways, connection, however you find it, can help.

You can read Jenifer’s story and others at news.ubc.ca.

May 6

Following my message in March informing you of our plans to hold a virtual spring graduation, the university has been working hard to design an occasion that will do justice to the achievements of the Class of 2020.

Earlier today, I sent a message to our graduating students, sharing details of this celebration. I would now like to share our plans with you.

Graduation for the Class of 2020 will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. We will hold one ceremony for students graduating from UBC Vancouver and one ceremony for students graduating from UBC Okanagan. The virtual ceremony will include many elements of a traditional ceremony and some unique ones as well.

I know what an important event this is for our faculty members, in particular, to see our students successfully completing their years of study. While I understand this virtual ceremony will not be the same as seeing our students graduate in person, it is an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate their outstanding achievements.

Being a virtual ceremony also means it can be opened up to our entire community, so I encourage you, whether you know someone who is graduating or not, to join us. During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that we stay connected, support and celebrate each other. I would also like to reiterate that UBC is committed to holding an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 when it is safe to do so.

More details of the virtual ceremony will be shared online in the coming weeks. Please visit graduation.ubc.ca (UBC Vancouver) or graduation.ok.ubc.ca (UBC Okanagan) for more information.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

May 1

Dear Members of the UBC Community:

I hope you and your loved ones are well.

The health and wellbeing of our university community remains UBC’s top priority and we continue to follow the expert guidance of our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, as we work together to limit the spread of COVID-19.

With physical distancing measures still so crucial, the university announced this week that remote work arrangements will remain in place until further notice for faculty, staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and student employees.

While many of our researchers on our campuses have been able to transition to remote scholarship during the research curtailment, we also know the curtailment has impacted many faculty, emeriti faculty, students, trainees, postdoctoral fellows and staff. My own lab and research have been affected.

We are working with Faculties now to look at how we can safely ease curtailment restrictions and continue to follow public health requirements. We’ll be able to update you on that planning in the next two weeks.

We are also actively planning for the fall term, working with other universities in the province, and the provincial government, to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

Underpinning all this planning is our commitment to continue to deliver the highest standard of teaching and learning, and to provide a range of supports for our students, especially those who are struggling financially.

As we all know, this is a complex and evolving process. I appreciate that many of you will continue to have questions. In moving forward together, I will communicate with you regularly as our planning proceeds over the next few weeks.

Thank you to all our students, faculty and staff for your continuing commitment to maintaining university operations of every kind while we look ahead.

And a special thanks to those students who are working in the community to make a difference and whose stories are on news.ubc.ca.

Students like Ava Katz – she’s in first-year Kiniseology.

Since March, Ava has helped her friends returning from overseas and into self-isolation by picking up groceries for them. She’s also delivering food to seniors’ homes as a volunteer for Congregation Beth Israel, her synagogue.

She helps because she feels driven to do so and that’s the spirit of this university as well – we help through teaching, through research and we help each other.

Earlier this week I took part in a panel with Vancouver-Point Grey MLA David Eby and Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray, as well as representatives from the University Neighbourhood Association and the University Endowment Lands community, where we asked how we can best work together to support those in this community who most need it.

The meeting was online but we came together as a community as we have done so many times before. That is what students, faculty and staff at the university all do in times of adversity – we look to one another and ask how we can help because we know these last months, the sheer number of changes, have created uncertainty and stress.

Please know that you are not alone no matter what your experience has been. Everyone is feeling the impacts of COVID-19.

There are resources that can help, including the Hear2Talk 24/7 mental health line for students. Information about student supports is available at students.ubc.ca.

Faculty and staff who need help can find support information on the Human Resources website.

Physical distancing doesn’t mean we have to be socially disconnected from each other. Use technology if you can to talk to each other – check in with your colleagues, your fellow students, your friends and loved ones.

As always, please follow the advice of Dr. Henry – be kind to yourself and others and stay safe. By the way, did you know that Dr. Henry is a clinical associate professor in our School of Population and Public Health? I’m proud of Dr. Henry, as I know you are, for rising to the challenge of COVID-19.

April 30

As you know, earlier this week a UBC Broadcast was sent out confirming the continuation of Remote Work Arrangements until further notice, in keeping with the guidelines of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Thank you again for all the work that has been done through this transition, to safeguard the health and safety of the UBC community.

The decision to extend Remote Work Arrangements is consistent with the direction provided to public sector employers by the provincial government this week. This is in follow-up to information provided by the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat (PSEC Secretariat) in March. As part of this direction, PSEC Secretariat has provided guidance regarding the principles that should be followed in making staffing decisions, as the situation regarding COVID-19 evolves.

These principles recognize that employers across the public sector are being affected in different ways and require flexibility in planning and managing staffing decisions. We know that some employers have had operations affected due to revenue reductions and changes in service delivery levels.

For post-secondary institutions within BC, the factors affecting budget planning are not yet determined and this is true for UBC. For example, it is still too early to know how travel and physical distancing restrictions related to COVID-19 will affect the levels of both domestic and international enrolment.

On our UBC campuses, many services are dependent on enrolment and on-campus activities. We know that we will experience budget challenges, and we will take every step to mitigate the effect on staffing and operations. This is also why it is so important now that everyone across the university minimizes all discretionary spending.

For the immediate term, and until we have a clear financial and operational picture for the university, we do not anticipate making any changes to our staffing levels. We will work together with you, and with our unions, and we are committed to communicating regularly as we move forward.

Peter Smailes
Vice-President, Finance & Operations

Marcia Buchholz
Vice-President, Human Resources

Deborah Buszard
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UBC Okanagan

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

April 28

As you know, the health and wellbeing of our university community remains our priority, and we are continuing to follow guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In keeping with the direction from Dr. Henry that the requirement for physical distancing remains in place, we are extending Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment as outlined below.

Remote Work Arrangements

UBC’s Remote Work Arrangements will continue to apply to faculty, staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and student employees until further notice. Thank you to everyone who has made the transition to remote working in the last few weeks, and to those who have continued to provide required on-campus services during this time. You can find FAQs to support Remote Work Arrangements at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/covid-19/.

On-Campus Research Curtailment

We appreciate that many researchers have been able to transition to conduct their research and scholarship remotely. However, we are aware that this curtailment has significantly impacted many faculty members, graduate students, research trainees, postdoctoral fellows and research staff. To address this, we are working with Faculties on both campuses to consider how we will gradually ease curtailment restrictions in ways that are consistent with public health requirements. This advance planning effort will allow us to safely and judiciously increase on-campus research activities when public health conditions allow. We will advise you as to where we are in the planning process within the next two weeks. Please visit https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19 for more information about the ongoing curtailment and the status of exempted activities.

As a reminder, FAQs related to COVID-19 and UBC’s response can also be found at https://covid19.ubc.ca/.

We will provide further updates regarding Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment as the situation evolves. In the meantime, thank you for your ongoing efforts and commitment to the university.

Marcia Buchholz
Vice-President, Human Resources

Gail Murphy
Vice-President, Research & Innovation

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

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

April 24

Dear Members of the UBC Community:

I hope that you and your loved ones are well.

I want to begin with excellent news for our UBC students, indeed for students across Canada.

On Wednesday the federal government announced a nine billion dollar student aid package in recognition of the economic impact of COVID-19.

The proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students. Eligible students with dependants or disabilities would be eligible for $1,750 per month. The government has said these benefits are available from May through August.

In addition, the Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for students who choose voluntary national service and serve their communities. The government will also extend federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows and enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

Universities and student groups across Canada, including UBC, worked with the government to develop the measures outlined this week. We thank everyone involved for recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on our students and the key role that students and new graduates will play in helping the country move forward.

Our UBC students deserve to be celebrated and helped. Even as they face significant challenges of their own, they are looking outward to embrace the challenges of others – and they are providing solutions.

For example, a graduate student in early childhood education whose fieldwork is on pause due to social distancing, is taking on additional hours as a nanny so that the mother in that family, a medical microbiologist, can concentrate more on her crucial role with the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Medical and nursing students whose clinical rotations have been suspended are volunteering to help front-line health care workers with daily tasks like childcare, grocery shopping, responding to 8-1-1 calls and critical contact tracing

You can find their stories and more on the news.ubc.ca site under “Making a Difference”.

As I wrote on my blog this week, I want to emphasize that as a public institution and a partner, UBC is committed to working collaboratively with local and global communities on relief efforts now, and rebuilding efforts into the future.

I’m encouraged to see so many UBC faculty, staff and students already stepping up to support community partners in ways that are welcome and needed.

I hope you’ll check out my blog for more thoughts on what ethical engagement looks like at this time, how units across UBC are pivoting to support colleagues and partners, and ways to get involved.

I know some of you have questions about the Fall Term as we look ahead to possible reductions in physical distancing and other health measures.

UBC executives, faculty leadership and staff are working on contingency plans for September, working through possible scenarios and trying to determine the best course in consultation with health agencies and government.

It’s too soon right now to say what will happen this fall, but whatever the outcome, we will let the community know as soon as possible.

As the Board so correctly noted earlier this week, none of the university’s work in this time would be possible without our dedicated faculty and staff, many of whom are juggling child care, supporting elderly relatives and just trying to get through the day while still doing their work.

To our staff and faculty who are required to come to campus and keep operations and their on-campus research running smoothly – a special heartfelt thank you.  I would like to note as well the tremendous work of those staff who are keeping our online learning platforms humming and helping faculty innovate and excel in online delivery

Of course, our continued gratitude goes out to all of those who are working from home, harder than ever.

Thank you for all you are doing.

I’ll close now with something all of us can be proud of at UBC – the university’s success in working to meet the United Nations’ sustainable development goals as measured by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

I’m proud to say that UBC ranks #1 in Canada, #2 in North America and #7 in the world in the  rankings and is the only institution in the world to rank #1 in two categories – climate action and oceans research.

Congratulations to you all and I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend.

Stay safe

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

April 21

Today, a message of heartfelt appreciation has been posted to the Board of Governors website, recognizing the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices made by our UBC community as we navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19.

The public health crisis created by the global spread of COVID-19 has presented unparalleled challenges for our Province, Canada and the world. Here at UBC, we have not been immune to the challenges that the physical distancing rules have created.

Over the course of the past month, a number of difficult decisions have been made, including a transition to online classes, shifting final examinations and assessments from in-person to online (thereby allowing undergraduate international and domestic students to return home at their discretion), curtailing on-campus research activities, and postponing in-person Spring Graduation ceremonies.

Those decisions were very difficult to make, but were and are fully supported by the Board of Governors as being in the best interests of the UBC community. We know, however, that they have created significant challenges and hardships, and the Board could not be more appreciative of the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices of everyone at UBC. We wish to recognize:

          • All UBC students, including both domestic and international, who have been faced with challenges that are extreme in scope and nature.
          • The remarkable transition, effectively undertaken over just a weekend, by UBC’s faculty members of their courses to online delivery, prioritizing the best interests of students and adhering to the teaching standards of UBC as a globally-recognized leader.
          • Our researchers, in all disciplines and on both campuses, whose on-campus research activities have changed profoundly, but have continued to move their research forward.
          • UBC staff, both on our campuses and working remotely, who are making all of these efforts happen across student services, campus operations, planning, communications, human resources and central administration.
          • The emergency response team for the incredible job of helping to plan for the unexpected and ensuring that the crisis does not divert from the academic mission.
          • The Deans, Associate and Assistant Deans and the Department Heads, on whom much of the heavy burden and responsibility for coordinating the planning for and response to this crisis has fallen.
          • And, last but not least, the senior leadership team, including President Santa Ono and each member of the UBC Executive, as well as the teams that they lead, for your incredible leadership during this unprecedented time.

Read the full message of appreciation at https://bog.ubc.ca/message-from-the-board-of-governors/

Recognizing that COVID-19 presents long-term challenges, we will remain focused on adhering to the core values of the university, including (as President Ono has repeatedly highlighted) flexibility, empathy, patience, the wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students, working toward our core academic mission and ensuring the accessibility of a UBC education during challenging economic times.

To everyone, thank you for your leadership and support in service of the university we all passionately support.

Michael J. Korenberg
Chair, UBC Board of Governors

April 17

As you know, I have made a commitment to share updates regarding COVID-19 and UBC’s response — including stories of how our community is coming together during this time.

Today I would like to share two updates:

Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on our community

As part of my regular address to the community, I discuss the impact that the current COVID-19 outbreak will have on UBC in the years to come, and the important role we each play in helping the organization get through this very challenging time.

You will find my update, in both video and text format, at https://president.ubc.ca/letter-to-the-community/2020/04/17/covid-update-april-17/.

Acknowledging the great work that continues at UBC

While the current situation dominates so much of our focus, it is important we don’t overlook the great work that continues to happen at UBC, and the regular operations that keep it running.

To that end, I would like to share the latest edition of my Letter from Santa. In this communication, you will find updates on new senior appointments, rankings, 3M Teaching Fellowships and more. You can read the latest Letter from Santa at: https://president.ubc.ca/community-letter/2020/04/17/april/.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the staff and faculty who continue to work on our campuses and learning sites – whether in operational roles or continuing important research. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the university.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

As you know, the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve with new developments on a daily basis.

Last month we informed you that Term 1 of Summer Session (May 11- June 18) at UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square would be online.

In light of the ongoing situation, and in continued support of physical distancing, we are announcing that Summer Term 2 courses (July 6 – Aug. 13) at UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square will also be online.

As a reminder, not all courses are easily remodelled for online instruction. In those instances, courses may have to be postponed or redesigned. For classes that cannot be accommodated online, further information will be issued through our Faculties.

As we continue to navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19, we are actively planning for how we might teach in the Fall semester. We appreciate that many of our students, faculty and staff will have questions about teaching and learning as the year progresses.

We also understand this is a challenging time for faculty members, who may need to plan ahead for any changes in how they deliver their courses. We will provide updates as soon as we can. As a reminder, support and resources are available at https://keepteaching.ubc.ca/ and https://ctl.ok.ubc.ca/.

We will do our best to update you as the situation evolves. In the meantime, I would like to thank you, once again, for your patience and flexibility.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

April 15

As UBC continues to navigate its response to COVID–19, we are seeing a significant increase in the volume and sophistication of cyber attacks specifically targeting universities and healthcare research facilities.

To help protect our systems and information, the UBC Executive has mandated that increased cybersecurity controls must be implemented on all servers and computers that are accessing, processing or storing Medium Risk, High Risk, or Very High-Risk information, as defined in Information Security Standard #01 (hxxps://cio.ubc.ca/sites/cio.ubc.ca/files/documents/standards/IS%20Standards%201-21.pdf)*

Depending on your device and whether it is managed by UBC IT, you may be required to implement new cybersecurity controls. For some, these updates will take a few minutes and for others it may take longer to determine the optimal plan. Either way, it is important to act quickly in order to ensure UBC systems and information are properly protected.

Please visit the web page (below) that applies to you (CWL-login required):

I am using a computer that is centrally managed by UBC IT

hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca/secure/faculty-or-staff-devices-centrally-managed-ubc-it*

I am using a computer that is managed by Faculty, Department or Research IT

hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca/secure/faculty-or-staff-devices-managed-departmental-it-support*

I am using a computer that is owned by UBC but I manage myself

hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca/secure/faculty-and-staff-ubc-owned-self-managed-devices*

I am using a computer that is personally owned and self-managed

hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca/secure/faculty-and-staff-personally-owned-devices*

If you are unsure whether your device is managed centrally, or not, please contact your respective IT support team. Also, it is not necessary to deploy the new cybersecurity controls to devices that require physical access to campus at this time - they can be updated once regular operations resume.

For more information, visit: hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca/covid19_increased_security*

*We avoid the use of clickable links in UBC Broadcasts that pertain to cybersecurity-related information. Please copy and paste the address into your browser and replace the ‘hxxps’ with ‘https’ and you will be taken to the proper website.

On behalf of the Privacy and Information Security Management (PrISM) Executive Leadership Committee, thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Hubert Lai, Q.C.
University Counsel

Peter Smailes
Vice-President, Finance & Operations

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

April 12

Many of you will already be aware of these, but in case it hasn’t come up, here is what we know to date. Since March 26, Canada has not been issuing work permits at points of entry like borders and airports. Individuals are expected to apply for and receive their work permit before they attempt to come to Canada or at the very least, have written notice of approval for a work permit. Here are the current restrictions below.

Most current update regarding travel and entry restrictions:

People on work permits or study permits that were issued before March 18th 2020, can enter Canada by air or land port of entries. People who have written notice of approvals for work permits can enter Canada by air or land port of entries. Essential medical personnel will be permitted to enter Canada by air or land port of entries.

The new travel restriction exemptions as of March 26th:

Persons who will be admitted to Canada:

          1. The holder of a valid work permit or a study permit;
          2. A person whose application for a work permit was approved and who has received written notice of the approval, but who has not yet been issued the permit;
          3. A person permitted to work in Canada as a student in a health field, including as a medical elective or clinical clerk at a medical teaching institution in Canada, for the primary purpose of acquiring training, if they have written approval from the body that regulates that field;
          4. A person permitted to work in Canada as a provider of emergency services;
          5. A licensed health care professional with proof of employment in Canada;
          6. A person who seeks to enter Canada for the purpose of delivering, maintaining, or repairing medically-necessary equipment or devices;
          7. A person who seeks to enter Canada for the purpose of making medical deliveries of cells, blood and blood products, tissues, organs or other body parts, that are required for patient care in Canada during or within a reasonable period of time after the expiry of the Order.

Anyone exempt, may travel to Canada. Anyone travelling by air, will need to pass a health check before being allowed to board their flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

There will be a 14-day mandatory period of isolation imposed on all people entering Canada, with the exception of essential workers. Anyone arriving in Canada will be asked to share their 14 day isolation plan; it is not enough just to say they will comply.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons:
Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons continue to be permitted to board an aircraft, subject to health screening measures. Previous exemptions regarding immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents also remain in place.

From Siobhan Murphy, Director of Housing and Relocation office

April 9

As you know, I have promised to communicate on a regular basis regarding UBC’s response to COVID-19. Each week I am sharing an update on the most recent UBC announcements, together with stories of how our community is coming together during this time.

In this week’s update, I discuss international students, COVID-19 related research, and share some stories about how UBC students are helping others, such as the nursing students who have started a volunteer effort to support our doctors and nurses on the front line. And, like last week, I end with a musical treat.

You will find my update, in both video and text format, at https://president.ubc.ca/letter-to-the-community/2020/04/03/covid-update-april-9/.

As we head into the long weekend, I am also reflecting on how COVID-19 might affect how we celebrate Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi and, later this month, Ramadan. Whether you celebrate these holidays or not, I encourage you to take time (where possible) to focus on your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those you love.

Santa J. Ono

April 6

With the constant flow of announcement and updates, it has been challenging to keep track of which timelines have changed and which remain the same. Please find below a snapshot of the significant deadlines affecting graduate students:

2019 Winter Term 2: Current Students

          • May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) – deadline to submit a late application to graduate in May 2020
          • May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) – deadline for acceptance of final, approved master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and for students to complete all program requirements for May 2020 graduation.
          • May 6, 2020 – deadline for instructors and/or programs to submit final grades for 2019W2 courses via SIS
          • May 15, 2020 (extended from April 30, 2020) – deadline for acceptance of final, approved master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and for students to complete all program requirements with a program completion date of April 30, 2020. Program completion will be back-dated to April 30, 2020 to avoid tuition and student fees for Summer 2020. IMPORTANT: the deadline for students who wish to graduate in May 2020 is May 1, 2020.

2020 Summer: Current Students

          • June 15, 2020 (extended from May 15, 2020) – deadline for students to pay their Summer 2020 tuition and student fees if they wish to avoid late fees and interest charges. (The payment deadline will appear as May 15, 2020 on the SSC. You can disregard this).

May 2020, July 2020 & September 2020: Incoming Students

          • December 1, 2020 – Deadline for Official Academic Documents
            Extended deadline to receive official transcripts (and degree certificates if required) for students who started their programs in May 2020, July 2020 or September 2020, and have not already met the document condition(s) stated in their letter of admission (available in the online application portal).  Eligibility to register in January 2021 will be suspended until required documentation has been received and processed.
          • April 30, 2021 – Deadline for Confirmation of Degree Completion
            Extended deadline for all students who were admitted on the basis of a previous degree in progress to a UBC graduate program that commenced in May 2020, July 2020, or September 2020. This condition must be met with a final transcript showing any outstanding grades and statement, and date, of degree conferral.  Official copies of degree certificates are required for final transcripts that do not have conferral information. Students commencing their graduate degrees in January 2021 with a degree in progress, will have until June 2021 to meet this condition.

Important Note: Academic Milestones for Graduate Students

Program Extensions

          • Master’s students: Initial program duration is 5 years
          • Doctoral students/Candidates: Initial program duration is 6 years

Due to COVID-19, G+PS will approve requests from graduate programs for one term of extension for any of their students without further justification or supporting documentation normally required. To request such extensions, graduate programs are encouraged to send a list of students (with first name, last name, and student number) to graduate.sas@ubc.ca at your earliest opportunity.

Extensions to Candidacy
Due to COVID-19, G+PS will approve requests from graduate programs for one term of extension to reach candidacy for any of their students without further justification or supporting documentation normally required. To request such extensions, graduate programs are encouraged send requests (with first name, last name, and student number) to graduate.sas@ubc.ca at your earliest opportunity.

April 3

During these unprecedented times, we recognize the importance of continued and regular communication.

In the coming weeks, through the period of remote work and research curtailment, and then as needed in the subsequent period to address ongoing concerns, I will be sending out weekly updates on behalf of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on COVID-19-related issues and developments.

We, and those at all levels at UBC, continue to work to find ways to alleviate the challenges you face, and we encourage you to remain in close contact with your programs and supervisors so that they are fully aware of your current needs and circumstances.

Since my last email on Friday, March 27, 2020, there has been a series of updates to our COVID-19 FAQ. Please also see the newly established site for all UBC students, students.ubc.ca/covid19, with information and resources on financial assistance, government assistance eligibility criteria, and various student services.

Academic and research issues:

          • UBC has extended remote work arrangements and on-campus research curtailment until the end of April, when the situation will be reassessed, based on information about COVID-19, and in conjunction with our government and health stakeholders. Visit the VPRI website for more information on research curtailments.
          • The Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) has created a page on their website providing information on UBC behavioural guidance during the COVID-19 research restrictions. Please be aware that, as the current situation is very fluid, the interim policies communicated may change. Should you have any questions about these policies or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact Jean Ruiz, Sr. Research Ethics Analyst at jean.ruiz@ors.ubc.ca at the UBC Vancouver Campus. Visit the Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB) website for guidance around clinical research ethics during COVID-19.
          • For those in research-based programs, we want to reiterate that while we recognize  research projects for many have been put on hold for diverse reasons, we encourage you and your supervisor(s) to explore other opportunities for furthering your research, academic progress, and/or professional development throughout this time of curtailment. We have added suggestions to our General FAQ. As noted in the last email, we also realize that progress is very challenging for many, with unanticipated commitments and circumstances that prevent your full attention to your studies. Please remember, then, that we have effectively extended times to reach milestones, such as program completion and doctoral comprehensive exams, by at least one term.

Housing:

          • Students in Winter Residence
            Students who are unable to leave residence may continue to stay in residence for the duration of their contract (up to April 30, 2020). If you believe you require housing following the end of your contract, please apply immediately for summer stay through.
          • Students in Year-Round Residence
            Year Round Residences remain open. UBC is currently in the process of sending new contracts for 2020-2021. Students will be able to stay in residence beyond the end of their current contract if they have accepted a new contract for May 2020-April 2021.Please be assured that UBC, in keeping with recent provincial government directives, will not apply the annual rent increase that typically occurs in May. To be clear, rent in year-round and summer residences will not be increased; 2019-20 contract rates will continue to apply until further notice.
          • Leaves of absence and housing eligibilityIf you’re a graduate student in Winter Session and might take a COVID-19 related leave of absence during the summer, you are eligible for summer stay-through in Fairview Crescent. Please ensure you apply by April 12 as Student Housing can guarantee you will receive an offer if you apply by this date. You can apply through your Student Housing Online Services Centre.Students also have the option to sublet from a student with a Year Round Residence Contract. Information regarding sublet guidelines and application process as well as a link to a sublet forum can be found here.If you’re a graduate student in Year Round Residence and might take a COVID-19 related leave of absence during the summer, you will not need to move out of UBC residence, if you continue to be eligible for Year Round Residence for the following fall. In this case, you will be able to simply accept a new Year Round Residence Contract and stay in your residence. Students living in Year Round residences are not required to be studying full-time during the summer months. Any leave that is COVID-19 related won’t impact your eligibility.Otherwise, summer stay-through, or subletting from a Year Round resident who has signed a new contract offer, would be an option for students in this situation that are not eligible for a new Year Round Residence Contract.  Please note that, if you have not already done so, student families residing in Acadia Park that will not continue to be eligible in the fall but need accommodation past April 30, should contact Student Family Housing as soon as possible to discuss continued accommodation in their residence through to August.If you will be completing your graduate program by April 30, but cannot leave Canada due to travel restrictions, you will be able to get temporary accommodation in Summer Residence at Fairview Crescent provided you apply by April 12. You also have the option to look for a sublet. Please get in touch with Student Housing at summer@housing.ubc.ca if you wish to live in Summer Residence and did not live in a UBC student residence during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Financial challenges:

          • Enrolment Services has extended the Summer Term 1 tuition deadline to June 15, 2020. In the SSC, the payment deadline will still show as May 15, 2020 (to reduce the course and registration impacts), but students can disregard this.
          • Both domestic and international students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) are strongly encouraged to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. Emergency bursaries are available, and consultation will also help the University to understand the scope and kind of need that exists.
          • If you stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. To be eligible, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number. Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.
          • Visit the Student Services website to find out if you’re eligible for resources from the Government of Canada, Government of BC and the City of Vancouver.
          • CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC now have sections on their respective websites to inform the research community of any changes to their programs and policies due to COVID-19.

Support for international students:

          • If you are a graduate student who has had to take a leave due to COVID-19, you can still work as in a regular academic term, meaning no more than 20 hours a week off campus and unlimited hours on campus. Given that summer is not a “scheduled break” for graduate students, you cannot work full-time but can work part-time, as you would in a regular academic term if the leave is due to COVID-19.
          • Students on an approved gap in studies, which includes graduate leaves of absence, can remain in Canada. For details, please review the International Student Guide.
          • If your study permit expires soon, please apply for renewal as early as possible. The waiting period is usually 120 days, but could be longer due to COVID-19. You must submit your study permit extension application before your study permit becomes invalid.

Wellbeing

          • The current situation can cause stress and anxiety as well as a sense of isolation. We encourage you to stay in contact with family and friends, and to connect with your UBC peers through digital social events, virtual writing groups, and other online sessions. For example, the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication is continuing to offer writing consultations and to host an online writing community on Tuesdays (9-11 am) and Wednesdays (2-4 pm), and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology continues to plan and offer programs for graduate students.
          • As always, please avail yourselves of the many resources that are available to support students during this difficult time. For a list of mental health resources, visit the students.ubc.ca website.

Professional development

With best wishes to you,

 

Susan Porter
Dean & Vice Provost,
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

I promised to communicate on a regular basis regarding UBC’s response to COVID-19.

In my latest update, I discuss the extension of the on-campus research curtailment and Remote Work Arrangements, supports for both domestic and international students, and the important work that UBC researchers are doing with regard to COVID-19. There’s also a musical treat at the end of the video.

You will find my update, in both video and text format, at https://president.ubc.ca/letter-to-the-community/2020/04/03/covid-update-april-3/.

For the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and UBC’s response, I encourage you to visit https://covid19.ubc.ca/.

Thank you for your patience, your understanding and your empathy as we navigate this challenging time. Together, we will get through this.

Stay safe.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

April 1

I hope you are adapting reasonably well to "a new world" of remote communications. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is important that we continue to take care of each other, and that we do this actively. With this in mind, I am putting in place some guidelines and expectations for everyone in our IOF community. I think you will agree that these are measures that will support us all as we navigate through this situation.

To begin, the IOF core staff - Katherine, Scott, Eden and Neil - will be coordinating various efforts, including:

          • Webpages that will provide:
            • Resources to support us over the next few weeks and months. These will range from mental health resources to keeping physically fit to tips on working from home and more;
            • A calendar of current activities and meetings, so we’ll have a better idea of when people are already busy and shouldn’t be disturbed;
            • An email archive of the various multitude of COVID-19 communications that came out (and will come out). This will organize the many messages in a manner that will help you keep track of important information, such as exam requirements or application dates, etc. These will be organized both chronologically and by subject matter, so if will be easy to find the information you need.
          • A weekly email ‘round-up’ of any new COVID-19 communications, providing context and distilling out the information relevant to the IOF community.
          • In conjunction with the IOFSS, organization and hosting of interactive sessions on various topics such as strategies on being productive while working from home and ways we can support each other from a distance. They may even throw in some research related sessions just to keep you on your toes.
          • Being the contact points for anyone in the IOF who needs support. They may not have all the answers, but together these four people will find out who and how you can get the information and support you need.

I am also asking each and every one of you to be proactive.

All supervisors (faculty and staff) need to reach out to their people on an individual basis, outside of lab or team meetings. Have an honest conversation; ask each person how they are doing, if they have someone to support them, and if they need help in any way. Talk about expectations, both as a supervisor and as a student or staff member. Don’t be vague: “I understand you won’t be as productive under these conditions” carries no weight. Clearly set out objectives in terms of daily work and build from there. Be specific. Build goals that are measurable and attainable for each person.

All staff, students, postdocs, and research associates need to have an honest conversation with their supervisor, one-on-one. Tell them how you are doing, how the situation is affecting you, and if you need help in any way. Clarify expectations about your daily work, upcoming deadlines and anticipated milestones. Work with your supervisor to build goals and objectives. Remember that it is OK to need more time to accomplish what you need to do. Be clear about that with your supervisor. They may be able to help you in ways you had not foreseen.

I strongly urge you to continue these one-on-one meetings on a weekly basis. If you haven’t already initiated this, the first meeting (or two) will be extended as you work through expectations, and build goals and objectives. Subsequent meetings will be more of a check-in, but even then, supervisors need to check in with how each person is doing on a personal level. And every IOF community member needs to be honest with their supervisor when they are struggling with something.

Again, anyone who needs support or advice can reach out to me or one of the core staff members. And students also have additional support in the form of our wonderful Graduate Advisors. I’m proud of the actions taken by many individuals in our community and I look forward to meeting with each of you, virtually for now and in the Hakai Node when we return to AERL. Please continue to follow orders of the health authorities and limit physical contact with others as much as possible during these challenging times.

Very best, Evgeny Pakhomov

On March 19, the university announced that as part of UBC’s response to COVID-19, it was curtailing on-campus research and creative scholarship activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. This curtailment period began at the end of day on March 24 and is now in effect. It will remain in place until April 15, 2020, and may be extended. The UBC research community will be notified of any extension to the curtailment as soon as possible.

To conduct on-campus research activities on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, researchers must first receive an approved exemption for critical research or maintaining critical research resources. Researchers working in facilities at Health Authority sites must follow the directives of those institutions.

While only exempted critical activities can take place on our campuses, researchers are encouraged to continue activities remotely that can be conducted safely without in-person contact. Please note that remote work must be conducted in compliance with UBC information security standards.

We will continue to process on-campus research exemption requests as they are received, but these research activities cannot be conducted until an exemption has been approved. Examples of critical research activity for which an exemption may be approved include:

          • research projects directly related to COVID-19 and essential clinical trials;
          • maintenance of critical resources which cannot be replaced through other means, (e.g. data, cell lines, and some collections); and
          • topping up of research storage equipment (e.g. with liquid nitrogen).

Forms and details of the process can be found at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19.

The on-campus curtailment is in line with social distancing protocols regarding remote teaching and working arrangements, and prioritizes health and safety first and foremost. We understand that this will have a significant impact on research programs and research personnel, and the university is in active discussions to identify ways to mitigate these impacts. We encourage you to visit our frequently updated FAQs relating to the research curtailment at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19.

March 27

These are unprecedented times for our generation, and the uncertainty and upheaval they are causing are especially difficult to navigate when it is the health and wellbeing of so many that are at stake.

I'm writing on behalf of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to let you know that we are aware that many of you are experiencing especially difficult challenges right now – in your personal circumstances, your research, and your academic work – and to assure you that we, and those at all levels at UBC, are working extremely hard to find ways to alleviate the challenges you face. You may find that some of your concerns and questions are addressed on our website, and I encourage you to visit it: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/covid-19.

Briefly, the following are the measures that we and the University are taking to date:

Academic issues

          • As courses and assessments go online, we realize that this can entail many uncertainties. Your instructors have the capacity to alter the grading schemes or standing options for current courses if necessary, and requests for concessions are always available to you. In concordance with the Senate, we are also delaying the deadline for grade submission. The Assessment FAQ shows details sent to grad programs and course instructors; please connect with your course instructors for details regarding your own course(s) if you have not already heard from them.
          • We understand that interruptions in your ability to progress in your programs, whether because of personal circumstances, research curtailment, or other issues, may result in delayed completion of your program. We will therefore effectively extend deadlines for milestones (e.g. candidacy) and program completion by at least one term. Although process details of this are still being determined, please be assured that we will eliminate justification requirements for extensions related to the current situation.
          • Final doctoral exams are successfully proceeding completely online, and will continue as such as long as necessary.
          • There will be a slight delay only in the granting of degrees, however the graduation ceremony has been indefinitely postponed.
          • We appreciate that some of you may decide to take a leave of absence for some period in the near future. While this may be feasible for some, please note that leaves come with certain restrictions, especially in terms of funding and student employment as outlined in our general FAQ.
          • We realize that research projects for many have been put on hold for diverse reasons. We encourage you and your supervisor(s) to explore other opportunities for furthering your research and academic progress throughout this time of curtailment, while also planning ahead for how to proceed when the curtailment eases. Examples of such opportunities and suggestions for practices that promote effective continuity of supervision and academic progress have been compiled and are being sent to supervisors. Please view a copy of this message in our announcements. We, and the University and research community more broadly, are continuing to deliberate on the longer term ramifications and potential mitigating strategies of research curtailment.

Wellbeing
The current situation is naturally causing significant stress and anxiety for many. At the same time, there is much to be grateful for in our current environment, including the many people across UBC and beyond stepping up to make the situation better. The following are among the resources available to you now:

          • Mental health support, including Student Health Services and Counselling Services, continue to be provided (virtually). Note that EMPOWER ME provides confidential counselling 24/7, and it’s free for all UBC students. Please review other related student services.
          • There are also numerous resources on enhancing wellbeing in the current environment at the above sites. One example is the Wellness Centre Online, a space for engaging in topics relevant to student wellbeing. Students can self-enrol.

Financial challenges

While we haven’t yet determined the most effective ways to ease the burdens many of you face, we are exploring a range of options. We will keep you informed as measures are taken, and are also communicating with programs to better learn what is needed. Please note the following:

          • Be assured that all major University-wide multi-year scholarships will continue to be paid throughout the eligibility period.
          • If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) we strongly encourage you to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. An advisor will assess your financial situation and provide the best course of action for you. It may not be possible for Enrolment Services to provide immediate support in all circumstances, but meeting with an advisor will also enable the University to gather a clearer picture of the needs that exist and to direct its financial support resources more effectively.
          • Indigenous graduate students with inquiries or issues with financial difficulties/distress should contact an Indigenous Enrolment Services Advisor. The Indigenous ESA Team can be reached at aboriginal.support@ubc.ca
          • We are reviewing information about the support offered by the federal and provincial governments, to understand what may be applicable to graduate students - recognizing that these supports may help some, but certainly not all, students who require financial support.

Support for international students

We know many of our international graduate students may have questions about returning to Canada, your options to stay in Canada, traveling abroad, completing your studies, and working in Canada.  To help answer some of these questions, International Student Advising (ISA) has recently published an FAQ on the UBC International Student Guide.  If you have any questions not addressed in the FAQ, we encourage you to reach out to ISA directly.  Please note that although ISA is not providing in-person services at this time, they will continue to advise students by email (include your student number): isa@students.ubc.ca.

Professional development

Many UBC units have moved their workshops and one-to-one advising online. This may be an opportune time for many to make use of these helpful resources. The following are a few key links.

As new information and opportunities arise in the coming days and weeks, we will communicate them to you. In the meantime, I encourage you all to look after yourselves and others. Please know that your sustainment, wellbeing, and ongoing scholarly formation are our first priorities throughout this challenging time.

With best wishes to you,

Susan Porter
Dean & Vice Provost,
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

March 26

Many of you have been asking about the university’s plans for one of the highlights of the year, spring graduation.

Earlier today, I sent a message to our graduating students, informing them of the fact that — in light of the current circumstances — we have had to make the very difficult decision to not hold in-person spring graduation ceremonies at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.

This was not an easy decision, and I know how disappointing it will be, not only for our graduating students, but also our faculty members, staff and the broader UBC community. As I told the students, we will come together online to celebrate. No virtual gathering can match our in-person ceremonies, but I promise you, it will be special, and it will be meaningful.

I also want to let you know that UBC is committed to holding a postponed graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, when safe to do so, that has all elements of a traditional graduation ceremony. Further details will be available at graduation.ubc.ca and graduation.ok.ubc.ca.

As you have heard me say many times, we are experiencing unprecedented challenges as we navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Each week brings something new, and I continue to be grateful for your patience, understanding, empathy, flexibility and selfless efforts during this time.

Stay safe.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

March 25

With an increase in the number of faculty and staff currently accessing UBC's systems and networks remotely, we would like to remind you of the IT resources and support available to you at this time.

Keeping UBC’s systems and networks safe
While we already have several technologies in place to help secure remote access, please remain extra vigilant when accessing UBC files and logging in to UBC's systems and networks. This includes:

          • Using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to remotely connect to the UBC network. Visit hxxps://it.ubc.ca/telecommute* for details on how to log-in.
          • Ensuring you are enrolled with an Enhanced Campus-Wide Login for multi-factor authentication.
          • Logging out of VPN and your devices when not in use.
          • Not clicking on links from unfamiliar sources. Doing so can download malware onto your computer even without further action on your part.
          • Reporting any suspicious emails to security@ubc.ca, so the UBC Cybersecurity team can investigate them.
          • Implementing a strong password on all of your accounts and log-ins, and keeping it secure. Please do not use UBC accounts or passwords for any other websites.
          • Completing the mandatory Privacy and Information Security Fundamentals training at hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca*

UBC’s Cybersecurity Team is also working on additional security software and precautions to ensure UBC information remains protected. More details will be shared internally with IT departmental administrators this week. Please ensure you are following any guidance that may be issued to ensure you take the necessary precautions and have the appropriate security software installed to protect UBC’s data.

Bookmark hxxps://privacymatters.ubc.ca* for more tips and resources on information security.

IT guide to working remotely
IT has compiled some key technical resources to support you in working remotely, including programs that will help you stay connected to your colleagues through audio conferencing, virtual meetings and instant messaging. Access them here: hxxps://it.ubc.ca/ubc-it-guide-working-campus*

Contacting the UBC IT Helpdesk
Currently, the preferred method for requesting assistance from UBC IT is to submit a ticket with the Help Desk. Please find the relevant links below:
UBC Vancouver: hxxps://it.ubc.ca/selfservice*
UBC Okanagan: hxxps://helpdesk.ok.ubc.ca/itmdb/*

*We avoid the use of clickable links in UBC Broadcasts that pertain to cybersecurity-related information. Please copy and paste the address into your browser and replace the ‘hxxps’ with ‘https’ and you will be taken to the proper website.

On behalf of the Privacy and Information Security Management (PrISM) Executive Leadership Committee, thank you for keeping UBC's systems and networks safe and secure.

Hubert Lai, Q.C.
University Counsel

Peter Smailes
Vice-President, Finance & Operations

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

March 19

As part of UBC’s response to COVID-19, the university is curtailing on-campus research activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. This is in line with social distancing protocols regarding remote teaching and working arrangements implemented in the last week.

This curtailment is in effect until April 15, 2020 and may be extended. To continue research activities on our campuses, researchers must receive an exemption to be classed as critical research or maintaining critical research resources.

For all other research on UBC’s campuses, research teams should immediately start to develop and implement plans to work remotely, and to have these plans fully operational by the end of day on Tuesday, March 24. Researchers based at health authority sites should follow site-specific directives.

The exemption process is outlined at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19. It involves approval at the departmental, Faculty and Vice-President, Research & Innovation levels. Examples of critical research may include COVID-19 research and clinical trials. Critical research resources may include data, cell lines, materials and reagents that are deemed essential and difficult to replace.

The exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves mean we can only continue the most essential research operations. Guidance, a planning checklist and FAQs are available at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19. These guidelines facilitate the temporary curtailment of most on-campus research activities and prioritize health and safety, first and foremost.

We understand that this curtailment will have a significant impact on research programs and research personnel. The university is in active discussions with funding agencies and other bodies to identify ways to mitigate these impacts.

Thank you for your continued support as UBC continues to navigate this challenging, and unprecedented, situation.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Gail Murphy
Vice-President, Research & Innovation

March 17

As of March 17, all oral defenses at UBC, including Final Doctoral Exams will be remote only, i.e., all oral defenses are to be held fully online until further notice. No less than one to two weeks before each exam, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will be contacting members of the examination committee and graduate student with information on how to participate in the exam via video conferencing. Please see the attached a copy of the Virtual Exam Protocol for details on the arrangements that need to be made for an online defense.

If you would still like to hold an in-person defense, then it will have to postponed until a later date. If you have an exam booked and have questions, please email the Doctoral Exams Coordinator, Robyn Starkey at robyn.starkey@ubc.ca.

In addition, all committee meetings and comprehensive exams should be arranged to be done online from now on until further notice. If you have any concerns about an upcoming oral exam, please do not hesitate to contact us.

March 16

Please note that the following message was issued to all UBC students this morning:

In light of the growing national response to COVID-19, all UBC students planning to travel home may now do so. This includes all undergraduate international and domestic students. We ask students in post-baccalaureate and professional graduate programs to verify program adjustments with their academic advisors before making travel plans.

Online instruction will continue and final exams will NOT take place in person. You will be provided details on arrangements for exams through your Faculties and course instructors, as soon as possible.

Residences and most services for students remain open in Vancouver and the Okanagan. Students in residence who wish to stay may do so. UBC is not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty or staff.

We appreciate these are extremely challenging times for our students, and our faculty are working exceptionally hard to adjust courses that will allow you to continue and complete your studies this term. This series of events is unprecedented and rest assured we will provide you with information as we receive it.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

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

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

Further to Friday’s UBC Broadcast, I would like to inform you of the university’s measures to support faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees, working remotely.

As UBC continues to navigate our response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in support of social distancing protocols, we are beginning a three-week pilot of Remote Work Arrangements. The duration of the pilot will be reassessed based on new information about COVID-19 that would change the situation.

Starting this week, those faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees, who are able to work from home should do so, in conjunction with job appropriateness and in discussion with their manager, research lead, or principal investigator. For those unable to work remotely, they should come to their normal place of work.

As a reminder, the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the risk as low for Canada. We also do not currently have any confirmed cases within our faculty, staff or student community.

However, it is important that we continue to put measures in place to support social distancing and help prevent the spread of illness. This is aligned with the guidance we are receiving from the Provincial Health Officer, BC Provincial Government.

Initial steps

A UBC Bulletin has been issued, advising managers and supervisors of this three-week pilot, and the need to explore ways to allow all employees to work remotely. The message asked that measures be put in place to allow as many employees as possible to do all (or part) of their work from home.

Telecommuting and VPN guidelines

UBC has telecommuting guidelines which you can access athttp://www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty-staff-resources/telecommuting/. In addition, IT has provided an online guide to working remotely at https://www.it.ubc.ca/telecommute. The guide outlines resources when working remotely including how to access emails and files, tools for virtual meetings, and security requirements.

Additional FAQs have been developed by HR to support this pilot. You can view them at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/covid-19/. As a reminder, please also visit https://ubc.ca for updates related to COVID-19 and UBC’s response.

We appreciate this pilot will require us all to explore and accommodate new ways of working. We also want to acknowledge that you may feel separated or even isolated when working from home, as you won’t have in-person interactions with your colleagues. We encourage you to explore creative ways to address these barriers within your unit or department. You are also reminded of resources available through UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program http://www.hr.ubc.ca/wellbeing-benefits/benefits/details/employee-family-assistance-program/

Under these circumstances you have our commitment to fully support and provide campus services to students, faculty and staff, as best as we can. Thank you for helping UBC navigate this unprecedented scenario.

Marcia Buchholz
Interim Vice-President, Human Resources

March 14

The UBC has now announced that all classes are to be delivered on-line for the rest of the term (see: https://www.ubc.ca/). Those of you who replied to my early enquiry indicated good preparedness to do so. Therefore, I am confident that there will be no major interruptions.

Currently, there are no announcements that any restrictions to on on-campus activity are in place. This may indeed change fast and I will keep you informed. I would like to stress that most aspects of the Institute’s operations remain functional at this time. Nevertheless, I would like to encourage all of you to work from home if it is possible during the next two-three weeks, avoid large crowds and generally follow basic precautions. Please check regularly the UBC central UBC website for up to date information on university-level actions. You may also consult the BC Center for Disease control site (http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19) for medical information and resources.

Best wishes,
Dr. Evgeny Pakhomov

March 13

As you know, 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 12 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 12, 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

The situation with COIVD-19 is fluidly changing, and UBC has made it clear that classes that have under 250 people in them are not to be cancelled. There has been much discussion about the FISH 500 seminar series because while it is a class, it is also a public lecture series. Also while AERL 120 does not seat 250 people, it is still a large room where regular classes are held, and while UBC has increased its cleaning protocols there is still an element of risk. Here is the solution we have come up with for now:

Today’s FISH 500 seminar will continue as scheduled. However we are suggesting that only the students who are taking the class attend. Also, we suggest that students sit at least two seats apart (aka social distancing). The seminar will be recorded and made available soon after the event. Please note: the pizza lunch will still happen today – please use your common sense.

Other members of the IOF community are invited to attend, at their own risk, and in keeping with the social distancing practice. Members of the wider UBC community, and of the general public, will be asked to do the same.

Decisions about the next few FISH 500 seminars will be made shortly.

Katherine Came

March 12

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause concern, both within Canada and across the world.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the risk as low for Canada, and UBC does not currently have any confirmed cases amongst our faculty, staff or students.

However, we understand that concerns are increasing around UBC’s preparedness, should we need to reduce the number of people coming to our campuses or other learning sites. At this point in time we are turning our attention to creating the resources to assist faculty and staff, as well as ensuring that leaders are able to assess our readiness as a university.

Contingency planning for teaching and learning
UBC’s overarching goal is to minimize the disruption to our students and their educational progress. We are currently supporting faculty to develop teaching strategies that will not require in-person sessions that fit the particular needs of their course, discipline and context. This planning, including considering alternative approaches to final exams, will enable us to be prepared and act quickly should the need arise.

Faculties and departments are being asked to start planning how they can offer academic instruction and assessment through alternate means. A new website has also been launched with guidance on how to prepare to offer lectures, group work and discussion, and quizzes online through Canvas. You can access it athttps://keepteaching.ubc.ca/. UBC Okanagan faculty are encouraged to contact the Center for Teaching and Learning https://ctl.ok.ubc.ca.

Support for managers and supervisors
As a reminder, guidance has been posted for managers and supervisors, related to employee illness and concerns related to COVID-19. You can view the information at https://www.hr.ubc.ca/covid-19/.

Organizing events and large gatherings
We recognize that faculty and staff may have questions related to organizing events and large gatherings. We encourage you to use the following resources:

In addition to the above, UBC is convening a working group to explore ways to provide more tailored guidance around this topic. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

COVID-19 and UBC’s response – updates and FAQs
Work is underway to create a stand-alone website to house information related to COVID-19 status updates, as well as FAQs for faculty, staff and students. Further information will be shared in next week’s edition of UBC Today.

Business continuity
The COVID-19 outbreak has expedited existing planning around business continuity and UBC’s efforts to minimize disruption to our students. Members of the Safety & Risk Services team are contacting Faculties and departments with information, support and resources for business continuity planning.

Please visit https://www.ubc.ca for the latest updates.

A ‘Letter to the community’ has also been posted from President Santa Ono which you can view at https://president.ubc.ca/letter-to-the-community/2020/03/12/response-to-covid-19/.

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

To Faculty
When thinking about how you will approach teaching and research responsibilities, please also consider your staff:
Can your staff members work from home should the university close?
What would they do? *
Do they currently have the IT access needed or would additional access be required? ** Keep in mind the IT security required to protect personal information of students, staff, etc. (i.e., Privacy Matters@UBC requirements; https://privacymatters.ubc.ca/).

* For those groups using Teamshare, they might reasonably be expected to do the full scope of their role. If your group is not using Teamshare, will staff be able to access the files they need?
** Please note that I have just sent a survey to all staff and to RAPD’s regarding #3 as I have to report on this to the Dean’s Office by Tuesday morning.

Thanks,

Neil Maclean

This email is intended for all M&P, CUPE and Non-Union Techs staff:

Dean of Science, Meigan Aronson met with the Department Heads to discuss the challenges the University is facing regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the importance of keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible.

It has been determined that the University will be finishing out the term regardless of what lays ahead. A full University shutdown (of the physical campus) during the term is a definite possibility (minus essential services). Because of this, departments are required to have a readiness plan in place. In such an instance, (most) work and study will likely have to be carried out remotely.

The main objective of this email is to prepare our staff for this possibility and to determine what your computer needs are should you need to telecommute.

Currently, there is no provision in the CUPE 2950 collective agreement for telecommuting but as this is an exceptional event, these requirements might not apply. The University and the union are in talks now to work out the details. I will keep you apprised of developments on this front.

For M&P employees, the telecommuting provision does exist. Some of you might already telecommute and are thus adequately equipped.

For non-union staff, there is no provision but the potential does exist. Some of you might already telecommute and are thus adequately equipped.

Most of you likely have computers at home, either laptops or desktops which might need to be configured for VPN and/or Remote Desktop so that you're able to dial in and access the UBC systems, including UBC email.

In order to efficiently gather this information, please complete the survey, found at the link below, by the end of the day Monday, March 16th:

https://ubc.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aYkcEKl5PsQ2on3

Lastly, please ensure that your contact information is up to date in HRMS. You can check/update your info by logging in to the Management Systems Portal at www.msp.ubc.ca.

Please let me know if you have any questions

Neil Maclean