President’s update: What to expect for the first week of classes

- President Kevin Hall

Dear UVic community,

We are excited to welcome you to campus next week. This is my first September at UVic and I’m really looking forward to meeting you and taking in some of the great events that happen at the beginning of the term.

People across campus are working diligently to implement the additional health and safety measures related to recent announcements by the Provincial Health Officer, BC government and the university about masking, vaccinations and testing measures.

We value highly the health and safety of you and your loved ones and are striving to implement these measures as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding as we continue to build our multi-layered approach to keeping our campus safe. This involves work across many areas of the university and we are working as rapidly and efficiently as possible.

Here's what we can expect next week.


The province of BC reintroduced a mask mandate in late August, so please bring yours to campus or get your free UVic mask. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, labs, restaurants and pubs, fitness centres and indoor events. Full details will be added to our return to campus website as they become available from provincial health authorities.

Vaccinations and self-declaration

The science is clear that vaccinations protect you and those around you, and slow the transmission of COVID-19. According to Island Health, the risk of infection is ten times greater for those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinations will be available at clinics on campus starting Sept. 7.

UVic has partnered with Thrive Health to introduce a self-declaration program so that anyone with a NetLink ID who is attending campus can confidentially and securely declare their COVID-19 vaccination status. The website will be accessible on a desktop or smartphone. We are working to have the self-declaration process ready for next week.

If you elect not to complete the self-declaration, choose not to be or are unable to be vaccinated, you will be required to participate in weekly rapid testing in order to participate in activities on campus.

The BC Vaccine Card will soon be available as proof of vaccination. You will need to provide proof of vaccination for many services in BC, including those on campus such as dining, fitness centres, events and clubs, beginning on Sept. 13. The provincial government will provide more information on how to obtain your card by Sept. 13 and we will share that information when it is available.

BC has one of the highest vaccination rates in Canada and we expect high vaccination rates on campus. Public health experts have found that educational settings are low-risk for COVID-19 transmission, particularly in the context of a highly immunized population. Many thanks to the more than 9,400 faculty, staff and students who responded to our recent survey to help plan for our vaccination clinics and testing program. Over 92 per cent of those who responded said they were fully vaccinated.

Rapid testing

Rapid testing will be required for the small number of students, staff and faculty attending campus who are not vaccinated or who choose not to disclose their vaccine status. We are working with public health authorities to implement the rapid testing program and expect it to be operational by Sept. 13.

More information coming soon

As we work to prepare for a safe return to campus, we are receiving many questions. We understand that not immediately having all the answers can be frustrating. We ask for your patience as we continue to follow the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer and work through the details of implementing these important health and safety programs as quickly as possible.

I am confident that all of you will adhere to current safety guidelines to demonstrate your care for the health and safety of everyone in our community. We will continue to provide support for those of you with medical exemptions for masking and vaccination.

Please continue to visit the Health and Safety section of the return to campus website for updates. The Return to Campus Public Health Guidance was released today with additional details from the BC Centre for Disease Control and we will be making any necessary updates to keep our community informed.

Wishing everyone a safe and successful fall term!

Thank you,


Kevin Hall, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor