COVID-19 Update – September 29th, 2021
We have received many questions from you about current COVID issues and have now received a number of responses from the administration on these matters that I’m pleased to share with you.
The rapid testing site on campus (at the back of the Continuing Studies building) is currently in operation. Those who have not self declared through the Thrive app, or who have declared that they are not vaccinated or that they are only partially vaccinated, are required to be tested for COVID once a week. They will receive emails scheduling such appointments.
Those who are fully vaccinated are not able to access the rapid testing site at UVic.
If you believe you need to be tested for COVID and are not part of UVic’s rapid testing program, information on Island Health’s advice about when you should get tested, how to book a test and testing sites in Victoria is available here:
The Thrive App
The deadline for declaring that one was vaccinated, partially vaccinated or not vaccinated through the Thrive app was midnight on September 26th. I have been told that as of the morning of September 27th UVic had received over 24,600 responses. About 86% of employees and 85% of students had responded. Members of the community who are not coming to campus are not required to declare and so that will account for some of those not responding.
95.3% of students declaring and 97.3% of employees declaring have indicated they are fully vaccinated. Another 3.3% of students and 1.2% of employees are partially vaccinated. While we cannot know at this point what proportion of those who have not declared may be fully or partially vaccinated, even if the majority of the undeclared are not vaccinated, this data makes it clear that UVic numbers are above the BC average, where 87.5% of all eligible adults in B.C. have received their first dose and only 80.4% have received their second dose. In addition, we were informed that 98.3% of students living in single student housing have provided proof of vaccination as required by the PHO Order.
Follow-up for those who have not declared and Audits for Proof of Vaccination
We have been told that the University emailed 28,159 members of the UVic community to ask them to provide their vaccination status via Thrive. As noted above, 24,603 declarations have been made via Thrive.
We have also been told that:
- Non-respondentsto the original email are sent regular reminders to complete their attestation, with follow-up as necessary. Those who are failing to respond and attending campus will be registered for the antigen testing program.
- Respondentsare able to indicate if they are off-campus and thus not required to declare vaccination status. Off-campus members of the community will have their off-campus status verified as necessary.
- Respondentswho are unvaccinated or prefer not to state will be scheduled into weekly antigen rapid testing.
While the University will not at this time be requiring proof of vaccination from all who have self declared, they will be doing weekly sample audits of those who have declared that they are vaccinated. We have been told that:
As part of UVic’s auditof data, a statistically significant sample of individuals who have indicated they are vaccinated will be asked to upload proof of vaccination (e.g., the BC Vaccine Card or immunization record) to Thrive. The sample will be drawn from the population to achieve a +/-5% margin of error within a 90% confidence interval. To achieve that level of significance and confidence from a population of 22,673 on-campus respondents, a sample of size of 378 will be randomly drawn.
- University personnel will contact those randomly selected individuals to ask them to upload proof of vaccination. Personnel will then view and verify a sample of those proofs up to the level of confidence required. Should a person selected for audit fail to upload proof of vaccination after reasonable opportunity, they may be subject to loss of access, loss of privileges or disciplinary action as appropriate to the situation.
We have been pleased to hear, both from our members and from the administration, that almost all students are complying with the mask requirements. We have, however, received questions about how to deal with those few students who are not complying.
Chairs have now received information on how to address these issues. If you have a student in your class who is regularly not wearing a mask, you should inform your Chair (with the name of the student) and they can now follow up with the appropriate contacts to determine whether or not the student has a legitimate exemption. If the student does not have a legitimate exemption, Chairs now have all necessary information to enable them to take formal steps to enforce student compliance with the mask policy. If the student did not comply with the Chair’s direction, then they can potentially be removed from the class by the Chair. If you have further questions about this matter I would encourage you to ask your Chair or the Association.
The University has declined to accept the Association’s request that students not be allowed to eat and drink in classes and libraries, except for health reasons. We will continue to advocate on this front. It is our understanding that SFU does not permit eating and drinking in classes during the mask mandate.
Addressing COVID cases on campus
The administration has reminded us that because of privacy concerns and Public Health guidance instructors are not supposed to inform an entire class if a student tells the instructor that they are ill with COVID.
The University guidelines state that if you are informed of a COVID case among your students you should do the following:
Contact your one-over supervisor (e.g. chair or dean) to report that you have been advised of a student who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Please provide the student’s V# but do not provide the name or other personal details. Your chair or dean will contact the UVic COVID-19 Case Coordination and Support Team to advise that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 illness.
- The UVic COVID-19 Coordination and Support Team will support the professor / instructor and the leader, as needed.
- The UVic COVID-19 Coordination and Support Team will maintain the privacy of the ill individual. They will work directly with the faculty member or instructor. The team will also provide support information to the professor / instructor as needed.
The administration has informed us that the Medical Health Officer and PHO consider educational settings to be low-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission, particularly in the context of a highly immunized population and the many prevention measures that are in place on campus.
With regard to the question of Island Health informing classes or the campus community about COVID cases, we have been told that:
In most cases, Island Health will have no public health need to notify individuals or the case coordination team of cases on campus. Obviously they would take a different approach for clusters or outbreaks in more high risk settings like student housing or on a varsity team.
I hope the information in this email is helpful to you, and we hope that the PHO is correct about the low risk nature of postsecondary educational settings in the current context.
Wishing you all a meaningful National Day for Truth and Reconciliation tomorrow.
All the very best,