A campus mask mandate could be returning to the University of Victoria.
The school’s senate voted 23-19 in favour of bringing back an on-campus mask mandate during a senate voting session. The motion was drafted by faculty member Victoria Wyatt who said the sudden change put students and staff, especially those who are immunocompromised or have young unvaccinated children at home, in a difficult position.
“The lifting of the mask mandate suddenly overnight made a situation where the conditions that people were learning in and working in during this academic term fundamentally changed with no time for those people to talk to their medical team to get a sense of risk or to make alternative plans if their medical team felt it was important to do so,” she said.
The recommendation, which calls for the mandate to become effective immediately and would be kept in place through the April exam period, will now be sent to the president and board of governors for approval.
“I’m just really gratified to see the majority of senators present felt it was important to affirm the value of inclusion,” Wyatt said.
The move comes less than two weeks after UVic lifted their mask mandate. It also comes amid concerns about another potential wave here in B.C. following a surge of infections overseas fuelled by an extra-contagious version subvariant of Omicron known as BA.2.
Cases of BA.2 appear to be increasing across the province in recent weeks according to data available on the BCCDC’s website.
More than 260 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Island Health region so far this week, despite testing levels being at some of their lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the vote took place during a secret meeting. The vote, in fact, took place during a University of Victoria senate meeting. Access to the meeting agenda can be found here. CHEK News regrets the error.
Motion passed @UVic Senate today: “That Senate recommend to the President and the Board of Governors that the mask mandate at UVic that was dropped on March 11, 2022 be reinstated immediately and kept in place through the April exam period.”
Thx to all who supported this motion!
— UVic Faculty Association (@UVicFA) March 25, 2022