COVID-19 Advisory

Particular Attention for PSIs in the Northern Health Authority Area COVID-19 Update Oct 15/21 - Hospital and Community Prevention Measures + Gathering and Events Order for NHA

Hospital and Community (Health Care and Other Services) COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures Order:

      The Provincial Health Officer released a new order, on October 14, 2021, for Health Care and other Providers.

  • All health care providers, employees and staff (broadly defined) working in a public health care setting must provide proof of vaccination or exemption by October, 26, 2021.
  • Students, faculty members, researchers or staff members of a post-secondary institution who are in a care location for training or research purposes must provide proof of vaccination.
  • A student must report their vaccination status to the HSPnet database and provide an operator with proof of vaccination, or an exemption upon request of operator.
  • This order does not have an expiry date.

 

Region-Specific Gathering and Events COVID-19 Order for Northern Health Authority:

New public health measures were introduced on October 15, 2021 in the Northern Health Region with the exception of Local Health areas west of Kitiwanga: Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, Telegraph, Snow Country and Nisga’a). 

  • Personal gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted to fully vaccinated people, including at private residences and vacation accommodation.
  • All indoor (limit 50 people) and outdoor (limit 100 people) organized events require a safety plan, attendees to wear a mask and present their BC Vaccine Card.
  • Sporting event spectators are limited to 50% capacity, must have a safety plan, and require attendees to wear masks and present their BC Vaccine Card showing full vaccination.
  • The measures are region-specific and effective as of 12:01 am on October 15, 2021 and remain in effect until Friday, November 19, 2021 at 11:59 pm.
  • This order DOES NOT APPLY TO STUDENTS, TEACHERS OR INSTRUCTORS at a school, or a post-secondary educational institution WHEN ENGAGED IN EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

 

COVID-19 Resources:

 

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

Important information for PTIB certified institutions

Wed., Sep. 1, 2021

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

I am writing to provide some important updates and reminders from the Private Training Institutions Branch.

 

  1. Updated application process

Effective immediately, the program application function on the PTIB Portal will be unavailable while enhancements are being made.  Additionally, PTIB has also removed the PDF “Institution Application” from its website.

Instead of using the portal or the PDF tool, you will use one of five fillable application forms.  You can find these forms on the  Forms, Templates and Resources page of the PTIB website.

These updated application forms will make the process easier and more intuitive.  The forms also include guidelines to assist you when making an application.  Once completed, the forms can be sent, with all required documentation, to PTI@gov.bc.ca for processing.

 

If you started an application using the Institution Application (pdf), please submit it within 2 weeks.  PTIB will not accept submission on the old PDF form after September 15, 2021.

 

     2. Program Information on the PTIB Portal

Did you know that you can access all program information listed with PTIB for your institution on the PTIB Portal?

 

To view current program information, select “View my current programs” on the portal.

You should periodically review the program information in your enrolment contracts, your website, and in your advertising to ensure that it is consistent with the information listed with PTIB. 

 

     3. Reference Group

Thank you to everyone that joined the information sessions held earlier this year.  In these sessions, we heard that some of you would like an opportunity to provide more input and to better understand the regulatory process.

PTIB is planning to host regular meetings of institutional and other representatives to discuss issues of interest to both institutions and the Ministry.  Ideally, we would like to establish a group that represents the many different institution sectors, sizes and geographic areas.  Reference group members would be expected to develop Terms of Reference and a code of conduct for participation, commit to attending one or two meetings per year, have their participation publicized and take an active and constructive role in the discussions. Meetings will be held virtually. 

If you would be interested in being part of the Reference Group, please email Kim.Munro@gov.bc.ca by September 15.  Unfortunately, we will need to limit the size of the reference group to keep its management within PTIB’s capacity to support. 

     4. Clarifying minimum instructor qualifications at the course level

Institutions are reminded that instructor qualifications are verified at a course level during an inspection.  Requirements related to instructor qualifications are in Section 21 of the Private Training Regulation.

     5. Regulatory amendment reminder

You are reminded that new and revised policies must now be in place to be compliant with the September 1 regulatory amendments. Institutions are not required to submit their new and updated policies to PTIB at this time. PTIB may request certain documents for review at a later date and may review them at any time as part of an inspection.

 

*To ensure you are able to view the updated version of the Policy Manual and other resources on the PTIB website, please clear your browser cache.

 

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

203 – 1155 West Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6E 2P4

P: 604-569-0033 | F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

 

Confidentiality Notice: The contents of this email message and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee(s) and may contain confidential and/or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, or if this message has been addressed to you in error, please immediately alert the sender by reply email and then delete this message and any attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, dissemination, copying, or storage of this message or its attachments is strictly prohibited.

COVID-19 Update – New PHO Orders re: Masks and Proof of Vaccination + Interior Health Measures + Additional Fall 2021 Public Health Guidance

 

August 25, 2021

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

Greetings. Please note the following COVID-19 updates for August 25, 2021:

Mandatory Masks:

  • The Provincial Health Officer has issued new province-wide mandatory mask requirements for all indoor public areas effective August 25, 2021 including shopping centres, coffee shops, retail and grocery stores, pubs, and public transportation.
  • To support the full return to in-person education, research and on-campus services for B.C.’s post-secondary institutions, the new mask order will apply to all indoor public areas on post-secondary campuses including classrooms, labs, lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and elevators.
  • Further details will be available in the Provincial Health Officer Order currently under development, including mask exemption provisions.

 

Proof of Vaccination:

  • Starting September 13, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required in B.C. to access a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province including:
  • Indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres and gyms, indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor theatre events, and indoor organized events like conferences and weddings; and,
  • Students living in on-campus student housing at B.C. post- secondary institutions.  Partial vaccination will be required by September 7, 2021 to align with the start of the fall academic term.
  • Local health authorities are working closely with post-secondary institutions to provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine for all students, faculty and staff.
  • Discretionary non-educational activities and businesses on post-secondary campuses captured by the new proof of vaccination requirements include restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, gyms, and indoor ticketed events.
  • The specifics of the proof of vaccination requirements will be outlined in a new Provincial Health Officer Order currently under development.
  • Post-secondary institutions may implement their own proof of vaccination requirements as a part of their communicable disease prevention plans.  Institutions seeking to introduce their own proof of vaccination policies are responsible for doing their own due diligence and consulting with public health. Public health has advised that while institutions may consider a vaccination policy for employees, they are not supportive of proof of vaccination requirements for students participating in educational activities (e.g., classrooms, labs, field schools, tutorials etc.).

 

Region-Specific Public Health Measures for Interior Health:

  • New public health measures were introduced on August 20, 2021 in the Interior Health region to respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases including clusters and outbreaks. 
  • The measures are a region-specific and time-limited approach to lowering the number of COVID-19 cases, and provide an example of how local health authorities will support post-secondary institutions in responding to COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • NOTE:  The Interior Health COVID-19 Gatherings and Events Order continues to provide an exemption to the 50-person limit for gatherings for post-secondary institutions engaged in educational activities.  However, please note that indoor and outdoor gatherings and events not directly related to educational activities (e.g. BBQs, social orientation events, etc.) will be limited to 50 people.

 

Additional Fall 2021 Public Health Guidance:

  • B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer has advised that the full return to in-person learning is not dependent on the province transitioning to Step 4 of the BC Restart Plan.
  • Classrooms, lecture theatres and educational orientation events are not considered gatherings and can operate with no capacity limits.
  • Students participating in health science programs must be fully immunized as required by the COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventative Measures Order dated August 20, 2021 in order to participate in student practicums and clinical placements.
  • Experts from the post-secondary sector and public health are meeting on a weekly basis to support the fall return to campus, including facilitating coordinated sector-wide approaches to emerging issues and the implementation of the proof of vaccination requirements.
  • The Return-to-Campus Guidelines are being updated to reflect the evolving public health guidance.

 

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response.  Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

 

 

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

 

Confidentiality Notice: The contents of this email message and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee(s) and may contain confidential and/or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, or if this message has been addressed to you in error, please immediately alert the sender by reply email and then delete this message and any attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, dissemination, copying, or storage of this message or its attachments is strictly prohibited.

COVID-19 Update – Additional Revisions to PHO Workplace and Post-Secondary Institution Safety Order

 

May 5, 2021

 

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

 

Please note the following COVID-19 update for May 5, 2021:

PHO Workplace and Post-Secondary Institution Safety Order revised as of May 2, 2021

Revisions were made to the PHO Workplace and Post-secondary Institution Safety Order to clarify definitions as well as daily health check requirements.  Changes include:

o   Revised definitions for “classroom,” “indoor common area,” ”school” and “workplace.”

o   A less prescriptive approach to daily health checks.

o   A requirement for post-secondary institutions to put in place measures to prevent students from crowding together or congregating in indoor common areas and classrooms.

This order does not have an expiration date.

 

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

 

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

COVID-19 Update Updated PHO Workplace and Post-Secondary Institution Safety Order

April 27, 2021 

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

Please note the following COVID-19 update for April 27, 2021:

PHO Workplace and Post-Secondary Institution Safety Order updated as of April 21, 2021

Changes were made to the PHO Workplace and Post-secondary Institution Safety Order to respond to an increase in community transmission and COVID-19 cases, and to support the WorkSafeBC requirement for COVID-19 Safety Plans to ensure consistent mask wearing in indoor common areas. This order does not have an expiration date.

Changes include:

    • A student must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in an indoor common area or a classroom in a post-secondary institution, subject to the exceptions noted in section 9.
    • Employers must require workers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth in indoor common areas.
    • Employers must strongly encourage workers to work from their private residences, if possible, given the nature of the work involved.
    • Visitors to indoor common areas continue to be covered by the face covering requirements in the Emergency Program Act Ministerial Order No. M012

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

Please note the following COVID-19 updates for April 23, 2021:

  1. New Travel Restrictions
  1. New provincial travel order effective April 23, 2021

A new order will expand existing travel restrictions to ensure that British Columbians stay within their local areas and reduce non-essential travel.

o   Travel restrictions to stop non-essential travel between geographic regions in B.C. will be in effect until May 25, 2021.

o   All non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel for vacation and recreation purposes.

NOTE:  

  • Essential travel includes travel for post-secondary education and training.
  • Travel to attend classes or receive training through a post-secondary institution, including participating in practical learning activities such as fieldwork, practicums and clinical placements, is exempt from the travel restrictions as part of a broad exemption for post-secondary education and training.
  1. Government of Canada suspension of flights from India and Pakistan effective April 22, 2021 for 30 days

o   Mental health supports, including www.here2talk.ca, are available to B.C. post-secondary international students who are affected by the new federal flight restrictions between India, Pakistan and Canada.

o   B.C. will continue to monitor changes to federal travel restrictions and communicate with institutions to ensure BC is responding to all new federal requirements.

  1. Extension of PHO Province-Wide Restrictions

The existing province-wide restrictions have been extended until midnight May 25, 2021 to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

P: 778-698-9870| F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

COVID-19 Update – April 13, 2021 – New Expedited Workplace Closure Process

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

Please note the following COVID-19 update for April 13, 2021:

Effective Monday, April 12, BC’s Provincial Health Officer has put in place a new Expedited Workplace Closure process to break the transmission of COVID-19.

  • Public health officials may order workplace closures, assisted by WorkSafeBC prevention officers, for a period of 10 days or longer when transmission of COVID-19 occurs at the worksite.
  • Post-secondary institutions are notexempt.  However, closures may be restricted at the discretion of the local Medical Health Officer to one particular location where transmission has occurred.
  • For example, a closure order may be issued for:

o   A specific service or retail provider on campus (e.g., restaurant, pub, store).

o   A specific building on campus, fitness/recreation facility, or a teaching cohort.

  • If a closure is ordered, WorkSafeBC will serve the closure notice and will then support the workplace to review and enhance safety plans, as needed.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

COVID-19 Resources:

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

PO Box 9157, Stn Prov Gov’t, Victoria BC V8W 9H2

Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

COVID-19 Update – New Province-wide Restrictions in Place Until April 19, 2021

March 29, 2021 

To: AEST Education Quality Assurance AEST:EX <EQA@gov.bc.ca>

The BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) introduced new province-wide restrictions to address rising COVID-19 case counts.  These restrictions are in effect until midnight April 19, 2021. Below is a summary.

Athletic Activities

    • All indoor adult group fitness activities are cancelled until April 19 at midnight.

    • Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed

Religious Gatherings and Worship Services

    • The variance allowing indoor religious gatherings and worship services between March 28 and May 13 is suspended.

    • Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.

Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Food Courts

    • Restaurants, pubs, bars and food courts are closed for indoor dining until April 19 at midnight.

    • Outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery is allowed with continued use of COVID-19 layers of protection and physical distancing.

    • NOTE:   Dining facilities for student housing and cafeterias serving students, faculty and staff at educational institutions are exempt from the closure order.

Social Gatherings Restrictions

    • No indoor social gatherings of any size at private residences is permitted other than between those who reside in the household.
      • A person who lives alone may have up to two other people visit if they are people with whom the person regularly interacts.
      • Up to 10 people can gather outdoors with continued use of COVID-19 layers of protection such as maintaining physical distancing and mask wearing.

In addition, the PHO strongly recommends:

    • Working from home through to April 19, where possible, unless it is essential to be in the workplace.

    • Avoiding all non-essential travel. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

COVID-19 Resources:

_____________________________________

Education Quality Assurance

Corporate Planning, International and Quality Assurance Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

3rd Floor, 835 Humboldt St

PO Box 9157 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria BC V8W 9H2

Email: EQA@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: (778) 698-9830

Update on COVID 19

COVID-19 Update – Return to On-Campus Teaching, Learning and Research in September 2021

March 10, 2021 

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

 

Greetings everyone.

September 2021 Return to Public Post-Secondary Campuses:

  • On Monday March 8, 2021 the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Dr. Bonnie Henry, advised the presidents of all public post-secondary institutions to prepare for a full return to on-campus teaching, learning and research in September 2021.
  • The Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training also released a statement encouraging students and families to start planning for in-person instruction this Fall.
  • The PHO will work in partnership with sector health and safety experts, WorkSafeBC, partners and stakeholders to update the post-secondary COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines to support the safe and complete resumption of on-campus activities.
  • The updated Go-Forward Guidelines will be made available to support institutions as they work with their local medical health officers and WorkSafeBC to develop more detailed campus-level safety plans for the Fall.

 

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

203 – 1155 West Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6E 2P4

P: 604-569-0033 | F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

Recent Changes to the Government of Canada Border Restrictions | International Students 

February 18, 2021

 

To: AEST Education Quality Assurance

Dear EQA Institutions:

 

This email is to provide an update on recent changes to the Government of Canada border restrictions related to international students on study permits. 

 

International students on study permits continue be allowed into Canada for institutions assessed to have appropriate measures in place to ensure that the students who attend the institution can meet applicable obligations with respect to the mandatory quarantine.   The list of designated learning institutions with a COVID-19 readiness plan is located here 

 

Under new requirements for air travel that take effect February 22, 2021, when a student arrives in Canada, they must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport and spend 3 days in quarantine at a federal government-authorized hotel. With a clear test result, the student can proceed to the quarantine site identified in their quarantine plan.  Ten-days into their quarantine, the student will use a take-home test provided at their arrival in Canada. A further clear result is required before leaving quarantine at 14 days. 

 

The list of government-authorized hotels will be available to students on February 18, 2020. 

 

Institutions should inform students regarding these changes and review their Quarantine Plans to ensure that all information, including quarantine requirements and additional costs, for international students arriving in Canada to attend your institution are up-to-date.    

 

Details on these requirements, and the requirements for travellers arriving at land border crossings, are available on line: Government of Canada expands restrictions to international travel by land and air – Canada.ca

 

Action by institutions with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan:

  • Please review your institution’s plan for quarantine management and your student communications to ensure the new federal travel and quarantine-plan requirements are incorporated into your plans and student information.
  • Ensure your plans are updated on your website, and all student communication reflects the new requirements.
  • Ensure your students know to have a fully compliant Quarantine Plan, including bookings at the federal facility, before they begin their travel.
  • Continue to remain in contact with and provide support to your incoming students through their full quarantine period.
  • Continue reporting weekly the required data to EQA@gov.bc.ca

More information is available from the Government of Canada:

 

 

_____________________________________

 

Education Quality Assurance

Corporate Planning, International and Quality Assurance Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

3rd Floor, 835 Humboldt St

PO Box 9157 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria BC V8W 9H2

Email: EQA@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: (778) 698-9830

COVID-19 Update – PHO province-wide restrictions extended until further notice

February 5, 2021

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

 

Greetings everyone,  

 

Please note the following COVID-19 update for February 5, 2021:

 

Extension of PHO province-wide restrictions

BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has ordered existing COVID-19 province-wide restrictions extended until further notice.

  • All gatherings and events are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions.
  • All non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.

 

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

 

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

203 – 1155 West Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6E 2P4

P: 604-569-0033 | F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

COVID-19 Update – PHO Update on Province’s Vaccine Rollout Plan

Jan 25, 2021 

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

 

Greetings everyone,  

 

Please note the following COVID-19 update for January 25, 2021:

 

PHO Vaccination Rollout Plan

On January 22, 2021, BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) provided an update on the province’s CO

VID-19 vaccine rollout plan (please see attachment).

The plan has four phases and is focused first on protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness. Immunization for the general population is scheduled to take place from April to September 2021.

 

Please visit BC Centre for Disease Control website for more information.

 

During all phases we are all reminded to continue to:

  • Follow Public Health Guidelines including wearing masks, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing.
  • Adhere to province-wide restrictions concerning visitors in private residences and allowable/prohibited events.
  • Avoid non-essential travel. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.

 

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

 

Ian Hendry

Senior Policy Analyst

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

PO Box 9157, Stn Prov Gov’t, Victoria BC V8W 9H2

P: 778-698-9870| F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

 

COVID-19 Update – Extension of Province-wide Restrictions + Updates re: Varsity Sport and Retail Occupancy Limits

 January 7, 2021

To: All certified private training institutions, and new certification applicants

 

Greetings,  

 

Please note the following COVID-19 updates for January 7, 2021:

 

Extension of province-wide restrictions

On January 7, 2021 BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) ordered an extension to existing province-wide restrictions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Specifically, the sections of the gatherings and events order concerning visitors in private residences and allowable/prohibited events (sections A, B and C) that were to expire on January 8th have been extended to February 5, 2021 at midnight.

  • All events and social gatherings are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions.
  • All non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.

 

PHO updates re: varsity sport and retail occupancy limits

 

Varsity sport

On December 24, 2020 BC’s Public Health Officer (PHO) amended the Gatherings and Events Order to expand and clarify restrictions on sports and fitness activities. These changes include permitting varsity sports subject to conditions, such as allowing participants to train or practice only with their home institution, ensuring participants maintain three-metre physical distancing, and prohibiting spectators.

             

For the sake of clarity, “varsity sport” includes only formally recognized sports rather than intramural or other informal fitness activities. It is defined as follows:

  • “Varsity sport” means a sport for which the eligibility requirements for participation are established by a national association for the regulation of intercollegiate athletics, or which is designated as a varsity sport program by a post-secondary institution, and includes fitness training, sport training, practice and competition.

 

Retail occupancy limits

Previous guidance on retail occupancy limits has been incorporated into the Gatherings and Events Order to emphasize the need for stores and malls to prevent overcrowding and congestion. This includes requiring operators to calculate maximum occupancy based on five square metres/person in publicly-accessible areas.

 

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions. 

 

COVID-19 Resources:

 

Ian Hendry

Senior Policy Analyst

Private Training Institutions Branch

Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

PO Box 9157, Stn Prov Gov’t, Victoria BC V8W 9H2

P: 778-698-9870| F: 778-945-0606|Toll Free: 1-800-661-7441

privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca

17 March 2020 at 10.10 pm PST

There are three COVID-19 updates:

  1. Federal Travel Restrictions
    • The federal government announced several travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 including limitations on:
      • International flights;
      • Entry of passengers to Canada, including those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents; and,
      • Entry of passengers with COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Further details are available on federal government websites:
  2. Essential Service Workers
    Attached is new guidance from Dr. Bonnie Henry on essential service workers.
  3. COVID-19 Symptom Self-assessment Tool
    The BC Ministry of Health developed a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Resources:

  • Guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the BC Pandemic Preparedness website.
  • Monitor the BC Centre for Disease Control website for updates, information and resources.
  • For non-health related COVID-19 questions (e.g. supports, programs, etc), a new dedicated phone line is available at 1-888-COVID-19.
  • For advice regarding a potential COVID-19 case, contact your local Medical Health Officer.

Where We Stand on the COVID-19 Situation

  • Q College will remain open.
  • For the time being, staff and faculty members should continue to report to work as usual. If you have extraordinary circumstances that require accommodation, please speak with your supervisor.
  • If you are ill, please stay home. Those who develop symptoms during the 14-day monitoring period should immediately self-isolate (stay in a room that is not shared with anyone else) and call their healthcare provider or the provincial health line at 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.
  • A new toll-free phone line has also been established for Canadians (1 833 784 4397) to answer general questions about COVID-19.
  • All discretionary events on campus currently scheduled until May 1, 2020 are being cancelled, postponed or offered virtually.
  • The College is working through contingency planning for final exams. More information will be shared in the coming days.
  • Instructors had been asked to waive the doctor’s note requirement for students who are out sick for less than two weeks. Students are advised to stay home and away from others if they’re feeling ill.

Here are FAQs and other important information that I urge everyone to have a look at and take to heart.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on 16 March 2020 8.55p.m. PST

The following FAQs have been compiled to help students, faculty and staff during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

How high is the risk of contracting the coronavirus disease, COVID-19 in BC?

At this time, the BC Centre for Disease Control advises that the risk to British Columbians continues to be low. More information can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Within British Columbia, Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are leading the coordinated response to COVID-19. UBC continues to take direction from the BC Provincial Government as we plan and consider next steps.

Are any Q College students, faculty or staff reported to be confirmed cases?

We are currently not aware of any cases amongst our students, faculty and staff, both within BC or abroad. In the event of a confirmed case, information would be provided to the public by the relevant health agency, according to their protocols.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Information on the prevention, transmission, symptoms, and treatment of COVID-19 can be found at the Government of Canada website Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

What precautions can I take to stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections?

The advice from health agencies is:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • If a sink is not available, 60-90% alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer) can be used to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol-based disposable hand wipe to remove the dirt and then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Do not touch your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow, and then wash your hands.
  • Stay home when you are ill to avoid spreading the illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.
  • If you are ill, have symptoms of flu like a fever or cough, you should stay home.

What is Q College doing to minimize the risk of infection to students, faculty and staff?

To lower the risk from our campus environment:

  • Routine cleaning is scheduled daily and follows industry cleaning standards laid out by the Association for Higher Education Facilities Officers (APPA), which are a blended approach designed to manage risk. Our cleaning standards comply with APPA’s best practices.
  • We have posted information to remind people of how to reduce the spread of infections and continue to monitor and refill our current hand sanitizer stations located in the main entrances.
  • We are encouraging all campus users to follow the best practices in self-care being shared by the BC Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health.
  • We have placed hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes in all the classrooms and in the pantry area.

What should I do if I have travelled outside Canada (including the United States) after March 12?

Any students returning from outside Canada after March 12 are advised to contact their instructor.

Faculty and staff are required to answer the following questions (while the self-isolation after travel outside of Canada is in place). If the answer is yes, you must bring this to the attention of your manager or supervisor. It will mean that you must self-isolate for the 14 days immediately following your return to Canada.

  • Are you and/or anyone in your household currently travelling outside of Canada and returning after March 12, 2020?
  • Have you or anyone in your household come into contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Do you have plans to travel outside of Canada in the foreseeable future?

Why is Q College not closing?

The safety and well-being of our campus community and the health of our broader community is our top priority. As such, Q College is continuing to follow the advice of BC’s top medical experts including the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

At this time, universities and colleges are being encouraged by province to continue to take steps to remain open while promoting strategies to prevent the spread of the virus. In response, Q College has temporarily suspended non-essential travel and cancelled large public gatherings.

Administrative offices are open, though services and times may need modifying going forward.

Q College’s focus will remain on the health and well-being of our community and our students’ academic success.

What should I do if one of my students or colleagues shows symptoms of COVID-19?

Anyone who is concerned they, or someone they have been exposed to, may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health-care provider or call public health at 8-1-1. For more information and the latest updates, visit http://www.bccdc.ca

Will staff be permitted to work from home?

You must have a discussion with the Campus Director if you need to work from home during this outbreak.

What about events and large gatherings?

As of March 12, 2020, the Office of the Provincial Medical Health Officer, BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health has recommended the immediate cancellation or postponement until further notice of all events with more than 250 people in attendance.

At this time, planning for the 2020 Commencement Ceremony continues as normal, though we are considering alternatives should that be required.

Classes will continue as normal.

What if I’m on a practicum placement?

Students currently on practicum placements should contact their student services coordinator for further information.

What is the best way to ensure I get support while on Q College related travel, if it’s required?

No matter where you are planning to travel, you are advised to consult travel.gc.ca, which is the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. It provides important advice to help travellers make informed decisions and travel safely while abroad.

Travellers with Canadian citizenship are advised to register their travel with the Canadian government here https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.

Is Q College distributing masks for people to wear to prevent the spread of infection on our campuses?

The college is not distributing masks. Some members of our community may opt to wear masks, and we fully support their right to do so. We ask the community to be respectful of students, faculty and staff who choose to wear masks.

If you have questions or concerns that are not currently addressed here, please contact info@qcollege.com.

To Our Valued Community…

We are closely monitoring and reviewing the changing situation to ensure we quickly put new procedures in place and have the answer to respond to questions and concerns from our staff, faculty and students.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding. We’ve entered uncharted territory. We know these decisions will cause some disruption, and we apologize for that. The steps above are being taken out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to reduce risk.

To All Q College staff, faculty and students: Thank you. Your care for this community is extraordinary.

Rachael McPherson
Campus Director/SEA