Institutional announcements

BCCDC releases updated public health guidelines for post-secondary institutions

November 06, 2023

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released updated public health guidelines for post-secondary institutions detailing communicable disease prevention measures. Read the key elements of the BCCDC guidelines below: 

Health Awareness: Staff, students and visitors should stay home if they are sick and unable to participate in their regular activities. Administrators should support this by communicating how important it is to not come to school when sick. 

Per CDC guidance, employees will not be required to provide a note from a health care provider (i.e., a doctor’s note) to confirm the health status of any individual experiencing symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness, unless otherwise stipulated by collective agreement , medical accommodation, academic concession or policy provisions. Institutions are encouraged to follow accommodation and academic concession mechanisms to ensure students who cannot participate in academic activities due to illness, are not disadvantaged in their educational pursuits. Learn more about academic concessions, here.

Hand Hygiene: Institutions are encouraged to support good hand hygiene by facilitating regular opportunities for students, staff, and visitors to wash or sanitize their hands. 

Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings: Where there are no health orders in place, the decision to wear a mask remains a personal one, based on individual preference. Staff, students, or visitors may choose to wear a mask or face covering throughout the day or for certain activities. The choice to practice additional personal prevention measures should be respected. Information on non-medical masks is available from the BCCDC. 

Vaccination: Students and staff are encouraged to ensure they are up to date on all recommended vaccines for communicable diseases. 

Vaccines are available to all faculty, students, and staff, including international students and their families. The BCCDC has specific information on getting vaccinated for students new to B.C. from other parts of Canada and internationally. In partnership with public health officials, post-secondary institutions are encouraged to share with their community evidenced based information about and opportunities to be vaccinated.  

Some experiential learning placements (including practicum, clinical, and co-op placements) may require students to be vaccinated. This includes health sciences students working in certain health care settings as identified by the Order of the Provincial Health Officer. 

For further information related to health and safety in B.C., visit the resources below: 

  • WorkSafeBC - Information on vaccination and communicable disease prevention in the workplace 

  • ImmunizeBC - Evidence-based immunization information and tools for B.C. residents 

  • BCCDC – Additional guidance for post-secondary institutions