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(UPDATE: Jan. 12, 2022 @ @2:00PM): The University of British Columbia was set to welcome students back to both campuses on Jan. 24 following a temporary move online to protect individuals from COVID-19.
As of this afternoon, UBC has confirmed that the return to in-person learning will be delayed once again.
Now a majority of programs at both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses will remain online until Feb. 7.
"This decision was made in consultation with the Deans on both campuses, academic heads, and directors, student leadership, union groups, and associations," reads the UBC release.
"Faculties and academic units will provide further details on specific programs and courses. We will continue to assess the situation from the perspective of our students, faculty, and staff, and during the week of 24 January we will provide a further update regarding our full return to in-person teaching and learning."
While classes will continue online for the month of January, the University is recommending that students plan to make their return to campus in early February to resume in-class learning.
During this time, campuses remain open including student housing, student services, and all libraries. Research and scholarship activities on UBC campuses will also continue under current safety plans.
"We remain committed to the full return to in-person teaching and learning, and will provide further updates as soon as we can," said UBC.
"In the meantime, we would like to thank all our students, faculty and staff for responding quickly to facilitate this shift in educational delivery, in order to support UBC’s academic mission."
(ORIGINAL STORY: Dec. 22, 2021 @ 5:00PM): Due to the rapidly evolving situation associated with the new COVID-19 variant, the University of British Columbia will be moving classes temporarily online at both their Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.
As the winter semester approaches, UBC will start the term as scheduled on Jan. 4 or 10 (depending on the program) with most classes staying online until at least Jan. 24.
During this period, some courses, including those with clinical or other experiential, performance, or studio components will continue in-person with appropriate safety protocols in place.
Faculties and academic units will provide further details on specific programs and courses in advance of their start date.
In an open letter to Post Secondary Institutions across British Columbia, BC’s top Doctor, Bonnie Henry encouraged that students make the return to campus in the new year.
“At this time, public health experts in BC strongly recommend continuation of on-campus instruction for post-secondary institutions in January 2022.”
“Public health continues to monitor Covid-19 to ensure that safety measures are informed by evolving evidence. In the event that the recommendations need to change, the PHO will discuss with post-secondary institutions immediately.”
According to the Ministry of Health, moving to online instruction can be harmful as it is not an effective means of reducing transmission, which may result in increased time in higher-risk settings, and be detrimental to the mental health and wellbeing of students.
Yet President and Vice-Chancellor for UBC, Santa Ono, won't be taking any chances as they move forward with their transition to online learning for the time being.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update the community in the first week of the new year,” said Ono.
“Thank you to those who have continued to provide important services on our campuses and to everyone for continuing to support a safe environment at UBC. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy holiday season.”
During this time campuses will remain open, including student housing, student services, and all libraries.