Step 3 of BC’s restart plan: What this means for VIU

viu campus view student mask
Author: VIU's Department of Health and Safety Services

On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, the BC government shared the good news that BC can safely move into Step 3 of the four-step restart plan as of July 1, 2021. The Return-to-Campus Guidelines were also released by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training today (Monday, July 5). These guidelines, which parallel BC’s four-step restart plan, outline what students and employees can expect as they return to campus this fall. We will be sharing out these guidelines through the Digest and the Pulse so students and employees can continue to become familiar with them. 

While we will be sending out further communications about what Step 4 looks like for VIU in coming weeks, we are changing VIU’s health and safety protocols effective immediately as we move into Step 3 of VIU’s Restart Plan.

The key changes are: 

  • Mask-wearing is now highly recommended, rather than mandatory, at all indoor public spaces and classrooms at VIU campuses and facilities. VIU recommends continuing to wear a mask when you are indoors with people you don’t know, or with people who have not proactively shared their vaccination status, even if you are fully vaccinated. Some areas on campus will continue to REQUIRE the use of masks, such as the VIU Hairdressing Salon and VIU Dental Clinic, until those industry-standards change. Please see this graphic on our Mask Protocol and FAQs website for more details. 
  • While it’s no longer necessary to fill out the VIU Safety App’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment before coming to campus, it remains crucial for both employees and students to conduct self-checks and stay home when sick. If you are looking for a tool to help you check for symptoms, the Safety App tool remains available.  
  • Barriers will continue to be in place at public-facing service desks, and directional arrows to control traffic flow will remain in place in certain areas.
  • VIU will be transitioning from COVID safety plans to an institutional-level communicable disease plan over the next month. Instructors will be notified when their safety plans no longer apply. Please continue to follow your current academic safety plan until that time. Once the communicable disease plan is released, new COVID safety plans will no longer be required. The key elements of communicable disease prevention that we must follow now are:
    • following routine cleaning practices;
    • maintaining personal hygiene such as sneezing or coughing into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hand, and following regular handwashing/hand sanitizing practices;
    • supporting employees and students to stay home when they are sick;
    • supporting employees and students to receive vaccinations for vaccine-preventable diseases; and
    •  maintaining adequate ventilation. 

For more information, visit WorkSafeBC’s Communicable disease prevention webpage. VIU is currently updating its communicable disease plan to align with this new WorkSafeBC information. COVID updates will continue to be shared in the Digest or Student Pulse enewsletters, including details of our plan. 

  • If you are planning an indoor or outdoor event or activity, follow Step 3 of VIU’s Restart Plan. Information is available on the Safe Eventspage. 

A good summary of Step 3 guidance is on the provincial government’s Golden Rules for Everybody infographic. As restrictions ease this summer, we want to remind you to be considerate of others as we all navigate these changes. Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to wearing masks and social interactions such as shaking hands and personal space.

Please review Step 3 of VIU’s Restart Plan for more details. If you have further questions, please contact safety@viu.ca.

Updated mask guidance for Step 3 infographic