UBC Student Housing COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated: September 27, 2021

Along with UBC, Student Housing has implemented plans to provide the best possible accommodation for our residents given COVID-19 challenges.

Health and safety remains our first priority and we continue to work closely with governmental and post-secondary partners within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines. Please note that our typical array of amenities and services may be temporarily adjusted due to health and safety directives.

If you are travelling to Canada please visit UBC’s Travelling to Canada During COVID-19 web page for important resources and updates.

The BC Restart Plan and UBC Campus Return Plan

We know the COVID-19 pandemic has been forefront in the world over the past year and a half. Recognizing that, we want to take a moment to focus on where things are at regarding COVID-19 in British Columbia and at UBC Vancouver right now.

We anticipate this may help you to best prepare and shape your expectations for campus and residence this fall. Below is a summary of what we currently know, and we appreciate that we will all need to be adaptable and flexible—as we continue to transition away from the unusual circumstances of the past year and a half and also in case of other changes in the months to come.

Managing a communicable disease

British Columbia is currently in Step 3 of 4 in the provincial Restart Plan, and the government ended the pandemic state of emergency on June 30, 2021, shifting instead to managing a communicable disease. Across the province, various restrictions from formal health screening tests to physical distancing measures are no longer required.

Campus will be bustling

UBC has significantly adjusted current and upcoming operations to once again reflect the provincial direction. As those of you currently on campus are undoubtedly aware, activity has picked up significantly with UBC gradually returning to on-campus activity, as outlined in the Campus Return Plan. Personal gatherings in residence are now permitted, just as they were before the pandemic started. For September 2021, we anticipate that classes, campus activity and residence will look very similar to pre-pandemic circumstances.

Watch a recorded webinar for UBC students about the return to campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

General inquiries

I’m moving into UBC Student Housing. Where can I find information about moving in?

Learn more about moving into residence at UBC in our Moving In guide.

I have concerns related to the payment of my residence fees, who can I contact for help?

If you would like to discuss a payment plan, our Assignments team is here to help. Please see the list of emails below and contact the one most appropriate for your residence area.

If you’re facing financial hardship or have questions around your finances, speak to your Enrolment Service Advisor.

Tell me more about applying for Year Round Residence.

Student Housing offers over 5,000 Year Round Residence spaces in 8 different residence communities that feature a wide variety of room types and suite/studio configurations. Annual contracts began May 1, 2021. If you don’t require 12-months of housing, you may be able to sublet to another eligible UBC student during the summer. If you are interested in this type of accommodation, we recommend that you apply immediately.

If you receive a contract offer and decide not to accept it and request an alternate move-in date, upon request we will maintain your position on our waitlist for one additional offer only. Please note, however, that demand for student housing remains high and continues to exceed our housing supply. As a result, we cannot guarantee you will receive another offer by your requested start date and it may be challenging for you to secure student housing. If you wish to change your move in date, please email us at yearround@housing.ubc.ca.

Where can I find more information about student supports and resources at UBC related to COVID-19?

Travelling to Canada/UBC

Students travelling to Canada/UBC should stay current regarding the Canadian government’s requirements for COVID-19: travel, testing, quarantine and borders.

If you are planning to complete your quarantine (self-isolation) stay at UBC, find information about UBC’s Self-Isolation Packages. Please inquire about a reservation as soon as possible, since availability is limited.

It is critically important to note the following:

  • Even if you anticipate qualifying for the fully vaccinated quarantine exemption, the Government of Canada still requires that you have a quarantine plan. As per the Travel website, everybody needs a plan “in case you don’t get the exemption.”
  • As per our COVID-19 Residence Rules, residents in UBC Student Housing are not permitted to quarantine (or self-isolate) in a shared living environment. In other words, if you live in or are moving into a shared suite, that cannot be your quarantine plan. If you are moving into a room (single, connected-single, shared) in Orchard Commons, Place Vanier or Totem Park, that cannot be your quarantine plan.

Visit UBC’s Travelling to Canada During COVID-19 web page for details and updates.

I am arriving from outside of Canada. Can I access a COVID-19 vaccination at UBC?

Free COVID-19 vaccinations are available to all incoming UBC students. Please note that you do not need a BC Personal Health Number, a BC Services Card or to be enrolled in BC’s Medical Services Plan to receive a vaccine.

I’m moving into UBC Student Housing and will need to quarantine (self-isolate) for two weeks. Can you help?

Yes. Please refer to the UBC Vancouver Self-Isolation website to learn more. UBC offers self-isolation packages (accommodation and meals) for all students travelling to UBC from outside Canada. On- and off-campus packages include accommodation for a maximum of 14 days, with three meals a day. Space is limited, so book early.

It is critically important to note the following:

  • Even if you anticipate qualifying for the fully vaccinated quarantine exemption, the Government of Canada still requires that you have a quarantine plan. As per the Travel website, everybody needs a plan “in case you don’t get the exemption.”
  • As per our COVID-19 Residence Rules, residents in UBC Student Housing are not permitted to quarantine (or self-isolate) in a shared living environment. In other words, if you live in or are moving into a shared suite, that cannot be your quarantine plan. If you are moving into a room (single, connected-single, shared) in Orchard Commons, Place Vanier or Totem Park, that cannot be your quarantine plan.
LEARN MORE AND MAKE A RESERVATION

COVID-19 residence rules and safety

What are the current COVID-19 Residence Rules?

COVID-19 Residence Rules are in effect in all student residences managed by UBC Student Housing to help maintain the health and safety of everyone in the residence community.

Do students need to be vaccinated to live in residence?

The Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia has issued the Post-Secondary Institution Housing COVID-19 Preventive Measures Order which applies to UBC Student Housing.

This order requires residents to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and to provide proof of vaccination to UBC by September 23, 2021.

Residents who do not comply with these requirements must wear a face covering at all times while in residence buildings – except when they are in their bedroom.

This order applies to all UBC Student Housing residents, except:

  • residents who live in Acadia Park student family housing
  • residents who live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment in a residence without a required meal plan.

To read the complete residence rule regarding vaccination requirements and UBC Student Housing, please see sections 13–16 of the COVID-19 Residence Rules.

How is residence helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?
  • Promoting the importance of getting double-vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • Promoting resident and staff use of the Rapid Testing Clinic on campus.
  • Promoting COVID-19 and other contagious illness prevention strategies (e.g., good cough etiquette, clean hand hygiene and staying home if ill).
  • Residence staff are trained to refer residents with cold or flu-like symptoms to HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, Student Health Services or a student’s own health care professional.
  • A limited number of self-isolation units are set aside for residents who are not local and have been directed by their health professional to self-isolate.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed in each Commonsblock and the residence dining rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.
For parents: How will you ensure my student doesn’t get sick?

Student Housing continues to take measures that align with guidance from health authorities and help create a healthy, safer and supportive community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal. Please appreciate that when it comes to communicable illnesses, no one can ensure perfect safety from sickness.

COVID-19 prevention, assessment, testing and communication

What are preventative measures I can take?

The advice from health agencies is:

  • Be double-vaccinated before you arrive to campus or as soon as you are able after arrival.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • If a sink is not available, 60-90% alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer) can be used to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol-based disposable hand wipe to remove the dirt and then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Do not touch your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow, and then wash your hands.
  • As per the current public health order, wear a cloth or non-medical mask in public indoor settings, including shared common spaces in residence.
  • Stay home when you are ill and/or have flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or cough, to avoid spreading illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
I’m feeling sick, what should I do?

If you are feeling ill, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or think you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, follow these steps:

  1. Stay home.
  2. Check your symptoms.
  3. Use this self-assessment tool to determine your next steps (be that visiting a clinic, testing facility, emergency department, etc). Testing is recommended for anyone with cold-, flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.
  4. Need to be tested for COVID-19? Learn more about the process. Testing is available at the locations indicated on the British Columbia COVID-19 Collection Centres webpage.
  5. If you are directed to self-isolate and require alternate accommodation, food, medication, or other resources, contact your Residence Life Manager to alert us of your situation, and we will outline supports for you.
  6. If you test positive, public health will get in touch and give you instructions on how to self-isolate.
Do I need to participate in UBC's Rapid Testing Program?

UBC requires COVID-19 rapid testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Learn more about UBC’s Rapid Testing Program and Proof of Vaccination at COVID-19 Rapid Testing.

What will happen if a resident contracts the virus while living in student housing?

A number of self-contained suites have been set aside for residents in the event of illness that may require self-isolation/quarantine support. If this occurs, we will work closely with Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure all safety precautions are taken for ill individuals and other residents. Student residents who are ill are asked to contact their Residence Life Manager for more information.

Will I be told if another person at UBC or on my floor/house/residence is diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19?

In the event of a confirmed case, information would be provided to the public by the relevant health agency, according to their protocols. Typically, contacts of confirmed cases would be contacted by public health to discuss precautions.

Wearing masks

Do I need to wear a mask in residence?

UBC students, staff, faculty and visitors are required to wear an appropriate face covering when in indoor building common spaces such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, washrooms, study spaces, and common areas.

An appropriate face covering means either:

  • a medical or non-medical mask
  • a tightly woven fabric that covers the nose and mouth

A clear plastic face shield (of any size) is not considered an appropriate face covering.

You and your guests are expected to where a face covering at all times when inside buildings on residence property unless:

  • you are inside your private residence unit (includes shared apartments, townhouses and connected single rooms), or
  • one or more of the exceptions outlined in Section 10 or Section 11 of the COVID-19 Residence Rules applies.

Please note that more stringent face covering requirements will apply to unvaccinated residents. For more information on face covering requirements for unvaccinated residents or guests, refer to sections 7, 13 and 15 in the COVID-19 Residence Rules.

To read the complete residence rule regarding face coverings (i.e., masks), please see sections 9–11 of the COVID-19 Residence Rules.

Indoor personal gatherings

What do I need to know about parties and social gatherings in residence?

First year residents: As per your residence contract (3.20) parties are not permitted in residence. A party is defined as having seven or more people present, alcohol being consumed, and noise loud enough to attract attention from or distract others.

Upper year residents: As per your residence contract (Appendix II – “Guests, Visitors, and Parties”), parties have to be pre-registered for staff approval via a Function Responsibility Form (FRF). This requirement has been in place since long before the pandemic and helps ensure that one person’s party isn’t unreasonably disruptive for others in the community.

Having guests visit your unit is always a privilege that comes with responsibility. For residents in shared units, it is important to have constructive conversations with your roommates about expectations for both hosting guests and expectations of guests when visiting your shared suite.

Offers

What do I need to know before I accept my residence offer?

Please ensure you are familiar with your residence contracts, in particular the residence standards and our current COVID-19 Residence Rules (subject to change), as you consider your residence offer.

Additional questions?

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

If you live in residence, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Residence Life Manager who can direct you to help.

We also understand there will be challenging timse for everyone at university, and we are here to support residents. This support includes our Counsellors in Residence who remain available for students looking for support and ways to develop new coping strategies. Find out how to make an appointment.

If you’re facing financial hardship or have questions around your finances, speak to your Enrolment Services Advisor.