COVID-19

Your Health

Okanagan College cares about the health and wellness of students. Now more than ever, we need to support each other's well-being by fostering good physical and mental health habits.

COVID-19 prevention

Learn about coronavirus and the steps OC is taking to prevent transmission through our learning community.

What to do if you get sick

If you contract COVID-19 or need to self-isolate, there are procedures and resources available for the safety of OC's community.

Mental health and wellnesss

Help is available if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even depressed as a result of pandemic-related changes.

COVID information and prevention

What is coronavirus?

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.

Keeping our learning environment safe

Okanagan College is committed to maintaining a safe working and learning environment at its campuses and centres.

Okanagan College follows advice and guidelines from Interior Health and federal and provincial health agencies with regard to best practices for maintaining a safe working and learning environment.

In instances where a student or employee is known to have contracted COVID-19, appropriate action will be taken to protect the College community until a return to campus/work is deemed safe. 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 provincial health authorities to follow procedures that minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

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.

Prevention tips for everyone

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.

What to do if you feel sick

COVID-19 symptoms

Reported signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever,
  • coughing, and/or
  • difficulty breathing. 

Self-assessment tool

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, use B.C.'s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can also download the app here.

Testing

Anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-like symptoms can be assessed and get a COVID-19 test. If you are seeking a test, call your primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner) or the closest community testing and assessment centre.

Contact us

Out of respect for the health and safety of the working and learning environment on our campuses, Okanagan College would ask any member of the College community diagnosed with a coronavirus infection (student, employee, contractor, on-campus visitor) to communicate as quickly as possible with the College:

Students

Contact the Registrar’s Office at registrar@okanagan.bc.ca or 250 762-5445, ext. 5417.

All others

  • 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

Reporting an absence

Here is the process to follow if you are sick and/or need to self-isolate for a period of time.

  • If you are feeling sick, stay home.
  • Contact your instructor if you will miss class due to feeling unwell or are initiating self-isolation. Here are the current guidelines and information for who should self-isolate in B.C. Note: anyone returning from international travel as of March 12, should self-isolate for 14 days, per the Public Health Officer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a coronavirus infection (COVID-19), notify the Registrar's Office: registrar@okanagan.bc.ca or 250 762-5445, ext. 5417.
  • If you are feeling unwell and unsure what to do, B.C.'s self-assessment tool for COVID-19 can help determine if you need further assessment or testing. You are also encouraged to contact your primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1, if you feel you may have been exposed to the virus. 
  • If you are feeling ill, stay home.
  • Contact your supervisor as soon as possible to let them know you are feeling unwell or are initiating self-isolation. Here are the current guidelines and information for who should self-isolate in B.C.
  • All employees are expected to comply with the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) including the recommendations with respect to out of country travel. As of March 12, the Government of Canada has advised residents to avoid all non-essential travel out of the country until further notice.
  • Note: anyone returning from international travel as of March 12 should self-isolate for 14 days, per the Public Health Officer.
  • If you are feeling unwell and unsure what to do, B.C.'s self-assessment tool for COVID-19 can help determine if you need further assessment or testing. You are also encouraged to contact your primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1, if you feel you may have been exposed to the virus.
  • You may wish to refer to your collective agreement, terms and conditions of employment, and Human Resource procedures for helpful information. If you have a question about a policy or procedure, please contact Human Resources.  

Mental health

Taking care of your mental health during the pandemic

There have been many rapid changes to protect all of us from the spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or even depressed as a result, know that you are not alone and that help is available. In times of transition and uncertainty, taking good care of ourselves is more important than ever and OC Counselling Services has some tips and resources to share. 

Here2Talk

The provincial government has updated its mental health resources page with virtual services. On April 16, the B.C. Government launched Here2Talk, a new mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students. The service offers confidential, free single-session services by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Learn more at here2talk.ca.

Support is available

  • Registered OC students can access counselling via confidential video and phone sessions. Email counselling@okanagan.bc.ca with your full name, 300 number, and campus.
  • Foundry (Kelowna, Penticton) continues to provide primary medical care and counselling for youth 12-24 years of age, as well as some groups which have moved online.
  • If you are in need of immediate listening and support, please contact the BC Crisis Line at 1-888-353-2273 (available 24/7).

Useful apps and websites

Please visit the Health and Wellness webpage for more information.