Coronavirus update: November 16, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

November 16, 2020

One of the great things about living and working in northern British Columbia is being able to experience the wonders of all four seasons. As winter weather beckons, there will be new opportunities to explore the outdoors, whether it is snowshoeing, skiing, or taking a walk around one of our campuses. At the same time, COVID-19 case counts are increasing across our province, including right here in the north. Now is the time for all of us to redouble our efforts and take action to reduce the spread of the disease. 

In today’s update:

  • Daily health self-assessment 
  • Masks
  • Travel
  • Medical masks in health-care facilities 

Daily health self-assessment

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 it is imperative to stay at home if you are feeling unwell. Due to a surge in cases in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia’s Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all employees entering a workplace in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions to complete a daily health check before entering their workplace. I strongly encourage anyone who is coming to our campuses to study or work to complete a health check prior to visiting UNBC. Ask yourself if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever, fatigue, new or worsening cough, body aches, sore throat or painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of appetite, chills, difficulty breathing, headache, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell, nausea or vomiting. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please stay home. 


As I wrote in my last update, it is now my expectation that everyone who frequents any of our campuses and the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre should wear a mask when in public areas. Thank you to everyone who is doing their part by bringing their own mask and wearing it when it hallways, stairwells, elevators and other public places. By wearing a non-medical mask, you are helping to protect yourself and those around you. Masks reduce the spread of disease by containing droplets from your mouth when talking, laughing, singing or sneezing. Masks are one tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but to be effective they must be combined with other important preventative measures including frequent hand washing and physical distancing.  


By limiting our travel and staying close to home, we can reduce our exposure to COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the disease. Recently, Dr. Henry issued an order limiting travel into and out of Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions from Nov. 7 to Nov. 23. This restriction applies to all travel for UNBC business purposes as well as personal travel. Please do not make the trip unless it is urgently required.

If you are planning to travel to a restricted area, please contact before you leave. 

If you are travelling outside of Canada for an urgent reason, please check the Government of Canada Travel Advisory website to make informed decisions to travel safely while abroad. Upon returning from international travel, you must stay away from work or school and self-isolate for 14 days. This is mandatory for all returning travellers. 

Medical masks in health-care facilities

Recently, the Ministry of Health issued a mandatory requirement that all persons entering a health-care facility must wear a medical mask. This requirement applies to our Health Services Medical Clinic at the Prince George campus. All employees entering this space (health-care workers, non-clinical staff, security, facilities, janitorial staff and contractors) and student patients attending the clinic are required to put on a medical mask upon entry. Medical masks are available at the entrance. Please be patient with our Wellness Centre team as they ensure compliance with this public health order. 

I know we all wish that COVID-19 was behind us and we would be returning to normal. I am cognizant of the challenges we are all facing and not every day is a great day. Please do take time to rest, recharge, and reach out for help if needed. We are a community and we are here for each other. I am confident that we, as the UNBC community, can continue to all work together to protect those around us and ensure we flatten that curve.

Please remember that if you are looking for the most current information, we regularly update our Coronavirus (COVID-19) website with the latest on our ongoing response. And if you have questions, please continue to send them to

Stay safe, and thank you!

Geoff Payne,
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor

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