Last updated: October 8, 2020
Along with the rest of UBC, Student Housing and Community Services is planning and responding to the global progression of the COVID-19 virus. This page includes our current and ongoing response to this extraordinary situation and our efforts to protect the health and safety of our communities.
Our first priority is to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 by caring for our staff and for the communities we serve. We are committed to continuing to provide services and amenities that help create a healthy, safe and supportive community environment to the very best of our abilities.
SHCS staff can visit this page for regularly-updated information and for valuable resources and support. We strongly encourage you to also stay updated on UBC’s overall response at ubc.ca. Thank you for your continued dedication and professionalism.
Information, updates and resources for you
→ ubc.ca: UBC-wide information, updates and resources.
→ hr.ubc.ca: Information and resources for managing/supervising and working during COVID-19.
→ vpstudents.ubc.ca: Additional information and resources for members of the Vice-President, Students (VPS) portfolio, which includes all SHCS staff.
For SHCS staff (on this page)
Each week, Andrew Parr, Associate Vice-President, Student Housing and Community Services, will provide updates to SHCS staff about COVID-19, its impacts to SHCS operations and how we are responding.
Departmental Updates for SHCS
Find out about how each of the SHCS departments is responding to COVID-19.
Student residences remain open on both campuses. However, the last day for students in Winter Session (September-April) residences was April 30, the last day of their contract (unchanged due to COVID-19). Students in need of extensions or Summer Housing are being accommodated. We remain confident we can continue to provide shelter within student housing for students who need it.
Strong encouragement (and detailed instructions) to maintain physical distancing, and enact enhanced cleaning/hygiene protocols are being regularly communicated to all residents.
Residents have been provided with current information and resources pertaining to air travel and storage.
The Residence Life team continues to support residents throughout each of our residence communities.
Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing is ongoing. A limited number of units suitable for self-isolation have been set aside. Instructional flyers are available for these units and include resources and recommendations as well as information from the BCCDC for people who have been tested for COVID-19 and then directed to self-isolate.
Fitness rooms and outdoor recreational areas are closed until further notice. Physical distancing is being enforced in outdoor residence spaces and the use of shared sport equipment is not permitted.
Monthly residence fees for students in Year Round and Student Family Housing will remain at 2019-20 rates until further notice. Each month, students will see a charge for the full 2020-21 monthly amount, minus the difference between this year’s and last year’s fees. (i.e., May 1 Fee: $1,200; Freeze Credit: -$50; Balance Owing: $1,150.)
Residents with a Winter Session contract (September to April) were able to claim a refund (for both housing and mealplan) if they moved out by March 31, 2020.
Students with a Year Round contract were also able to claim a refund if they moved out by March 31, 2020 and were not signing a new contract for May 2020–April 2021.
Students who required housing following the end of their contract were encouraged to apply as soon as possible before the end of term for summer housing.
There are many students who cannot travel home due to travel bans or other limitations, so to provide additional accommodation, we have expanded Summer Housing to include Ponderosa Commons Cedar House.
Currently, Feast and Gather are closed. Open Kitchen and Hero are open for Orchard Commons residents only.
View COVID-related updates and FAQs for customers.
Restaurants & Catering
Sage Restaurant and Catering, Ideas Lounge,and Scholar’s Catering are closed until further notice.
Find out what’s open on-campus at UBC Okanagan Food Services.
View COVID-related updates and FAQs for customers.
Changes to UBC Parking Rates Effective May 4, 2020
UBC Parking will be reinstating hourly parking rates effective May 4. If you have a permit, there are no changes. You can continue to park for free in the locations your permit allows.
If you don’t have a permit and wish to park at UBC, you will now be required to pay for parking. Please pay at the nearest meter or from your phone via the HONK payment app.
For permit holders requiring a refund, we will continue to process refunded permits at the end of the month
The UBC Bookstore (Vancouver) is open 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
The bookstore will be practicing enhanced safety practices including:
- controlled one-way entry and exit locations
- strict customer capacity
- hand sanitization dispensers placed throughout the store
- sneeze and cough guards at the cash registers.
Learn more about UBC Bookstore’s COVID-19 safety precautions.
The Okanagan UBC Bookstore remains closed until further notice.
Update (June 2020): Child Care Services is now providing care for Tiers 1 & 2 essential service families, which includes faculty and other educators.
Effective April 1, 2020, in accordance with provincial government guidance, Child Care Services (CCS) is providing services to parents who are working in provincially-defined COVID-19 essential service roles. These families are being referred to CCS through the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre referral system. As a result, Vancouver campus child care service to existing families was suspended until further notice and related fees will not apply. All affected families have been contacted and notified directly.
Offering on-site pick up from 8:00am-3:30pm at their Vancouver location for mail and parcels that they can’t deliver due to building closures etc.
Conferences & Accommodation
All May and June C&A events have been cancelled. There are still a few guests in West Coast Suites, but very low occupancy. The C&A team is supporting planning for possible emergency shelter needs. C&A staff are also working hard to support clients who now have to cancel their summer conferences, camps, workshops and events – and they are doing a great job re-booking many of these clients for summer 2021 or 2022.
Resources for Remote Workers
Update (April 28): UBC has officially extended Remote Work Arrangements until further notice.
We recognize that you will have varying levels of work to be done. Many of you provide support to facilities that will not be operating during this time, while others will be scrambling to stay ahead of the workload.
UBC IT has a helpful guide for working off campus, and here are a few resources specific to the current environment.
UBC Finance has provided additional information related to ergonomics, loaned equipment, and financial questions.
Connecting to Your Desktop Remotely
SHCS staff at UBC Vancouver and Okanagan can log onto their UBC desktops and access shared drives remotely.
Step 1: Download Two Pieces of Software
Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client (the program that runs the UBC VPN)
- Browse to myvpn.ubc.ca
- Log in using your CWL credentials
- Follow the prompts to download and install Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client
VMware Horizon Clients (the remote desktop software)
- Browse to my.vmware.com
- Download and install the version of VMware Horizon Clients that is compatible with your home computer
Step 2: Connect to Your Remote Desktop
Connect to the UBC VPN
- Open Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client
- Select a server (myvpn.ubc.ca or myvpn2.ubc.ca)
- Log in using your CWL credentials
- Once connected, leave Cisco AnyConnect running in the background
Connect to your remote desktop
- Open VMware Horizon Clients
- Type “vdi.housing.ubc.ca” in the connection server field
- Type your username and password (the same ones you use to log onto your computer at work)
- If there is a domain field, enter “Housing”
Step 3: Disconnect When You Are Done
Given that UBC’s VPN servers are working at maximum capacity right now, please:
- Disconnect from the VPN when you do not need it for work
- Avoid streaming videos and music while you have the VPN running
- The VPN must always be connected before attempting to connect via VMware
- If you are unable to connect to the VPN, try selecting a different server because it may be overloaded (myvpn.ubc.ca or myvpn2.ubc.ca)
- If you are still unable to connect or receive an error message, please contact Sam Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron Ng at email@example.com.
UBC has several video conferencing accounts staff can take advantage of while working remotely:
If any staff from your unit want to use Skype for Business or Zoom for virtual meeting, UBC IT asks that you compile all your contact information (full name, department, email) in one list and submit it to the AV HelpDesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHCS COVID-19 Workspace Safety Plans
- SHCS Building Services COVID-19 Workspace Safety Plan
- SHCS Facilities Office COVID-19 Workspace Safety Plan
- SHCS 2440 West Mall (Warehouse, Parking Area, Carpentry Shop) COVID-19 Workspace Safety Plan
- SHCS Main Office COVID-19 Workspace Safety Plan
Additional SHCS COVID-19 Safety Plans
Student Housing: For the SHCS Residence Commonsblock COVID-19 Safety Plan (Vancouver), please refer to the Vancouver Student Housing COVID-19 web page.
Food Services: For the SHCS Food Services COVID-19 Safety Plan (Vancouver), please refer to the UBC Food Services COVID-19 web page.
Conferences and Accommodation: For the Conferences and Accommodation COVID-19 Safety Plan, please refer to the C&A COVID-19 Web page.
COVID-19 Creative Materials Toolkit
The SHCS Marcom Team has created a wide variety of materials, including posters, signage, floor decals and more. Themes include physical distancing, cleaning/hygiene, closure signage, elevator protocol and wellbeing. We’ve packaged everything up for you and you can download the package, and included all final art files. Feel free to help yourself, and alter to suit your needs, however we do recommend that you stick with the existing colours and fonts to maintain the integrity of the design. You can replace our logo with your own. We’re sharing these materials across UBC and others who are interested can also repurpose these materials for their own unique needs.
During this time, it is so important that you take time to care for yourselves and your families. To that end Melissa Baker, our Nutrition & Wellbeing Manager, and Jen Dowdeswell, Organizational Development & Learning Manager have shared some simple but effective tips you can put into practice and remind you of UBC-specific resources to support you and your family and colleagues.
Therapist-assisted Digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): An evidence-based and effective form of psychotherapy for individuals experiencing mental health concerns, which is covered by your UBC Extended Health Benefits. Learn more >
30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge: Ongoing until mid-May! Join in any Tuesday. Learn more >
Benefits Support for Staff and Your Families
- Helping Staff and Faculty in Distress
- UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program – Your EFAP provides immediate and confidential assistance for any work, health or life concern. Visit www.workhealthlife.com for more information (search UBC Vancouver Campus.)
- Mental Health information, education and training
- UBC Benefits – These include $2,500/person/year, for you and eligible dependents, for counselling and psychological support services, including licensed psychologists, social workers or registered clinical counsellors. No doctors note is needed and fees are reimbursed 100% (based on a reasonable and customary charge).
- Find a comfortable space to work. The UBC ergonomics resources page or this recent article written by UBC’s ergonomist, Abigail Overduin about staying comfortable and preventing injury when working from home can support you in setting up a space. We also recognize that it may be hard to have a designated space to work from, other than the kitchen table etc. You could consider setting up agreements with your significant other/older kids/roommates that when the door is shut (or headphones are on) they don’t bother you but you’ll come out at least a few times a day to hang out while you take a break.
- Don’t forget to move! Get up and move every hour. If you have phone calls that don’t require video, stand up and pace or walk. Stretch and remember your posture. Here are 10 stretches you can do.
- Create a routine. Treat it as you would if you were going to the office. Have a start time, and an end time. Take a lunch break – consider getting some fresh air. It is essential to your wellbeing that you are able to create a separation from when you are working, to simply being at home. The more you can structure this, the better you will be at getting your work done during the day, and then relaxing at the end of the day.
- Listen to music. Listening to background music can be very helpful, especially if you are not in the house alone. Spotify and other music providers often offer music with the theme of “Focus.” Here’s an Entrepreneur article that explains why.
- Connect with your colleagues. It will be weird to not see them every day. Consider creating a group chat on Whatsapp or other platform to check in at the beginning and end of the day. See how you can help each other, and also to help keep spirits up.
- Connect with your friends and family. This is an unprecedented opportunity to connect more closely with the people we care about, whether it’s spending quality time together in person or catching up over video chat.
- Self-Care is an important part of building resilience to challenges like the current COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve put together a handy worksheet with ideas and questions to help you create your own self-care strategy.
- Specific to the current situtation, here’s a great presentation from Morneau Shepell emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Helpful Resources
Working from home with kids
Training to master remote work (you’ll need a LinkedIn account to see these resources)