Students on campus now required to complete COVID-19 student safety training modules

Amidst the surge of cases among young people in British Columbia and the widespread return to campus, UBC has released Canvas modules for campus residents and those taking in-person classes must complete.

The modules are mandatory for that group of students and UBC is keeping track of students who have completed them, according to Matthew Ramsey, UBC Media Relations’ director of university affairs.

The modules were designed to “help UBC students stay safe by following provincial directions on reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission,” according to the main page on Canvas. They reiterate UBC’s new non-medical mask mandate, effective September 16. Additionally, they outline the mental and physical health resources for students and residents alike amidst the virus.

The modules also remind in-person class participants of the stringent steps to curb the virus, like marked seats for safe distance and thorough disinfection of classrooms and laboratories. Notably, the modules emphasize the dining guidelines at Open Kitchen like limited sitting time and occupancy and a cornucopia of floor signage.

However, residences have been open throughout the pandemic. When asked about the timing of the release, Ramsey said it “made more sense to release [the modules] at the start of the new school year with the most up-to-date health guidelines that we have for our new students who are coming into residence or are beginning classes on campus.”

Ramsey also emphasized that despite the release date of these modules, UBC has been communicating COVID-19 guidelines to staff and the student body through emails and announcements since the beginning of the outbreak.

Completing the modules did not require much time and effort, according to first year Shaan Hooey and second year Art Saarloos, both of whom live on campus. Both students, however, did not seem to think that the modules were helpful in informing the guidelines.

“Personally, I do not think I gained any information. It was mostly a refresh,” Saarloos said.

Nonetheless, both students expressed their confidence in UBC’s efforts to mitigate the virus with Hooey saying that while UBC should do more with regard to high-touch surfaces, “relative to all other universities I have seen so far, I think UBC has done an exceptional job.”

Saarloos echoed Hooey’s positive sentiment, saying that UBC “has been doing enough.”