UBC student union calls for stricter COVID-19 measures ahead of September return

UBC not mandating masks

The University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society is urging UBC to tighten up COVID-19 measures before the return to in-person learning this fall.

To date, UBC's guidelines state that students living in on-campus residences will not be required to be vaccinated, and masks will not be mandatory in indoor spaces like lecture halls.

The leaders of the AMS, which represents the more than 56,000 students who are currently enrolled at UBC, have written a letter to UBC executives and the board of directors, calling for change.

According to CTV Vancouver, the letter is asking university’s leaders to go beyond the province’s basic COVID-19 guidance.

“There is no doubt that the university is aligned with the public health office,” the letter reads. “There is also no doubt that it is unacceptable for UBC, an institution that prides itself as a leader across the country, to only be doing the bare minimum in ensuring the safety and security of its students, staff and faculty.”

In 2020, UBC mandated masks on campus before B.C. health officials did, but now the university says it will be aligned with provincial guidance moving forward.

"There are no vaccines in Canada that are mandatory, and it's been recommended that post-secondary institutions don’t introduce prevention measures that are different from those recommended by the provincial health officer,” said Matthew Ramsey, UBC’s director of university affairs.

“We are very much recommending and encouraging members of our community to get the vaccine,” Ramsey added. “That includes students, faculty and staff, but we are not making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.”

The University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University have also declined to make vaccinations mandatory.

-With files from CTV Vancouver

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