Credit: Ben Nelms/CBC

The University of British Columbia is icing most of its on-campus learning for the start of the spring semester in order to deal with the “rapidly evolving challenges associated with the Omicron variant.”

“We have learned throughout the pandemic our need to be nimble and prepared to change our course,” said Santa J. Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor, in a statement.

“This decision will provide certainty for our students and allow time for faculty and staff to prepare course materials and student supports and services to ensure that excellent teaching and learning activities are maintained in all delivery modalities.”

Classes will begin as scheduled on January 4 or 10, depending on the program, and select courses will remain in-person with “appropriate safety protocols in place.”

UBC will provide further details on specific programs and courses in advance of their start date, says Ono.

Campuses, student housing, student services, and all libraries will remain open, and the university hopes to return to fully in-person learning on January 24, although it will “continue to monitor the situation closely.”

The school’s decision follows a new set of province-wide restrictions forcing all gyms, fitness centres, bars and nightclubs to close, as well as banning indoor organized gatherings, cancelling sports tournaments, and implementing constraints on indoor dining.

“We’re all exhausted — and ready to be done with this global pandemic,” said BC Premier John Horgan on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, it’s not done with us.”

Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard

Reporter (BC)

Reid Small is a BC Reporter for the Western Standard and West Coast Standard based in the Vancouver Bureau. He has worked as a freelance photojournalist and in independent media.

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