Province-wide restrictions extended until Feb. 5

- University of Victoria

On January 7, Dr. Bonnie Henry extended the province-wide Public Health Orders, restricting a range of events and social gatherings, until Feb. 5, 2021.

Although these orders do not significantly affect campus activities, the implications are summarized below. 

Masks continue to be required in public places

The Public Health Orders require that masks be worn in the following indoor public settings and shared work areas on campus:
  • elevators, kitchens, break rooms, hallways, customer counters and other high-traffic areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • retail outlets, libraries, athletic/recreation centres and food service outlets (when not seated at a table)

People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt.

In classrooms, study spaces, laboratories, studios, open offices and other shared work or learning areas, please continue to follow the existing mask protocols in your Safe Work Plan, and ensure masks are worn when you are away from your assigned seat or workstation.

Even when wearing a mask, please continue to practice 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.

Avoid non-essential travel

The Public Health Orders also ask everyone to avoid non-essential travel. For now, avoid travel to other regions inside or outside of the province unless it is essential.

If you must travel for essential reasons, wash your hands often and practice physical distancing. Respect the communities you're travelling to by staying within your household bubble and sticking to the outdoors as much as possible.

These orders are in addition to the restrictions already in place for international travel, including the new requirement that all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada.

Campus services and amenities

The majority of on-campus services and amenities, including those operated by the UVSS, are not affected by the recent Public Health Orders.

However, the orders have required UVic to temporarily suspend all in-person faith-based services.

While some activities at CARSA, such as spin classes, have been temporarily suspended, CARSA remains open to students, employees and the public for a wide variety of programs.

Residence Services will continue to provide updated guidance for students living on campus about the Public Health Orders specific to social gatherings.

Remote working and Safe Work Plans

If you are already working on campus, you can continue to do so. The orders encourage workplaces to support remote working where it is practical to do so. Given that units are already supporting a modest blend of in-person and online campus activities and services in accordance with their safe work plans, we recommend that units maintain their existing flexible approach to staffing at this time and temporarily suspend any plans to increase the number of staff on campus until these orders are updated.

Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) has been coordinating a review of all COVID-19 Safety Plans to ensure they clearly reflect the need for daily self-assessment, and to ensure safety within small office spaces, common areas, break rooms and kitchens.

We remain confident that our workplace safety protocols and measures, developed and regularly updated in accordance with requirements of the PHO and WorkSafeBC enable us to continue the current blend of in-person and on-line campus activities and services.

Daily self-assessment

Everyone must do a self-assessment daily for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus. All units must implement a process to ensure that every employee performs a daily COVID-19 health check before entering the workplace.

For more information about daily health screening and steps if you are feeling ill, visit the Health & Safety section of the COVID-19 website.

We will continue to monitor and adjust to the evolving COVID-19 public policy environment.  For an overview of the public health protocols guiding the BC post-secondary sector, please see the province’s COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines. These guidelines were recently updated to reflect many of the recent public health orders and to guide COVID-19 case management, including contact tracing and communication. For up-to-date guidance and information about the university’s ongoing COVID-19 response, please visit the COVID-19 website.