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Health & safety

Our safety programming is informed by guidance and direction from the provincial health officer, COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-Secondary Sector and WorkSafeBC.

Returning to campus

We’re introducing new plans, protocols and resources to protect the health and safety of the UVic community.

Daily health screening

Everyone must do a self-assessment daily for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus.  If you have any symptoms please:

Download the COVID-19 BC Support App to use the self-assessment tool. Available on the App Store and GooglePlay.

Learn about UVic's self-assessment and self-isolation protocols.

Non-medical masks

We recommend that everyone wear a mask in public indoor spaces such as hallways, stairways, building entryways and other high-traffic areas where physical distancing can’t be maintained for longer than brief periods. In classrooms, keep your mask on until you are seated in a designated seat and please wear your mask as you enter/exit the classroom.

Even when wearing a mask, please continue to observe physical distancing as much as possible, as a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. For those who are not able to wear a mask for medical or other reasons, please be especially careful to maintain a safe distance.

For all other workplace or campus situations, unless the use of masks is specifically required by the safety plan for that service, class or workplace, wearing a non-medical mask is a matter of personal choice and may help to protect others.  Students are encouraged to read the safety plan for their classroom posted on the Health & Safety website or contact their instructor for those classes that are in labs or studios for more information about the safety protocols for that class, including the use of non-medical masks.

COVID-19 Symptoms

If you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or are feeling sick, avoid contact with others and self-isolate at home, even if your symptoms are mild. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold.  According to BCCDC, they include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and muscle aches.

If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, use the BC COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help guide you on what to do.  If you have health questions, you can call your doctor or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1 or contact through Video Relay Services. The province of BC has also set up a dedicated COVID-19 hotline for non-medical questions at 1-888-COVID19.

If you are a student at UVic you can also call UVic Health at 250-721-8563. UVic Health may be able to provide currently registered students with testing for COVID-19. Please call first to receive instructions and an appointment time; do not arrive at UVic Health unannounced if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

What to do if you are ill

If you are ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please stay home and self-isolate in accordance with guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Do a self-assessment and follow the instructions provided in that self-assessment or call HealthLinkBC at 811. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse, seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department.

You must remain off campus until you are medically cleared to end your self-isolation or when you meet the criteria set-out by the BCCDC.  

Students
You can continue to report absences due to illness as you usually do. If you are scheduled to attend campus but are self-isolating, you may request an academic concession.

Students living in student housing must follow the established COVID-19 protocols and all instructions from UVic Health and Residence Services. Advise Residence Services staff immediately in order to develop a self-isolation plan.

Faculty & staff
Please contact your supervisor to report your absence if you would normally attend campus, but are self-isolating. You can also discuss temporary remote work arrangements, if practical. If you are not able to work remotely, you will be placed on a leave of absence without loss of pay for scheduled shifts during the self-isolation period in accordance with the applicable collective agreement or any COVID-19 sick day agreement between the unions and the university.

The Work Life Consulting team can provide advice, guidance and consultation to supervisors,  unions, staff and faculty members on the Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP), sick leave process, disability management and return to work programs.

If you become ill while on campus

If you become ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while on campus (e.g. in a classroom, lab, or workplace), please do the following immediately:

  • Put on a mask or face covering and isolate yourself from others (preferably outdoors) while waiting for transportation and while leaving campus.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands and avoid contact with others. Avoid touching doors, furniture, and other items while waiting or leaving campus.
  • Do not use public transit.

If there is a COVID-19 case on campus

If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case on campus, Island Health will manage the notification process and directly notify those people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact of the ill person.

UVic will work closely with Island Health when asked to notify the university community of any confirmed cases and when broad public notification is required. Please keep your contact information in MyPage up-to-date.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is the process used by the health authority to identify any close contacts of the ill person. Island Health leads this process.

Island Health will notify the ill person directly if their test for COVID-19 is positive. Notification of the patient and contacts is a priority and occurs as soon as possible after a positive test result becomes known. Contact tracing will identify any close contacts; these people will be notified directly by Island Health.  

The university will provide information to Island Health when asked as part of this process and when Island Health is not able to gather all information necessary during the contact tracing activity. Island Health follows strict guidelines to protect the privacy of the ill person during the contact tracing process.

The university will not conduct additional COVID-19 testing as the result of a positive case in a member of the university community. Any decision to conduct additional COVID-19 testing on campus rests with the health authority.

Cleaning

High touch surfaces on campus are being cleaned/disinfected at least twice per day as part of our response to COVID-19 in accordance with PHO post-secondary guidelines. This cleaning process is in addition to the hand washing and physical distancing efforts that all people on campus should be following.

Areas where an ill or symptomatic person was working, including any equipment or tools used, may need to be disinfected per WorkSafeBC requirements, and Occupational Health, Safety and Environment will coordinate an assessment. Island Health has indicated that specialized cleaning of an area is rarely needed beyond what is done as part of the regular cleaning procedures. They will notify the university if additional cleaning is necessary.

Privacy

Your privacy will be protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

The university will only provide identifying information to the health authority as requested, and in accordance with current Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) guidelines. It may be necessary to notify the university community of a COVID-19 case on campus if there are broader safety considerations, but all effort will be made to protect the identifying details of the ill person. Information provided to the University of Victoria may be used and disclosed on a need to know basis to only those University of Victoria employees as needed for the same purposes.

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