Following the BC Provincial Health Officer’s expanded and updated COVID-19 response Orders announced on November 19, the Province announced yesterday that the provincial state of emergency is to extend through to the end of the day on December 7, 2020.
The Province is introducing new measures to enforce the Provincial Health Officer’s guidance on mask requirements in public indoor settings. Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians in many indoor public settings. These include:
- common areas of post-secondary institutions, such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, and areas where people circulate freely, but not in non-public areas such as classrooms and enclosed office spaces where physical distancing is possible;
- common areas of office buildings, non-profit organizations, court houses, hospitals and hotels;
- malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, and retail and grocery stores;
- liquor and drug stores;
- airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres;
- restaurants, pubs and bars;
- places of public worship;
- on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle; and
- common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity.
A mask or face covering is defined as a medical or non-medical mask that covers the nose and mouth. Face shields are not a substitute for a mask, as there is an opening below the mouth. People who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons or are unable to put on/remove a mask on their own are exempt and are asked to maintain a safe, physical distance of at least two meters from others. See the full announcement from the Province of BC on mask enforcement measures.
One re-usable mask is available at no cost to all faculty, staff, and students. Students on campus who would like a mask can visit the Safety, Security, and Emergency Management Office (SSEM) on their campus.
Reminders for BCIT staff, faculty, and students
- Social gathering: There are to be no social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your household. If you live alone – your core bubble can include two people you see regularly.
- Wellness check: Do not come to campus if you are feeling unwell. A reminder that prior to attending any BCIT campus, all students, faculty, and staff are required to complete a wellness check using the Province of BC’s Self-Assessment Tool. All managers are to continue to connect with their teams and departments to confirm, in written or verbal format, that a wellness check has been completed prior to employees entering the workplace.
Prevention and health
In addition to wearing a mask, there are many things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- 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 face/eyes/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.
- Stay home when you are ill.
- Avoid close contact with others.
A reminder that counselling resources are always available. Counselling services for faculty and staff are available 24/7 through Homewood Health. Counselling services for students are available through BCIT Counselling and Student Development. Additional BCIT services and supports are also available to support students during these uncertain times.
We will continue to update you on these and any future measures. Thank you for doing your part to keep yourself and each other safe during this challenging time.
Stay safe and well.
Director, Safety, Security and Emergency Management