COVID-19

Text of "COVID-19 update" is overlain on a photo of Kelowna Trades building

Employees

This page provides information for OC employees. Visit the COVID-19 page for general information.

Masks are not required in indoor spaces, but it is important that we recognize and respect those who choose to continue wearing a mask based on personal choice.

Mental health supports

Your mental health is important. Help is available if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even depressed as a result of pandemic-related changes. View the following supports and services that are available to you: 

Quick tips

Check out additional info and supports available to you. 

Frequently asked questions

Health and personal circumstances

You should stay home when you are sick and not return to campus until you feel well enough to resume regular activities. How effectively you can manage your symptoms, and your symptoms impact on others should be considered when deciding to resume your regular activities. For example, a persistent/uncontrolled cough can impact others, whereas a runny nose may be successfully managed without impacting others. Please do not come to campus with flu-like symptoms such as fever, vomiting or diarrhea.  

COVID-19 testing is not recommended for mild symptoms. If you are unsure whether to get a COVID-19 test, use the self-assessment tool or call 8-1-1. 

The rapid tests are an optional, time-limited initiative for post-secondary institutions for the testing of symptomatic employees and students. The tests are a self-management tool intended to support the continuity of on-campus learning, instruction and research.  Asymptomatic screening of employees and students is not recommended by public health and tests distributed to post-secondary institutions from the provincial supply are not to be used for asymptomatic screening programs. 

Employees in Kelowna can pick up rapid test kits from the Bookstore (S120).  Employees in Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm can pick up test kits from the Regional Dean’s Office

If you test positive for COVID, you are required to follow the self-isolation and self-monitoring guidelines from the BCCDC.  The amount of time you need to self-isolate depends on your vaccination status.  

Notify your supervisor of your absence. If your absence extends longer than 10 days, you will be asked to provide a doctor’s note and a Pension and Benefit Coordinator will initiate the Abilities Management Access (AMA) program and will email you with an overview of the process and required forms.

We recognize that questions around COVID-19 will persist for some time and that each student's or employee’s personal health situation and concerns will be different.

  • Employees: Please speak with your supervisor if you would like to discuss and learn more about the process for request a formal accommodation in accordance with the College’s policy. For more information about accommodations, visit the HR website section on Accommodations.
  • Students with a documented medical condition who are seeking an accommodation are asked to please visit the Accessibility Services webpage to complete the intake and medical documentation forms.

Close contacts of a person with COVID-19 are not required to self-isolate, but they should monitor for symptoms and stay home if they feel unwell. 

COVID-19 and vaccinations

Following the guidance of public health, Okanagan College strongly encourages all members of the OC community to be vaccinated. Employees are not required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, with the exception of health-science program employees. Those individuals should contact their supervisor/Dean’s Office for information and updates.

OC employees are entitled to up to three hours of paid leave to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Please inform your supervisor in advance if you will be taking time off to be vaccinated during your normal work hours. You can then input for the paid leave in myOkanagan/Administrative Functions/Employees/My leave balances (ELMS) under the new request type – COVID Vaccine.

Workplaces

Public health orders do not require face coverings in public spaces, including post-secondary classrooms, student housing facilities, or work spaces.

With masks being optional, it is very important that we all recognize and respect that employees and students may choose to continue wearing a mask based on personal choice.

Vinyl and plexiglass barriers will remain in place for the next several months to allow time to identify which barriers will remain permanently, and which barriers can be removed. If barriers prohibit operations/ service delivery, or you would prefer barriers removed from your personal workstation, please contact Occupational Health and Safety for consultation prior to submitting a work request.

WorkSafeBC advises that building ventilation systems, in good operating condition, do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Okanagan College will ensure that building ventilation (HVAC) systems are operating and maintained in accordance with WorkSafeBC requirements for indoor air quality.  

Okanagan College has also taken the additional steps to ensure air quality: 

  • Increased air exchange rates 
  • Increased HVAC systems inspection and filter change frequency 
  • Decreased recirculated air rates, and increased minimum fresh air set points 
  • Air systems are flushed two hours prior to buildings being occupied 
  • 24-hour alarm systems monitor for equipment failures. 

In your role as an Okanagan College employee, you may be the first person to see signs that a colleague is in distress, or they may come to you specifically for help. Use this guide to familiarize yourself with common signs of distress, and the steps you can take to offer assistance. Download the guide on 3 Steps to Assisting Colleagues in Distress to understand the signs and potential responses.