COVID-19 Return to campus FAQ


Last updated: September 17, 2021

As the university prepares for a return to campus during Winter Session, Term 1, a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ) have been compiled to support students, faculty and staff.

This page contains useful FAQ and resources to help you navigate your return to campus. Please note that individual Faculties are also providing updates.

For the latest university-wide updates and additional FAQ, please visit

For UBC Okanagan, please visit

Health screening requirements

Am I required to conduct a daily health assessment?

  • All students, faculty, and staff must continue to assess themselves daily for COVID-19 prior to engaging in in-person UBC activities on UBC premises

Is there a quick way to conduct the daily health assessment?

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Face coverings

When is a face covering required?

  • Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces (see the section on Indoor Public Spaces for a definition) by anyone 12 and older.
  • ‘Face covering’ means either of the following that covers the nose and mouth of a person, does not include a small or large clear plastic face shield:
    • a medical or non-medical mask;
    • be made of three layers of fabric, including two layers of tightly-woven fabric, with a filter or filter fabric between layers;
    • if there are two layers with a pocket for a filter, use a filter

When is a face covering not required?

  • Workspaces such as office areas that restrict access to students or the public
  • Research labs or shared offices that restrict access to students or the public
  • Meetings and seminars in small meeting rooms
  • Persons behind a barrier that separates them from other people, like a divider, cubicle, or in a room by themselves
  • Instructors and other presenters when behind a barrier or two metres away from students
  • Children under the age of 12 years old
  • A psychological, behavioural or health condition
  • A physical, cognitive or mental impairment
  • An inability to put on or remove a face covering without assistance of another person
  • A need to remove their face coverings to communicate with a person whom visual cues, facial expressions, lip-reading or lip movement are essential

When can a face covering be temporarily removed?

  • For the purpose of identification
  • While seated and consuming food or drink at a designated location or classroom
  • While participating in an exercise activity or sport at a fitness or sport facility
  • While engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a face covering, for example, while playing a wind instrument

How to address a situation when a face covering is not being worn?

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UBC Vaccination declaration and rapid testing

What is required by UBC for declaring vaccination status?

  • The Public Health Officer has ordered that proof of vaccination be required to access some places, events, services and businesses. For updates, please visit the BC Government website.
  • UBC will require COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Confidential self-disclosure of vaccination status
  • Rapid testing for our community members who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, or who choose not to disclose their vaccination
  • For more information, please visit:

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Mandatory Training

Will I need to do any specific COVID-19 safety training before I return to campus?

  • A new “UBC Go Forward COVID-19 Safety Planning Training’ is now available. All employees are required to complete the mandatory online COVID-19 safety training (UBC Vancouver | UBC Okanagan) prior to resuming on-campus activities, or as soon as possible if they have been working on campus since the remote working arrangements were put in place.
  • The new course replaces the previous ‘Preventing COVID-19 Infection in the Workplace’ course as there have been updates to the prevention measures. This means, a person who took the previous course will need to take the new course. There may also be a site-specific orientation required by your supervisor or department.

How do leaders run reports in Workday to see who has taken the training?

  • Managers and supervisor can run reports in Workday to see who has completed the course. This is done by running the ‘Training courses taken by a worker‘ report to determine what required training is complete and what is outstanding (this also includes data for student employees). For department-wide reports, please contact your department HR Advisor or Faculty Relations Senior Manager.

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Indoor public spaces

What is considered indoor public space?

  • According to the UBC COVID-19 Campus Rules, a ‘public area’; means:
    • An indoor space provided for the common use of all students, faculty and staff of UBC, including lobbies, hallways, public bathrooms, classrooms, or laboratories;
    • A vehicle supplied by UBC for the transport of students where more than one person is present in the vehicle; or
    • Any indoor space where use of face coverings is required by UBC through means of signage or otherwise.

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Capacity limits, physical distancing, and signage

Are there capacity limits to spaces on campus?

  • Limiting the number of people within indoor public spaces is no longer recommended by public health or required by WorkSafe BC. People can be encouraged to spread out within the available space and normal room occupancy limits should not be exceeded (where applicable).

Is physical distancing required?

  • Physical distancing (consistently maintaining 2 metres between people) is no longer recommended in indoor public spaces by public health or required by WorkSafe BC.
  • People on campus can be encouraged to spread out within available space and to consider and respect others’ personal space (the distance from which a person feels comfortable being next to another person).

Is direction signage required?

  • Post-secondary 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.

Is any COVID-19 signage required?

  • Post-secondary institutions must post at all building entrances that face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces. To access updated UBC digital and print signage, please visit ‘COVID-19 digital and print signage.

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New COVID-19 Safety Plans

Why is UBC changing from the current COVID-19 Safety Plans that already exist?

  • In consultation with Public Health, UBC is streamlining the safety planning process to align with the BC Restart Plan.

Does my department need to create a new COVID-19 Safety Plan based on the new documents?

  • The seven new COVID-19 Safety Plans do not require customization, just implementation, and are applicable UBC-wide. They are based on your work activities so simply choose the plan(s) that suits your work situation. Unlike the previous COVID-19 Safety Plan, the new plans do not require to be submitted of approved.
  • For more information on COVID-19 Safety Plans, please visit ‘COVID-19 Safety Plans‘.

If the Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC recommend communicable disease plans instead of COVID-19 safety plans, will UBC still use the seven plans posted?

  • UBC’s seven COVID-19 Safety Plans are aligned with Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan and will promote a safe transition from detailed safety plans to a university-wide communicable diseases prevention program that will outline measures we can all take to help prevent the transmission of communicable diseases that could impact the workplace.

Can my department create our own COVID-19 preventive measures in excess of the PHO guidance?

  • UBC is committed to following the advice of the public health professional and will not introduce other or different COVID-19 prevention measures in their work or learning areas.

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Cleaning and sanitization stations

How are spaces cleaned during COVID-19?

  • BCCDC indicates that cleaning and disinfecting educational spaces, public spaces and high touch areas is only required daily. Cleaning is not required between classes.
  • Custodial Services has been keeping facilities clean, and regularly sanitizing high traffic and high touch-point areas daily in addition to the routine cleaning as per regular operations. Custodial Services will continue to follow industry cleaning standards ISSA Canada and  APPA Leadership in Educational Facilities, which reflect a blended approach designed to manage risk and cleaning standards.
  • For more information, please visit the Facilities website.

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Building ventilation

What is being done about building ventilation?

  • UBC established a COVID-19 Heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) working group to review and consider implementation of technical recommendations to enhance building ventilation systems and reduce the risk of airborne infectious aerosol exposure in UBC owned and operated buildings. The working group team, which includes professional engineers and subject matter experts in the design, maintenance and operation of building mechanical systems included Facilities and Safety & Risk Services from UBC Vancouver, Campus Operations and Risk Management from UBC Okanagan, and Faculty from the School of Population & Public Health, Occupation and Environmental Health Division.
  • For more information on Building ventilation, please visit the Facilities website.

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Contact Tracing

Will the University conduct contract tracing of COVID-19 cases?

  • Notification of COVID-19 cases, and potential exposures, within our community will continue to be managed by public health authorities. They will work with UBC to manage cases and clusters, as required
  • For more information, please visit  COVID-19 Contact tracing‘.

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Events and gatherings

How are events & gatherings on post-secondary campuses impacted?

  • Activities delivered as part of a formal education program (including but not limited to lectures, labs, seminars, workshops, demonstrations, presentations, formal study groups, tutorials and orientation events facilitated by the institution) are not restricted by the Public Health Order on Events & Gatherings.
  • Non-educational (i.e. non-essential or discretionary) activities including parties, recitals and concerts are restricted. For more information, see the Public Health Order on Events & Gatherings.
  • For information on organizing events and event safety planning, please visit Events and Gatherings inCOVID-19 Safety Plans‘.
  • For assistance on COVID-19 Event Safety Plans, email

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