UBC extends indoor mask mandate until June 30

UBC is extending its indoor mask mandate until June 30.

Following the province dropping its mask mandate early last month, UBC announced on March 10, 2022 that it would continue its mask mandate until April 30, 2022. President Santa Ono and Vice Chancellor and Principal of UBC Okanagan Lesley Cormack announced the mandate extension in a broadcast message earlier today.

“As there are now signs of further Omicron variants and increased case numbers, experts have indicated that BC is about to enter into a sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the pair wrote.

“This decision was based on evidence that masks are a simple, but important, way to continue to provide all members of the UBC community with an added layer of protection. They also provide an additional layer of protection for our most vulnerable among us.”

According to the university’s UBC Campus COVID-19 Rules — which Ono and Cormack linked in their broadcast message — non-compliance with the mask mandate and other COVID-19 guidelines on campus could result in academic hold or deregistration for students, as well as a temporary suspension or unemployment for faculty and staff.

The province dropped the mask mandate on March 11, 2022 due to falling hospitalizations and a high level vaccination, said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“Our goal has always been to have the minimal number of restrictions in place and together, we’ve done what is right at the right time, and now we are in a place where we can once again adjust our approach,” Henry said on March 10.

Since then, calls have grown to reinstate the provincial mask mandate due to continued risk driven by the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant.

The AMS has kept its mask requirement in the Nest without a set end date after the province dropped its mandate.

Ono and Cormack encouraged community members to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

“We also encourage you to show empathy and support for your friends and colleagues, understanding that everyone has different circumstances as we move through this pandemic.”