COVID-19 update and information from Provincial Health Officer

- University of Victoria

On behalf of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Team, we are pleased to share the latest guidance from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) for BC universities and colleges. The advice and direction of BC’s top public health doctors has been the foundation of the university’s response and our safety measures at every stage of the pandemic.

Today’s letter and recommendations from the PHO are based on the current epidemiology of SARS-CoV2, including the emergence of the Omicron variant. The PHO continues to express confidence that the sector-wide prevention measures outlined for all universities in BC will support in-person educational and research activities and supports. 

Return to in-person learning and working

On Monday, we will be returning to in-person learning as planned. Over the past few weeks, we have reviewed and enhanced our layers of health and safety protection in consultation with our public health partners. We have also consulted and learned from other BC colleges and universities, most of whom began offering in-person education on Jan. 10.

Over the next few weeks, we will be continuing to communicate about health and safety measures, including the importance of doing a daily health check, staying home if sick, following public health guidance while ill, wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

We will also be reaching out through the leadership team to provide workplace-specific guidance on managing absences, remote working, meetings and social gatherings.

Updated mask guidelines

To augment these core layers of protection and until further notice we have updated our masking rules. Students must now wear masks at all times in classrooms and study spaces unless they are exempt for a medical reason.  Consuming food and beverages will not be permitted in classrooms, labs, study spaces or libraries. Masks are also required to be worn in all indoor common areas in student housing (look for more information from Residence Services if you live in student housing). Please take the time to familiarize yourself with all of these important health and safety measures.

Vaccine self-declaration and testing

We continue to require all students and employees to complete a COVID-19 vaccination declaration. This information is used to assess the level of COVID-19 vaccination on campus and inform the university’s COVID-19 response.

On the advice of the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) and the Provincial Health Officer, we have recently updated the vaccination self-declaration program, and have replaced the rapid testing program with a health and safety attestation for people who are not fully vaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccinated status. A new program to support the emerging public health role for rapid antigen tests will be announced in the next few days. 


Thank you again for your continued support, patience and willingness to adjust as we navigate yet another phase of the pandemic. Rest assured that we will continue to consult with our public health partners, adhere to public health orders and sector-wide guidance, and communicate with you regularly.

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


Related information