Coronavirus update: September 3, 2020 - 9:00 a.m.

September 3, 2020

If you blinked, you may have missed the summer weather this year. It feels as though the past few months have gone by in a flash and it is hard to believe we are ready to begin the Fall academic term. I am very grateful for all the extra work the UNBC community has done to prepare for the upcoming semester. In all my interactions, I see people working above and beyond to ensure our University community’s health and safety remain our top priority while we prepare to offer a post-secondary experience for our students in new ways.

In today’s update:

  • First Nations Centre
  • Campus Services Update
  • Parking
  • Times Higher Education ranking

First Nations Centre

The First Nations Centre is open and has an exciting lineup of programming planned for the coming academic year, including the Elder in Residence program, cultural activities and much more. This semester some aspects of the centre will look different to foster physical distancing, but the services our students, faculty and staff are used to will still be available. Some events and services will continue to be held online.

The First Nations Centre is thrilled to have five Campus Cousins this year. They will continue to provide support and mentorship as well as host events through online tools. Thank you to Bev Best and the entire team at the First Nations Centre as they have adapted their programming throughout the pandemic to continue to serve our community.

Campus Services Update

With the sudden campus closures in mid-March came an equally sudden disruption to service for many of our services on campus. Here’s a quick summary of a few services that are getting set to resume with your safety our prime concern:

  • Library – The first floor of the Geoffrey R. Weller Library is open from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with physical distancing and sanitization protocols in effect. The second, third and fourth floors are closed to the public, but book requests can be submitted online and picked up at the Library’s front desk. Study spaces are available for booking and the first floor computer lab is open. The Library’s website has up-to-date information on all services available.
  • Bookstore – The store is open with onsite customer limits to promote physical distancing. Please ensure you follow directional signage and arrows within the space. Online ordering is also available. The Bookstore is hosting its back-to-class super specials, with deals on selected hoodies, drinkware and backpacks.
  • Food Services – The Dining Hall will open, operated by our new food service provider Dana Hospitality. There will be some retail food options available at the front counter. Tim Hortons is not re-opening yet, so be sure to check out the fabulous Degrees Coffee in the T&L building, run by our students and NUGSS!
  • Northern Sport Centre – The NSC is open featuring enhanced cleaning protocols, new equipment layouts and more to promote healthy physical fitnessing!
  • Conference and Event Services – Although we are not hosting external events on campus, it is still important to book spaces for your meetings and follow the protocols provided.
  • Copy Services – Services will be available, but please limit the space to one visitor at a time!
  • Cashier Office – In-person service resumed this week and with extended hours to accommodate the beginning of the term. To encourage physical distancing and enhance safety, two service windows are open and we added hand sanitizer stations. In addition, we are asking students with last names beginning with the letters A-M to come between 9 a.m. and noon, and students with last names beginning with N-Z to come between 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Office of the Registrar– Will open for in-person service beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The office will open to allow for one person at a time for in-person services during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Virtual services for current and prospective students will continue.

Parking

Pay parking will resume at the Prince George campus on Monday, Sept. 7. All faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus have a few payment options to choose from. The five pay stations are available for short-term parking payments with hands free sanitization units added to these locations. For those who prefer a contactless option, you can pay using your phone with the paybyphone app (available from the Apple App Store or Google Play) or by calling 1-866-234-7275. There is a 35-cent service charge per transaction. If you wish to purchase a monthly or annual permit, please use the UNBC E-permit option on the Parking Services website.

To reduce the number of face-to-face interactions we will not be offering general and reserved parking permits, carpool permits and semester permits during the fall semester. In addition, we will not be re-instating payroll deduction at this time.

Times Higher Education rankings

I am delighted to share some good news about the impact UNBC continues to have around the globe! For the fourth consecutive year, we placed in the top five per cent of universities in the world, according to Times Higher Education. Once again, we are the top Canadian university of our size on the list.
I am profoundly thankful for the dedication to excellence from our entire UNBC family, faculty, staff, students and everyone in our community who supports our mission to inspire leaders for tomorrow by influencing the world today.

I will provide more frequent updates over the next two weeks as the new semester begins, including information on return-to-campus planning, an update on the winter semester and more information about campus services.

Remember to visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) website for the latest information and send your questions to unbccommand@unbc.ca . If you feel information is missing from this site, please let us know and we’ll add it where appropriate.

I again want to thank everyone for their patience. I recognize that the past six months have been challenging with good days and hard days. I continue to be impressed by our cohesive UNBC community. We are solution-driven as we work together to ensure the University, and all those who work and engage with our campuses, are able to overcome and adapt to meet our community’s needs.

Stay safe, and thank you!

Geoff Payne,
UNBC Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
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