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COVID-19 Update | December 2021

President's Office By Gillian Siddall

Posted on December 13, 2021 | Updated December 14, 2021, 1:28pm

Filed in Faculty, Staff, Students

An update from President Gillian Siddall.

Dear ECU Community,

As we approach the end of the Fall term and look forward to the spring, I want to provide an update on health and safety at the university.

We have been monitoring provincial data and vaccination updates as we plan for the Spring term, and want to share some recent information with you that is very reassuring.

  • Vaccination uptake is very high. In Vancouver Coastal Health, the region that includes Emily Carr University, 92% of people age 12+ are fully-vaccinated. These data come from the BCCDC COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard.
  • Vaccination rates in post-secondary settings are even higher. At UBC, more than 98% of staff, students and faculty are fully vaccinated. At SFU, 97% report that they are fully vaccinated. While ECU has not required our community members to attest to their vaccination status, our voluntary survey in September also found that our vaccination rate exceeded the average for our region.
  • Cases in post-secondary settings are very low. Since September 7, there have been very few COVID-19 transmissions identified in post-secondary settings in the Vancouver Coastal Region, which includes more than 200 campuses and over 90,000 students. These data reinforce that educational settings are very low risk.

    These figures underscore that Emily Carr is a safe environment for students, staff and faculty. In addition to our high vaccination rates, the university continues to operate under a Communicable Disease Prevention Plan, which has multiple measures designed to reduce the risk of illness on campus.

    As a result, we are confident that we can return to more in-person activities in the Spring 2022 term, including an increase in face-to-face instruction for students enrolled in hybrid courses.

    We are continuing to explore the possibility of requiring proof of vaccination or testing for ECU community members in the future, including staff, students and faculty. Our considerations are informed by ongoing discussions with employment groups, students, legal experts, and provincial authorities.

    We are not requiring proof of vaccination or testing for regular access to campus at this time, and will provide advance notice to the community if that changes. As always, our highest priority is your well-being and safety.

    Vaccine Status Survey

    In early September we sent out a survey to the community regarding vaccination status. With a response rate of more than 33%, we were reassured to see that 90% of participating community members reported being fully vaccinated.

    We are reissuing this survey to collect the latest information regarding vaccination rates in our community. This information will inform our health and safety planning, and we strongly encourage every employee and student to complete it.

    Getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National public health data confirms that the vast majority of new cases are occurring among unvaccinated individuals. The vaccine is safe, free, and effective.

    You can find information about getting vaccinated at the ImmunizeBC website.

    Spring Term Planning

    In November, we shared updates with faculty and students regarding the Spring 2022 term. We will continue to accommodate students who cannot travel to Vancouver by offering online-only courses. As part of our gradual return to campus, hybrid courses in Spring 2022 will include a minimum of 50% in-person instruction. All students will be expected to be back on campus by the Fall 2022 term for a full return to regular in-person instruction.

    If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at covid19@ecuad.ca. We will continue to keep you informed of all efforts to protect your safety throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.