Return to campus planning updates

September 02, 2021

The vaccination survey results in this message have been updated as of September 3rd.

As we approach the beginning of the fall term, we continue to prepare our campuses for the return of students, faculty and staff. It has been heartening to see groups of students taking campus tours this past week.  Our return to campus plan for the fall includes layers of protection to help keep our students, faculty, staff and visitors safe, including additional safety measures in response to the recent rise of cases in BC. We continue to work with public health to follow their guidance on mandatory masks, declaration of vaccination status, pop-up vaccination clinics and rapid screening on campus. 

We will be providing updates regularly with as much information as we have. Please keep in mind that more detail will come and that we will continue to refine protocols and respond as needed. 

Vaccination is the best defense

Preliminary results from the vaccination status survey launched on August 27 are very promising. Among respondents choosing to declare their vaccination status:

  • 96.4% of faculty and staff and 90.1% of students are fully vaccinated
  • 98% of faculty and staff and 95.2% of students have received at least one dose of the vaccine
  • 1.1% of faculty and staff and 1.8% of students indicate they are unlikely to get vaccinated

1.7% of faculty and staff, and 1.2% of students chose not to disclose their vaccine status.

To date, 67% of faculty and staff and 53% of students have completed the survey. The survey remains open and I encourage you to participate using the link provided in your inbox if you have not already. 

Response to our on-campus vaccination clinics has been positive, and I am heartened to see members of our community taking this important step. More clinics are scheduled and I encourage those who are not yet fully vaccinated to make a plan to do so. This is the most important thing you can do for your own safety and the safety of those around you. Proof of vaccination will also be required for access to non-essential activities at SFU as we apply the BC Vaccine Card in accordance with public health. 

Masks are mandatory in all indoor common spaces

You are required to wear a mask in all indoor common and learning spaces, including classrooms. Come to campus prepared with a non-medical mask. Disposable masks are also available from Student Central in Burnaby and at the information desks in Vancouver and Surrey. 

A very small number of individuals may have an approved exemption from wearing a mask. It is important to remember that some individuals cannot wear a mask for valid medical reasons. Be kind and reserve judgement. There are processes in place to oversee mask compliance in learning spaces, including what instructors can do in the case of a student who is not properly wearing a mask in a classroom. These processes have been provided to instructors. Individuals should not confront or challenge others regarding masks. Any questions about safety or compliance should be submitted using the COVID-19 safety reporting form.

Declaring your vaccination status

Next week we will launch a third-party website to gather vaccination status data of our campus community. The website will be accessible from your smartphone or desktop. The process is confidential, the data is secure and SFU will not have a record of your personal information. All members of the SFU community, including, faculty, staff, students and those who plan to visit one of our campuses are required to register and make a self-declaration.   

The site will ask you to enter your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, that is the only step required. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will receive information on how to schedule a vaccination and get rapid screening. The website also allows for symptom screening, and we will encourage members of the SFU community to use the site to regularly self-monitor.

We are working with public health to renew our on-campus rapid screening pilot. As we determine next steps, we will refer those who need testing to local testing centres. This element of our planning is underway and we will provide more information as we have it. 

Everyone is going at their own pace

Some will return to campus next week energized and excited; others will be managing many details in their personal lives; and some will be struggling with the current reality and the impact of the past 20 months. Be patient with one another. Look for ways to support one another and extend compassion. You never know what someone else is dealing with, and how much kindness can help. 

If you need support, don’t hesitate, reach out. Resources for mental health and well-being are available.

More information

Visit the Return to Campus website, which is being updated this week with the latest information. Have questions about our return to campus? Email


Joy Johnson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Simon Fraser University