Coronavirus update: November 3, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

November 3, 2020

We’re rolling through the semester quickly – mid-terms are underway in many classes and we’re getting ready for the start of winter in the North. I know these have been extraordinary times and hope everyone is managing this semester and making the most of the new opportunities we have in front of us. 

In today’s update:

  • Mask Expectations
  • Gatherings and Events

Mask Expectations

With the increase in COVID-19 cases across British Columbia (not to mention the rest of the world) it’s worth re-iterating the importance of masks in our campuses’ public spaces. The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has not mandated the use of masks, and we continue to follow her expert advice and guidance, as well as that received from public health agencies and various government ministries. Last week, however, Dr. Henry indicated that it was her “expectation” that people will wear a mask, so I will match and support her message. It is my expectation that members of the University community will wear masks when in public spaces, including our campuses and the Northern Sport Centre. We do this not only for ourselves but also the good of others, as we know wearing a mask, even a non-medical mask, is part of a multi-pronged approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19. I know that our community is compassionate and understanding, and for some wearing a mask may not be an option. But for most of us, it is simply the right thing to do. The Bookstore has several options – consider a mask a fashion accessory if you like!

Gatherings and Events

We know that when we gather with people in close contact, we can promote COVID-19 transmission. The PHO issued an order regarding Gatherings and Events on Oct. 30 regarding such contacts. As I mentioned above, winter is inevitable and it is coming to northern B.C., which means people will spend more time interacting indoors.  We must do our part to help flatten this curve in B.C. and adhere to the orders issued by the PHO.  This is not just about gatherings within our homes; it applies on our campuses, too. Please try to limit your numbers when meeting with your friends and colleagues for a coffee, or while studying. I know we want to be connected to each other in person again but we are in the midst of the second wave; while some positive news has occurred on the vaccine front of late, we must not get complacent.

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