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Category "News/Canada/British Columbia"

26May

Burnaby man ‘vanished’ after walking away from Royal Columbian in a blue hospital gown | CBC News

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The family and friends of Gavin Deloes are worried for his safety after the 41-year-old walked out of the Royal Columbian Hospital early Sunday morning in a hospital gown, and hasn’t been seen since.

Police are investigating the man’s disappearance and seeking help from Coquitlam Search and Rescue volunteers.

Hilma Deloes fears for her son, who she said was hurt when his Jeep crashed Friday in Coquitlam, B.C., and was showing signs of confusion.

The Burnaby man walked out of hospital with no identification, money or phone, toting an iPod and a bag of toiletries his mother had dropped off, and wearing a hospital gown. He wore a pair of black slip-on sandals.

After reviewing security footage, hospital staff told family that Deloes was last seen walking north up Columbia Street. Then, nothing.

“He has completely vanished off the face of the planet,” said Deloes’ brother-in-law, Quinn Jarvis.

Friends and family said that Deloes, an employee of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, was the driver in a crash on North Road in Coquitlam on May 22 around 8:30 a.m. PT after leaving his girlfriend’s home.

It’s unclear what caused the accident that sent Deloes to the emergency room, where family did see him on Friday before he was moved to a ward they were not allowed to visit, due to COVID-19 concerns.

Deloes was last seen leaving the Royal Columbian Hospital on Sunday morning around 7:30 a.m., wearing nothing but a hospital gown and some slip-on sandals, carrying a green bag with toiletries that his mother brought him. Police released this still image from the hospital security camera on May 26. (New Westminster Police)

New Westminster Police Sgt. Jeff Scott says investigators are checking security footage near the hospital and urging anybody who sees the man with a scar between his eyes to call 911.

“He’s wearing a blue hospital gown and slippers so we are concerned for his well-being,” said Scott, who confirmed that Deloes had been in a traffic accident.

“His family is extremely worried for him,” said Scott.

Longtime friend Dylan Stewart, 41, said he was talking to Deloes on the phone — via a hands-free Bluetooth device — when the car crash happened.

They had been discussing a cake — a raspberry pound cake that Deloes’ mother had baked the pair since they were teens after they both “feasted” on a cake she’d set aside for a bake sale, not knowing it was off-limits.

Then, the impact, and the aftermath.

“We think he had a seizure. We were talking normally and all of a sudden … he was just normal Gavin, happy, chipper, ready to pick up this cake, and then there was no sound and then I heard the crazy sound and accident sounds,” said Stewart.

“I felt very helpless,” said Stewart.

Gavin Deloes, 41, walked away from Royal Columbian Hospital on Sunday, and had not been heard from since, according to his friends and family. (New Westminister Police)

Stewart said that he rushed to the accident scene and then to the hospital where he was able to see Deloes in the emergency room, before going to his parents’ home to tell them what happened. He said his friend had a head injury, fractured bones, including vertebrae, ribs and his knee.

Hilma Deloes said she saw her son in the emergency room on Friday at around 11 a.m., and despite injuries, he was able to talk. She arranged to take his belongings, including his identification and clothes, and provided the iPod so he could FaceTime with family, while he recovered, as his phone had been seized by police at the accident scene.

On Saturday she said she picked up his work boots and other items from his damaged Jeep at Coquitlam Towing. That night she returned to Royal Columbian Hospital to bring him clothes.

She found her son pacing outside.

“When I got to the entrance of the hospital he was out there with two RNs [registered nurses] and security guards were hovering around him. He was talking, but he wasn’t making sense to me,” said Hilma Deloes, herself retired after 25 years at Royal Columbian Hospital.

She says she helped convince her son to return to his room in the orthopaedic ward, and requested he be seen by a social worker, as he seemed confused and “paranoid.” She left with his shoes and clothes, and the hope he’d listen to medical advice.

“This is not my son here. This is not like him at all,” said Hilma Deloes.

She said she parked nearby to ensure he didn’t leave again.

Sunday morning she said she called around 9 a.m.and learned that her son had been discharged. At first, friends thought he just walked to his girlfriend’s home nearby, but he never turned up.

The Fraser Health Authority spokesperson said it cannot respond to questions about Deloes’ case, due to privacy laws.

25May

Washrooms open in heart of Prince George to give homeless people a place to wash hands | CBC News

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The City of Prince George has opened washrooms for homeless people in the heart of downtown to help stall the spread of COVID-19.

It comes after years of pressure from the homeless community and advocates to make a public facility available.

Now the pandemic has spurred the city into action so that everyone in the area is guaranteed a place to wash their hands.

“Handwashing is really critical, especially with hot water. So … it was a matter of urgency,” said Chris Bone, the City of Prince George’s associate director of strategic initiatives and partnerships. 

Bone says the recent COVID-19 closures of downtown businesses and civic facilities, like the pool and library, made it even more difficult for people to access washrooms.

The new facility at the civc plaza is open for two five-hour stretches — 5 a.m.-10 a.m. and 7 p.m.-midnight — to cover off hours during which few services are available for those sleeping rough.

‘Silver lining’ of pandemic

The washrooms’ location is marked by a large, bright-orange shipping container, which acts as a shelter for the people who staff and monitor the facility.

Marcus Smaaslet​​​​​​, one of the peer support workers in high-visibility vests who monitors the restrooms, pulls open a door to reveal shiny metal sinks and toilet stalls. 

“I’m not going to make a speech,” he says.

Marcus Smaaslet helps keep the washroom clean and safe and monitors the stalls for drug overdoses. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC )

Smaaslet was hired by the Pounds Project, a drug users’ support group, to keep the stalls safe and sanitized and to stay vigilant for overdoses. 

“If you don’t have … a sink or soap, handwashing is really hard,” said Jordan Harris, executive director of the Pounds Project.

Harris says people on the street may be the ones using the facility’s toilets and sinks, but everyone in the city benefits.

“You can wash your hands as much as you want, but if other people aren’t you are still at risk. So this … reduces the number of infections that we could potentially see in this community,” said Harris, who is also a registered nurse. 

Harris said it’s unfortunate it took a “public health crisis” to get washroom access, but it’s a “silver lining.”

For years, people living on the street — about 160 of them by the city’s estimate — have pushed for more public restrooms. When people have to leave shelters or meal programs for the day, they may have had to use back alleys and sheltered spots instead.  

Late last year, as a pilot project, the city extended the hours of washroom access at some social service agencies.

Feedback has been positive, city says

Local businesses and residents appear to approve of the new washrooms, Bone says.

Last year, several downtown store owners complained about homeless people congregating in the area and some demanded that services supporting them be moved out of the area. Businesses were upset about thefts and assaults and about needles and human feces being found on the ground.

The City of Prince George opened the washrooms as part of its COVID-19 response. They’re located beside a bright orange shipping container that houses Pounds Project staff who monitor the facility. ( City of Prince George/Supplied )

But a month after Prince George quietly opened the downtown washrooms, Bone says “individuals from all walks of life” are giving positive feedback.

“People are remarking how clean it is in the civic plaza and how pleased they are that people have an option to use a washroom,” said Bone.

It’s not yet clear if the washrooms will remain open after the pandemic. 

To hear a virtual tour of the washrooms, tap here

23May

Drive-in event organizers crestfallen over new 50-vehicle limit in B.C. | CBC News

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Organizers of concerts, movie nights and school graduations who hoped their drive-in events would comply with COVID-19 regulations say they’ve been set back by a new provincial order banning gatherings of more than 50 vehicles.

A drive-in rock concert, months in the planning, set for Saturday night in Prince George in northern B.C. is now on hold indefinitely.

Kyle Sampson, a Prince George city councillor and the organizer of Rooftop Rock, says everything was in place for at least 300 vehicles to hear local band Studio 720 perform over their FM radios, while watching them from afar.

“Honestly it was shocking,” he said about the order, which was announced at about 3 p.m. Friday.

On Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry amended a provincial order regarding gatherings to include drive-in events.

‘Several people in a vehicle’

It says that there can be no more than 50 vehicles parked together. Attendees cannot get out of their vehicles other than to use the washroom. Organizers cannot sell food or drinks at the event either.

The announcement of the amendment was made in a release, but Henry spoke to it during her Saturday briefing.

She said she understood that the order would create hardship for many people trying to organize such events, but limiting them was an important part of the Phase 2 transition in B.C.’s pandemic response.

“This is our transition period and we need to watch carefully and do it carefully,” she said. “Even though 50 cars may seem like a small amount and it is a less risky environment, we know that if we get people together there will be several people in a vehicle the chances of more contact, meaning spread of this virus is very real right now.”

Clarity sought

Organizers like Sampson have reached out to the province for more clarity over the new rules. He is hopeful to still run his event at a future date.

Jason Bashnick, who for more than a decade has hosted outdoor movie screenings and events with Fresh Air Cinema, says several drive-in gatherings, including high school graduations are in jeopardy because of the order.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. Organizers thought the outdoor events attended by people in vehicles would keep people safe and enable them to seek entertainment outside of their homes.

“We will work hard to make them work with 50 cars,” he said. “It will be tough though.”

For example, to run a high school graduation, he may have to run it over several nights with only 50 vehicles attending each night.

Movies still on

Other providers, such as Langley’s Twilight Drive-in in the Fraser Valley, say they are still showing movies and are running the concession because it is a drive-in theatre, not a drive-in event. It is proceeding with screenings and food sales this weekend.

It reviewed the new order on Friday and said in an email to CBC News that their facility has proper facilities, such as dedicated washrooms, to meet guidelines. The theatre has been allowed to operate throughout the pandemic.

It has been parking one vehicle in a spot that normally holds two to limit attendees.

The screen at the Twilight Drive-in in Langley, B.C. (Twilight Drive-in)

B.C. Ministry of Health has also not yet responded to questions clarifying how the 50-vehicle limit is intended to work.

Organizers for the Summerset Benefit Concert in Langley were also hoping to duplicate the drive-in concert model and were looking for a venue before the new rules were announced Friday.

22May

B.C. confirms 18 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 deaths | CBC News

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Another 18 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. and three more people have died. 

There have now been a total of 155 deaths and 2,507 cases of coronavirus in B.C., according to the latest numbers from the province released Friday afternoon.

Of that number, 310 cases are still active and 2,042 people have recovered. 

The three people who died are all in the Fraser Health Region. A total 41 people are currently in hospital, eight of them in intensive care. 

The outbreak that started in mid-March at the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver is now over.

There are no new outbreaks in health-care centres, but outbreaks continue at 14 long-term care or assisted living facilities, and two acute-care units have active outbreaks as well.

Every health region in B.C. has had patients with COVID-19, according to the joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. 

Public health teams are continuing to provide support as community outbreaks continue at the two federal prisons, the Mountain Institution in Agassiz and the Mission Institution, the statement said. 

Support is also being provided as outbreaks continue at the Oppenheimer Group fruit and vegetable processing plant in Coquitlam, poultry facilities and with cases connected to the Kearl Lake oilsands site in Alberta.

The total number of confirmed cases released on Friday includes 10 people who were infected in Alberta in connection with the outbreak at the Kearl Lake oilsands project and self-isolated there before returning home to B.C. Those cases had not previously been included in B.C.’s numbers.

This week, B.C. entered the second phase of its restart plan, with businesses like hair salons, restaurants and libraries allowed to reopen or expand their services. 

This phase is about finding a “new balance” between protecting health and reopening and resuming businesses and activities, Friday’s statement said. 

Drive-ins limited to 50 vehicles

The province is limiting gatherings of vehicles ahead of the weekend. 

Gatherings remain restricted to 50 people, but this order has now been extended to limit gatherings of vehicles to 50 for outdoor drive-in events, with restrictions on the sale of refreshments.

Anyone attending a drive-in event must stay in their cars, unless they need to use the washroom, which must have running water for handwashing. 

“This week, we have seen British Columbians throughout the province using the WorkSafeBC public health guidelines and the rules for safe social interactions to increase their activities while protecting employees, customers, friends and family,” the statement from Henry and Dix said. 

“This approach — moving slowly, with patience and care — is our way forward. We have made great strides to flatten our curve, and we must continue with our efforts. Let’s keep going, together.”

20May

Abbotsford Police seeking witnesses after disabled woman hit with paintball | CBC News

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Abbotsford police are asking witnesses to come forward after a woman with disabilities named Emily, who was sitting in her front driveway on Monday afternoon, was shot in the upper leg with a paintball.

The incident happened on Glenn Mountain Drive between 12:30 and 1:00 pm. The shooter may have been in a vehicle.

Investigators said Emily is developmentally disabled and is non-verbal so cannot explain who attacked her or what happened.

The family’s name is not being disclosed for privacy reasons.

Her mother, Diane, said in a police news release, “We were so disappointed that this would happen near our home. Luckily neither Emily, nor anyone else in our neighbourhood, was badly injured. Since this happened yesterday, so many community members have come forward to express their care and concern for Emily.”

Police said Emily sustained a minor red mark to her leg.

They are asking anyone who has information, or has CCTV or dashboard camera video of the street on May 18 at the time of the incident, to contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225.

 

 

 

19May

B.C. updates policy on hospital visitors after outcry over disabled woman’s death | CBC News

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B.C. has revised its policy for essential visitors to hospitals and long-term care homes to make it clear that people with disabilities still need access to vital supports.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix acknowledged that many disabled people have been afraid to access health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, when only essential visitors have been allowed in hospitals and long-term care.

He said the province has now amended the visitor policy to make sure health-care providers give special consideration to designated representatives who help people with disabilities eat, communicate, get around and make decisions. 

“They’re significant changes for people and they came at the concern and the request of people in the disability community so that they would have the confidence to visit hospitals,” Dix said.

Before now, essential visitors have been mainly limited to end-of-life reasons and visits to provide specific types of care, Dix added.

The changes come after outcry from disabled people and advocates about the death of 40-year-old Ariis Knight at Peace Arch Hospital.

Knight, who had cerebral palsy, died of a respiratory illness on April 18, a few days after she was transferred to the hospital from the group home in South Surrey where she had lived for a decade. 

Knight could not speak and depended on caregivers and family members to communicate. Because of visitor restrictions, none of Knight’s caregivers or family members were allowed to be with her in the hospital, and she died alone.

People with disabilities have said they’re afraid to go to the hospital because they worry about whether their support people will be allowed inside with them.

17May

Disabled community pushes for policy change after woman died alone at B.C. hospital | CBC News

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Disabled people and their families are calling on the B.C. government to make changes to visitor restrictions in hospitals after a 40-year-old woman with cerebral palsy died alone last month at Peace Arch Hospital. 

Ariis Knight could not speak and depended on caregivers and family members to communicate. But because of visitor restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19, none of Knight’s caregivers or family members were allowed to be with her in the hospital. 

Knight died on April 18, a few days after she was transferred to the hospital from the group home in South Surrey where she had lived for a decade. She had been experiencing breathing difficulties, but tested negative for COVID-19, according to her brother, David Knight. 

Now, a month later, Paul Gauthier is haunted by the tragedy and is mobilizing people to send a message to the B.C. government. 

Paul Gauthier has cerebral palsy and needs a personal support worker for everything from eating to using the washroom to adjusting his computer screen. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Gauthier, who has cerebral palsy, is a community advocate and executive director of the Individualized Funding Resource Centre Society. He says the disability community is devastated, and scared. 

“People with disabilities are telling me they’re not even thinking of going to a hospital,” Gauthier said. “And that’s because they’re concerned that they’re not going to be able to bring their support person in with them.”

Gauthier has been working with individuals and organizations, helping to grow a grassroots movement to send a clear message to the B.C. government — current policies that deal with visitor restrictions in hospitals and health-care settings shouldn’t apply to support workers and caregivers. 

A letter went to a number of senior government officials, including Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Bonnie Henry on May 5. The letter called for the government to guarantee people with disabilities the right to essential support from caregivers in health-care settings.

“Nurses are amazing. But we need to be realistic about what they can handle while we’re in the hospital,” Gauthier said. 

“I have cerebral palsy. For me that means that I can’t go to the washroom by myself. I can’t feed myself. Scratching my head is something I can’t do by myself. A personal support worker is the key to make sure that I continue to live.”

Government says change is coming

Dix responded to the group’s concerns on May 14, noting the COVID-19 policy around hospital access for visitors included provisions for essential visitors to accommodate people with disabilities. 

But he added that the government is working to respond to specific concerns of the disability community that include special needs such as feeding, mobility, communications and decision making.

“We want to make those explicit in the policy, ” he said. 

“We’re going to make changes to the policy that reflect the absolute need to provide protection for everyone involved in a time of pandemic … This is a very serious situation for people who are vulnerable.”

Paul Gauthier sits outside his apartment in Vancouver. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

When asked when the revised policy might be in place, Dix said he was hopeful the new policy would be available by Tuesday. 

But Gauthier says no one is declaring victory yet.

“We’re pleased that Minister Dix is taking steps to update the hospital visitor policy to address the critical needs of people with disabilities, and clarify the role of essential support people,” he said.

“But we’re disappointed that it’s taken this long. We’re concerned that the minister’s hope for a May 19 release may not happen.”  

14May

Provincial parks are open again, but residents urged not to travel far | CBC News

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The B.C. government is reopening provincial parks in time for the May long weekend but is reminding people that it’s not an open invitation to plan a road trip.

As of May 14, most provincial parks, recreation sites and trails are open for day use after closing in early April due to COVID-19 concerns.

Access to beaches, trails, most picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches is once again permitted, but in keeping with public health guidelines, officials are asking people to visit sites close to their homes and not to travel to smaller communities.

According to B.C. Parks, visitor centres and concession buildings may open on a case-by-case basis and, in some instances, playgrounds, hot springs and picnic shelters may remain closed.

People who do visit their local provincial park are asked to bring their own hand sanitizer and to avoid the area entirely if they feel ill.

In a statement, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry also advised against visiting vacation properties, pleasure boating, non-essential travel on BC Ferries and camping.

Provincial campgrounds are set to reopen on June 1 with additional spacing between campsites and limitations on the number of guests.

Campfires are currently allowed but they must not be larger than 50 centimetres in height or width.

British Columbians are being encouraged to go outdoors during the holiday weekend but are reminded to do so with caution to reduce the strain on B.C.’s first responders and 2,500 search and rescue volunteers, and risking their potential exposure to COVID-19.

To find out more information on provincial parks visit the B.C. Parks website.

14May

B.C.’s top doctor advises against travel as 15 new COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths announced | CBC News

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The highlights:

  • 15 more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • 3 more people have died in the past 24 hours.
  • There have been a total of 2,392 cases and 135 people have died.
  • 1,885 people have recovered. 
  • 58 people are in hospital, 12 of them in the ICU.
  • No new community outbreaks.
  • No new outbreaks in long-term care homes.
  • 15 outbreaks continue in long-term care homes, 4 in acute care.
  • Superior Poultry Plant in Coquitlam reopens. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is asking British Columbians to avoid travelling during the long weekend as new cases of coronavirus continue to appear. 

The May long weekend may be the “unofficial” start to summer but this summer will be different, Henry said.

“This year, with the risk that we continue to have in our communities across this province, we need to look at plans on a much narrower frame,” she said.

“Let’s make this our summer of care and consideration for our families, our communities and our province. A summer for us all to remember to be kind, to be calm and to be safe.”

Although this would usually be the time of year to plan summer activities in advance, Henry said to think of the next couple weeks instead of months as COVID-19 continues to pose a threat.

Instead of travelling to other communities this weekend, she suggests hiking at a local park, visiting a farmers market or having a picnic.

On Thursday, B.C. Parks reopened facilities like front and backcountry trails, beaches, picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches for day use.

Campgrounds are set to reopen June 1. 

On Tuesday, the province will enter the second phase of its gradual reopening plan.

WorkSafeBC is working with the province to create guidelines for different sectors, as they prepare to reopen, to ensure staff and customers are safe.

Henry acknowledged that while some businesses and consumers are eager for the gradual reopening, hesitation remains. 

She said the province is “not going to get everything perfect” as it reopens, but that it’s doing everything it can and is learning from other parts of the world during this extraordinary circumstance.

“I think it’s going to be something we’re going to have to work through together,” Henry said. 

“We’re just going to have to take it slowly and err on the side of caution the best we can.”

Surgeries being rescheduled 

B.C. has the capacity to test 7,000 people a day and anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested. 

It’s still not known how the virus will behave in the future or how long immunity might last for those who have recovered, and B.C. does not have “herd immunity” to prevent transmission of the virus, Henry said.

B.C. has not had any cases of Kawasaki Syndrome that are related to COVID-19. The rare inflammatory illness can be an effect of the body’s reaction to viruses and other infections and has been linked to children’s deaths in the U.S.

Two serology tests have been approved for use in Canada and B.C. is currently validating which test it will want to use, Henry said. 

The province will be closely watching what happens in the next two weeks in terms of the virus spreading, she added. 

Until more questions can be answered through antibody testing or an eventual vaccine, measures like physical distancing will remain in place in some capacity in stores and on public transit, she said.

The number of people in hospital and critical care is coming down, said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

However, the occupancy rate in hospitals has gone up slightly — a sign, he said, that health care resources are being used for needs other than COVID-19.

The province is also working to reschedule 6,883 surgeries that were cancelled or postponed. People awaiting surgery will be contacted, Dix said. 

Several outbreaks over in Fraser Health 

On Thursday, Fraser Health provided updates on several COVID-19 outbreaks in the region.

The health authority rescinded the closure order it enforced on April 24 at Superior Poultry Processors in Coquitlam. An outbreak at the plant sickened more than 60 people, but it has met the requirements of the order and has reopened.

Plexiglass shields have been installed between workers, production has been slowed and PPE is being used, said Dr. Martin Lavoie, chief medical health officer for Fraser Health.

There remain two active cases at Mission Institution, where 120 inmates tested positive for coronavirus. There have been no new cases at the federal prison since May 1.

An outbreak at the Worthington Pavilion Rehabilitation Unit, an acute care site in Abbotsford, has been declared over. Outbreaks have also been declared over at Swedish Assisted Living Residence in Burnaby and Chartwell Cedarbrooke Retirement Residence in Mission.

In April, Fraser Health issued an order for gyms and fitness centres to close. Lavoie said the health authority is considering lifting that order “in the very near future,” but that details on how to reopen safely are still being worked out.

Fraser Health is also beginning to reschedule elective surgeries that were postponed. 

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

12May

UBC, SFU announce most fall classes will take place online | CBC News

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British Columbia’s two largest universities have announced that COVID-19 restrictions will continue to have a major impact on students and faculty when the new school year begins in the fall, with most courses being  taught online rather than on campus.

“This decision creates certainty for students and instructors, safety for those with higher levels of health risks, and access to learning for students who cannot travel to B.C. at this time,” said SFU Provost Jon Driver in a bulletin posted on the SFU website.

According to Driver, select courses requiring in-person instruction such as labs, field trips and grad student classes could proceed with health and safety measures in place if the school gets the go-ahead by the government and health authorities.

“To avoid having an unsafe number of people on campus, we will limit the number of in-person courses,” he said.

A similar announcement was made by UBC president Santa Ono on Monday.

“UBC will primarily offer larger classes online with selected smaller classes conducted in-person, adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements,” he said in a posted statement.

UBC Associate Provost Simon Bates said the staff and faculty have learned a lot about delivering courses virtually since the pandemic forced the issue in March. 

Students are pictured on campus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“One thing that will make things a little bit different is some more time to plan which we didn’t get in the emergency transition,” he said.

“It’s pretty easy to say were moving our courses online, but fundamentally this is a redesign process because what we would do for a completely online and distributed cohort of students is very different from how you would conceive an in-person course.”

Post secondary education is listed in phase three of the B.C. Restart program which was announced last week by the provincial government.

Phase three allows for some in-person instruction starting in September, assuming all health and safety protocols are met and no second wave of COVID-19.

Both universities say more information will be released in the coming weeks. 

Bates said because UBC was in the middle of enrolment for the upcoming school year, it’s too early to say how the decision will impact foreign and out-of-town students who would normally move to Vancouver to attend classes.

He says the new reality of virtual teaching has many institutions grappling with a new and broader definition of accessibility.

“We now have to think of … do students have appropriate hardware to be able to participate fully in experiences that we may redesign? Are they in places where they have good internet connectivity,  good cellphone service and the right kind of physical space to be able to participate,” he said. 

“Thinking through about how we design things that accommodate or provide equity of access to students as is a real challenge.”

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