JIBC COMMUNICABLE DISEASE EXPOSURE CONTROL PLAN & RESOURCES
Our Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan outlines the ongoing prevention and response measures that everyone needs to follow to keep our Institute community healthy going forward, including those specific to COVID-19.
The Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan replaces the prescriptive COVID-19 safety measures which were required under the Pandemic State of Emergency and transitions to ongoing communicable disease prevention measures that are responsive to public health guidance and the changing community health landscape when required.
The Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan applies to all departments, divisions, staff, faculty, and students, engaged in any Institute activity, including in-person instruction, related educational activities, research, and administrative, operational, and ancillary services.
The Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan is effective as of Sept. 1, 2021 and replaces all existing JIBC COVID-19 Safety Plans and the associated COVID-19 activity specific Risk Assessment & Control Plans (RAs). Note that departments and divisions will generally no longer be required to create COVID-19 activity specific RAs, instead they must ensure the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan prevention measures are applied Institute-wide. Non-educational gatherings and events will require specific event safety plans demonstrating how they meet requirements in place at the time of the event.
Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan
During Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan, Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and WorkSafeBC guidance is for employers and post-secondary institutions to evaluate their own circumstances and maintain some existing safety measures as we gradually ease restrictions in anticipation of the full return to in-person activities in Step 4. Please review the JIBC COVID-19 Safety Protocols Summary, which is a companion document to the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan.
The Provincial Health Officer announced a new mask mandate effective August 25, 2021 which was extended until further notice on Oct. 29, 2021. Masks are required to be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C. regardless of vaccine status. For JIBC campuses, this means masks are now required at all times in common areas, regardless of distance. This includes all indoor or in-vehicle teaching spaces/classrooms, buses, and staff meetings. An instructor or presenter may remove their mask, so long as everyone else in the room remains masked. Masks must continue to be worn for specific in-class activities which require close/physical contact even if outdoors.
At Step 4 of the BC Restart Plan (date still to be determined), we are expecting that JIBC mask expectations may be amended to be based on personal choice in alignment with Provincial Health Officer guidance. In addition to the Institute-wide requirements set out in the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan, some activities will also need to follow applicable sector-specific safety guidelines or PHO requirements (e.g. non-educational gatherings and events; food service).
Communicable Disease Prevention
Communicable disease prevention focuses on risk reduction principles and information-based decision making to reduce risk of workplace/ post-secondary institution transmission of diseases including but not limited to COVID-19. This includes both ongoing measures to be maintained at all times and additional measures to be implemented as advised by public health during periods of elevated risk. JIBC Health, Safety and Emergency Management will regularly monitor and review communicable disease information from public health authorities and update the JIBC community of any changes and requirements affecting our activities, including updating the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan as needed.
Personal Health Assessments &
Supporting Employees and Students to Stay at Home When Sick
- All employees and students must continue to do a daily health self-assessment prior to attending in-person activities.
- If you are ill or have symptoms of a communicable disease (e.g. fever and/or chills, recent onset of coughing, diarrhea):
- please stay home
- notify your supervisor or instructor of your absence
- consult the THRIVE BC COVID-19 self-assessment tool to see if you should get tested, and contact 811 if you require medical advice
- Instructors will follow established protocols to support student absence due to illness and notify their program manager following case reporting protocols.
- Washing your hands with soap and water regularly, is one of the most effective ways to minimize the spread of communicable diseases. When sinks or washrooms are not available use hand sanitizer.
- Signage and sanitizer dispensers in common areas will promote use on JIBC sites.
- For outdoor or off-campus Institute activities, organizers must ensure that hand sanitizer is supplied if washing facilities are not available (e.g. outdoor events, vehicles, field locations, etc.).
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the fold of your elbow (not your hand) helps reduce spread of communicable diseases.
- The Institute is committed to maintaining a healthy environment through routine cleaning practices and implementing enhanced cleaning practices when recommended by public health during periods of elevated risk.
- Areas or units which may have specialized cleaning practices due to their activities or regulatory requirements (e.g. gymnasium mats, food service areas, event planners, etc.) should continue to follow those practices, in addition to any other requirements that are currently in place from the PHO.
Building Ventilation (HVAC Systems)
- Following the direction of WorkSafeBC and the PHO, institutions must ensure that building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are operating and maintained in accordance with WorkSafeBC requirements and relevant ASHRAE Standards.
- JIBC Facilities Management regularly assess and maintain our building HVAC systems to ensure they continue to meet (and exceed) these requirements. During periods of elevated risk – any changing HVAC requirements will be reviewed and addressed.
- Our HVAC systems are effective on their own to achieve the currently recommended air refresh and filtration levels. Openable windows are not required to achieve this. Where there are windows, they can simply be opened or closed as desired for comfort.
Getting vaccinated supports the JIBC community in building a safe and healthy return to campus life. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, or if it’s time for your booster (6 months since your second dose), register online or by phone to receive an invitation and book an appointment.
For more information, visit Vax for BC.
Note: the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory in order to study, work, or visit JIBC. JIBC will require BC Vaccine Card verification for those discretionary activities specified in PHO orders (eg. for use of our New Westminster campus fitness room).
The level of risk of certain communicable diseases, including COVID-19, may elevate from time to time or on a seasonal basis. This can occur on a local or regional scale or within a single workplace or post-secondary institution.
In addition to overseeing the ongoing prevention measures, JIBC Health, Safety and Emergency Management will monitor public health information and trigger Institute response to any new or changing directives from the local medical health officer or provincial health officer which could include, for example, implementing enhanced cleaning measures, distancing requirements or masking guidance.
Any changes to prevention measures during periods of elevated risk will be communicated to those affected in our campus community.
This Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan is available here.
Leaders should ensure that everyone on their teams has reviewed the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan, and understand and follow the measures in place.
The prevention measures will be reinforced through campus signage, social media and other communication tools on a regular basis.
The ongoing review and evaluation of the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan will involve the Occupational Health & Safety Committee, as part of its consultation process on Institute health and safety programs.
Return to Campus FAQS
- Students and staff coming to in-person classes or work activities are expected to perform a daily personal health assessment and stay home if unwell.
- Frequent hand washing with soap and water is encouraged. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available at main entrances and in common areas for use by staff, faculty and students.
- Signage throughout the campus sets expectations. These are updated as public health guidance and Institute protocols change.
- The Provincial Health Officer announced a new mask mandate effective August 25, 2021 which was extended until further notice on Oct. 29, 2021. Masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C. regardless of vaccine status. For JIBC campuses, this means masks are now required at all times in common areas, regardless of distance. This includes all indoor or in-vehicle teaching spaces/classrooms, buses, and staff meetings. An instructor or presenter may remove their mask, so long as everyone else in the room remains masked. Masks must continue to be worn for specific in-class activities which require close/physical contact even if outdoors.
- At Step 4 of the BC Restart Plan, date to be determined, the JIBC mask expectation may be amended to a personal choice in alignment with anticipated Provincial Health Officer guidance. Physical distancing will no longer be required – but respecting other’s personal space will be important.
Note: Mask requirements and distancing are possible controls that may be increased or decreased depending on regional public health guidance if and when there is an elevated risk of communicable disease. For more info see the Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan.
- Should someone become ill, we have a robust case reporting and management process in place in consultation with Public Health, to limit further transmission.
JIBC follows guidance from, and consults with, the BC Ministries of Health and Advanced Education and Skills Training, WorkSafeBC, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the BC Centre for Disease Control on how to limit, detect and mitigate any potential communicable disease transmission on our campuses. This guidance informs our new Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan, which replaces the previous COVID-19 Safety Plan.
As of March 11, 2022 masks optional and encouraged in indoor spaces, but not required.
JIBC has moved to a “mask-supportive environment” in alignment with the change to the provincial Face Coverings Order. This means masks are optional and encouraged in indoor spaces, but not required.
Your help is needed as we make this adjustment. Now that the provincial order has been lifted, everyone needs to be allowed to evaluate their personal risk and comfort level regarding their own mask use. Their choice needs to be honoured and respected. Peer pressure (or the perception of it) to ‘not mask’ needs to be actively avoided and managed if observed.
This change is based on the protections we now have with current high vaccination rates, and the fact that effective treatments are now available. Dropping transmission and hospitalization rates reflect this.
As we have throughout the pandemic, we continue to evaluate our specific risks in addition to the public orders. For general campus access, office and desk-based classroom activity, our risk is similar to the general public. For our direct contact simulation activities, where mask-wearing is required during the activity in the ‘real world’ profession – our students will wear equivalent PPE during that activity in training (as we do with all other PPE such as turnout gear or hearing protection including masks). These requirements will be reviewed in each program area.
As part of planning for the fall return, JIBC Facilities re-optimized our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure they continue to meet or exceed all applicable standards, including WorkSafeBC. Our HVAC systems are effective on their own to achieve the currently recommended air refresh levels. Openable windows are not required to achieve this. Where there are windows, they can simply be opened or closed as desired for comfort.
The BC Vaccine Card Proof of Vaccination program is in effect as of Sept. 13. At JIBC classes, educational activities such as library use or writing tutorials, and the campus cafeterias, will not be affected by the program. To access the Fitness Room, any intramural activities, and ticketed events, you will need to show a BC Vaccine Card.
Note there may be vaccination requirements before being able to participate in specific practicum placements as part of some JIBC programs, as per the rules for those particular worksites/activities.
To continue meeting the evolving challenge of this virus – we need every JIBC community member to feel authorized and responsible to support others on-site to understand and apply current JIBC requirements.
When engaging in a conversation about COVID-19 requirements on campus, all faculty, staff, and students are expected to address visitors, peers, and colleagues regardless of rank in a positive and supportive manner.
Campus COVID-19 preventive measure requirements can be different than what people are used to in other spaces such as restaurants or other workplaces. These change over time and by regional location in response to public health guidance and local transmission levels. If you see something that doesn’t meet current JIBC guidance, please take a moment to gently coach or remind.
This document provides guiding information to help coach or explain on-campus COVID-19 protocols.
The most current COVID-19 protocols are posted here.
A virtual town hall meeting was held on December 8, 2021 with representatives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the BC Centre for Disease Control to discuss public health guidance for BC’s post-secondary institutions.
Participants at the town hall included Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, senior representatives from post-secondary institutions, Indigenous partners, post-secondary labour organizations, student associations, and sector association presidents.
Topics discussed included:
- Why vaccinations are not mandatory for post-secondary students, faculty and staff.
- The limited value of rapid testing in environments with high vaccination rates.
- The low COVID-19 transmission rates at post-secondary institutions.
- PHO advice on travel over the holiday break.
A recording of the December 8, 2021 town hall can be viewed here.