Return to Campus

COVID-19

"COVID-19 Return to Campus" text on blue background with illustrated students hanging out around the letters and graphics.

Employees

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

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. 

6 things employees need to know about return to 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.

Notices

On Monday, Sept. 20, the Cafeteria at the Kelowna campus will be open for OC students and employees to socialize, eat and drink while seated. …

Sep 14, 2021

Interior Health has updated COVID-19 health orders across the region to once again allow for larger events and gatherings to go ahead in the…

Sep 13, 2021

The Provincial Health Officer orders regarding the BC Vaccine Card takes effect on Monday, Sept. 13.

Sep 9, 2021

Hello everyone, 

I hope the first days of the semester have been enjoyable and rewarding. It’s been wonderful to meet and interact with…

On Friday, Sept. 3, the Province released the full revised Return to Campus Guidelines for post-secondary.

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. 

Individuals experiencing symptoms should stay home, consult 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. 

The current advice is that if you are feeling unwell you stay home even if they have a negative test, until you feel better. Employees are encouraged to speak with their supervisor regarding sick leave or other options, such as working from home to support your absence from the workplace.

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.

If supporting students, please share with them the following information:  

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 understand that there may be some challenges with returning to campus. It is generally expected that employees will ensure that appropriate care is in place to enable them to return to the workplace, but we understand that sometimes care arrangements break down.  In these circumstances you should contact your supervisor immediately for further discussion. Your supervisor will consult with Human Resources to identify any short-term support and/or accommodation options, as may be applicable. For more information please see the Accommodations section on the HR website.

You will need to discuss with your manager 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.

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 that are concerned about exposure to, or being a “close contact” of someone that 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. As of Sept. 13, per the BC Vaccine card provincial guidance, will need to show proof of vaccination to access some discretionary services, businesses and events on campus, such as Infusions restaurant or the fitness facility. The College will share further guidance from the province as it is known.  

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. Employees are not required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, but as of Sept. 13, per the BC Vaccine Card provincial guidance, it is our understanding that employees, students and visitors will need to show proof of vaccination to access some discretionary services, businesses and events on campus, such as accessing a fitness facility. The College is seeking clarity and will share further guidance from the province as soon as possible.

The College is partnering with Interior Health to host vaccination clinics on campus on Sept. 7. If you missed that opportunity, visit the Province’s vaccination page to register for a clinic near you.

Yes. Drop-in vaccination clinics are being held on each Okanagan College campus on Sept. 7; details are online. Visit the Province’s vaccination page to register. 

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. 

Public health authorities (Interior Health in our region) are responsible for determining notification processes and requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19. OC may be asked to assist Interior Health in notifying close contacts, assisting in the identification of people who may have been exposed, distribution of materials prepared, or supporting public notification efforts. As student and employee health information is personal confidential, OC will continue to carefully follow the lead and guidance of Interior Health to ensure the privacy of our community members is protected. 

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. 

WorkSafeBC continues to advise 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. 

The College is currently in discussion with food service vendors at each campus and updates will be shared when available. We are working to ensure resumption of food service on each campus as soon as possible. Cold beverage and snack vending options will be available on each campus, as they become operational.

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 will be back in effect in the fall. 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.

Workplace transition

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.

According to Interior Health’s order on gatherings, workplace activities are exempt from capacity restrictions, however students, employees and visitors should follow the College’s mask directive for guidance on mask wearing. 

Yes, OC campuses are open to the public this fall. 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.

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.

Please book an appointment with IT Services to set up a computer station. This webform has been built especially for return-to-campus setups; for all other items, please submit a ticket to the IT Help Desk.

It is expected that employees will adhere to the federal government’s Travel Advice and Advisories with respect to travel and quarantine requirements.  Currently the Canadian Government has communicated an official global travel advisory to avoid non- essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. 

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 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. 

The College is currently working on principles for a Work From Home (WFH) pilot, based on key learnings from remote work that happened in the last 18 months. The pilot is expected to commence in October and run until next spring. Details will be announced shortly. 

Employees are expected to adhere to government and public health direction and advisories with respect to travel. Currently, non-essential travel to and from the Interior Health region is discouraged for anyone not fully vaccinated. 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.

Professional Development is not considered essential travel, 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 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.

Available services

Learn how to access services in-person or online while we return to campus.

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.