Process for Students Seeking a Face Covering (Mask) Exemption on Medical Grounds

The Order of the Provincial Health Officer requiring individuals to wear face coverings (masks) in indoor spaces allows exemptions based on disability or medical related grounds.

For UBC students, such an exemption may be requested as an accommodation through the Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) or Centre for Accessibility (Vancouver). This accommodation applies to instructional and exam spaces and other indoor public spaces on UBC properties. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Classrooms
  • Labs
  • Seminar/tutorial rooms
  • Lecture halls
  • CFA/DRC or other exam centres and rooms

For students who are not currently registered with the CFA/DRC and are seeking a face covering exemption accommodation only

Students are required to complete an electronic self-disclosure form that is directed to the Intake Coordinator on each campus. The Intake Coordinators will review the information provided and confirm eligibility for the accommodation. If additional information is required, the Intake Coordinators will work directly with the student.

An Accommodation Letter will be produced through the CFA/DRC Accommodations Portal. The Intake Coordinators will confirm eligibility with the student by email and provide directions for how to direct the letter to their instructors. Students will be responsible for notifying instructors regarding their eligibility for this accommodation.

Additional information about the Centre will be provided to the student and they will be invited to complete a full intake if they wish to seek additional accommodations.

The Disability Accommodation Policy (LR7) allows the CFA/DRC to exercise discretion in determining circumstances where accommodations may be granted without the need for medical documentation. Under present conditions, the CFA/DRC has determined that requiring students who are seeking an exemption to seek medical documentation in support of this accommodation places an undue burden on students and on their healthcare providers. Therefore, wherever possible the CFA/DRA will assess eligibility for the face covering exemption accommodation based on the information provided through the self-disclosure form.

However, the CFA/DRC reserves the right to request further medical documentation from the student at any time if it deems such documentation necessary, based on the information provided in the self-declaration form.

Accommodations granted in this circumstance will be time limited (one term only). If extensions are required the CFA/DRC will consider whether a full intake would be the appropriate step.

For students who are already receiving accommodations and are now seeking a face covering exemption accommodation

These requests are assessed by the student’s primary advisor and if eligible, the accommodation will be added to their existing accommodation letter. Students will be responsible for notifying instructors regarding their eligibility for accommodations.

Appeals and Complaints

As with all Policy LR7 decisions regarding eligibility and implementation of accommodations, face covering exemption accommodations will be subject to the appeal mechanisms outlined in the Policy.

Students Requesting Accommodation for the Face Covering Exemption

UBC recognizes that it may not be possible for some students to wear a face covering (mask) while accessing classrooms and other common areas on UBC properties based on the exemptions outlined in the Provincial Health Officer order on Face Coverings in public indoor settings.

The Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) or Centre for Accessibility (Vancouver) will consider requests for accommodation from students who believe they are entitled to any of the following exemptions:

  • (a) If the student is unable to wear a face covering because of (i) a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or (ii) a physical, cognitive or mental impairment; and/or
  • (b) if the student is unable to put on or remove a face covering without the assistance of another person;

To balance the rights of people who cannot wear a face covering (mask), and public health risks, especially to people at heightened risk of severe illness, the following practices are required for students unable to wear a face covering.

  1. Limit your campus attendance to access the essential services that you require, such as attending classes. If you do need to access UBC common areas please:
    • Always maintain a physical distance of 2 meters from others
    • Clean shared equipment before and after use
    • Maintain clean hands, and use hand sanitizer upon entry to, and exit from all common areas.
  2. Stay home when you are sick, even if symptoms are mild. Avoid coming to campus.
  3. Prior to coming to campus each day, assess yourself using the BC-COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool on BC Thrive Health.
  4. Complete the Student Face Covering Exemption Accommodation form to receive the classroom accommodation that allows you to notify your instructor of your exemption via the CFA/DRC Accommodations Portal.

Face Covering Exemption accommodation Form