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B.C. post-secondary schools plan for full return in September

FILE -- People walk past large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on Nov. 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Planning is underway to welcome students back to B.C. colleges and university campuses this fall

Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang there are many details to work out right now

UBC Student Union's Georgia Yee stresses the importance of student affordability and safety in the reopening plan

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s universities and colleges are getting ready to fully reopen campuses this fall after the provincial health officer gave the green light.

Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang acknowledges there are many details to work out by health experts and teams at the schools to welcome back students from here and abroad.

“We are making sure that as students return, regardless if that’s domestic or international, that we are following either provincial and federal protocols, so these will be in place and this is part of the plan we’re putting forward,” she explains.

“Some students have already returned in the past year with the proper protocols that we have in place, with post-isolation for 14 days. The federal government will be regulating who comes in our province and the proper protocols will be followed.”

RELATED: B.C. looks to ease COVID-19 restrictions ‘in coming weeks’

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has advised the presidents of all public colleges and universities to prepare for the full return to on-campus learning in September.

It’s been a year since schools across B.C. shut down in-person classes, and UBC Student Union vice president Georgia Yee stresses the importance of student affordability and safety in the reopening plan, especially for international students.

“There also needs to be engagement regarding international student quarantine and the potential affordability issues that that brings up by mandating a $2,000 quarantine,” she tells NEWS 1130.

RELATED: Self-isolation plans offered at UBC, SFU, UVIC for international students, staff

Yee hopes the university provides more clarity in the coming weeks in addressing concerns ensuring a safe reopening.

“There will likely be a lot of students who won’t be able to attend in-person, especially after a year that has taken a lot of financial stress on students and on students’ families as well,” she adds.

UBC President Santa Ono released a statement saying the school will work with health officials to ensure the safety and well-being of students are prioritized when classes resume.

“As such, we are embarking on further planning, in collaboration with public health, to accommodate more on-campus activities. This includes transit planning; quarantine arrangements for international students (if required); options for on-site immunization; and the availability of study spaces,” he writes in the statement.

“Dr. Henry is clear that post-secondary institutions, such as UBC, should be confident that a return to on-campus instruction and increased levels of on-campus research activity can be undertaken safely and successfully. Recently, the Provincial Health Office indicated that current projections of the COVID-19 vaccine supply in B.C. suggest everyone, who is eligible, will receive a vaccination by mid-summer.”