In recent weeks, many members of the UBC community have expressed concerns that additional public health measures should be introduced for the return to campus in September.
The UBC Board of Governors and the UBC Executive have taken your concerns very seriously. I would like to emphasize again that the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff remain our first priority. We understand this is a time of stress for members of our community and we have been actively engaged with the provincial government, communicating these concerns on your behalf.
Today, the BC provincial government announced that the BC Vaccine Card will be introduced by a new order from the provincial health officer. The order will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access a range of activities, including indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos and indoor organized events, such as conferences and weddings. The BC Vaccine Card will come into effect on September 13, 2021. You can read the full announcement at https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0053-001659.
The BC Vaccine Card will apply to post-secondary campuses, and will require proof of vaccination for the activities listed above, as well as participating in activities such as varsity and intramural sports and student clubs. Student housing will also be part of the public health order. The requirement for proof of vaccination in student housing will come into effect on September 7, 2021. Further guidance will be developed in the coming days in consultation with public health, including which types of student housing facilities will be included. We also recognize that we need to allow for a transition period beyond September 7, for those students who are arriving from outside BC and Canada, to give them an opportunity to access vaccinations and obtain a BC Vaccine Card. Further information will be provided in the coming week.
We appreciate that students, faculty and staff will have questions and we will provide more information on the implementation of the BC Vaccine Card, and the range of on-campus activities that require it, as we learn more. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and the COVID-19 Advisory Committee are convening now to provide clarity and update the COVID-19 Return to Campus Guidelines.
We are very supportive of the introduction of the BC Vaccine Card. It will provide us with confidence that we have high rates of vaccination, supporting the safety and wellbeing of the entire UBC community. As a reminder, in BC, vaccines are available to everyone aged 12 and older, including students arriving from international destinations, who can receive their vaccinations after arriving in Canada. You can learn more at https://immunizebc.ca.
UBC and other post-secondary institutions are participating in ongoing dialogue with the provincial government on additional health and safety topics of concern for students, faculty and staff. We anticipate further updates tomorrow from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. We will share those details as they become available.
We appreciate that the transition back to campus is complex, and by introducing these measures, we can collectively support a safe environment for all. We have navigated the pandemic together, and it is important that we continue to protect our community going forward. Thank you for supporting a safe environment at UBC.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor