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Universities told to be ready for on-campus studies in the fall

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It will be back to campus for university students in the fall.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry today advised the presidents of all public colleges and universities to prepare for a full return to on-campus education this September.

“This year has been incredibly hard, and I’ve heard from many students, faculty and staff who are eager to return to campus when it is safe,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “That’s why I’m encouraged by Dr. Henry’s advice that a return to in-person instruction can be done safely this fall for all students, staff and faculty. In fact, it’s important to do so for people’s well-being.

“I also know some people will be feeling nervous. Your safety is our top priority. At every step, we’re going to be working with Dr. Henry and all our partners to make sure the right measures are in place to keep people safe.”

It’s a move that is being welcomed by the BC Federation of Students.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news to so many students who have struggled to be successful in an untested online learning environment while managing the health, safety and economic realities of the pandemic,” said Tanysha Klassen, Chairperson of the BC Federation of Students. “We welcome the opportunity to engage with public health officials and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to ensure that the return to school is a positive experience for the entire post-secondary system.”

Last year, the ministry worked with health and safety experts, student groups, labour, Indigenous partners and post-secondary institutions to develop the Go Forward Guidelines that enabled the current hybrid model of post-secondary education: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/aest_postsecgoforwardguidelines.pdf

“In the coming weeks, we will use that same successful process, working with Dr. Henry’s office, the Steering Committee for the post-secondary COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines and experts from across the post-secondary sector to plan for a safe return to in-person learning this fall,” said Kang. “The guidelines will provide high-level guidance to post-secondary institutions for a safe resumption of on-campus learning. Institutions will then work with their local medical health officer and WorkSafeBC to develop more detailed safety plans for each institution.

“While we update the guidelines to ensure on-campus safety, I encourage students and families to start planning for in-person instruction on a campus of their choice in September.”


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