UBC provides more information on the return to campus, but questions remain

Following last month’s announcement on the return to campus in the fall, UBC President Santa Ono confirmed that the university will be providing “as much on-campus instruction for … students as possible.”

In a broadcast sent to students on April 20, Ono provided more information on classes, residence and vaccines in regards to the upcoming fall term.

Some faculties, such as arts and sciences, have already told students they should expect to be on campus in the fall, but Ono said that all faculties will be contacting students by mid-May with details on how they will be delivering courses in the fall.

Residence will be open, with on-campus housing available for eligible first-year students, upper-year students and graduate students.

Ono wrote that he acknowledges that many second-year students will be coming to campus for the first time in the fall.

“We have given significant consideration to this unique situation and, while we do not have the capacity to provide student housing this fall for all second-year students, we have taken steps to increase their likelihood of being offered housing,” he wrote. The “steps” that have been taken were not specified.

Extracurricular activities, including orientation for new students, will occur but their delivery has not been decided. It is unclear whether returning second-year students will be eligible for orientation activities.

BC’s active COVID-19 cases topped 10,000 last week, the highest number BC has seen during the pandemic. Ono noted that all of the plans the university has made are with the guidance of public health.

“We are watching the course of the pandemic carefully, with the recent rise in cases and new variants of the virus,” Ono wrote.

He encouraged students to register to get vaccinated when they are able, but did not provide information on whether students will be required to get a vaccine to return to campus.

“Vaccines are the best way to protect against COVID-19 … The more people in a community who are immunized against COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread,” Ono wrote.

Vaccine registration for a majority of students in BC opens on Friday, April 23.