Important COVID-19 updates for private and public post-secondary institutions

  1. Revised Provincial Health Officer order – Mass Gathering Events 

Earlier this week the Provincial Health Officer amended an order restricting gatherings and events involving 50 people or more.

The revised order is available here.

The order has been revised to clarify that it does not apply to students, faculty or instructors at post-secondary institutions when engaged in educational activities.

Important to note:

  • Educational activities does not cover all activities at PSI campuses.
  • Exemption of educational activities from the order does not mean institutions no longer have to take precautions against COVID-19 transmission in educational settings.
  • Though technically the revised order applies now, it is intended to support institutions in their academic planning for Winter semester starting January 2021 given than most institutions already have their Fall semester plans finalized.
  • The Ministry and key individuals from the Go Forward Guidelines committees are meeting over the next few weeks with the Provincial Health Office to work out key definitions and details of how the revised order can be translated into operational practices on campuses.
  • The outcome of those meetings will be summarized as an update to the July 31, 2020 of the Go Forward Guidelines and posted on the website of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and sent to you via email.
  1. Go Forward Guidelines for BC Post-Secondary Institutions in the Context of COVID-19  

New guidelines were released today to help post-secondary institutions operate while minimizing the risks associated with COVID-19.  A statement from the Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is attached for reference.

The guidelines are hosted for the BC post-secondary sector on the Ministry’s public website

These guidelines will assist post-secondary institutions develop their mandatory COVID-19 Safety Plans outlining the policies and procedures in place for their respective institutions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

By order of the provincial health officer, COVID-19 Safety Plans must be posted at the worksite and be made available to a health officer or a WorkSafeBC officer upon request.

The guidelines were developed by a panel of senior educational, administrative, and occupational health and safety experts from the public post-secondary sector.  The process included consultation with representative Indigenous education groups, key student associations, major post-secondary labour organizations and senior representatives from private post-secondary and degree-granting institutions.  They outline protocols for delivering education, conducting research and administering on-campus services.

  1. Post-secondary guidance posted on WorkSafeBC website 

WorkSafeBC has developed their own guidance document posted on their website here.  Their guidance was developed based on the Go-Forward Guidelines.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response.