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Frequently Asked Questions

SFU’s return to campus is complex and will be challenging for many of us. If you have a question, you’re not alone. Please view our most frequently asked questions below. We’ll update them regularly with new information. If you have have a community-specific question, please check-out our students, faculty and staff, research and alumni & visitor pages.

How will courses be delivered in the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 terms?

We will continue to put the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff first, while ensuring we are providing a high quality education.

In the Summer 2021 term, we will deliver mostly remote courses and have considered in-person instruction for experiential courses or components such as studios, labs, and seminars, where learning outcomes are compromised by remote delivery.

For Fall 2021, SFU is making a substantial return to our campuses in the fall, which means approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes will be in person, with safety plans in place. Not all courses will be delivered in person. The fall will be a transitional term.

What is SFU doing to ensure safety of the SFU community?

SFU will continue to follow public health guidelines and implement safety precautions recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC and the Provincial Health Office.

At present, SFU is taking precautions to prevent the spread by:

  • Only allowing on-campus teaching and research activities that have approved safety plans;
  • Notifying our community of the recommendation against travel outside of Canada at this time, and to self-isolate for 14 days from your return;
  • Promoting good hygiene practices among members of the university community (e.g., handwashing) and providing appropriate hand-cleaning facilities and alternatives like alcohol hand rubs;
  • Ensuring high-touch points are cleaned regularly;
  • Requiring that non-medical masks be worn in all indoor campus public areas, including entryways and atriums, hallways, stairwells, washrooms and study areas.

Is it safe to return to campus now?

Our work on campus is safe because of the safety plans we follow. The diligent work of the SFU community means that we have not had an outbreak on campus during the pandemic to date.

Please continue to be vigilant and stay safe. When your turn comes to get vaccinated, do so if you can. Vaccination is a critical part of protecting others, including our campus communities.

How will COVID-19 safety protocols be enforced?

The university, like all organizations, is required under public health orders to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety measures. All members of the SFU community are expected to comply with safety protocols set out in the SFU COVID-19 Go Forward Plan.

Any questions about safety or compliance should be submitted using the COVID-19 Safety Reporting Form. If you notice someone isn’t following safety protocols kindly and respectfully remind them of the protocols that keep us all healthy and safe. If you need further support please contact the supervisor or instructor responsible, or Campus Public Safety.

If you notice safety measure signs or hand sanitizing stations are missing, submit a Facilities Service Request or submit a request anonymously using the COVID-19 Safety Reporting Form.

Do I have to wear a mask while on campus?

Masks are required to be worn in all classrooms, shared study, work and research spaces, and indoor common areas on SFU campuses, in keeping with the Public Health Officer guidance. Common areas include building entryways and atriums, hallways, stairwells, washrooms, study areas, coffee shops, dining halls, fitness facilities, libraries, health centres student services areas and student residences. People who are not able to wear a mask for medical or other reasons are exempt and asked to be especially careful to maintain a safe distance from others.

What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Students, staff and faculty with flu-like symptoms should stay home. If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, try the B.C. government COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help guide you on what to do. B.C. has also set up a dedicated COVID-19 hotline for non-medical questions at 1 888 COVID19 or text 1 604 630 0300.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms self-isolate, get tested and follow the instructions from the Public Health Office. Visit the B.C. CDC website for more details on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, what to do if your symptoms get worse and how to end self-isolation.

If I need to self-isolate, who should I inform at SFU?

Students: If you live in residence, email Residence and Housing at housing@sfu.ca. Residence and Housing will provide further information and support. For any other support during self-isolation whether you live on or off campus please contact student_support@sfu.ca.

Staff and faculty: Please contact your supervisor or dean. Working from home may be an option but can be challenging in some instances depending on the nature of work. Options should be discussed with your supervisor.

What if you haven't received your second COVID-19 vaccine before you are expected to return?

We are in regular communication with provincial health officials, monitoring closely, anticipating changes, and planning for different outcomes. SFU will also continue to follow public health guidelines and implement safety precautions recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, and the Provincial Health Office.

We anticipate that some public health guidelines will be in place until a significant number of people in the community are fully vaccinated.  Our safety plans for returning to campus are based on these guidelines.

Everyone 18 years and older living in British Columbia, who is eligible to get a vaccine, will be able to get their first dose by the end of June. As more vaccines are delivered, many second doses will be available before September, and this will assist us greatly.

We have seen in other countries the effectiveness of the vaccines, even after one dose.

How will SFU ensure I won't have to closely interact with unvaccinated individuals?

There is no guarantee you will not interact with unvaccinated people.

It is important to remember that there are good medical reasons why some people will never be vaccinated. It is important that we respect people’s privacy and that we not jump to conclusions about others’ motiviations. There are no vaccines in Canada that are mandatory. As a result, Canadians regularly interact with individuals who have been vaccinated against certain illnesses and those who haven’t. We do not take measures to identify and isolate those who are not vaccinated.

SFU will also continue to follow public health guidelines and implement safety precautions recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, and the Provincial Health Officer.

Will physical distancing be required?

The guidance from the Provincial Health Officer is that physical distancing will not be required in classroom settings. We should have an updated COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-Secondary Sector soon that will guide our planning for the fall semester. At that time, SFU will update specific safety protocols to align with the plan and the latest safety precautions recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC and the Provincial Health Officer.

What vaccination rate do we need to achieve before a return to campus?

The current guidance from the Provincial Health Officer is to prepare for a return to campus. This guidance is not dependent on a specific vaccination threshold. SFU will continue to follow public health guidelines and implement safety precautions recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, and the Provincial Health Officer.

Will there be on campus rapid testing and vaccination clinics?

SFU is planning a rapid testing pilot this spring. The purpose of the pilot is to prepare to deploy this as a tool this fall as needed. We have not been asked by Provincial Health Officer to set up a vaccination clinic on campus. If, later in the vaccination campaign, there is an opportunity to set up on-campus vaccination, we will explore it with the Provincial Health Officer.

Will mask wearing still be required until the entire university population is vaccinated?

It is too early to say exactly what masking requirements will or will not be in place in September. The pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation. Whether or not we have to wear masks in the classrooms, shared study, work and research spaces, and indoor common areas will be decided much closer to the start of Fall 2021 term and can be adjusted in response to the evolution of the pandemic.

After we resume on-campus activities, how will you determine whether to close SFU campus again?

SFU will continue to follow public health guidelines and implement safety precautions recommended by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, WorkSafeBC, and the Provincial Health Officer.

Where do I go if I have a question not covered in the FAQs?

If you have a question that is not covered here, please email it to covid19@sfu.ca and we'll work to get you an answer as soon as we can.