As we approach Winter Session Term 2 in January, we would like to update you on recent discussions around COVID-19 and the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Dr. Henry has written to the Presidents of BC post-secondary institutions providing information on where and how this virus is transmitted and recommending that on-campus instruction continue for the next term. You can read the letter here: http://covid19.ubc.ca/letter-to-psi-presidents-dec-21-2021.
Given the rapidly evolving challenges associated with the Omicron variant, in planning our approach for Winter Term 2, it is important to take into account pedagogical and operational considerations. We have learned throughout the pandemic our need to be nimble and prepared to change our course. In consultation with the Deans of Faculties across both campuses, UBC will approach the start of Term 2 with a brief, interim period where most classes will begin online. This decision will provide certainty for our students and allow time for faculty and staff to prepare course materials and student supports and services to ensure that excellent teaching and learning activities are maintained in all delivery modalities.
Classes will begin as scheduled on January 4 or 10 (depending on the program), with the majority of instruction provided online until January 24. During this period, some courses, including those with clinical or other experiential, performance or studio components will continue in-person with appropriate safety protocols in place. Faculties and academic units will provide further details on specific programs and courses in advance of their start date. Research and scholarship activities on UBC campuses continue under current safety plans.
Campuses will remain open, including student housing, student services, and all libraries. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in allowing remote work, where academic or operational requirements permit; however, where in person work remains necessary, remote work arrangements may not be possible. Our intention is to enable a safe return to fully in-person learning and instruction on January 24.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update the community in the first week of the new year. Thank you to those who have continued to provide important services on our campuses and to everyone for continuing to support a safe environment at UBC. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy holiday season.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UBC Okanagan