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COVID-19 – Looking ahead to September on campus

Posted on June 17, 2021

A message for VCC employees from Surinder Aulakh, Director, Safety, Security & Risk


On Monday, June 14, Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province is moving to Step 2 of B.C.’s four-step Restart Plan, and that we are on track for moving to Step 3 on July 1.  

The information from the PHO is very encouraging — that by the end of summer, we can expect COVID-19 cases to be low and vaccine rates to be high. 

At VCC, staff and faculty should expect a return to on-campus activity in September, and the successful advancement to Step 4 of the Restart Plan. 


Over the summer, VCC will be focusing on the following strategies which support B.C.’s Restart Plan: 

  • extending remote work until August 1, and beginning the transition in August for a full return in September;
  • completing Departmental Safety Plans; and
  • producing and distributing a Return to Campus Employee Handbook from People Services.

There will also be a college-wide Town Hall in July that will outline our strategies and requirements for returning to campus in September. Details to follow. 


About B.C.'s Restart Plan

B.C.’s four-step Restart Plan was designed based on data and guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the PHO.   

The criteria for moving to Step 4, and subsequently enabling B.C. colleges to return to full on-campus operations, is that more than 70 per cent of the 18+ population be vaccinated with a first dose, and that the province has low COVID-19 case counts and low hospitalizations.  

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B.C's Restart Plan table

About Step 4 of B.C.'s Restart Plan: 

  • The earliest date we can move to Step 4 is September 7, 2021.
  • Masks in public indoor settings will be a personal choice.
  • Normal social contact is safe.
  • If you or anyone in your family feels sick, please stay home and get tested immediately.

PHO message for post-secondary

Last month, PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry also spoke with post-secondary leaders about how vaccine effectiveness has reinforced confidence in a safe and full return to campus for colleges and universities in the fall.  

We encourage all VCC employees to take the time to watch this recorded meeting to get a better understanding of what campus life will look like this fall. 


Returning to VCC campuses in September

Our top priority is and always will be safety, and we are committed to following the direction of the PHO and complying with WorkSafeBC regulations. 

Over the summer, our main focus will be to ensure a full return to on-campus operations for September. We will continue the transition of some instructional programming to blended or online delivery, providing it has the approval of educational governance and school leadership. 

While there have been many lessons learned over the past 16 months, any future operational changes should be done in concert with VCC People Services and approved by the executive team. 

Vaccines

Just as VCC encourages everyone to get their flu shots and take measures to keep themselves safe and healthy, we strongly encourage our entire community to follow the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.

Vaccines do more than protect the people getting vaccinated, they also protect everyone around them. The more people in a community who are immunized and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread.

Find information about B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccinations and learn how to register at gov.bc.ca/covid-19.

Safety and support

We’re looking forward to having everyone return to campus this September, and will be working with departments to start easing employees back onto campus over the summer, all while adhering to PHO guidelines.  

We know there will be many questions as we move closer to September. Although this is exciting for many, we understand that for some employees, returning to campus may also cause anxiety. We are looking at opportunities to support employee questions.  

The upcoming Return to Campus Employee Handbook from People Services will also provide clarity on moving to a full recovery this fall.  

Stay safe and well, and please look for further updates from the college and your departments in the coming weeks.  

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Regards,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security & Risk
Vancouver Community College 

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Key points:

  • VCC is currently preparing for advancements into Step 3 and Step 4 of B.C.'s Restart Plan.
  • The PHO is confident that vaccines will be widespread by September and a full return to campus will be possible.
  • The earliest we can move to Step 4 of the Restart Plan is September 7, 2021.
  • Safety remains our top priority; employees will receive a Return to Campus Employee Handbook, and a Town Hall will be held in July.

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