College and university students in B.C. can look forward to a relatively normal fall semester, based on the province’s newly-released guidelines for post-secondary schools.
As of Sept. 7, masks will be a personal choice and buildings and classrooms will return to full capacity, according to B.C.’s COVID-19 Return to Campus Guidelines.
Post-secondary institutions can fully reopen all common spaces and resume student activities such as sports events, concerts and parties. No indoor or outdoor spectator limits will be required, according to the guidelines.
“The pandemic has made the past year and a half difficult for post-secondary students and institutions, but now, thanks to vaccines, brighter days are right around the corner,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training.
“I am so thankful to students, faculty and staff for showcasing their professionalism, flexibility and compassion throughout the pandemic and I am excited for students to return to in-person learning this fall.”
The provincial government said it anticipates COVID-19 transmission will be low and serious infections will be less common by September. All British Columbians 12 and older will have had the opportunity to receive both vaccine doses by the end of August, according to the province.
The guidelines are designed to parallel B.C.’s four-step restart plan and highlight the importance of public health measures, such as daily health checks and hand hygiene, as well as classroom logistics and on campus student housing and dining services. On campus student housing providers can plan for full or close to full occupancy for the fall, according to the guidelines.
“We have made excellent progress with our provincial immunization program in B.C. That, along with declining case counts and low hospitalization rates, means we can gradually and safely move ahead with our restart plan, including in-person learning at our colleges and universities,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
“We will continue to carefully monitor any transmission episodes on campuses, just as we do with influenza or other respiratory illnesses this fall, to keep students, faculty and staff safe. This is something we have shown we can successfully manage in B.C.”