Coronavirus FAQs for the UVic community

Updated: Feb. 24, 2020

Health and safety

Are there any presumed or confirmed cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 on campus?

At this point in time, UVic has no cases presumed or confirmed.

What is UVic doing to prevent this virus from spreading throughout campus?

The university is monitoring the situation in Greater Victoria. In addition, an advisory group is managing UVic’s response and preparing for any potential cases. We will be working closely with public health officials and will follow their lead and direction.

At this time, based on the information currently being provided, the risk of contracting the Novel Coronavirus is low.

What can individuals do to prevent this virus from spreading?

At this time, there is no vaccine available yet to protect against this new disease. To help reduce your risk of infection HealthLinkBC advises people should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub to clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Dispose of tissues appropriately.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

For further information on how to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, visit HealthLinkBC or BC Centre for Disease Control.

If students, faculty or staff suspect they have the virus, what should they do?

If you have flu-like symptoms and have not been exposed to an affected region, follow normal protocols by staying at home, resting and minimizing your social contact.   

If you have flu-like symptoms and have travelled internationally to an affected region, follow normal protocols by staying home and contact your health care provider. Faculty and staff should visit their family doctor or health care clinic. Students should visit our on-campus Health Services or their local healthcare clinic. Please call the health care provider in advance to notify them that you will be attending the office.

If you have travelled to Hubei Province in China and develop symptoms, avoid contact with others and call ahead to a health care professional. Do the same if you develop symptoms and have been in contact with a confirmed case or a traveller returning from the affected area with these symptoms.

Tell your health care professional:

  • Your symptoms
  • Where you have been travelling or living
  • If you had direct contact with animals (e.g. if you have visited a live-animal market)
  • If you had close contact with a sick person, especially if they had a fever, cough or difficulty breathing

If you are concerned about the intensity or duration of your symptoms, please contact your doctor or call 8-1-1, a free provincial health information and advice phone line.

Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?

Yes, it is safe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. From previous analysis, the WHO has determined that coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.


Work and school

I am currently learning and/or working in a health care setting off-campus. What precautions should I take?

Please follow the infection control protocols of the facility you are currently working or learning in. For students currently on co-op/practica or students in the Division of Medical Sciences or Faculty of Human & Social Development, please follow the instructions of your academic liaison. If you have questions, connect directly with your academic coordinator/supervisor (e.g. co-op or practica co-ordinator, course instructor, graduate supervisor, etc.).

I am currently in China on an exchange or co-op placement. What should I do?

The university has reviewed current programs taking place this term and is strongly recommending students return to Canada. We will be reaching out to impacted students directly to find the best possible option for individual situations and will coordinate all possible and available opportunities to ensure this disruption does not negatively impact program requirements and graduation timelines.

Please contact your program coordinator should you have any questions.

I am currently learning and/or working in an international location. What precautions should I take?

Please follow the infection control protocols of the facility you are currently working or learning in.

  • Students: Please connect directly with your academic coordinator/supervisor (e.g. co-op or practica co-ordinator, course instructor, graduate supervisor, etc.) to discuss your options.

  • Faculty and staff: Please connect directly with your supervisor/Chair/Director to discuss your options.

What happens if I miss classes or work due to illness?

  • Students: As with any illness, students may request academic concession. To the extent possible, an affected student is urged to email their instructors if they must be absent.

  • Staff and faculty: Please report your absence promptly to your supervisor in accordance with your normal sick leave protocol and to ensure continuity of sick leave benefits as applicable.

What is the English Language Centre doing?

The English Language Centre (ELC) is monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with our partners in Asia for updates and changes.

The ELC's focus is currently on flu prevention. We will be:

  • Posting physical and digital signs in the building, including in the washrooms, to remind everyone to wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Providing information during the student orientations on how to help reduce risk of infection.
  • Adding hand sanitizers in classrooms and common areas.

Has WorkSafeBC determined if additional precautions are necessary for faculty, librarians and staff?

WorkSafeBC is currently advising employers and workers that special precautions for the Coronavirus are not required, beyond the recommended measures to prevent common respiratory viruses like influenza.


Travel

I have upcoming travel planned to China. What do I need to know?

The Government of Canada's current risk rating for all of China is to either avoid all travel or avoid non-essential travel. In order to protect the safety and well-being of UVic students, faculty and staff, and in alignment with the Off-Campus Activity Risk Management Policy, centrally funded (e.g. department/school or Faculty budgeted) travel to China is being suspended temporarily until such a time as the Government of Canada updates their travel risk rating.

Faculty and staff travel covered from non-central funds (e.g. externally funded) to destinations that are classified by the Canadian Government with risk levels that advise travelers to avoid all non-essential travel or avoid all travel should enrol in the travel registry International SOS and review current off-campus travel resources for such destinations. While travel to such destinations is strongly discouraged, enrolment with the travel registry will provide faculty and staff with access to medical, security, travel and emergency assistance as well as automated medical, security and general travel alerts applicable to the destination.

If you have personal plans to travel to an affected region, please see the Government of Canada's latest travel advice.

I am scheduled to travel in the coming days. What do I need to know?

Please refer to UVic's travel safety web page for updates and contact the Office of Global Engagement at if you have any concerns or questions related to international travel at this time.

Students, faculty and staff are required to request from UVic special authorization to travel to countries or regions where the Canadian government has advised travellers to “Avoid all non-essential travel” or “Avoid all travel.”

Please review the International SOS member's page to learn more about potential travel destinations and to register for any international travel. (You will need to sign in with your NetLink ID.)

If travelling via Air Canada, see their goodwill policy related to the coronavirus.

From a planning perspective, should we be making decisions regarding programming in other countries?

Continue to monitor the Government of Canada  travel advice and advisories webpage. Resources specific for those planning programs abroad are available on the UVic's travel safety web page.

I am flying to Asia and a flight transits through China. Should I try to book a different route?

Please consult your travel agent or the airline directly to confirm your options.

I am considering travelling to a country that has been impacted by the Coronavirus. What do I need to know?

Follow the directives of the Canadian Public Health Agency. Consult the Government of Canada travel advice and advisories webpage.

Register your travel with the International SOS registry.

Contact International SOS for specific advice regarding your travel location.

Contact the Office of Global Engagement with questions about preparing for international travel.

I have been travelling recently and am back in Canada. Should I self-isolate?

If you have spent time in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days, federal and provincial authorities ask that you self-isolate for 14 days, meaning stay at home and limit contact with others.

Avoid situations where you could infect other people such as social gatherings, work, school/university, public transportation and public spaces.

Monitor yourself and those close to you for symptoms similar to the flu or common cold such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing. If any symptoms arise, connect with your primary care provider, local public heath office or call 8-1-1 and tell them of your recent travel. Note that the 8-1-1 service is available in several languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese.


Living accommodations

What do I do if I believe my Homestay student may be sick?

If an individual develops flu-like symptoms and has not been exposed to an affected region, they should follow normal protocols by staying at home and minimizing social contact. If the individual has travelled internationally to an affected region, they should follow normal protocols and contact a health care provider should their condition worsen. You can call 8-1-1 for advice at any time. If a student needs to go to a clinic or the hospital, they can claim the expense through their GuardMe insurance. Some clinics offer direct billing. Please assist them in notifying the health care agency in advance of their arrival.

Additionally, please ask your student to let their teacher know they will miss class (they will have an email) or you can contact the English Language Centre at 250-721-8469 or .

What do I do if one of my family members becomes sick?

Isolate the individual from others as much as possible and follow normal protocols.

If you are a Homestay host, encourage your Homestay student to wash their hands with soap and water and to alert their teacher or a staff member at the ELC if they start to feel unwell.

I live in on-campus student housing and suspect I have the virus. What should I do?

If you have flu-like symptoms and have not been exposed to an affected region, follow normal protocols by staying in your room, resting and minimizing your social contact.

If you have flu-like symptoms and have travelled internationally to an affected region, follow normal protocols by staying in your room and minimizing your social contact. Students should visit our on-campus Health Services or their local healthcare clinic. Please call the healthcare provider in advance to notify them that you will be attending the office. 

Please email Residence Services at housing@uvic.ca if you are asked to quarantine yourself by UVic Health Services or a local healthcare clinic. Residence Services will contact individuals with information and support.

When should I self-isolate?

BC's Provincial Health Officer recommends the following:

  • Those returning from Hubei Province, China should stay home or self-isolate in their room alone for 14 days after they left Hubei. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
  • Those who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing should stay home or self-isolate in their room alone for 14 days after their last encounter with the individual. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
  • Those who have been in other parts of mainland China (outside Hubei Province) should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing) for 14 days after they left China. They do not need to self-isolate.

Those who develop symptoms during the 14-day monitoring period should immediately self-isolate (stay in a room that is not shared with anyone else) and call their health care provider or the provincial health line at 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

While these recommendations are important, they are voluntary. The Government of Canada provides more information about self-isolation.

What are the guidelines for those who need to self-isolate?

The BC Provincial Health Officer gives the following advice for people who are self-isolating. Students, faculty, or staff who are recommended to self-isolate under the guidance above should call 8-1-1 for additional advice. While self-isolating:

  • Stay in a well-ventilated room, including an open window, if possible. Do not have other people come in the room.
  • Do not attend classes. Limit going in shared spaces. Try to keep a two-meter distance between yourself and others whenever possible.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene as described above.
  • If possible, have supplies dropped off outside your door to help avoid direct contact, and limit the number of people helping to take care of you.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Regular household cleaning products are effective against most viruses, and you can also use 1 part bleach to 9 parts water as an effective disinfectant.
  • Use dedicated linen and utensils, which can be washed with soap and water and re-used, and do not need to be disposed of.
  • Dispose of any tissues, wipes, masks, or gloves in a waste container lined with a plastic bag before disposing with other household waste.
  • Wash your clothes in hot water (between 60-90 °C), and then thoroughly dry them.

Staying in isolation can be difficult and lonely. If you are isolated, keep contact with friends and family through phone or computer.


Support and resources

What should I do if I have experienced discrimination or harassment in relation to the Coronavirus?

Every member of our university community has the right to be treated with respect and dignity and to be welcomed and supported on our campus. No person should be targeted in any way or subjected to discrimination resulting from a misplaced perception that they may be a carrier of a communicable disease based on their perceived disability, race, ancestry, place of origin or otherwise. This kind of targeting is discriminatory and a breach of university policy (GV0205).

If you feel you have been targeted based on any of the above factors, you should report this behavior.

If you need immediate assistance because you fear for your personal safety, contact 911 or for an on-campus safety concern contact Campus Security Services at 250-721-7599 (24 hrs a day/7 days a week).

Otherwise, report the behavior to the Equity and Human Rights office by emailing or 250-721-8786. EQHR's first action will be to invite you in for a confidential conversation about the policies and response options available.

I am concerned about my family and friends currently in affected regions. Where can I go for support?

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, you may be worried about the health and safety of yourself or your family and friends. This is a challenging and uncertain time. It is not uncommon to experience higher levels of stress and feelings of overwhelm. If this is your experience, please seek help and support.

Counselling and support is available to members of our campus community who are affected by the outbreak of the Coronavirus. We encourage students, faculty and staff who need support at this time to contact one of the following services:

Where can I get more information?

For the latest UVic information, please check this website for updates. If you have questions not covered by these FAQs that are related to the UVic response, email .

Additional resources: