FAQs

 

Questions about school

Are classes cancelled due to COVID-19?

Okanagan College has moved to alternative delivery of classes, except for any classes that cannot be delivered alternatively; those have been cancelled or postponed. Students should look to their instructors via email and/or Moodle for instructions and details. This means there will be no face-to-face classes of any kind at Okanagan College until further notice.

What services are available to me while learning at home? 

The College has a webpage dedicated for Available Services, that lists how to contact departments like Student Success Centres, the Library, Registrar’s Office and Student Services.

I am new to online learning. Do you have any resource guides or information to help me make the transition?

Yes. The College has put together an Online Resource Centre especially for students. It includes information on where you can access equipment, online learning platforms like Moodle and Blackboard Collaborate.

What is the plan for online/alternative delivery of exams?

All in-person exams will be moved to other options. Watch for correspondence and direction from your professor or instructor with regard to final evaluation.

Can I receive my exam accommodation on campus?

Effective Monday, March 30, Accessibility Services will cease face-to-face exam accommodations to adhere to social distancing. You will receive official email notification through the exam system.

Can my academic accommodation work in an online environment?

For students with academic accommodations that may be more challenging to move to an online environment, Accessibility Services will be reaching out to you directly via email.  However, if you have any questions or about accommodated exams and receiving your academic accommodations, please contact your Accessibility Services Coordinator or email accessibility@okanagan.bc.ca.   

Do I need to enter exam accommodation requests through myOkanagan?

No. Face-to-face exam accommodations will not be provided, so you should not submit requests through the online accommodated exam system at this time.  

What about events scheduled at the College?

 

The College will continue to follow provincial government instructions about events.

What about student housing?

Okanagan College Student Housing is open. Domestic residents who are able to return home are encouraged to do so. International students are being advised that if they are not able to return home they may remain in student housing.

I’m a domestic student, but come from elsewhere in Canada. Do I need to stay here?

Okanagan College students in degree or diploma programs who are planning to travel home may do so, prior to the end of the semester. Alternate modes of course delivery are or will soon be in place.

I am an international student. Do I need to stay in the country?

Okanagan College students in degree or diploma programs who are planning to travel home may do so, prior to the end of the semester. This applies to all international students, as alternate modes of course delivery are or will soon be in place. If you are taking English as a Second Language (ESL) or English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses, please consult with your instructor, preferably via email or phone, to assess arrangements to allow you to complete these courses when you return to your country. 

For questions about study permits and other international-student questions, visit this webpage

What about international travel? Is OC cancelling college-related trips?

The federal government has announced that the Canadian border will close to foreign nationals on Tuesday, March 17. Those exempt from crossing closure include: Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, their family members, air crews, diplomatic staff, residents of the United States, as well as commercial and trade shipments. Read the full news release.

  • International Employee Travel for Business Purposes: Okanagan College employees on College business, including professional development, will not travel to or through countries for which the federal government has issued coronavirus-specific level three or four travel advisories. (Explanation of the four levels available online.) Employees are recommended to register with the Canadian government before travelling internationally, read the OC Travel Policy and register on the OC’s international travel registry.

  • Outbound Student Academic Activities:Outbound academic activities that involve travel to or through nations subject to a coronavirus-specific level two or three travel advisory shall be subject to a review by the relevant Program Dean, the Vice President Students, and the Provost and Vice President Academic. The activity shall be reviewed 60 days prior to planned commencement for a determination of whether conditions warrant immediate cancellation, or whether a further review at 45 days is warranted. If a 45-day review is conducted, a determination will be made then whether conditions warrant cancellation. If the event or initiative is not cancelled at that point, the next review will occur at 30 days with the expected outcome to be a go/no go decision.

For full Travel Info, including details for homestay students, visit the College’s Travel Info and Advisories page.

Are Continuing Studies programs being cancelled, or moving online/to alternate delivery?

Open enrolment courses will continue as scheduled. Program Coordinators and instructors will advise students of alternative means of delivery for classes. Where this is not possible, courses will either be suspended, postponed or cancelled. Students in these courses will be contacted by the Continuing Studies office when there is a change of status for their course.

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Student loan questions

What if I cannot complete the study period because of COVID-19 – will my loan be impacted?

If a student is unable to complete their study period, they are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid and Awards office via email at financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca to learn about next steps.

What if Okanagan College suspends classes as a result of COVID-19?

An interruption of study of up to four weeks will have no impact on student eligibility for financial assistance or disbursement of funding if students recommence classes at the end of the interruption.

What happens if a suspension of classes goes longer than four weeks – will my loan be impacted?

If Okanagan College extends the study period in response to an interruption, students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid & Awards office via email at financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca

Students may want to request a reassessment from StudentAid BC to receive additional funding. Financial Aid and Awards staff can assist students with this process.

What if Okanagan College cancels the term/semester due to the Coronavirus (COVID 19)?

Students will not be penalized for non-completion of the study period. No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting will be sent to StudentAid BC.

What if a student has government student assistance from another province (not British Columbia)?

As each province and territory have different policies, students are encouraged to contact their province directly. If a student needs assistance, they can also email the Financial Aid and Awards office at financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca and we will assist in any way possible.

The B.C. government has paused student loan repayment requirements. What does this this mean for my B.C. Student Loan?

To support people with student loans, B.C. will temporarily paused the repayment of B.C. government-issued student loans in repayment, including those in good standing and in default.

  • Effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loans will automatically have their repayment suspended until September 30, 2020.
  • No payment will be required, and people with student loans do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
  • The B.C. Government already removed interest on its student loans, so interest accruing is not a concern.
  • Pre-authorized payments will also be paused.

How long will the pause on repayment be in effect?

The pause takes effect on March 30, 2020 and will be in place until September 30, 2020.

How much money in student loans will be deferred from this payment paused?

Nearly $73 million in payments are being deferred during the six-month period.

Do student loan borrowers need to do anything to activate this pause on their account?

Payments will be automatically paused for all borrowers, including those who are in good standing and in default.

What is the impact of this measure for students ending their six-month grace or non-repayment period?

If their six-month grace period ends before September 30, 2020, their payments would be suspended until September 30, 2020.

Will the National Student Loans Service Centre and Revenue Services of British Columbia still be able to process payments on loans during this pause if borrowers wish to continue repaying during the pause?

Yes, the National Student Loans Service Centre and Revenue Services of British Columbia will still be able to process payments for those wishing to repay their student loans faster.

Borrowers can make payments via their National Student Loans Service Centre online account or online banking or via Revenue Services of British Columbia.

Note that a borrower’s National Student Loan Service Centre account may temporarily reflect incorrect loan status until corrections are applied retroactively in the system.

Will borrowers still be able to access their account online during this pause?

Yes, student loan borrowers will be able to manage their loans via their National Student Loans Service Centre online account.

Note that a borrower’s National Student Loan Service Centre account may temporarily reflect incorrect loan status until corrections are applied retroactively in the system.

Will the National Student Loans Service Centre be open during this pause?

The National Student Loans Service Centre call centre is currently open; however, callers may experience longer than average wait times.

Borrowers are encouraged to access their student loan accounts via the National Student Loans Service Centre online portals.

Note that a borrower’s National Student Loan Service Centre account may temporarily reflect incorrect loan status until corrections are applied retroactively in the system.

Can students still apply for student financial assistance during the pause?

Borrowers are encouraged to access their student loan accounts via the National Student Loans Service Centre online portals.

There will no change to the application process. If a student wishes to apply for student financial assistance during the pause, they should apply through StudentAid BC at the following link: https://studentaidbc.ca/

Is there any assistance available through the provincial and federal governments?

There are different assistance plans available, please visit:

I have funding through Alberta Student Aid. Does the pause applies to me?

As of March 30, 2020, all Alberta and Canada student loan repayment and interest charges will be suspended for 6 months. If you have incur additional expenses due to COVID-19, you can login to your Alberta Student Aid account to submit a Request to Review and update any supporting documentation.

For more information, please visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.

I still have Financial Aid and Award questions. Who do I contact?

Contact the Financial Aid and Awards office at financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca.

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Co-op 

 

Can I end my Winter 2020 work term early?

Yes. All students who choose to end their Winter 2020 co-op work term now will still earn their co-op credit. Please contact your co-op coordinator who will support you or reach out to coop@okanagan.bc.ca. Please note that your employer is still required to complete your performance evaluation and you are required to complete your work term report– this can be done after you leave your work term and is not due until the end of April.

Is there a deadline to decide whether to continue working or end my Winter 2020 work term early?

No. If you or your employer decide to end your work term early for any reason at any time you will still receive your co-op credit. Please ensure to inform your co-op team of any changes at coop@okanagan.bc.ca.

What should I do if I’m uncomfortable being in my work environment?

If you feel uncomfortable in your work environment, please have a conversation with your supervisor to see if you can work from remotely (i.e. from home), establish an alternate work schedule, implement safety measures or take time off. If you must be physically present, you can minimize your risk by following good hand hygiene, not touching your face and being vigilant about coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow. You should also follow self-distancing recommendations. If you are concerned, please contact your co-op team at coop@okanagan.bc.ca and we will support you.
More info from the BC Centre for Disease Control is available here:
http://covid-19.bccdc.ca/
Please contact your coop team at coop@okanagan.bc.ca before deciding to cancel your work term.

What’s going to happen with the Spring 2020 Work Term?

At this time, we recommend for students to continue to apply to open competitions. A student with 12-16 weeks and a minimum of 420 hours will earn their co-op credit (assuming all other requirements are completed, such as the Work Term Report). This means you can start your co-op as late as June and still earn your co-op credit. Please reach out to your co-op coordinator if you have any questions, or contact us at coop@okanagan.bc.ca.

Will co-op interviews be suspended?

No. Many employers are willing to do phone or video interviews and the co-op department is assisting them in doing so.

What if I have a work term lined up for May-August 2020?

If you have a work term lined up for May, connect with your co-op coordinator as well as your employer for updates. Employers will be making decisions about how to adjust within their own workplaces. Get in touch to discuss whether it may be possible to work from home in the event that this becomes necessary, or to delay your start date if this is not possible. Keep in touch with your co-op department at coop@okanagan.bc.ca and please notify us of any changes or concerns you may have.

Who can answer my questions?

Any one of our Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Coordinators can answer the questions you may have during this time. Please reach out to us at coop@okanagan.bc.ca with any questions or concerns you have and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Can we continue to employ our co-op student for the rest of the Winter 2020 term?

Yes. Your student(s) has been asked to share their plans with their co-op coordinator. You are also invited to contact your account manager with details regarding how you plan to proceed with the current work term. We will keep track of this information for our records and work with you to provide any support you might need.

Can student(s) continue to work for me remotely?

Yes. Given the current climate, we will support whatever works best for you and your student to feel safe. Please feel free to find an arrangement that works for both you and your student(s). We will happily work with you to make this transition.
Ideally, job responsibilities should remain almost the same, except that communication and supervision would happen remotely. Depending on the situation, this may have implications for student visa requirements and/or workplace insurance. Students have already been contacted with guidance on how to best manage these requirements.

Are students required to work from home now?

No; however, we sincerely hope you are taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of your current or future student(s).
Please find an arrangement that works for both you and your student(s). We would greatly appreciate your support in enabling them to feel safe during this uncertain time.

Is my organization required to pay current student(s) if we end their work term early?

No. You are not required to continue paying your current student(s) if they have chosen to end their work term early. You also do not have to continue paying wages to student(s) if your organization had to let them go early.
Any student who ended their Winter 2020 work term early will receive a co-op credit.
We ask that you still provide their performance evaluation before the end of April. Students are required to provide this to receive credit for their work term.

Can I still hire for the Spring 2020 work term (May-August)?

Yes, we are still moving forward with the Spring 2020 work term. If you need assistance scheduling interviews through phone or video the co-op department would be happy to assist. Please email us at coop@okanagan.bc.ca and we will support you.
Shorter work terms are also an option for students, so a later start date is no problem. Students need a minimum of twelve weeks to earn a co-op credit, meaning students can start their coop as late as June.

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Corporate/government training

Will the training project in my community be affected?

Training projects delivered in community locations will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Our Project Coordinators will contact government agencies, community partners and students with any updates; if you have immediate questions, we encourage you to please contact your Project Coordinator for further information.

Will our Corporate Training contract be affected?

Corporate clients with current or pending training as asked to contact Zach Webster by emailing zwebster@okanagan.bc.ca to discuss arrangements for delivery.

What is happening with language and settlement services provided by Okanagan College in Salmon Arm and Revelstoke?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has recommended that Settlement and English as a Second Language programs focus on the provision of critical resettlement and case management services until further notice. Non-critical services can be provided as appropriate by phone or email. We are hopeful that these actions while disruptive in the short term will contribute to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community healthy and safe.

  • Salmon Arm: Effective immediately, and until further notice, the English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Tutoring Program has been suspended. English as a Second Language Practice Groups have been suspended. For more information, please email Olia Bullen at obullen@okanagan.bc.ca.

  • Revelstoke: Effective immediately, and until further notice, the English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Tutoring Program has been suspended. English as a Second Language Practice Groups have been suspended, and settlement events (ex. field trips and workshops) have been suspended. Individual settlement work will be delivered by phone or e-mail. For an appointment, please email Leanne Humphrey at lhumphrey@okanagan.bc.ca 

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Health

Are any OC students or employees reported to be infected with COVID-19?

We aren’t aware of any cases. Should someone become infected, information would be provided to the public by Interior Health and would be relayed by Okanagan College.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Symptoms have included:

  • fever

  • cough

  • difficulty breathing

  • pneumonia in both lungs

To learn more about the coronavirus, you can visit the Canadian government’s website: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Are there precautions to prevent the spread of infections?

Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. Alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer of 60 to 90 per cent alcohol) may be used to clean hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow, and then wash your hands. Social distancing is also recommended by public health agencies to prevent the spread of transmissions.

What does "social distancing" mean?

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Government of Canada continue to recommend social distancing to help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Find definitions of the levels and recommendations here.

Ideally, people should leave a minimum of 2 metres distance between yourself and anyone else.

For more information on social distancing from the World Health Organization, click here.

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Trades and Apprenticeship

 

I would normally write a Standardized Level Exam (SLE). Will I still be required to write the exam?

No, the ITA has advised that all Standardized Level Exams (SLEs) will be cancelled for the foreseeable future.

I would normally write a Certificate of Qualification (CofQ) exam. Will I still be required to write the exam?

CoQ exams have been cancelled by the ITA as of March 17 for Automotive Service Technician (Levels 1-3) and Professional Cook (Levels 1-2) until further notice. Students will be given credit for the exam on their file and will not be required to write the exam at a later date. Students in affected cohorts are able to move into the subsequent level of their apprenticeship without writing the CofQ exam. ITA is currently exploring the options for these students who wish to obtain certification at their current level (ex. PC1, AST 2, etc.) at a later date and will provide more details as they become available.

Auto Refinishing Prep Technician students will still be required to write the exam. In light of growing concerns about the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, Okanagan College is cancelling all face-to-face ITA exams scheduled to write between now and June 30, 2020. Please see the list of options below that are available regarding rescheduling your ITA exam. Updates regarding rescheduling will be posted on www.itabc.ca/covid-19.
  • Contact the ITA at customerservice@itabc.ca to schedule an exam write at your local Service BC Centre. Please be sure to reference the exam and Event number (if one) in your email.
  • Contact our office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca and we can add you to a potential exam date. Please note that we will only add you to a potential future ITA exam date that is scheduled after June 30, 2020.

I would normally write an Inter Provincial (IP) exam. Will I still be required to write the exam?

Yes, you will still be required to write the exam. In light of growing concerns about the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, Okanagan College is cancelling all face-to-face ITA exams scheduled to write between now and June 30, 2020. Please see the list of options below that are available regarding rescheduling your ITA exam. Updates regarding rescheduling will be posted on www.itabc.ca/covid-19.
  • Contact the ITA at customerservice@itabc.ca to schedule an exam write at your local Service BC Centre. Please be sure to reference the exam and Event number (if one) in your email.
  • Contact our office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca and we can add you to a potential exam date. Please note that we will only add you to a potential future ITA exam date that is scheduled after June 30, 2020.

My intake has been moved online and I require assistance with online learning. Whom can I contact for help?

Elke Pritchard, Trades Student Success Centre, is available to assist students where required. Email Elke at epritchard@okanagan.bc.ca or via Moodle.

My Apprenticeship intake was scheduled to start between now and June 30, 2020 and has been postponed. What is my next step?

Once the postponed intakes are rescheduled or seats identified in other available intakes, we will contact you regarding your available options. At this time, we ask that you please wait to reschedule until you are contacted regarding your available options.

I would like to withdraw from my postponed Apprenticeship intake now instead of waiting for available options.

Should you wish to withdraw from your postponed intake, we will refund any tuition paid without penalty.

My Apprenticeship intake was scheduled to start in June 2020 and my tuition deposit is due. Am I still required to pay my tuition deposit by the previously specified deadline?

Your tuition deposit deadline will be suspended. Once the new dates for your postponed intake are confirmed, you will contacted regarding a new tuition deposit deadline.

My Apprenticeship intake was scheduled to start in June 2020 and I have already paid my tuition deposit. What happens to my tuition payment now that the intake is postponed?

If you have already paid your tuition deposit for a June 2020 intake and have questions regarding your payment, please contact our office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca.

I recently accepted an open seat in a postponed Apprenticeship intake that was scheduled to start prior to June 2020 and have not yet paid my tuition deposit. Am I still required to pay my tuition deposit by the previously specified deadline?

We will contact you directly regarding your new tuition deposit deadline.

I have already applied for WorkBC supports and Employment Insurance (EI) for my postponed Apprenticeship intake. What are my next steps?

Once you have been contacted regarding your available options, you will need to reapply to WorkBC and EI. We have advised Financial Aid and WorkBC of postponed intakes and they have advised:
“Students should complete the WorkBC apprentice application with the new dates provided. Also, have them complete the Service Canada EI application with the new dates. WorkBC will pay financial supports for the period of time that they are attending class, so a delay is start date will push the supports to the period.”

I have already applied for a Canada Apprentice Loan for my postponed Apprenticeship intake. What are my next steps?

Please contact the Okanagan College Financial Aid & Awards office, financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca to receive assistance in your individual situation. For specific information regarding Canada Apprentice Loan please visit their website.

My Foundation intake was scheduled to start between now and June 30, 2020 and has been postponed. What is my next step?

Once the postponed intakes are rescheduled or seats identified in other available intakes, we will contact you regarding your available options. At this time, we ask that you please wait to reschedule until you are contacted regarding your available options.

I would like to withdraw from my postponed Foundation intake now instead of waiting for available options.

At this time, should you wish to withdraw from your postponed intake, we will refund any tuition paid without penalty. Please contact Registrar’s Office, registration@okanagan.bc.ca

My Foundation intake was scheduled to start June 2020. Am I still required to pay my seat deposits and/or tuition by the previously specified deadline?

Second deposits are due 3 months prior to the start of program and full fees are due 3 weeks prior to start. These deadlines will move forward with any changes in start dates.

My Foundation intake was scheduled to start in June 2020 and I have already paid my seat deposits and/or tuition. What happens to my payment(s) now that the intake is postponed?

If your intake moves into the next term, we will have the Finance Department move all deposits and fees to that term. If your intake is later than then next term, we will give you the option to get a refund cheque (less the deposit to hold your seat).

I recently accepted an open seat in the postponed Foundation intake that was scheduled to start prior to June 2020 and have not yet paid my seat deposits and/or tuition. Am I still required to pay by the previously specified deadline?

Your first deposit is needed to save your seat no matter how far ahead. But the second deposit and tuition due dates will move forward.

I am an international student in the trades program, what do changes in program start and end dates, changes to my co-op term, or moving to online mean for me?

International students should contact the International Education Office to discuss potential visa and other implications. Email: inted@okanagan.bc.ca Phone: 1-250-862-5443; Phone Toll Free: 1-877-755-2266

I have applied for a BC Student Loan. What happens if Okanagan College suspends operations (e.g. school closes, exchange program students recalled, etc.) as a result of COVID 19?

An interruption of study of up to four weeks will have no impact on student eligibility for financial assistance or disbursement of funding if students recommence intakes at the end of interruption. If Okanagan College extends the study period in response to an interruption, students are encouraged to contact the Okanagan College Financial Aid & Awards office, financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca. Financial Aid & Awards staff can assist students wanting to request a reassessment from Student Aid BC to receive additional funding with the process.

I have applied to a Foundation Intake that has not yet been postponed and am required to write the ABLE Math and/or English tests. What are my options?

We can provide conditional offers of admission and will move the deadlines for testing ahead up until the week prior to the program starting. At that point, if there is no way to meet the requirement, we will be contacting you with your options. If you are not able to start the program due to testing delays, we will refund your deposit(s).

I have already paid for my parking pass and my intake is now postponed. What are my next steps?

If your program has not yet started, once the campus is reopened for in-person service, you can bring your pass to the Registrar’s office and be issued a new pass for revised dates of your program OR return the pass for full refund. Once the new dates of your intake are confirmed, the parking pass can be returned or exchanged.

I have a question that is not listed above. How do I contact the Trades and Apprenticeship office during this time?

In order to ensure the health of our staff and students, the Trades and Apprenticeship office is closed for in-person service. We can still be contacted between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm by phone at 1-800-621-3038 or email apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca.

Are Okanagan College campuses currently open to students and the public?

No, our campuses are currently closed to the public and students, and in-person counter service is not available.

I have documentation that needs to be returned to the Trades and Apprenticeship office.

Please email the documentation to apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca or fax to 250-862-5457.

 

For more information please contact the Trades and Apprenticeship office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca