COVID-19

Protect against COVID-19 text overlay on an image of 8 people wearing masks

Employees

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

6 things you need to know to be on campus

Wondering what the latest guidance is? Here is a condensed primer on the 6 daily requirements employees need to know as they head back to campus.

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. 

Notices

Jan 14, 2022

Okanagan College received the following COVID-19 update from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training on Jan. 13, 2022: 

Jan 10, 2022

In regard to the Omicron variant, Okanagan College understands that many students and employees will have questions about what do to if sick or…

Jan 7, 2022

Okanagan College received the following update from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training on Friday, Jan. 7. Note: Okanagan…

Jan 6, 2022

Hello to the OC community, 

First, I’d like to express my gratitude to the many team members across Okanagan College who over the past few…

Effective Dec. 31, 2021, Okanagan College will provide up to a maximum of three days of paid leave on a gratuitous and without prejudice basis to…

Frequently asked questions

Health and personal circumstances

If you are sick, you should stay home, consult the B.C. COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if COVID-19 testing is needed, and contact 811 or your healthcare provider for medical advice as necessary. 

Follow the instructions on the What to do if you are sick page. Individuals experiencing symptoms should stay home, use the B.C. COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if COVID-19 testing is needed, and contact 811 or their healthcare provider for medical advice as necessary. Find the assessment tool here: https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en. If missing work due to illness, please inform your supervisor, follow their guidance and institutional policies and your collective agreement as it pertains to sick leave/absence from work.

  • You are required to do a personal daily health check for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you are sick or feeling unwell, please stay home. 
  • Employees are encouraged to speak with their supervisor regarding sick leave or other options.
  • If you are an instructor, then normal class cancellation procedure should be followed. For leaves longer than two classes, contact your Dean’s Office to discuss replacements. 
  • Follow the instructions on the What to do if you are sick page

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.

We recognize that each employee's situation will be different. Discuss with your supervisor if working from home is an option for you. The College cannot always support this arrangement, in which case, you may be required to take a leave that is available to you under the provisions of your collective agreement or employment terms and conditions. Wherever possible, employees are encouraged to have emergency childcare provisions to cover such occurrences during this period of increased uncertainty. 

Employees that have tested positive for COVID-19 should follow the guidance of Interior Health, stay home and self-isolate. Under these circumstances, contact your supervisor immediately to discuss options to support your situation. Please note, your supervisor will consult with Human Resources to identify support and/or accommodation options, as may be applicable.  For more information regarding potential support options and formal accommodations, please see the Accommodations section on the HR website

Employees who are concerned about exposure to, or being a “close contact” of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, should follow the guidance of Interior Health. If Interior Health directs you to stay home and self-isolate, contact your supervisor immediately to discuss options to support your situation. Please note, your supervisor will consult with Human Resources to identify options, as may be applicable.

If Interior Health does not require you to self-isolate, then you will be expected to attend work as normal.

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. Proof of vaccination is required to access some discretionary services, businesses and events on campus, such as Infusions restaurant or the fitness facility.

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.

Following the guidance of public health, Okanagan College strongly encourages all members of the OC community to be vaccinated. Most employees are not required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, although some instructors who are supervising students in health care clinical settings may be required to be vaccinated to access those settings. If you have any questions, please contact your supervisor. As of Sept. 13, 2021, employees, students and visitors will need to show proof of vaccination via the BC Vaccine Card to access some discretionary services and events on campus, such as seated dining at Infusions Restaurant.

In the event of an outbreak or other COVID-19 community transmission event identified by Interior Health, the College will support and follow all guidance of the health authority and its medical health officers. Interior Health will take the lead, and the College will support, any public or internal communication deemed necessary to keep students and employees informed, while respecting the privacy of every member of our community.

Anyone who received their COVID-19 vaccines in another province or country should submit their vaccination record as soon as possible. This is particularly important for international students as additional vaccination may be recommended. There are three easy steps to submitting a vaccination record and determining vaccination needs: 

  1. Register online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or by phone at 1-833-838-2323. 
  2. Submit official vaccination record at immunizationrecord.gov.bc.ca 
  3. Be notified about COVID-19 vaccination needs. 

Refer to: B.C.’s colleges prepare for a full and safe return to campus 

Campus facilities and services

Yes, students are allowed to wait in the hall and other public spaces on campus. Institutions are not required to manage the flow of pedestrian traffic within buildings or confined areas. Anyone in indoor common areas must be masked, following the provincial/PSI mask mandate and the College’s mask directive.

Students and employees are encouraged to physically distance and respect the personal space of others, noting that everyone’s concept of personal space and comfort with being around and in close proximity to others will be different.

Throughout the pandemic, Okanagan College has enacted cleaning protocols that follow the guidance of public health, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST) and WorkSafeBC. OC will continue to heed this guidance and keep cleaning protocols in place for as long as it is recommended. All spaces are cleaned regularly. Public spaces and high touch areas are cleaned daily, and with increased frequency for high-volume, high-touch areas including classrooms/lecture theatres.

OC is providing hand sanitizer in main areas and cleaner in classrooms and office spaces. The College continues to actively communicate through digital channels and on campus signage about the importance of remaining diligent in hand hygiene. 

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. 

Food and beverage options continue to be available to students on all campuses. The Kelowna campus cafeteria continues to offer take-away service via Infusions.

For updates on third-party options, visit the Food Services webpage

As it pertains to cleaning classrooms and spaces, the College will follow the latest guidance from the BCCDC, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and public health. High touch areas are cleaned daily, and with increased frequency for high-volume, high-touch areas including classrooms/lecture theatres. Per the latest guidance from the PHO and BCCDC, cleaning between classes is not required.

Please refer to the Facility booking page for information on booking events.

Parking fees and restrictions are in effect. Please observe signage and park in designated parking lots on campus. Details on fees and how to obtain a staff parking pass can be found here: https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/parking.

Campus bookstores continue to remain open with both in-person and online ordering options. Please refer to https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/bookstore for more information.

There are no capacity limits on washrooms, but masks are mandatory. Please respect people's personal space in all small settings such as washrooms, elevators and stairwells. While physical distancing isn't required, everyone's comfort level with distancing will be different.

Directional signage is no longer required and only used in specific circumstances as required. However, it is recommended that everyone respect careful social distancing when interacting with others. 

Directional signage is no longer required and only used in specific circumstances as required. However, it is recommended that everyone respect careful social distancing when interacting with others.

Workplaces

Yes, masks are required for all individuals in indoor settings while at any of OC’s campuses. Find the full details in the College’s mask directive.

It is our shared responsibility to follow Provincial, Interior Health and Okanagan College health and safety guidance, to keep ourselves and those around us healthy. OC students and employees are also reminded to show kindness, understanding, compassion and grace to one another during this constantly evolving situation. If you see behavior that you feel is unsafe or feel contradicts health and safety guidance, please let your instructor or supervisor know.

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.

Okanagan College is currently recommending that all meetings be conducted virtually. If you have questions, please contact your supervisor or Occupational Health and Safety.

OC campuses remain open to the public. All visitors must perform a daily personal health check (avoid coming to campus if feeling unwell), follow posted signage and wear a mask in indoor common areas. Okanagan College is currently recommending that all meetings be conducted virtually, however we recognize that some situations, such as campus tours or other educational activities may necessitate in-person meetings. If you have questions about what is permissible, please contact your supervisor or Occupational Health and Safety.

Aligned with the College’s values and policies, employees are strongly encouraged to practice collegiality and, wherever possible, work to ensure equitable access for anyone needing to attend meetings virtually.

It is expected that employees will adhere to the federal government’s travel advice and advisories with respect to travel and quarantine requirements listed on Canada’s COVID-19 travel, testing and borders page.  Public health advice is to carefully consider your own health and the state of the pandemic in the country you intend to visit before making travel arrangements.  

Where possible, upon return from travel, the College will consider if it is operationally feasible for the employee to work from home during a period of any required quarantine. If it is not operationally feasible to work from home during a period of required quarantine, subject to any other applicable collective agreement provisions, the employee may have the option of using vacation time or taking an unpaid leave of absence.

Generally, students and employees are responsible for providing their own non-medical masks. Students and employees in programs, workplaces and settings that require additional PPE can expect instructions from their instructor or supervisor.  

Although there is an expectation that employees and students provide their own masks, departments can purchase masks using the Supplies Ordering Form to have on-hand for those who forget to bring a mask. For the latest information on mask quality  recommendations, refer to the College’s Mask Directive or BCCDC Mask page.

The College is currently engaged in a Work From Home (WFH) pilot. Learn more on the WHF pilot page

Employees are expected to adhere to government and public health direction and advisories with respect to travel. Please speak to your supervisor in advance of any travel to discuss your situation and the options that would be available to you should you be required to self-isolate or be unable to report to the workplace as planned, following your travel. You should not assume that the employer can accommodate a post-travel isolation period, and depending on your circumstances, you may be required to use vacation time.

The Canadian Government is currently advising against all non-essential travel. Employees should carefully consider their own health and the state of the pandemic in the country where the PD is located before making travel arrangements. Professional Development is not considered essential travel by the College, however the College recognizes that some PD may be required for an employee to continue to perform their job. In those circumstances options such as online PD, or programs within Canada should still be considered first. In exceptional circumstances, if international travel is required, employees should discuss the need for such travel with their manager prior to booking any PD or making any travel arrangements.

British Columbians can now access the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination for travel. Effective Oct. 30, 2021, this proof of vaccination is now required when travelling in Canada by air, rail or cruise ship. The Government of Canada has said the federal proof of vaccination can also be used for international travel. Before leaving, all travellers are encouraged to check the Government of Canada’s travel requirements and the requirements of the country to which they are travelling.

Available services

Learn how to access services in-person or online and find hours and contact information.

Online resources

Need help making the transition to online learning or instructions to learning platforms?

Your health

OC cares about your mental and physical health. Check out info and supports available to you.