AMS closing the Nest until further notice to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Update April 3, 2020: Following guidance from BC health authorities, the AMS has announced the Nest will remain closed past the original date of April 14 until further notice.

The Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) and AMS Tutoring will remain accessible to students online and over the phone. The AMS Food Bank will continue to operate on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. But, due to the recent closure of the Life Building, students are asked to call the Food Bank ahead of time.

Additionally, students remain covered by the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. But if a student contracts COVID-19 and requires medical attention, the expenses will be covered by the primary health care provider — not Studentcare.

The AMS has just announced the Nest and the society’s offices will be closed from March 17 to at least April 14 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In an email sent to clubs and constituencies on March 16, AMS VP Administration Cole Evans confirmed that student clubs will have from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. on March 17 to retrieve personal belongings from club offices. Club offices and lockers will be inaccessible to clubs and constituencies during the closure period.

“This action is being taken on the recommendation of health authorities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reads the email.

A statement released today on the AMS’s website confirms that some student services will continue to operate while others have been suspended to abide by social distancing recommendations.

AMS Safewalk, Vice, Speakeasy, eHub and Tutoring have suspended operations for the time being. SASC has suspended in-person services and events but will continue to offer survivor support over the phone. AMS Advocacy services will be available online, while the Food bank will be open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Please note that [the Food bank’s] stock of perishable and non-perishable items may be in low supply, as we depend on availability of items at supermarkets, and donations,” reads a statement on the website.

Evans further explained that room bookings for events have been cancelled until April 14. Bookings scheduled for after that date are still on and AMS staff will communicate with clubs at a later date if the closure extends past April 14. The AMS is also recommending that clubs cancel all in-person events.

Clubs will not have to host in-person annual general meetings (AGM) and elections as generally required by AMS code, though clubs are encouraged to “use whatever means necessary” to hold online substitutes. Quorum requirements for these meetings are waived because of the outbreak.

Evans also announced that new physical reimbursements will not be processed until April 14 as the AMS financial offices will be closed, but all existing reimbursements have been completed.

“The AMS Finance Department is working on a digital solution that involves our e-transfer system. Please stay tuned for instructions,” reads the statement.

At the last AMS Council meeting on March 11, Council passed a motion asking President Chris Hakim to commit to writing a report on the AMS’s contingency plans for the COVID-19 outbreak.

The AMS previously announced on March 13 that they would be cancelling all events with over 250 people in attendance — Block Party 2020 among them. This news came after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix recommended large gatherings be postponed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that same day.

The email also included tips and resources for staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19. Evans also wrote that their policies could change as more information about the virus’s spread comes to light.

“The AMS is in close communications with UBC to ensure we are staying up-to-date with any developments from the University to address and prevent COVID-19,” reads the email. “We will work to ensure that students are kept updated on any decisions that may occur.”

This is an evolving story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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