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Health & safety

Our safety programming is informed by guidance and direction from the provincial health officer and COVID-19 Return to campus guidelines for B.C.’s post-secondary sector.

If you're sick

Please do a daily health self-assessment before coming to campus.

If you're sick or have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • stay home and let your instructor or supervisor know about your absence
    • Students: learn what to do if you have to miss class.
  • use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to see if you should get tested
  • call 811 if you need medical advice
  • follow the BC CDC guidance for how to self-monitor and self-isolate

Even if you do not have COVID-19, you should stay home if you feel sick. This will help stop the spread of other illnesses, especially during cold and flu season.

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 include: new or worsening fever or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue or tiredness, headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe. Sometimes people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days. 

Additional information for:

When to get a COVID-19 test

Public health only recommends testing if you have symptoms of COVID and:

  • are at risk of more severe disease or
  • live or work in high-risk settings (such as healthcare workers).

Use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if you need to get tested.

If you test positive:

  • follow public health guidance on how to self-isolate
  • do not attend classes or other activities on campus until your self-isolation period ends, your symptoms improve and you no longer have a fever

If you have not been tested or you test negative and have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • stay home until your symptoms improve
  • do not attend classes or other activities on campus until you feel well enough to return to regular activities

If you are a close contact (but don't have symptoms of COVID-19):

  • follow public health guidelines on how to self-monitor
  • you may continue with regular work or learning activities on-campus, as long as you are free of symptoms (even mild ones).

Rapid-testing at UVic

We have discontinued our campus rapid testing clinic for asymptomatic people.

Launched in September as part of the vaccine declaration program, the clinic allowed unvaccinated asymptomatic people to obtain weekly tests.

The program fulfilled its purpose and will be reevaluated to support the PHO and province's evolving rapid testing strategy.

Until then, use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if you need to get tested.

Masks

Masks are required for everyone in indoor common areas. This includes:

  • classrooms, study spaces, lecture theatres, teaching laboratories and other indoor instructional settings (e.g. art studios, shops, music and theatre facilities, etc.)

Note: Consuming food or beverages is not permitted in classrooms, labs, study spaces or libraries.

Note: an instructor, student or visitor can choose to remove their mask while lecturing, performing or presenting if they can maintain two metres (2m) physical distance from others.

Masks are also required while in:

  • common areas of buildings and campus-housing, including elevators, lobbies, hallways, stairwells, bathrooms
  • libraries, retail outlets, theatres, museums and galleries 
  • sport and fitness centres
  • coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and bars when not seated
  • places of worship, including congregations and choirs
  • indoor events
  • vehicles when transporting students, if more than one student is present in the vehicle
  • meeting rooms, shared office areas, staff kitchens and break rooms, and research labs and facilities

Note: employees can choose to remove their mask if they are able to maintain 2m physical distance from others when seated or at a workstation.

Mask types

The BC CDC maintains that all types of masks (including non-medical masks) help reduce transmission of COVID-19 when they fit comfortably over the mouth and nose with no gaps around the face.

Medical exemptions

You can apply for an exemption to the mask mandate if you have underlying medical conditions that inhibit your ability to wear masks.

When you self-declare your vaccination status, there is an option to indicate that you require a medical exemption. If you select this option we will contact you with next steps.

Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone 5+ who lives or works in BC. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and protect against infection.

Self-declaration

Students, staff and faculty coming to campus must declare their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Your declaration is confidential and will be securely stored.

If you declare that you have been fully vaccinated you must, if and when required by the university, provide proof of your vaccination status. We'll be performing audits of this documentation.

Managing COVID-19 cases on campus

Our community has a high rate of vaccination. Island Health does not regard UVic as a high-risk setting.

As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the broader community, there will be cases on our campus. Our plans and protocols are designed with this in mind.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 are required to stay home and follow guidance from public health.

UVic provides self-isolation space for students living in on-campus housing.

Contact tracing

With Omicron's unique characteristics the provincial health officer (PHO) advises that contact tracing is no longer a sustainable or effective public health intervention.

The public health case and contact management process has shifted and now relies primarily on self-management of individual cases. Public health will still respond to outbreaks, especially in high-risk settings.

The best and most current information about self-management and notifying close contacts is available from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC).

Privacy

Your privacy will be protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

The university will only provide identifying information to the health authority as requested, and in accordance with current Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) guidelines. Public health has indicated that it is very unlikely at this stage in the pandemic that it would be necessary to notify the university community of a COVID-19 case on campus. However, if this becomes necessary all effort will be made to protect the identifying details of the ill person. Information provided to the University of Victoria may be used and disclosed to only those University of Victoria employees as needed for the same purposes.

Cleaning & additional safety measures

We've implementing enhanced daily cleaning and disinfecting in higher occupancy spaces including indoor common areas and classrooms.

Hand sanitizer

We are continuing to supply hand sanitizer stations at all main entrances to buildings, and have added more stations in buildings with higher occupancy levels, to promote hand hygiene.

Building air quality & ventilation

We’re taking steps to further improve indoor air quality as part of our COVID-19 health and safety planning.

Travel safety

All university-related international travel remains restricted. Approval is required for all international trips.

Where travel is allowed, you're expected to understand the risks and restrictions in place at your destination.

Find COVID-19 travel safety information for students, faculty and staff.

Wellness resources

For students

  • Book an appointment with the Student Wellness team (counsellors, physicians, spiritual care providers and more)
  • SupportConnect is a free and confidential 24/7 mental health service for UVic students.
  • Graduate students who have a valid BC MSP number are eligible to use telehealth services to talk to a licensed physician online or over the phone.
  • There are many community resources for health and wellness available to you throughout the Greater Victoria area.

For faculty & staff

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