Aug 24, 2021

As we complete preparations for the upcoming semester, the health and safety of our community is at the forefront of all our planning. As we have all experienced over the past year and a half, COVID-19 continues to be a challenging and ever-changing situation that requires flexibility and considers input from our community, health experts, and government. 

In the past 24 hours there have been important new orders from the Provincial Health Officer which impact post-secondary institutions: 

1. New Mask Mandate 

This morning the PHO announced that masks will once again be required in all indoor public spaces in BC, including in common areas of  post-secondary campuses. Indoor public spaces include classrooms, labs, studios, study spaces, hallways, elevators, lobbies, cafeterias, indoor event spaces, and stairwells. Masks will also be required once again on public transit. This mask order provides all of us with an added layer of protection and supports a safe fall return. This temporary order comes into effect on Wednesday August 25, until further notice.  

Exemptions to the mask mandate include: 

  • People with health conditions or with physical, cognitive or mental impairments who cannot wear one 

  • People who cannot remove a mask on their own 

  • Children under the age of 12 

  • People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to another person's hearing impairment  

2. New BC Vaccine Card 

Yesterday afternoon the PHO announced that proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services, and businesses in BC. This order applies to such activities on post-secondary campuses. Proof of vaccination will be required to attend indoor performances and sports events, to participate in varsity or intramural sports, and to attend indoor student club meetings. Starting September 13, to participate in these activities you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and by October 24, you must be fully vaccinated. 

We know you have questions about exactly which activities on campus will require proof of vaccination and how that will work. We expect to be able to provide more detailed guidance soon when we receive revised Return to Campus Guidelines from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training shortly.  

The BC Vaccine Card underscores that vaccination is the most important tool in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from COVID-19. We continue to encourage all those who can get vaccinated, to do so as soon as possible. Information about how to get vaccinated is available from the Government of BC.

Vancouver Coastal Health has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and our Medical Health Officer has identified the College as an area of low risk. We are encouraged by the high vaccination rates reported within our own community: 85% among students, and over 90% of employees have, or intend to, receive their vaccinations based on those who responded to the survey.

3. Remaining in Stage 3 of the BC Restart Plan 

Yesterday afternoon Premier Horgan indicated that it is highly likely that BC will not be moving to Stage 4 of the BC Restart Plan on September 7, as was previously expected. This means the Fall 2021 semester will begin under the guidelines in effect for Stage 3, including:

  • As above, masks are mandated in indoor public spaces on campus.

  • Careful social contact (but physical distancing not required).

  • If sick, stay home and get tested.

  • Daily health check before coming to campus.

  • Regular hand hygiene.

  • Continuation of enhanced cleaning and ventilation.

  • Communicable Disease Plan replaces our COVID-19 Safety Plan.

We recognize that there is anxiety for some about returning to campus in September, and we hope these additional measures provide some reassurance. We welcome these steps, which together support a safe and productive Fall 2021 semester at Langara College. We look forward to seeing you back on campus soon.