Victoria – Students, faculty and staff at B.C.’s colleges and universities will have support when they come back together for in-person learning this fall, informed by the release of new Return-to-Campus Guidelines.
This follows the announcement that B.C. has transitioned to Step 3 of the Province’s restart plan.
The Return-to-Campus Guidelines are designed to parallel B.C.’s four-step restart plan. The transition period between Step 3, which took effect July 1, and the beginning of September is a crucial time, as post-secondary institutions ramp up operations and welcome back faculty, staff and students. The guidelines highlight the importance of public health measures, such as daily health checks and hand hygiene, as well as classroom logistics and on-campus student housing and dining services. For example, on-campus student housing providers can plan for close-to-full occupancy for the fall. Access to mental health supports for students, faculty and staff, Indigenous gathering places and accommodations for on campus-services are also outlined to support the transition.
Further, post-secondary institutions will no longer be required to have a COVID-19 safety plan. Instead, institutions are developing communicable disease plans to reduce the risk of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The goal for the fall is to transition from highly prescriptive COVID-19 specific orders and protocols back to normal institutional policies and guidance on occupational health and safety.
Joanne MacLean, president and vice-chancellor, University of the Fraser Valley, and chair, BC Association of Institutes and Universities (BCIAU) – “Welcoming students back to campus is something to celebrate. We have been planning a safe and gradual return to campus that allows for flexibility, support and adjustment to the change from remote study and work to campus life.”