VIU Campus Restart Fall 2021

VIU is currently in Step 3B of our Restart Plan, which follows the BC Restart Plan and the Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

VIU Restart Plan - Step 3B PHO Guidance

Daily Self-Administered Health Check

  • Stay home if sick
  • Employee training (WHMIS/Orientation)
  • Normal social contact
  • Routine cleaning
  • Personal hygiene
  • VIU Communicable Diseases Plan

New temporary order

  • Masks required indoors
  • BC Vaccine Card
Area Plan

Return to learning activities/ classes (in-person, online, blended).

Full classroom occupancy resumes.

Participation in VIU’s vaccine self-declaration program required to access all VIU campuses (this includes classrooms).


Gradually increase the number of employees working on campus.

Occupancy limits back to normal.

See indoor organized VIU events for rules on large meeting rooms.

Participation in VIU’s vaccine self-declaration program required to access all VIU campuses (this includes classrooms).

Organized VIU Events No event occupancy limits


New OrderBC Vaccine Card required to access events where there are more than 50 participants present.

  • Theatre/concerts
  • Gymnasium
  • Athletics
  • Indoor organized social events
  • Student clubs
Building Access

All VIU buildings are open!

Ventilation: Ongoing preventative maintenance.


Regional BC travel restrictions are in place (BC Interior).

Federal (Global Affairs Canada) Travel Advisories for non-essential travel have been lifted.

Student Services

All services re-opened with virtual options available in some areas

Vaccine self-declaration required to access all VIU campuses.

Vaccination disclosure required to:

  • Live in student housing
  • Participate in varsity athletics

BC Vaccine Card required to access:

  • Theatre/concerts
  • Gymnasium
  • Athletics events
  • Indoor organized social events (> 50 people)
  • Intramural athletics
  • Use gyms or recreation facilities
  • Attend student clubs
  • The Discovery Room
  • VIUSU student pub

VIU is currently in Step 3B of our Restart Plan, which follows the BC Restart Plan and the Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

VIU is currently in Step 3B

  • Continue to assess your health daily for illness before you come to campus. If you are sick, please stay home and get tested!
  • Vaccine cards are required for some VIU activities and locations
  • The VIU vaccine self-declaration process
  • Masks are required in all indoor public areas on campus, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms, labs and in spaces that are high traffic and/pr require close proximity to others. For more information see our VIU Mask Protocol and FAQs page. 
  • COVID-19 Occupancy Limits:
    • Offices: COVID-19 limits are no longer required! Departments can continue to increase the number of employees working on campus.
    • Meeting Rooms: 50 people, or 50% of the meeting room 'normal' occupancy, whichever is greater.
    • Classrooms: COVID-19 limits are no longer required! Please observe regular occupancy limits in classrooms.
  • Employee Training
    • WHMIS2015 training continues to be mandatory for all employees that handle chemicals, including cleaning products.
    • It's a great idea for all employees to complete the Health and Safety Orientation training since most of us have been away from the physical campus and the onsite procedures that go with that.
  • Maintaining a clean learning and work environment through routine cleaning processes


Return to face-to-face learning with some online and hybrid programming. 


  • VIU Sanctioned Events: (See full details in the Events and Meetings section below)
    • Approval is not required
    • BC Vaccine Card checks required for all events > 50 participants

  • Normal building access hours, 9am to 5pm for most buildings has resumed.
  • The Nanaimo campus library is accessible 24/7 with student/employee cards.


The VIU Gym is open! Vaccine Card required for entry. View current VIU Gymnasium information

Varsity Sport

Following viaSport Return to Sport 2.0.


  • BC residents can now travel freely throughout Canada
  • Regional restrictions may still apply; respect communities, make a plan before you leave and arrive at your destination prepared
  • VIU is currently reviewing VIU sanctioned international travel

Student Services

Daily self-administered health checks are a personal  responsibility of everyone that learns, works, or visits VIU. Students, faculty, staff and campus visitors are no longer required to confirm that they have completed the self-assessment prior to accessing our campuses. The VIU Safety app will remain available to the VIU community to conduct your self-assessment.

It remains crucial that any individual experiencing symptoms should stay home, and continue to consult the BC COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if COVID-19 testing is needed

If anyone has personal, health-related questions they are encouraged to contact 811 or their healthcare provider for medical advice as necessary.

Vaccinations: As per the Provincial Health Office, vaccinations are encouraged and a personal choice, but not a mandatory requirement to work at or attend on-campus courses at BC’s post-secondary institutions. VIU encourages employees and students to make sure that you are are up-to-date on your vaccines for all vaccine-preventable diseases.

Starting Sept. 13, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required in BC for people attending certain social and recreational settings. This requirement will apply to post-secondary on-campus student housing. Note: Must be fully vaccinated

COVID-19 Occupancy Limits: Directional signage and arrows: you will continue to see directional arrows to control traffic flow in some places on campus.

    • Offices: No longer observed - you can continue to increase the number of employees working on campus.
    • Classrooms: Please observe regular occupancy limits in classrooms.
  • Barriers: you will continue to see barriers in place at public-facing service desks.

  • Hand Washing: Frequently wash and or sanitize your hands.

  • Personal Hygiene: Sneeze or cough into your sleeve or a tissue. Remember to wash or sanitize your hands well after!

  • Cleaning and Sanitizing: VIU will continue to maintaining a clean learning and work environment through routine cleaning practices.

We are now in Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan.


VIU is following the BC Restart Plan, 2021 to guide the re-opening of organized events in a safe manner

Learning and student orientation activities, including assemblies involving the High School at VIU, are not events and are not subject to the current BC Public Health order related to events and gatherings, including occupancy limits and vaccine cards.

  1. To be defined as as event under the current BC Public Health order, the location where the event is to occur has existing seating or there is a defined Fire Code seating capacity. All VIU indoor locations have existing seating or a defined Fire Code seating capacity.

Food: If there is a food or drink station: 

a. hand washing facilities or alcohol-based sanitizers are within easy reach of the station;
b. signs reminding participants to wash or sanitize their hands before touching self-serve food, drink or other items, are posted at the self-serve station; and
c. high touch surfaces at the station, and utensils that are used for self- serve, are frequently cleaned and sanitized.

  1. Indoor Events
    1. Vaccine cards are required for indoor organized events with 50 or more people.
      • Mariners games or any other indoor sporting events taking place at our campuses
      • theatre and concerts at the Malaspina Theatre on the Nanaimo campus
      • any organized indoor social or recreational events at any of our campuses or facilities including parties (with or without food), conferences, trade fairs and workshops
      • extra-curricular activities not related to your course or program
      • Wedding receptions (Milner, etc.)
    2. Vaccine cards are not required for indoor organized events with less than 50 people.
      • Exception: adult indoor sports.
  2. Outdoor Events
    1. Capacity Restrictions remain for outdoor events with seating: No more than 5,000 persons, or 50% of the seated operating capacity
    2. If seating is not normally present at an outdoor location where the activity is to take place (e.g. being held in the VIU courtyard, Royal Bank Plaza, etc.), this is not considered an event. This would be considered a festival or a reception. 
    3. VIU encourages all organizers to ensure as much spacing as possible is provided for participants.
    4. A vaccine card is not required for outdoor events on VIU campuses.

Event Approval

VIU Internal Events

Events that are core to the academic learning functions of the university no longer require university approval to proceed provided the above conditions are met.

External Event Requests

All non-VIU event hosts or businesses wishing to use a VIU facility or outdoor location must receive approval from VIU first.

Please contact VIU directly to inquire about hosting your event at VIU this summer and fall.

VIU Staff Meetings

Staff meetings where there are only employees of the university present, are exempt from occupancy limits and the requirement to wear a mask provided the meeting is occurring away from public-facing areas of campus.

VIU meetings that include students or the public

If more than 50 people are present, there may be a requirement to check BC Vaccination Cards - please contact Health and Safety for assistance

Masks are required.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or are feeling sick, avoid contact with others and self-isolate at home, even if your symptoms are mild.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold.  According to BCCDC, key symptoms of COVID-19 include: fevers or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include: sore throat, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue or tiredness, headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. 

If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, use the BC COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help guide you on what to do.  If you have health questions, you can call your doctor or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1. The province of BC has also set up a dedicated COVID-19 hotline for non-medical questions at 1-888-COVID19.

What to do if you are ill

If you are ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please stay home and self-isolate in accordance with guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Do a self-assessment and follow the instructions provided in that self-assessment or call HealthLinkBC at 811. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse, seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department or by calling 911.You must remain off campus until you are medically cleared to end your self-isolation or when you meet the criteria set-out by the BCCDC.

If you become ill while on campus

If you become ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while on campus (e.g. in a classroom, lab, or workplace), please do the following immediately:

  • Put on a mask or face covering and isolate yourself from others (preferably outdoors) while waiting for transportation and while leaving campus.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands and avoid contact with others. Avoid touching doors, furniture, and other items while waiting or leaving campus.
  • Do not use public transit.
  • Please contact your manager or instructor to notify them of your absence as soon as you are able to.
  • Complete the BC COVID-19 Self-assessment
  • Get tested for COVID-19 as directed by a health care professional

If there is a COVID-19 case on campus

The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training recently released a sector-wide approach to COVID-19 case management, contact tracing and communication. For complete details, see page 7 of the COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for BC’s Post-Secondary Sector.

If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case on campus, Island Health will manage the notification process and directly notify those people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 as a close contact of the ill person.

VIU will work closely with Island Health when asked to notify the university community of any confirmed cases and when broad public notification is required. Please keep your contact information in Online tools up-to-date.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is the process used by the health authority to identify any close contacts of the ill person. Island Health leads this process.

Island Health will notify the ill person directly if their test for COVID-19 is positive. Notification of the patient and contacts is a priority and occurs as soon as possible after a positive test result becomes known. Contact tracing will identify any close contacts; these people will be notified directly by Island Health.  

The university will provide information to Island Health when asked as part of this process and when Island Health is not able to gather all information necessary during the contact tracing activity. Island Health follows strict guidelines to protect the privacy of the ill person during the contact tracing process.

The university will not conduct additional COVID-19 testing as the result of a positive case in a member of the university community. Any decision to conduct additional COVID-19 testing on campus rests with the health authority.


Your privacy will be protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

The university will only provide identifying information to the health authority as requested, and in accordance with current Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) guidelines. It may be necessary to notify the university community of a COVID-19 case on campus if there are broader safety considerations, but all effort will be made to protect the identifying details of the ill person. Information provided to Vancouver Island University may be used and disclosed on a need to know basis to only those VIU employees as needed for the same purpose.

Health and Safety Orientation

Most VIU employees have been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we return back to campus it's time for our VIU managers to re-orient their employees to the other hazards and risks that they may encounter in their jobs.

WHMIS 2015

This course is mandatory if you are handling chemicals at work. And since most of us will be using cleaning products more regularly now, it's required that the VIU WHMIS 2015 training course is complete.

Please talk to your manager about your job-specific training needs.

As of Wednesday, August 25, 2021, by order of the Provincial Health Officer, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout BC. At post-secondary institutions, this mask order will apply in all indoor public areas on campus, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs and in spaces that are high traffic and/or require close proximity to others.

This temporary order will be reassessed as the BC vaccine card requirement is fully implemented in certain social and recreational settings.

For more information see VIU Mask Protocol and FAQs

Remote Work

Returning to the Workplace

COVID-19 occupancy limits are no longer in effect so VIU will start to see more employees on our campuses.

Workstation Set-up

Make sure your desk is set up to fit YOU when you return. Assessments can be done in a variety of ways. Check out:

VIU has transitioned to a new VIU Communicable Diseases Plan. There will no longer be a need for departments to follow a COVID-19 Safety Plan. The VIU Communicable Diseases Plan focuses on basic risk reduction principles to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases on our campuses.

Please see the COVID-19 Vaccine Self-declaration information HERE