Masks will remain mandatory at UBC despite lift of provincial mask mandate

Masks will still be required indoors at UBC after the province lifts its mask mandate.

In a broadcast message sent on Thursday evening, President Santa Ono and Principal of UBC Okanagan Lesley Cormack said masks will be required until April 30, the last day of Winter Session term two.

“The latest changes indicate that while face coverings will be optional for people in all indoor public settings, individual organizations can choose to continue to require mask wearing on their premises. As such, UBC will continue with the current approach,” Ono and Cormack wrote.

Students participating in academic activities off-campus are still required to comply with those settings’ mask policies, such as health care settings, the pair added.

Earlier on Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that BC would lift the Public Health Order requiring masks indoors starting at midnight tonight. The order had been in place since August 24.

Along with the end of the province wide mask mandate, Henry announced that vaccination passports will no longer be required starting April 8. Currently, students living in residence are the only students bound by this order.

The AMS will also continue to require masks in the Nest. The society announced its decision on social media earlier today, citing the section of the order that states that “[i]ndividual businesses and event organizers can choose to continue requiring masks on their premises.”

Mandating masks when the province doesn’t isn’t a new policy choice for UBC or the AMS. Back in September 2020, the AMS announced that it would be mandating masks, despite the lack of a provincial order at the time. UBC quickly followed suit.

Over the summer of 2021 — when masks weren’t required for a short time — the AMS pushed for an indoor mask mandate before the return of in-person classes.

Ono and Cormack said UBC is “well-positioned” to re-introduce safety measures if needed and encouraged community members to get their booster doses.

“As we approach spring, we would also like to thank our students, faculty and staff for their commitment to the university. Let’s continue to support one another, and create a safe environment for all members of the UBC community,” they wrote.