UBC Student Housing Response to COVID-19

Last updated: January 13, 2021.

Along with UBC, Student Housing has implemented plans to provide the best possible accommodation for our residents given COVID-19 challenges and that most classes will continue to be held online throughout Term 2, 2020-21. This website contains useful FAQs and resources and is being updated regularly following advice from provincial and federal health agencies.

Health and safety remains our first priority and we continue to work closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines.

New! The Government of Canada has just announced that effective January 7, 2021, air passengers 5 years of age or older will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. Learn more.

New rules are in effect in UBC Student Residences to help maintain the health and safety of our residence communities. Learn more.

On this page

Residence Availability

Winter Session Residence (First Year)

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we will have limited residence options. We recognize some first-year students may need to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for qualifying students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be adjusted to abide by health authority guidelines.

If you need to live on-campus for Term 2, learn more and complete the First Year Residence Eligibility Application. You can still submit an application and be considered based on availability.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year): Ongoing provision until further notice

UBC Student Housing will provide Winter Session accommodation for upper year and graduate students. Once Residence Offers are received, students will follow our normal protocol and will have a few days to accept and pay the first instalment of residence fees.

Year Round Residence: Ongoing provision until further notice

UBC Student Housing will continue to accommodate upper year and graduate students who call UBC home. We will continue to charge 2019-20 rental rates until further notice. Due to IT hurdles, we’ll do this by charging 2020-21 rates, and then crediting all accounts to bring the fee back to 2019-20 rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Health and Safety

NEW! I'm flying to Canada after January 7, 2021. Tell me more about the new requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada.

The Government of Canada has just announced that effective January 7, 2021, air passengers 5 years of age or older will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test, not a rapid antigen test. The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.

For more information please visit this update to our Before you Travel to Canada webpage.

Tell me more about the new COVID-19 Student Housing Health and Safety Rules. What will be required of me to help keep my community healthy?

New rules are in effect in all Student Residences managed by UBC Student Housing to help maintain the health and safety of yourself and others in the residence community. Compliance is mandatory; failure to follow the stated rules may result in residence standards action and/or termination of your residence contract and eviction from residence. Full details along with the rules themselves can be found here.

I’m feeling sick, what should I do?

If you are feeling ill, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, or lack of taste or smell), 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 here. Testing is available at the locations indicated on the British Columbia COVID-19 Collection Centres webpage.
  5. Self-isolate until your test results come back. If you require food, medication, or have other needs while isolating, 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.

Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, and contact your Residence Life Manager to alert us of your situation, and we will outline supports for you.

Additional details and resources can be found on our Covid-19 Residence Rules webpage here.

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

All travellers arriving to Canada are required by the Canadian Government to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days and to self-monitor for symptoms. This requirement includes UBC Student Housing residents arriving from outside of Canada, whether they are returning to campus or moving in for the first time.

Students moving into a shared unit (any space that shares a washroom and/or kitchen with another student) in a residence managed by UBC Student Housing, must self-isolate for 2 weeks in a different, private space before moving in to their shared unit space.

UBC offers self-isolation packages (accommodation and meals) for all students travelling to UBC from outside Canada. Packages include accommodation in a student residence for a maximum of 14 days, and three meals a day.

UBC Conferences and Accommodation (C&A) is also offering other self-isolation accommodation packages to any members of the UBC community (UBC Student Housing residents, other students, faculty, and staff) who need to self-isolate after arriving in Canada.

These packages include a number of on-campus accommodation options operated by C&A, plus off-campus accommodation in partnership with local hotels. Note that some options include meals, while others do not.

LEARN MORE AND MAKE A RESERVATION
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 during the Fall 2020 term. 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.

What residence amenities have been adjusted in response to COVID-19?

We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, and help create a healthy, safer and supportive community environment. Key adjustments may include:

  • Communal/common spaces may be temporarily closed or have seating removed. This includes fitness, music, study and meeting rooms, along with outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Larger community building events and activities will not take place, including team sport activities, musicals and more.
  • There may be limited opportunities and support for building communities.
  • Residence dining will be modified to mandate physical distancing.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is recommending but not enforcing physical distancing. As Vancouver Coastal Health reminds us, they “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.”

How is residence supporting physical distancing, hygiene and health protocols?
  • Residence staff trained to refer residents with cold or flu-like symptoms to HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, Student Health Services or their own health care professional.
  • Limited number of self-isolation units set aside for residents who are not local and have been directed by their health professional to self-isolate.
  • Additional signage in community and public washrooms and throughout residence buildings reminding residents, staff and visitors to wash their hands. View all our SHCS Covid-19 signs, posters and decals to date.
  • Elevator protocols have been adjusted and guidelines have been posted.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers in each Commonsblock and the residence dining rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Fitness, music, study, meeting rooms as well as common spaces are either closed or have had seating removed.
  • Outdoor recreational areas are closed. Some outdoor courtyard spaces remain open, but with the reminder to maintain physical distancing.
What are preventative measures I can take?

The advice from health agencies is:

  • 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.
  • Consider wearing a cloth or non-medical mask, as per advice from the BCCDC, in situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others for an extended period of time, such as when you are on transit, getting a haircut or visiting someone indoors.
  • Stay home when you are ill to avoid spreading the illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.
  • If you are ill, have symptoms of flu like a fever or cough, you should stay home.
How will you ensure my student doesn’t get sick?

Student Housing is taking 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 in a pandemic situation no one can ensure safety from sickness.

Can I access your official COVID-19 Safety Plan for Residence Commonsblocks?

General enquiries

The first day of Winter Term 2 has been changed from January 4 to January 11, 2021. Can you answer my questions about this Winter Break Extension?

These FAQs should help answer many of your questions. Please contact us if you require additional information.

I’m moving into UBC Student Housing in January 2021. Where can I find information about moving in and what are you doing differently this year?

You can find basic information about moving into UBC Student Housing here. Information about your actual Move-in Day is here (don’t miss the video that walks you through the move-in process). All incoming January 2021 Winter Session Term 2 residents will receive two emails with important information about moving in, including adjustments we are making in response to COVID-19. The first email will be deployed in early December. The second email will be deployed in late December.

Can I still apply for housing for Term 2? What are my options? Tell me more about applying for Year Round Residence.

If you are a first year student, you may still be eligible to apply for housing for Term 2. Please visit this webpage.

If you are not a first year student and interested in either Year Round Housing or Winter Session Housing (Walter Gage, Fairview Crescent, Ritsumeikan-UBC House and Ponderosa Commons (Cedar) House), you can submit an application online. You must meet the eligibility requirements for these residences. You will be placed on a waitlist and offers will be dependent on availability. More information on this page.

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 an Enrolment Service Advisor.

Will there be first year residence spaces for Term 2?

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we continue to have residence options. We recognize some first-year students may wish to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for eligible students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be adjusted to abide by health authority directives.

ACTION REQUIRED: For your housing application to be considered for Term 2 (Jan-Apr 2021), you must complete the First Year Residence Eligibility Application by Saturday, October 31, 2021.

here.

With most classes going online, what are the academic eligibility requirements to live in student housing?

Students will be required to be enrolled in at least 9 credits each term (in-person or online) to maintain their eligibility for student housing.

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. 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, we will maintain your position on our waitlist upon request. 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 related to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Why are Year Round and some Winter Session residences open, but not all First Year residences?

First Year traditional residence facilities and programs are intentionally designed to be communal and emphasize shared experiences in shared spaces. In a typical year, most first year students live together in close quarters, eat together in large residence dining rooms, and spend time together in communal study, social and recreation rooms. Most first year residences have community bathrooms shared by 30+ people. While in normal circumstances these shared spaces are advantageous, they now make meeting physical distancing and other public health expectations overly challenging.

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we continue to have residence options. We recognize some first-year students may need to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. If you wish to live on-campus, please click here and follow the application instructions. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be limited to abide by health authority guidelines.

Upper Year residence generally houses upper year students, graduate students, and students with families. These apartments and townhouses are home to smaller groups of students and are more akin to a small household bubble.

Wearing Masks

Where do I need to wear a mask in residence?

You are required to wear a non-medical mask in shared indoor spaces such as lobbies, hallways, corridors, stairwells, elevators, laundry rooms, study and meeting spaces, lounges, common kitchens, fitness rooms (except in Orchard Commons), games rooms, and in the residence dining servery area.

Where do I NOT need to wear a mask in residence?
  1. In your private residence unit (also includes shared apartments, townhouses and connected single rooms).
  2. When you are the sole occupant of an enclosed room on residence property.
  3. One or more of the additional exemptions. See COVID-19 Residence Rules #11 “Exceptions to Mask Wearing Requirements” for guidance.
Do I need to wear a mask in my unit?

No. If you are a UBC Student Housing resident, you are not required to wear a mask in your private residence unit (also includes shared apartments, townhouses and connected single rooms).

Do my guests need to wear a mask in my room?

See COVID-19 Residence Rules #8 “Hosting Guests” for guidance. If your roommate(s) prefers that you host guests in your private room only, then your guests would wear their mask until they are inside your room.

Some staff working in residence don’t always wear a mask. Why is that?

Employees of UBC Student Housing and Community Services, guest speakers and other third-party service providers are not governed by these COVID-19 residence rules but are governed by a different sets of COVID-19 Rules which are compliant with the guidelines of Public Health Authorities and may differ from those that apply to residents. By example, staff working in offices or behind plexiglass at the Front Desk are in a private workspace, and able to physically distance. They may choose to not wear a mask so they can speak clearly to those they’re helping – in person and on the phone. When their work takes them outside their office or the Front Desk, they will typically put on a mask.

Who can I contact regarding mask wearing exemptions?

First, please review COVID-19 Residence Rules #11 “Exceptions to Mask Wearing Requirements” for guidance. If you still have question, contact your Residence Life Manager.

Physical Distancing and Core Bubbles

What is physical distancing?

As defined by the BC Centre for Disease Control, physical distancing means limiting close contact with others by keeping two meters (six feet) away from one another. While living in residence, it is important that you take care to maintain physical distance with those who are outside of your core bubble.

What is a core bubble?

Since residence is your home away from home, we know that you may choose to establish a core bubble while living in residence this year. A core bubble includes members of your immediate household or 1 or 2 others if you live alone. Learn more about core bubbles.

Who can be part of my core bubble?

Because our communities in residence are much larger than a typical household, it is very important to consider who in residence might be part of your core bubble. Think carefully about who are the few people that you are likely to come in closest contact with while living in residence. Examples may include your assigned roommate, someone who you are in a romantic relationship with, or a very close friend.

Am I allowed to interact with others outside of my core bubble?

Yes, it possible to be social with others outside of your bubble. Under the current Public Health Order, ways to be social with others outside of your core bubble can include talking on the phone and having a video chat with friends or loved ones.

Offers

What do I need to know before I accept my First Year Residence offer?

If you have received an offer, before you accept, we also want you to understand that, in light of the ever changing dynamics of COVID-19, it is not possible to offer you a “typical” residence experience. We ask that you adjust your expectations so that you can make an informed choice. We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, to help create a healthy, supportive and safe community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal.

Please ensure you are familiar with our current COVID-19 Residence Rules (subject to frequent change) as you consider your residence offer.

Key adjustments include:

  • Our traditional residence Houses will be closed, reducing the first year community by 3,000 students. Only single rooms will be available.
  • Communal/common spaces may be temporarily closed or have seating removed. This includes fitness, music, study and meeting rooms, along with outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Larger, in-person community events and activities will not take place, including team sport activities, musicals and more.
  • There will be a reduced number of residents overall, and reduced opportunities for building communities.
  • The Residence Meal Plan will be modified: less selection of food and physical distancing protocols mandated in the dining room.

Due to COVID-19, additional travel restrictions are in place. International students who are abroad must fulfill specific criteria to be eligible to travel to Canada at this time.

Additionally, if you are arriving from outside of Canada, whether returning to campus or moving in for the first time, the Canadian Government requires you to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days and to self-monitor for symptoms.

If you are moving into or returning to a shared unit (any space that shares a washroom and/or kitchen with another student), you must make separate accommodation arrangements to self-isolate in a different, private space before moving into or returning to your shared unit.

UBC Conferences and Accommodation (C&A) is offering a variety of self-isolation accommodation packages to any members of the UBC community who need to self-isolate after arriving in Canada.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with the recommendations of public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is recommending but not enforcing physical distancing. As Vancouver Coastal Health reminds us, public health authorities “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.

Please find additional details and FAQs above.

What do I need to know before I accept my Upper Year Winter Session Residence offer?

If you have received an offer, before you accept, we also want you to understand that, in light of the ever changing dynamics of COVID-19, it is not possible to offer you a “typical” residence experience. We ask that you adjust your expectations so that you can make an informed choice. We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, to help create a healthy, supportive and safe community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal.

Key adjustments may include closing common spaces such as fitness, music and study rooms, or canceling in-person community building events and activities.

Please ensure you are familiar with our current COVID-19 Residence Rules (subject to frequent change) as you consider your residence offer.

Due to COVID-19, additional travel restrictions are in place. International students who are abroad must fulfill specific criteria to be eligible to travel to Canada at this time.

Additionally, if you are arriving from outside of Canada, whether returning to campus or moving in for the first time, the Canadian Government requires you to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days and to self-monitor for symptoms.

If you are moving into or returning to a shared unit (any space that shares a washroom and/or kitchen with another student), you must make separate accommodation arrangements to self-isolate in a different, private space before moving into or returning to your shared unit.

UBC Conferences and Accommodation (C&A) is offering a variety of self-isolation accommodation packages to any members of the UBC community who need to self-isolate after arriving in Canada.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with the recommendations of public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is recommending but not enforcing physical distancing. As Vancouver Coastal Health reminds us, public health authorities “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.

Please find additional details and FAQs above.

Cancellations, Refunds, Waitlists and Reapplications

Winter Session Residence (First Year)

If you have accepted an offer for a first year residence, and would now like to cancel your contract (regardless if you have moved in or not), please submit a cancellation request online. If you have moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until the day you move your belongings and check out of residence. If you have not moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until we receive your online cancellation request.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year)

If you had an accepted offer through the Residence Allocation Process, and no longer would like to be considered for a possible Term 2 Winter Session offer, please go online and submit a cancellation request. Your $250 deposit will be refunded to you.

If you have accepted an offer for Upper Year Winter Session Residence and would now like to cancel your contract (regardless if you have moved in or not), please submit a cancellation request online. If you have moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until the day you move your belongings and check out of residence. If you have not moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until we receive your online cancellation request.

Year Round Residence (Current)

Now that classes in Term 2 (Winter) will be mostly online, we know you may be interested in or required to adjust your accommodation plans. As such, we’ve modified several policies:

  • Typical cancellation policies will apply for cancellation requests submitted after September 30, 2020.  For more information about cancellations and refunds visit this page
  • We have extended the typical summer subletting policy/procedure into Term 2. 
Year Round Residence (Applicants)

Waitlisted YRH applicants who cancel their application (or do not accept their residence offer) are not eligible for a refund of their $50 application fee. For more information about cancellations and refunds visit this page.

Why is the $50 Residence Application Fee non-refundable for upper year residents?

Residence application fees continue to be non-refundable because UBC is still offering student housing for upper year students. We are anticipating that a number of upper year students will continue to seek housing on campus for the fall term. As a result, we will be continuing to send residence offers for September, and our typical refund policy with respect to application fees will stand.

Exception: Residence application fees for First Year Residence (Winter Session) will be refunded only if we are unable to open First Year Residence by Jan 2021.

If I cancel my application can I maintain my place on the waitlist (original application date)?

Winter Session Residence

If you cancel your application, you will not maintain your place on the waitlist. Please contact us if you are only interested in a Term 2 offer. Please update your Winter Session application to preference only the residence areas and room types you will accept if offered.

Year Round Residence

If you cancel your application, you will not maintain your place on the waitlist. You are able to go online and adjust your preferred occupancy date.

If I decline an offer can I maintain my place on the waitlist?

Winter Session Residence

Typically not. Please update your Winter Session application to preference only the residence areas and room types you will accept if offered.

Year Round Residence

Typically not. Please contact yearround@housing.ubc.ca for more information.

Checking out of residence

If I’ve cancelled my contract and am no longer in Vancouver, what options are there to support me with removing belongings from my residence room to complete my checkout from residence?

There are many third party storage/moving companies located in Vancouver that can support you with the removal and storage of belongings that remain in your residence room. Some of these companies include:

Once you have secured a service to remove your belongings, you can complete a designated move-out form. This form allows you to note the contact information of a friend who can meet the storage/moving provider at your designated pick-up time and accompany them to your residence room. By completing and submitting this form, your residence front desk will grant your friend temporary access to your unit at the time of your move.

Please remember to return your keys once you have fully moved out of your residence room. If you are planning to mail your keys back to your respective residence front desk, the mailing address can be found on our Contact Us web page.

If you are unable to find someone to meet a third party mover or have additional questions regarding how to fully check out of residence, please contact your Residence Life Manager.

Subletting

How does subletting work?

If you are a UBC Student and meet all eligibility factors, you may be able to sublet a space from a Year Round Housing resident. If you accepted a Year Round Housing contract, you may be able to sublet your space to another eligible UBC student. Find subletting guidelines, resources, required application form for authorization, and access to the UBC Sublet Forum on our subletting webpage.

Due to classes being mostly online during Term 1 (Fall) and Term 2 (Winter), we have extended the typical summer subletting policy/procedure to the end of April, 2021 (Date TBA).

With most classes going online will I be able to sublet for non-academic related reasons for the school year?

Students will be required to be enrolled in at least 9 credits each term (in-person or online) to maintain their eligibility for student housing.

I am currently subletting my unit and my sublessee wants to stay there. Can I still cancel for the end of December?

You can submit a cancellation online at any point in time. However, to be exempted from normal cancellation fees and to receive a pro-rated refund, you must cancel by September 30, 2020and your residence room must be vacated by December 23, 2020.

The sublet agreement is between you and your sublessee. Depending on the agreement you have in place with your sublessee, you may choose to discuss a contract termination arrangement.

Students who continue to seek on campus accommodation may be eligible for Winter Session Housing or sublet from another student living in residence. Please note, this year our typical subletting policy/procedure will be extended into Term 2. More information will be provided in the near future on our website.   

Additional Questions?

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Residence Life Manager who can direct you to help.

We also understand this is a challenging time for many and we are here to support residents. This support includes our Counsellors in Residence who remain available for students looking for support and opportunities to chat during these unprecedented times. Find out how to make an appointment.

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