A Safe Return to Campus this Fall

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August 27, 2021 - 1:00pm

Sent on behalf of Dr. Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor

All of us at VIU are committed to the health and safety of our community. We know that the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the province are concerning, which is why we have worked with our sector partners at the BC Association of Institutes and Universities (BCAIU) to engage with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and the Provincial Health Office to receive approval to implement a program of vaccine self-declaration for the fall for all employees and students. The result of these conversations was this press release shared last night by BCAIU.

As you can imagine, there are many details that will need to be finalized before the start of the fall term, including what accommodations (such as rapid tests) will be in place for those who cannot be vaccinated for health, religious or other protected reasons. Although it may have been preferable to have these details finalized, we wanted to let you know about this direction as soon as possible.

We will continue to share information in this rapidly evolving situation, including:

  • how you will be able to confidentially and securely declare your vaccination status.
  • what accommodations will be provided for those who cannot be vaccinated for health, religious or other protected reasons.

We are working through the details in consultation with our unions, the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union (VIUSU), and the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee. We believe that these initiatives plus those implemented by the Provincial Health Office will give us the confidence for a safe return to campus this fall.

Further to these steps, and to support people in getting their vaccines, we have arranged to have the VaxVan on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus on September 7, in the Royal Bank Plaza, outside Building 200 from 10 am - 4 pm. There will also be a vaccine clinic on the first floor of Building 255 in the multi-purpose room (170) from September 8 - 23, 10 am - 2 pm. We are working on confirming clinics for our other campuses.

These plans are a tangible commitment to the safety of our campus community. To facilitate planning, this afternoon you will receive an email to take part in an anonymous survey of our students and employees about the current rate of vaccination in our community. The survey should only take about two minutes, so please take part.

I recognize that this update will raise a lot of questions and we will share information with you in the coming days through email, the employee and student enewsletters (The Digest and The Pulse), on our COVID-19 update page, and on our social media channels.

Thank you for your ongoing feedback, support and patience as we work to support the safety of our community and a successful return to our campuses. We are grateful to our employee unions who are supportive of this initiative.

For inquiries please contact universityrelations@viu.ca.


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