Dear UFV Colleague:
I understand there is heightened awareness and a raised level of concern regarding COVID-19. I want to reassure you the health and wellness of our students, faculty, staff, and our community is of paramount importance. The University is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the quickly evolving health situation in BC and around the world.
UFV is focused on planning and working to mitigate possible disruptions to classes and programs while this situation evolves.
In the event we have to consider alternatives to holding classes on campus, we will have more information regarding contingency plans and online options in the next few days.
At this point, UFV is not aware of any students, faculty, or staff who have been diagnosed with the virus. If there is a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 at UFV, information will be provided quickly to the community by the University and by the relevant health agencies, including Fraser Health, consistent with protocols and commitments with those agencies.
As of now, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada, although this could change rapidly.
UFV FAQs will help alleviate some of the questions you have about attending or teaching classes, benefits, sick days, or preventing the spread of COVID-19. As this situation changes, so will these FAQs.
More detailed information is available in this UFV Urgent News blog post on prevention, travel advisories, self-isolation, and other related information. In the days ahead, we will have more web resources available with more answers coming online.
In mid-February UFV convened a group of stakeholders to monitor, plan, and coordinate actions as new information emerges. This group is in communication with Fraser Health and other relevant health authorities as required.
Classes, business hours, events:
UFV is open under regular business hours. The Office of the Public Health Officer and BC CDC have not yet indicated that it is necessary to cancel classes, school events, outings, field trips, or gatherings.
The Janitorial Services department at UFV is taking extra precautions during daily cleaning routines to help promote a healthy and clean environment for staff, students, faculty and other members of the university community.
Janitorial Services is:
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning on high touch surfaces (i.e. high traffic doors, handrails, and other highly used surfaces). These are now being cleaned twice a day, rather than once a day.
- Increasing the monitoring of soap and hand sanitizer dispensers, including a daily audit to ensure dispensers are full of soap and in good working order.
- Cleaning door hardware in less commonly used areas on a daily basis rather than weekly.
- Increasing the purchase of consumables including paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap, and hand sanitizer to ensure stock levels are high.
UFV encourages you to avoid assumptions about the risk of infection that may be based on a person’s ethnicity or travel history. UFV is inclusive, welcoming, embraces diversity, and supports cross-cultural exchange. No person should be targeted in any way, or subjected to discrimination as a result of a misguided perception they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Any discrimination or harassment of this nature will not be tolerated at UFV.
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, you may be worried about the health and safety of yourself or your family and friends. This is a challenging and potentially confusing time. It is not uncommon to experience higher levels of stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. If this is your experience, please seek support.
UFV Counselling Services:
Abbotsford, Room B214, 604-854-4528
Chilliwack, CEP A Building, Room A1318, 604-795-2808
24 hour crisis line for BC (1-800-784-2433)
For faculty and staff:
Support for faculty and staff is available through the UFV Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Homewood Health. Homewood provides immediate, confidential help and may be contacted, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll free at 1-800-663-1142.
If you have questions, you can email UFV Environmental Health and Safety at COVID19@ufv.ca, visit the UFV Risk and Safety webpage, visit the Canada Health FAQ webpage, or call the Public Health Agency of Canada coronavirus information line at 1-833-784-4397. Please check UFV.ca for updates.
Finally, UFV encourages you to check factual health sources for information relating to COVID-19. BCCDC has an excellent Frequently Asked Question guide to correct some of the misconceptions around COVID-19.
Thank you for your concern, your steadfast resolve to continue our mission, and your ability to adapt in the face of this challenge.
Dr. Joanne MacLean
President and Vice-Chancellor