Post-secondary town hall and UVic COVID-19 updates

- University of Victoria

On behalf of the university's COVID-19 Transition Team, we are pleased to share a few updates and a recording of the Feb. 9 virtual town hall with representatives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), BC Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and BC’s COVID-19 immunization program.

PHO post-secondary town hall

On Feb. 9, Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team hosted a town hall with executive leaders, faculty and labour organizations, and student organizations of BC’s post-secondary sector along with Indigenous partners. The topics discussed included:

  • Transmission dynamics of the Omicron variant and low risk of transmission in structured post-secondary settings where vaccination levels are very high
  • Importance of wearing a mask that fits well and can be worn for long periods
  • Importance of staying home when sick
  • Vaccine mandates should not be a barrier to education
  • Importance of in-person education and social interaction for young people’s mental health
  • How public health data is used to monitor and adjust health and safety measures in different settings
  • Advice for those who are immunocompromised
  • Availability of new treatments for COVID-19
  • Importance of vaccination and taking other safety measures to limit transmission: e.g. wearing a mask, washing hands

Watch a recording of the Feb. 9, 2022 town hall.

The PHO office continues to express confidence that high levels of vaccination combined with sector-wide prevention measures for all universities in BC safely support in-person educational and research activities and supports.

Dr. Henry indicated that conditions are improving and that broad public health restrictions and orders will be adjusted over the coming months.

Changes to provincial health orders and restrictions

On Feb. 15 the PHO announced an easing of COVID-19 restrictions while maintaining key protective measures to support everyone’s health and safety.

Restrictions that are changing as of Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. (PDT)

The provincial health officer will ease restrictions and lift capacity limits on:

  • personal gatherings
  • organized gatherings and events
  • nightclubs, bars and restaurants
  • exercise and fitness, and adult sports tournaments

Our health and safety team will be in touch with on-campus services to review these changes.  Watch for updates on our COVID-19 website and from the services that are most directly impacted.

Restrictions and safety measures that are not changing

  • Masks required in all indoor public settings
  • Proof of vaccination (BC Vaccine Card) required to access many businesses, events and services
  • Businesses must have a COVID-19 safety plan (see UVic plan)
  • Restrictions on visitors to long-term care and assisted living facilities
  • Restrictions on worship services
  • Restrictions on child and youth overnight camps
  • K to 12 and child care safety guidelines

These province-wide restrictions and safety measures will remain in place for now and will be reviewed in March and April 2022. On campus, this means that the requirement for students to wear a mask in the classroom, including the temporary restriction on consuming food and beverages in the classroom, will continue at this time.

Rapid test kits

The province is making rapid tests available as an optional, time-limited initiative for post-secondary institutions for testing of symptomatic employees and students. The tests are a self-management tool intended to support the continuity of on-campus learning, instruction and research. Read the BC CDC guidance for the use of Rapid Testing for Post-Secondary Institutions.

In the coming weeks, we expect to receive enough test kits (with 5 tests per kit) for each student and employee of the university. Stay tuned for more information about how these test kits will be distributed. 


The efforts of our students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated and follow core health and safety measures through every stage of the pandemic have enabled us to resume in-person learning, research and activities that enrich our community. Following public health guidance, we can gradually transition to a sustainable COVID-19 management plan that focuses on vaccination, self-monitoring and specific actions to protect those most at risk.

The COVID-19 Transition Team will continue to monitor provincial health and safety measures and consult with our public health partners to ensure that our local and sector-wide health and safety measures keep pace with evolving public health guidance over the coming weeks and months.

Thank you,

Susan and Kane
Co-chairs, UVic COVID-19 Transition Team