Planning for 2021/22 Winter Session

February 24, 2021

Further to the UBC Broadcast on January 13th which announced arrangements for the 2021 summer session, I would now like to provide more details regarding the planning process for 2021/22 winter session teaching and learning. Many other activities must be addressed including: expanded research resumption; increased staffing levels; safety planning; events; and so forth. As we learn more from the Public Health Authorities about what to expect in the coming months, we will turn our attention to these additional, critically important elements of our work and play at UBC.

Vaccination programs are underway, yet many uncertainties remain as to how the coming months will play out. Our intention is to start planning for a significant increase in in-person activities on campus – including more face-to-face instruction for the 2021/22 winter session – to the extent that it is safe and practicable to do so. Planning for that is underway, but we will be prudent and plan for various course-scheduling scenarios that will permit different levels of in-person instruction.

To preserve maximum flexibility, we are planning for the following two scenarios:

  1. Scheduling general teaching space (GTS) up to full (100%) capacity for all courses, to allow for in-person instruction, should physical distancing expectations be relaxed; and
  2. Scheduling general teaching space at one third capacity, to accommodate some smaller classes, with the balance online – allowing for in-person instruction where current physical distancing expectations are met.

Heads and Directors, in consultation with their instructors and Dean, can plan for remote instruction irrespective of these two scenarios, dependent on the course, and in situations involving specific COVID-19-related health vulnerabilities.

Individual faculty members, in consultation with their Head/Director or Dean, can plan for remote instruction irrespective of these two scenarios, dependent on the course and in situations involving specific COVID-19-related health vulnerabilities.

Last year, we announced the university’s decision regarding instruction for 2020/21 winter session term 1 in mid-May, and we plan to follow a similar timeline in reaching a decision regarding 2021/22 W1. This will allow sufficient time for students to select and register for courses according to the published timetable.

Between now and that time, we will continue to pay close attention to the evolving course of the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine developments and the immunization campaign. Will we also consult with and follow the guidance of public health officials and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Over the last year, our entire community of faculty, staff and students has invested enormous efforts in navigating, and tackling the challenges brought about by COVID-19.

I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks for all that you continue to do to support the university’s core activities during this extraordinary time.

Andrew Szeri
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

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