On March 13, 2020, Santa J. Ono addressed students via an important email regarding COVID-19, writing “Today I am announcing the transition to online classes effective Monday March 16, 2020 for the remainder of the term.Following this announcement, students were given the green light to travel home and complete the remainder of the term remotely. 

In addition to many Universities across Canada transitioning to online platforms, Canadian Residents were encouraged to practice social distancing by staying home as much as possible and only going out when necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.

What is social distancing? 

Social distancing is a measure that has been implemented in many countries across the world to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19. To effectively social distance yourself, you are encouraged to stay home as much as possible and avoid physical contact with others, especially those who do not live within your home.

What places will remain open during social distancing? 

Essential businesses will remain open during social distancing including grocery stores and gas stations. Although these places remain open, it is important to remain cautious while getting gas or groceries. Specialists recommend going to these places during non-busy hours, bringing gloves and always remaining a safe distance away from others. If you need groceries but can’t afford them during this time, visit UBCSUO’s @pantryfoodbank on Instagram for more information on how you can join the emergency hamper program. 

How long will social distancing take?
As bleak as it sounds, some experts say it will take up to several months of social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

What can you do at home while social distancing? 

Some say that rather than “social distancing” it should be called “physical distancing” as it is important that people maintain social connections during this time. People are encouraged to stay connected with friends and family over the phone or online.

Can you still hang out with friends? 

Experts recommend against seeing anyone who you don’t already live with at this time. In fact, the Ontario Premier recently reduced the gathering size from 150 people all the way down to 5 people. This change is an indicator of how important it is to avoid seeing your friends in person at this time even if it’s just in a small group.

Where can you go for mental health resources?

This is a scary and unprecedented time and it is natural to feel more anxious than normal, but if you are finding things too difficult to cope with, please visit this website for valuable resources and phone numbers for mental health support.