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Communicable disease prevention
On May 5, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency. This announcement came alongside UBC’s own discussions about transitioning to a communicable disease prevention framework.
Communicable disease prevention outlines how Public Health, UBC and individuals can work together to prevent the spread of communicable disease. It is intended to educate members of the campus community on such measures so that we all better understand the layers of protection. A communicable disease is an illness caused by an infectious agent or its toxic product that can be transmitted in a work, research or academic environment from one person to another (i.e. influenza, COVID-19, norovirus).
The Communicable Disease Prevention Framework is not meant to replace existing communicable disease exposure control plans in workplaces that require them (Please refer to parts 5.2 and 6.33 to 6.40 of WorkSafeBC’s Occupational Health & Safety Regulation).
Information on active communicable disease
We publish regular updates on emerging respiratory viruses.
Updated: May 2023
Communicable disease prevention measures
Some of these Communicable disease prevention measures are used on an ongoing basis (i.e. health checks, behaviours, cleaning, functioning HVAC systems) and some measures may be implemented when there is an elevated risk of communicable disease (i.e. barriers, physical distancing, and wearing masks). For example, the level of risk may rise from time to time or on a seasonal basis and therefore the number of protective measures needed may rise, as recommended by Public Health.
Not all measures will be available all of the time, and therefore it is recommended that members of the UBC community understand and practice them in a risk-aware manner, guided by their comfort and Public Health Recommendations.
Health checks and staying home
Daily health checks are a great way to check in with your body and evaluate how you are feeling. A daily health check allows you to determine if you are exhibiting symptoms of communicable disease and may keep you from attending UBC campuses and spreading illness. In addition to reducing the potential to spread disease, staying home when sick gives you time to rest and recover more quickly. Review your Department’s Hybrid Work Guidelines, and your UBC Employee Group’s sick leave benefits to understand your opportunities for working from home while symptomatic or taking sick leave. Learn more about UBC’s response strategy.
Your daily health check should include answering: Am I experiencing any of the following new or worsening symptoms?
Behavioural considerations each offer a layer of protection against communicable diseases. Some behaviours are used routinely, such as handwashing and respiratory etiquette, while others may be added when communicable disease risk is elevated (wearing masks, distancing). Wearing masks in public indoor settings is not required by public health but a personal choice. Please be kind and respectful of an individual’s choice if they choose to wear a mask. Learn more about UBC’s response strategy.
Vaccines have proven to greatly reduce, and even eliminate, many infectious diseases that once killed or harmed people. Vaccines lower your chance of catching certain diseases, and/or experiencing a serious outcome from disease. Vaccines also lower your chance of spreading disease, which protects people in the community who are unable to be vaccinated. Being sure you are up-to-date on your routine vaccinations, getting annual flu shots and being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are ways to protect yourself and others from preventable infections. A list of vaccines recommended for all adults is provided by Immunize BC. Learn more about UBC’s response strategy.
Immediate work environment
Cleaning of shared areas, objects, and work stations, is important in preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Learn more about UBC’s response strategy.
Building ventilation systems can help in reducing the transmission of some communicable diseases, such as the influenza and COVID-19. Building ventilation can be improved through measures such as enhanced filtration, introduction of fresh air and system verification and maintenance. Learn more about UBC’s response strategy.
Respiratory illness is more easily spread between people who are in close contact as respiratory droplets or aerosols can move between people more efficiently. Getting outside offers the ability to spread out, while the breeze can disperse and dilute infectious particles. Learn more about UBC’s response strategy.