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.
9:45 a.m. Thursday, May 21
OC Counsellors lead webinar on Promoting and Practicing Self-Compassion during COVID-19 – May 26
At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, Okanagan College Counsellors Samantha Johnson and Sarah Lefebure will be leading a BC-wide webinar on BCcampus.ca about Self-Compassion during COVID-19.
This is a free webinar for all students and employees of BC postsecondary institutions. Click here to register now. Please help spread the word, and visit BCcampus.ca to explore other free webinars on various topics designed to help you thrive during the pandemic.
About the facilitators:
Samantha Johnson, BSW, MACP has worked as a social worker for the last 18 years and recently completed her Masters in Counselling Psychology. She is now a counsellor at Okanagan College in Salmon Arm and views self-compassion as an important tool in supporting our mental health and wellness.
Sarah Lefebure MA, RCC has been working in postsecondary counselling since 2008, first in Quebec, then at Camosun College in Victoria and now at Okanagan College in Penticton. Sarah is involved in running OC’s Flourish Wellness Project, which fosters conversation and learning around ways we can all take care of our mental health, and encourages participants to develop their own unique toolkit for wellness.
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.
Interim Provost and Vice President Academic
1 p.m. Friday, May 15
Government of Canada announces Flexibility in post-graduation work permit rules to help international students and Canadian post-secondary institutions
On May 14, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced flexibility in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) for students starting at an eligible designated learning institution (DLI), such as Okanagan College, this fall.
Under normal circumstances, criteria for the PGWPP limit an international student’s ability to pursue a program via distance learning, from inside or outside Canada, and time spent studying outside Canada is deducted from the length of the work permit for which they are eligible.
PGWPP eligibility will not be affected for international students whose fall 2020 courses will be online due to COVID-19. This is in line with guidance provided to students already studying in Canada or whose program had a spring or summer start date.
Students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and complete up to 50% of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.
In addition, they will not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020.
Read the full announcement here.
***8:55 a.m. Friday, May 15
Students can now apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit
The Government of Canada is now accepting applications for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The benefit provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. From May to August 2020, the CESB will provide a payment to eligible students of $1,250 for each 4-week period or $2,000 for each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability.
Please visit Okanagan College's Financial Aid and Awards webpage for additional FAQs, information and whom to contact if you have questions about support available to students through Okanagan College, as well as assistance through the provincial and federal governments.
Recent updatesView archive of Covid-19 updates here
Provincial and Federal news updates pertinent to students:
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
|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:
Health Canada Information on coronavirus. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set up a coronavirus telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.
Call 1-888-COVID-19 or text 604-630-0300 for details, advice, and further information on the virus.
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.
Recommended measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other common respiratory viruses like influenza include: