Mar 8, 2021

Dear students,

This afternoon the Honourable Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education Skills Training, announced that Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO), has advised post-secondary institutions to prepare for a safe resumption of on-campus education this fall. The decision to return to campus is based on science and supported by the expert advice of our public health officials. That advice considers the latest information about the Province’s vaccination plan, which indicates that all adults in British Columbia who want the vaccine are likely to receive it this summer. 

Our community has shown remarkable resilience throughout the pandemic. We pivoted swiftly to online learning last spring and then persevered through a tough fall and winter with limited social interactions and many missed celebrations. While I appreciate your determination to continue your studies remotely, I know it has been challenging. Our focus throughout the pandemic has been on the health and safety of our community while supporting our students to continue their studies. Given that we expect it will be possible to safely return to campus this fall, doing so will greatly benefit our collective health and wellbeing. Young adults have experienced significant negative impacts on their mental health, financial stability, and future opportunities caused by the pandemic. A thoughtful, safe, return to campus will help meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of our community. 

So, what does a thoughtful, safe return to campus look like? For some weeks now, led by our interim Vice-President Academic, Margaret Heldman, leaders across campus have been working on plans for the fall academic semester. With this new direction provided by the PHO and Minister Kang, that planning will be refined and finalized for fall registration to open on June 21. While we anticipate the majority of courses and course modules will return to in-person instruction, we will not lose sight of those students who may have discovered an appreciation for the flexibility of online learning, or those who may not be able to arrive in Vancouver by September to start their studies in person. To that end, tomorrow morning we are launching a brief survey for students on the topic of returning to campus this fall, and I encourage you all to complete it, to help guide our planning.  

Post-secondary institutions will work with Dr. Henry to update the sector’s Go-Forward Guidelines to provide high-level guidance on how students, faculty and staff can safely return to campus. This work will be done in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, the Provincial Health Office, student associations, labour representatives, Indigenoupartners, and the Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Training. Once those guidelines are provided, Langara will update our COVID-19 health and safety plans, and our EOC will continue to update you on what to expect as our plans for being on campus evolve. 

There will be much more to share with you all over the coming months. While uncertainties remain, we are so pleased to be planning to be safely together again, soon. 

Sincerely,

Lane Trotter 
President and CEO

As always, your feedback and questions can be sent to us at covidquestions@langara.ca.