UBC Student Housing Response to COVID-19

Last updated: June 23, 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 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. 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.

Residence Availability

Winter Session Residence (First Year): Full provision planned

UBC Student Housing plans to provide Winter Session (September to April) accommodation for eligible first-year residents in all our first-year residence communities for fall 2021. Students will follow our normal residence application process.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year): Ongoing provision

UBC Student Housing will provide Winter Session accommodation for upper-year and graduate students. Once students receive a residence offer, they will follow our standard protocol and will have a few days to accept and pay the first instalment of residence fees.

Year Round Residence: Ongoing provision

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 2021-22 rates and then crediting all accounts to bring the fee back to 2019-20 rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

General inquiries

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

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

All incoming Winter Session residents will also receive direct emails with important information about moving in, including adjustments we may make in response to COVID-19.

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.

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 at UBC related to COVID-19?

Travelling to Canada/UBC

Starting July 5, 2021, at 11:59 EDT, fully vaccinated travellers who have received vaccines approved in Canada will be exempt from the 3-night government hotel stay, quarantine, and day-8 COVID-19 test, if meeting eligibility criteria. UBC’s Travelling to Canada Guide will be updated shortly.

See the news release for details.

Tell me about the Federal Government's 3-day hotel quarantine requirements.

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

What happens after my mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine stay?

Once travellers receive a negative result on their arrival test, they can leave their government-approved hotel, take a connecting flight if required, and complete the remainder of their mandatory 14-day self-isolation. If you are planning to complete your self-isolation stay at UBC, find information about UBC’s Self-Isolation Packages. Please make your reservation as soon as possible.

Travellers who test positive for COVID-19 will be relocated to a designated quarantine facility.

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

I’m travelling to Canada by air. Tell me about the new COVID-19 testing requirements.

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.

Upper-year or graduate students arriving over the summer: Unless you have received other, specific information from UBC, please register online through the BC provincial registration system.

Undergraduate students arriving in August/September for Term 1: If you have not yet been vaccinated, UBC can provide you with your first shot while you are quarantining and your second shot at the appropriate time. If you have already received your first shot and are waiting for your second shot, UBC will provide the best possible option for your second shot when appropriate, in accordance with the latest guidelines from Canadian health authorities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Residence Rules.

Do students need to be vaccinated to live in residence?

While UBC is not requiring vaccinations to live on campus at this time, the safety of every person in residence is our priority. Living in residence, especially in our first-year communities, requires the communal use of washrooms, lounges, dining halls and public areas in a densely populated environment. Vaccines are among the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

As our Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has made clear, the gradual relaxing of social restrictions depends on enough people being vaccinated. We strongly encourage all members of the UBC community to receive a vaccination as soon as they are eligible.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in Canada and at UBC.

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, have room occupancies limited or have seating removed, including 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 accommodate 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 guidance.

How is residence supporting physical distancing, hygiene and health protocols?
  • 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.
  • Additional signage in community and public washrooms and throughout residence buildings reminding residents, staff and visitors to wash their hands.
  • Elevator protocols have been adjusted and guidelines have been posted.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed in each Commonsblock and the residence dining rooms.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Fitness, music, study, meeting rooms and other common spaces may be temporarily closed, have room occupancies limited or have seating removed.
  • Outdoor recreational areas may be closed. Some outdoor courtyard spaces remain open, but with the reminder to maintain physical distancing.
Can I access your official COVID-19 Safety Plan for Residence Commonsblocks?
For parents: 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 complete safety from sickness.

COVID-19 prevention, assessment, testing and communication

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 with someone indoors.
  • Stay home when you are ill and/or have flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or cough, to avoid spreading the illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.
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. 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.

Can I get rapid tested for COVID-19 at UBC?

Yes, all on-campus UBC Student Housing residents are eligible to participate in UBC’s rapid testing program.

Learn more on the Rapid COVID-19 Testing website.

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

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 indoor personal gatherings

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 in public settings.

What indoor personal gatherings are permitted?

As you may know, our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the government of British Columbia recently announced a gradual, four-step restart plan, and we are now permitted to host up to 5 people for an indoor personal gathering.

Given this development, we are revising the COVID-19 Residence Rules, effective immediately:

  • Up to 5 guests may be hosted at one time in your unit. For greater clarity, that does not mean 5 guests per resident.
  • For residents in shared units, it is no longer required that your guests be hosted only in your bedroom.

To be clear, this update does not mean that any indoor gathering is acceptable.

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. We have not approved any FRFs in over a year, and that is not going to change just yet. We will send another update when we are prepared to once again consider approving FRFs.

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 guest expectations and to be respectful of how and why another person may have a different comfort level with guests at this time. As Dr. Henry highlighted, some people will feel more encouraged than others by the recent announcement. That’s why it is especially important to respect each other’s boundaries.

Offers

What do I need to know before I accept my residence offer?
Reminder: First Year residence offers are generic and do not specify your residence area and room assignment. Accepting your offer guarantees you a space in First Year residence. You will receive your specific residence area and room assignment in mid-August.

Before you accept we want you to understand that, in light of the changing dynamics of COVID-19, throughout the year there may be changes to residence practices and policies in response to public health guidance. We ask that you adjust your expectations for your residence experience in anticipation of this and 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 safer 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:

  • All of our First Year Residences will be open. These residences include shared rooms (double-occupancy), communal washrooms and communal dining rooms. First-year residents should anticipate the possibility of being placed with a roommate in a shared room and/or using a communal washroom.
  • Other communal/common spaces, such as fitness, music, study and meeting rooms, along with outdoor recreation spaces may be temporarily closed, have seating reduced or removed, or room occupancies adjusted.
  • In-person events and activities will be modified to align with current public health guidance. Modifications may include reducing event size and having protocols in place to support physical distancing.
  • Residence dining room layouts and seating will be modified to align with current public health guidance and current UBC safety plans.

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.

Currently, 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. Air travellers are currently also required to book a 3-day hotel stopover.

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 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.

Cancellations, refunds, waitlists and reapplications

Winter Session Residence (First Year)

Once offers for First Year residence are sent and accepted, if you cancel your contract (whether or not you have moved in), please submit a cancellation request online. Standard cancellation policies apply.

If you are cancelling due to issues with travel restrictions or student visas, please provide this information in your cancellation request. It will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year)

If you have accepted an offer through the Residence Allocation Process or from the 2021 Winter Session waitlist and you would like to cancel your offer, please submit a cancellation request online. Standard cancellation policies apply.

If you are cancelling due to issues with travel restrictions or student visas, please provide this information in your cancellation request. It will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Winter Session Residence (Waitlisted Applicants)

Waitlisted Winter Session 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 our Cancellations & Refunds page.

Year Round Residence (Current)

If you have accepted a Year Round residence contract and you would like to cancel, please submit a cancellation request online. Standard cancellation policies apply.

If you are cancelling due to issues with travel restrictions or student visas, please provide this information in your cancellation request. It will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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.

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.

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.