COVID-19

Okanagan College students, staff and visitors, please note:

In light of growing concerns about spreading incidents of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection, Okanagan College is closely following the situation, maintaining contact with Interior Health and monitoring updates from provincial and national health agencies.

The College has a committee tracking the issue and developing response plans, involving representatives from Facilities, International Education, Regional Deans, Occupational Health and Safety, Public Affairs, the VP Students, Student Services, and employee group and student union leaders.

This webpage will be updated immediately should there be any change that would directly impact the operations and well-being of the College community.

StayConnected banner

Current Status

12:45 p.m. Thursday, May 28

New guide helps students access virtual activities and resources to StayConnected

To help bring students together virtually and combat feelings of social isolation during physical distancing, Okanagan College has published a new online guide called StayConnected

StayConnected includes info about virtual activities and resources, from Wellness workshops to Coffee Connection chats and more. The online guide will be updated with new activities and events are they are known, so students are encouraged to keep an eye on the page.

Reminder to students: you can still access services remotely. More information, hours and contact information is available on our Available Services page.

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2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 27

FAQs published to help students navigate the admission process during COVID-19

Applicants and current students will find useful information / reminders on a new Become a Student During COVID-19 FAQ (frequently asked questions) page created by the Office of the Registrar. The page includes sections on Admissions during COVID-19, what Fall 2020 class delivery will look like, Finances, and Services for applicants and students. Explore the page and find other helpful links here.

Details regarding delivery of Fall 2020 classes and services will be communicated to applicants and students as determinations are made.

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10:45 a.m. Wednesday, May 27

Webinar aims to help students address fear and anxiety related to COVID-19

BCCampus.ca is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, June 3 at 3 p.m. geared toward providing students with strategies that foster healthy mental well-being during these trying times. This is an interactive session in which students can ask questions of facilitators Rhonda Schmitz, Claire Hewson and Bree Harwood of Selkirk College. Read more and register here. Visit BCCampus.ca to find the full lineup of free webinars as well as many other helpful resources for post-secondary students and employees.

On Tuesday, May 26, Okanagan College Counsellors Samantha Johnson and Sarah Lefebure hosted a webinar about Self-Compassion during COVID-19. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the BCCampus.ca website soon.

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9 a.m. Wednesday, May 20

A Message from Andrew Hay, Interim Provost and Vice President Academic

Okanagan College will be delivering a mix of online and face-to-face courses for fall 2020, following the direction of the province and the Provincial Health Officer as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most students can expect programs to be delivered in either a fully online or a hybrid (a combination of online and face-to-face) format this fall. The exact mix is still being determined and will be clear by July 6, when registration for Okanagan College’s fall courses begin.

On-campus instruction will be a priority for those courses where learning outcomes are dependent on experiential, hands-on learning, such as healthcare labs, trades shops, and science and engineering technology labs. Where possible, labs and shops and some lecture classes will be offered in a face-to-face format, respecting WorkSafeBC, Public Health Officer and provincial guidelines to ensure a safe situation for all concerned.

The model for the delivery of student services is also being determined, and students can be assured that the full range of necessary services will be available to them.

The majority of Okanagan College employees are currently working from home. As we plan for our fall courses – with guidelines established by WorkSafeBC and the Provincial Health Officer – Okanagan College will continue to work with our employee groups and student associations to ensure a safe working and learning environment.

There are several guidelines that we shall be following in our planning:

  • Routine daily screening for all staff and students.

  • Routine and frequent environmental cleaning.

  • A clear policy for students and staff who have symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19, with any coughing or sneezing not to attend classes, extra curricular activities, sports or work.

  • Increased use of on-line learning balanced against the need of social interaction for learning and development.

  • Early arrival and self-isolation for 14 days of international students.

How some of these are to be implemented (for instance, the routine daily screening) is still to be clarified, and sectoral plans are being developed with input from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, WorkSafeBC, and a committee of subject experts and representatives from post- secondary institutions.

Our first concern is always for the health, safety and support of our students and employees as we continue to develop our plans for fall 2020 and beyond. We continue to focus on providing the quality education and support services that our students are used to enjoying and that has helped distinguish our College as one of the best places to learn in Canada.

Andrew Hay,
Interim Provost and Vice President Academic

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Recent updates 

View archive of Covid-19 updates here
Provincial and Federal news updates pertinent to students:

Government of Canada announces Flexibility in post-graduation work permit rules to help international students and Canadian post-secondary institutions

Students can now apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit

Learn more about BC's Restart Plan

Canada removes barriers for international students working in essential services to fight COVID-19

More federal support for students and grads affected by COVID-19

Province announces Here2Talk 24/7 mental health resource for students

A Message to students from Minister Melanie Mark - April 16

State of emergency extended to continue B.C.’s COVID-19 response

Changes to Canada Summer Jobs program to help businesses and young Canadians affected by COVID-19

Virtual Mental Health Supports During COVID-19

Applications open for temporary rental supplement

OCSU NEWS: Okanagan College Students’ Union contributes emergency aid for students

BC brings in more emergency supports for Indigenous students

Province boosts emergency funding supports for students

New emergency supports for province’s most vulnerable

Province announces supports for renters, landlords during COVID-19

Province and Government of Canada freeze student loan payments

Government introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

 

Access to OC facilities and services

Reminder: during the COVID-19 pandemic, Okanagan College continues to operate and provide services remotely. Physical access to facilities is restricted in order to ensure social (physical) distancing and for the health and safety of all.

If you need to access facilities at any of our campuses, or have questions about how to access any services, please contact the Regional Dean office at your campus:

  • Central Okanagan (Kelowna): 250-762-5445, ext. 4789

  • South Okanagan-Similkameen (Penticton): 250-492-4305, ext. 3216

  • North Okanagan (Vernon): 250-545-7291, ext. 2206

  • Shuswap-Revelstoke (Salmon Arm): 250-832-2126, ext. 8239

You can also click here to find out how to access all available services, including hours and contact information. 

 

Overview of COVID-19

 

Prevention

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 is believed to be spread mainly through coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or with surfaces they have recently touched.

Background and Further Sources of Information:

B.C. Centre for Disease Control 

Health Canada Information on coronavirus. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set up a coronavirus telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.

Interior Health information regarding coronavirus

Call 1-888-COVID-19 or text 604-630-0300 for details, advice, and further information on the virus.

B.C. has an online self-assessment tool to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. You can also download the COVID-19 support app for the latest info.

 





 
Maintaining a Safe Working and Learning Environment

Okanagan College is committed to maintaining a safe working and learning environment at its campuses and centres. While on-campus offices/services are currently closed to students and the public, more information about on-campus cleaning protocols, physical distancing instructions and other pertinent information for students and employees will be communicated out as plans for Fall 2020 class and service delivery are finalized.

In instances where a student or employee is known to have contracted COVID-19, appropriate action will be taken to remove that individual from contact with others in the College community until a return to work/campus is deemed safe. Again, direction and advice will emanate from governmental health authorities. The College has no legal capacity to institute mandatory testing for those who may have been exposed to or contracted a coronavirus, but will continue to work with Interior Health, and federal and provincial agencies to promote procedures and approaches that minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Okanagan College will continue to monitor and take advice from Interior Health and federal and provincial agencies with regard to best practices for maintaining a safe working and learning environment.

Recommended measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other common respiratory viruses like influenza include:

  • Washing your hands often, and always after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or, if soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Maintaining at least two metres distance from others, and avoiding shaking hands, tapping elbows or other physical contact in greetings.