UBCO Student Housing Response to COVID-19

Last updated: Thursday, September 17, 2020.

Along with UBC, Student Housing has implemented plans to provide the best possible accommodation for our residents given COVID-19 challenges and the fact that most classes will be held online during Term 1 and Term 2, 2020. This website contains useful FAQs and resources, and is being updated regularly following advice from provincial and federal health agencies.

Health and safety remains our first priority and we continue to work closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with other post-secondary institutions within BC to ensure our plans are aligned with health and safety guidelines.

New rules are in effect in UBC Student Residences to help maintain the health and safety of our residence communities. Learn more.

RESIDENCE FOR TERM 1 (Fall)

First-Year Winter Session

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we will have limited residence options. We recognize some first-year students may need to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for qualifying students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be adjusted to abide by health authority guidelines.

If you need to live on-campus, please click here and complete First Year Residence Eligibility Application. You may continue to submit applications to be considered based on availability.

 

Upper-Year Winter Session: Ongoing provision until further notice

UBC Student Housing will provide Winter Session accommodation for upper-year and graduate students. Residence offers for September occupancy will be distributed by email beginning later in June. Once received, students will follow our normal protocol and will have a few days to accept and pay the first instalment of residence fees.

QUESTIONS?

GENERAL ENQUIRIES

I’m moving into Student Housing in Fall 2020. Where can I find information about move-in, and what are you doing differently this year?

You can find basic information about moving into UBC Student Housing here.

Tell me more about UBC's complimentary 14-day self-isolation packages (accommodation and meals) for all students travelling to UBC from outside Canada.

Information about this package is available here. Important notes:

  • Available on a one-time only basis for a maximum of 14-days throughout the fall term and until further notice.
  • Includes accommodation in a student residence and three meals a day to students travelling to UBC from outside Canada (hence required to self-isolate) and who are not able to self-isolate in their own accommodation.
  • Meal Plan includes 3 meals per day for 14 days (breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a snack). All meals are delivered through contactless delivery, and must be ordered ahead of the cut-off delivery window. Special menus for specific dietary needs will be provided to the best of our abilities.
Will there be first-year residence spaces for Term 2?

We anticipate some first year residence spaces to be available. If you have already applied for Term 2 First Year Residence, we will contact you with more information in the fall. If you would like to apply, please follow the process outlined here.

I have concerns related to the payment of my residence fees, who can I contact for help?

If you would like to discuss short term payment deferrals, our Housing Administration team is here to help. Please contact us at information@housing.okanagan.ubc.ca

If you’re facing financial hardship or have questions around your finances, please contact Financial Aid at sis.ubco@ubc.ca.

With most classes going online, what are the academic eligibility requirements to live in student housing?

Students will be required to be enrolled in at least 9 credits each term (in person or online) to maintain their eligibility for student housing.

I’ve heard great things about the Living Learning Communities (LLCs), what’s the plan for this year?
As the majority of our LLCs are located within traditional residence spaces, we have had to make the difficult decision to not offer our LLC programme for the Fall term.

As more information becomes available we may be able to offer a selection of LLCs, we will reach out to students with active Housing Offers when we know more.

I’m an upper-year student with roommate requests, will we be able to live together still?
If you and your roommate requests all have accepted offers and have matching room preferences, we will do our best to honor these requests. We will be abiding by the recommendations of health authorities when making room assignments.
Where can I find more information about student supports?
Why are some Winter Session residences open but not first year residence?

First year traditional residence facilities and programs are intentionally designed to be communal and emphasize shared experiences in shared spaces. In a typical year, most first year students live together in close quarters, eat together in large residence dining rooms, and spend time together in communal study, social and recreation rooms. While in normal circumstances these shared spaces are advantageous, they now make meeting physical distancing and other public health expectations overly challenging.

Although many first-year classes will be accessible online, we continue to have residence options. We recognize some first-year students may need to be on campus due to academic requirements and/or personal needs. If you wish to live on campus, please click here and follow the application instructions. As long as space is available, we will provide housing accommodation for students who are required to be on campus. Amenities and services will be limited to abide by health authority guidelines.

Suite-style residence generally houses upper year students and graduate students. These one-bedroom apartments, studios, and quads are home to smaller groups of students and are more akin to a small household bubble.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Tell me more about the new COVID-19 Student Housing Health and Safety Rules. What will be required of me to help keep my community healthy?

New rules are in effect in all Student Residences managed by UBC Student Housing to help maintain the health and safety of yourself and others in the residence community. Compliance is mandatory; failure to follow the stated rules may result in residence standards action and/or termination of your residence contract and eviction from residence. Full details along with the rules themselves can be found here

If I'm feeling sick, what should I do?

If you are feeling ill, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, or lack of taste or smell), or think you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, follow these steps:

  1. Stay home.
  2. Check your symptoms on the BC Centre for Disease Control website, or contact Health and Wellness.
  3. Use this self-assessment tool to determine your next steps (be that visiting a clinic, testing facility, emergency department, etc). Testing is recommended for anyone with cold-, flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms – even mild ones.
  4. Need to be tested for COVID-19? Learn more about the process here. The Testing Centre in Kelowna is available by appointment, and is open 7 days a week.
  5. Self-isolate until your test results come back. If you require food, medication, or have other needs while isolating, contact your Residence Life Manager to alert us of your situation, and we will outline supports for you.
  6. If you test positive, public health will get in touch and give you instructions on how to self-isolate.

Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19.

I'm moving into Student Housing and need to self-isolate for 14 days. Can you help?

All travellers arriving to Canada are required by the Canadian Government to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days and to self-monitor for symptoms. This requirement includes UBC Student Housing residents arriving from outside of Canada, whether they are returning to campus or moving in for the first time.

Students moving into a shared unit (any space that shares a washroom and/or kitchen with another student) in a residence managed by UBC Student Housing, must self-isolate for 2 weeks in a different, private space before moving in to their shared unit space.

New! UBC is now providing complimentary 14-day self-isolation packages (accommodation and meals) for all students travelling to UBC from outside Canada. Packages includes accommodation in a student residence and three meals a day.

There are also several other fee-based self-isolation accommodation packages to any members of the UBC community (UBC Student Housing residents, other students, faculty, and staff) who need to self-isolate after arriving in Canada. T

Visit our self-isolation accommodation page to learn about how you can self-isolate on or near campus.

LEARN MORE AND MAKE A RESERVATION
What will happen if a resident contracts the virus while living in student housing?

A number of self-contained suites have been set aside for residents in the event of illness that may require self-isolation/quarantine support during the Fall 2020 term. If this occurs, we will work closely with Interior Health to ensure all safety precautions are taken for ill individuals and other residents.

Will I be told if another person at UBC or on my floor/house/residence is diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19?

In the event of a confirmed case, information would be provided to the public by the relevant health agency, according to their protocols. Typically, contacts of confirmed cases would be contacted by public health to discuss precautions. If a resident exposure is identified in follow-up with a confirmed case, public health would contact the relevant facility to discuss next steps.

What Residence amenities have been adjusted in response to COVID-19?

We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities and help create a healthy, safer, and supportive community environment. Key adjustments may include:

  • Communal/common spaces may be temporarily closed or have seating removed. This includes study rooms along with outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Community building events and activities will not take place, including building competitions and large-scale events.
  • There may be a reduced number of residents overall, and limited opportunities and support for building communities.
  • The Residence Meal Plan will be modified: There will be reduced selection of food options, and physical distancing protocols mandated at all food service locations.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is not enforcing physical distancing. As health authorities remind us, they “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.”

How is residence supporting physical distancing, hygiene and health protocols?
  • Residence staff trained to refer residents with cold or flu-like symptoms to HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, Health & Wellness, or their health care professional.
  • A limited number of self-isolation units set aside for residents who are not local and have been directed by their health professionals to self-isolate.
  • Additional signage in community and public washrooms and throughout residence buildings reminding residents, staff, and visitors to wash their hands.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our buildings.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Outdoor recreational areas are closed with the directive to maintain physical distancing and avoid sports requiring shared equipment.
  • Elevator protocols have been adjusted and guidelines have been posted.
What other preventative measures can I take?

The advice from health agencies is:

  • 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 eyes/nose/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 to avoid spreading the illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.
  • If you are ill, have flu symptoms like a fever or cough, you should stay home.
How will you ensure students don't get sick?

Student Housing is taking measures that align with guidance from health authorities, and help create a healthy, safer and supportive community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal. Please appreciate that in a pandemic situation no one can ensure safety from sickness.

FACE MASKS

Where do I need to wear a mask in residence?

You are required to wear a non-medical mask in shared indoor spaces such as lobbies, hallways, corridors, stairwells, elevators, laundry rooms, study and meeting spaces, lounges, common kitchens, fitness rooms, games rooms, and in the residence dining servery area.

Where do I NOT need to wear a mask in residence?
  1. In your private residence unit (also includes shared apartments, townhouses and connected single rooms)
  2. When you are the sole occupant of an enclosed room on residence property

Other exemptions apply. Please review exemption categories here.

Do I need to wear a mask in my unit?

No.  You are not required to wear a mask in your private residence unit (also includes shared apartments, townhouses and connected single rooms).

Do my guests need to wear a mask in my shared unit?

See the COVID-19 Residence Rules #8 “hosting guests” for guidance.  If your roommate prefers that you host guests in your private room only, then your guests would wear their mask until they are inside your bedroom.

Some staff working in residence don’t always wear a mask. Why is that?

Employees of UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services, guest speakers and other third-party service providers are not governed by these COVID-19 residence rules but are governed by a different sets of COVID-19 Rules which are compliant with the guidelines of Public Health Authorities and may differ from those that apply to residents. By example, staff working in offices or behind plexiglass at the Front Desk are in a private workspace, and able to physically distance.

Who can I contact regarding exemptions as laid out in section 11 of the COVID-19 Residence Rules?

Please contact your Residence Life Manager to discuss exemptions for wearing a mask in residence. COVID-19 Residence Rules can be found here.

What if I see someone who isn’t wearing a face mask?

Some people may not be able to wear face coverings for a variety of reasons and may qualify for an exemption. Please contact the Residence Life Manager if you have questions or concerns.

Where can I get a face mask?

Masks are available for purchase at the UBC Bookstore, other local retails stores, or online.

CANCELLATIONS, REFUNDS, WAITLISTS AND REAPPLICATIONS

Winter Session Residence (First Year)

If you have accepted an offer for a first year residence,and would now like to cancel your contract (regardless if you have moved in or not), please submit a cancellation request online (https://secure.housing.ubc.ca). If you have moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until the day you move your belongings and check out of residence. If you have not moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until we receive your online cancellation request.

Winter Session Residence (Upper Year)

If you would like your application to be eligible for a possible Term 2 Winter Session offer, please email information@housing.okanagan.ubc.ca by October 30, 2020. We will prioritize your Winter Session application for a January 2021 offer based on availability.

If you had an accepted offer through the Residence Allocation Process, and no longer would like to be considered for a possible Term 2 Winter Session offer, please go online and submit a cancellation request. Your $250 deposit will be refunded to you.

If you have accepted an offer for Upper Year Winter Session Residence and would now like to cancel your contract (regardless if you have moved in or not), please submit a cancellation request online. If you have moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until the day you move your belongings and check out of residence. If you have not moved in, we will waive the cancellation fees and you will be charged residence fees until we receive your online cancellation request.

Why is the $50 Residence Application Fee non-refundable to upper-year students?

Residence application fees continue to be non-refundable because UBC is still offering student housing for upper year students. We are anticipating that a number of upper year students will continue to seek housing on campus for the fall term. As a result, we will be continuing to send residence offers for September, and our typical refund policy with respect to application fees will stand.

Exception: Residence application fees for First Year Residence (Winter Session) will be refunded only if we are unable to open first year residence spaces by Jan 2021.

If I cancel my application, can I maintain my place on the waitlist (original application date)?
If you cancel your application, you will not maintain your place on the waitlist. Please contact us if you are only interested in a Term 2 offer.
If I decline an offer can I maintain my place on the waitlist?

Typically not. Please contact us if you are only interested in a Term 2 offer.

FOOD ON CAMPUS

What Dining options are available?

Right now, you can procure food at Comma, Sunshine and the Tim Horton’s Library location. There are also various off-campus dining partners currently open. To see what’s open right now, and where, head here.

OFFERS

What do I need to know before I accept my Residence offer?
Before you accept we want you to understand that, in light of the ever-changing dynamics of  COVID-19, it is not possible to offer you a “typical” residence experience. We ask that you adjust your expectations so that you can make an informed choice. We will continue to provide the services and amenities that align with guidance from health authorities, to help create a healthy, supportive and safe community environment, noting that it takes everyone in the community to accomplish this goal. Key adjustments include:

  • Our first year community will largely be reduced.
  • Common spaces may be temporarily closed or have seating removed. This includes study rooms, along with outdoor recreation spaces.
  • Larger, in-person community events and activities will not take place, including building competitions and large-scale events.
  • There will be a reduced number of residents overall, and reduced opportunities for building communities.
  • The Residence Meal Plan will be modified: fewer locations open on campus, primarily takeout meals only, and physical distancing protocols mandated.

Keep in mind that we may have to adjust our services and amenities on an ongoing basis, often on short notice, to align with public health authorities. Please also be aware that Student Housing is not enforcing physical distancing. As public health authorities “are recommending physical distancing as one of the ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there are no public health orders enforcing physical distancing.”

I will be arriving from outside of Canada, what are my options for self-isolation?

If you are arriving from outside of Canada, the Canadian Government requires you to quarantine (self-isolate) for two weeks. You cannot self-isolate in a shared unit in residence (any space that shares a washroom and/or kitchen with another student, and must make a separate arrangement for this period.

Visit our self-isolation accommodation page to learn about how you can self-isolate on or near campus, or apply for a self-isolation space by filling out this application.

I need to arrive early to campus for reasons other than self-isolation, what should I do?
Students with a Winter Session Residence Contract may be eligible to arrive early. The following groups must apply online to be considered (proof of registration required):

  • Early starting academic programs
  • Athletic commitments
  • Jumpstart

Early arrivals may be placed in a different room than assigned for the remainder of the Winter Session. These residents will be required to move on short notice (less than 24 hours).

Early arrival fees may apply. If approved, payment must be made prior to arrival. You can find out more here.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office and we can direct you to supports.

If you’re facing financial hardship or have questions around your finances, speak to our student services department.

We also understand this is a challenging time for many and we are here to help.

Please check this page regularly for important updates. We also encourage you to stay up-to-date at www.ubc.ca where you will find FAQs with additional resources and information.