Skaha Place residents: reminder to mask up in common areas

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, for your protection and in alignment with recommendations by the Provincial Health Officer, the College is asking both pod residents to wear a mask in the common areas of your pod for fourteen days following a pod mate’s return to student housing. This is required when:

  1. There is a new pod resident.
  2. One or both pod resident(s) have been away over the Holiday break.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Here2Talk offers students free 24-7 mental health help during the holidays

A reminder as the holidays approach, Okanagan College students can access free, 24-7 counselling and referral service through Here2Talk.

Here2Talk is a free mental health counselling and referral service that provides year-round, 24-7 mental health support services for all B.C. post-secondary students regardless of whether they live in Canada or abroad. Students who are feeling depressed, stressed or anxious can get support whenever they need it and as often as needed.

Students can access chat sessions with a trained counsellor online at Here2Talk or by downloading the free Here2Talk app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. They can speak with a counsellor by phone toll-free at 1 877 857-3397 or direct at 604 642-5212. Students calling from outside Canada can dial +1 604 642-5212 (international calling charges may apply).

Jennifer Gullins, a representative for the Okanagan College Students’ Union says: “This year has been really stressful for me as a student during this challenging time with online learning, a loss of my college community and a physical separation from my friends and family. Knowing that support is a confidential call or text away has been reassuring. I really encourage students to reach out if they need help. It’s OK to ask for help and you don’t have to navigate the impacts of 2020 alone.”

Read more in the Province’s media release.

COVID Cookbook
Collegial effort cooks up a recipe book for student support

December 16, 2020

After compiling recipes into a delectable read, the What We Cooked: A Compilation of Recipes During COVID Times cookbook is available for purchase. The idea for the book started when a team of College library staff members noticed their online daily conversations constantly reverted to food. With a hunger to support the community in a time of isolation and invite others to connect on a relatable subject, What We Cooked was born. All proceeds raised from book sales will go towards the Okanagan College Students’ Union and the Vernon Student...

Read more...

A message from Jim Hamilton, President

As we witness an increase in the COVID-19 infections and observe a significant change in provincial expectations, this is a good time to be mindful of the obligations we have to ourselves and each other.

First and foremost is an individual need to self-monitor for signs of the disease. If you feel sick, stay home and, to the extent possible, avoid contact with others. If the symptoms align with those associated with COVID-19, contact 811 for advice and guidance.

Washing and sanitizing your hands, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and using appropriate behavior when sneezing or coughing are other methods of reducing the risk of transmission. Maintain physical distancing and respect the direction and advice of the Provincial Health Officer.

There is a new direction from the Provincial Health Officer regarding masks: it is mandatory that you wear a mask in indoor public spaces unless medical reasons preclude you from doing so. At Okanagan College, this includes all the general access spaces of our buildings such as open areas, hallways, stairwells and so on. You are also required to wear a mask at the College whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Given the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the Interior Health Region, it is increasingly likely that cases may manifest themselves among our students and employees. The extensive health and safety plans we have developed all align with the requirements of WorkSafeBC, Interior Health, and the Provincial Health Officer. They all focus on mitigating the risk of transmission.

When a positive case of COVID-19 is reported, we will follow the direction of Interior Health about notification, communication within our community and next steps.

COVID-19 infection can have impacts beyond physical health for individuals. Being COVID-19 positive ought not to be accompanied with social stigma that can affect self-esteem and mental wellbeing. Preserving privacy is imperative. We shall continue to rely on the expertise of Interior Health in infectious diseases to guide when and how we communicate information about any confirmed cases within the Okanagan College community.

This has been a stressful eight months for all of us. Remember that you are not alone and that help and support is available if you require it, whether you are an employee or a student. What we have been able to accomplish as a community at Okanagan College has been remarkable and a testament to the great people who work, teach and learn here.

Please, watch out for yourself and each other, and stay healthy.

Regards
Jim

Changes to Provincial Health Officer orders reflected in College directives and activities

On Nov. 19 Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), issued new orders making mask use mandatory in indoor public spaces and directing British Columbians to limit social activities and forego non-essential travel. Okanagan College’s various directives and documents regarding COVID-19 practices are being updated to reflect the new orders. Post-secondary education was identified by the province as an essential services early in the pandemic, and advice from government is that travel for purposes of education is considered essential travel. As questions arise regarding implications of the new PHO orders, we will address them as quickly as possible, looking to advice from the PHO and from Interior Health and WorkSafeBC.

PACWEST cancels Winter 2021 competition

The OC Coyotes season has come to an end as the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) has announced the cancellation of basketball for the 2021 Winter season. Read the full media release here.

Stay tuned for updates about next season and read more about the OC Coyotes teams here

Changes to the College’s Mask Directive

An important change in our ongoing attempts to ensure the health and well-being of students and employees while on campus during the pandemic.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has advised British Columbians of her expectation that non-medical masks be worn in all indoor public spaces. Accordingly, the College has updated its Directive on the Use of Masks/Facial Coverings on Campus.

As of Monday, Nov. 16, the College will require that everyone wear a non-medical mask while moving through indoor shared spaces on campus. Masks are also required when mandatory physical distancing of two metres from others cannot be maintained.

Shared spaces include building entryways, washrooms, hallways, stairwells, shared office spaces (until seated at your desk/work station), and other high-traffic areas. Non-medical masks are also required where physical distancing cannot be maintained.  

Depending on the activity, other safety protocols may also be required. Please ensure you are familiar with both the College safety plan and the safety plan specific to your program, area and activity. If you have a question about the safety plan for your area, please don’t hesitate to ask your instructor or supervisor.

Masks do not replace physical distancing, hand washing and staying at home if you are sick; as these are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you are coming to campus, please continue to conduct daily self-monitoring for symptoms (and do not come on campus if you are feeling sick).

If you have not already done so, all students coming on campus must complete the student Self-Reporting Acknowledgement form and the COVID-19 safety training in Moodle. Employees are required to complete an Self-Reporting Acknowledgement form and COVID-19 safety training which can be found on the employee myOkanagan Covid-19 Resources page

Thank you for your continued efforts as we all do our part to keep the OC community healthy and safe.

Interior Health issues COVID-19 alert

Interior Health is alerting residents throughout the region that surging COVID-19 activity has become a concern. Due to higher rates of COVID-19 being detected throughout the region, Interior Health is concerned by the upward trend and frequency of new clusters in the region. The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has issued regional orders for Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health. These orders are not currently directed at Interior Health, however, IH is calling for residents’ support to avoid stringent measures in the Interior Region. Read the full PSA here.

PHO order on limiting social interactions

British Columbia's Ministry of Health recently put in place and clarified new restrictions on social gatherings and indoor activities for those residing in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health Regions. By order of the PHO, all individuals, places of work and businesses within these regions must significantly reduce social interactions and travel. Pertinent to OC students and employees: Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that from November 7 to November 23, travel into and out of the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley should be limited to essential travel only.

Quarantine Plan Form

Quarantine Plan

Student information

Emergency contact

Travel information

Self-isolation plan

Refer to Quarantine Plans for International students arriving in Canada for information and additional options.

You must have accommodation arranged in advance of departure for Canada, to ensure you can safely self-isolate for the full 14-day period. Without accommodation, you cannot complete this form.

Medical insurance

Certification and declaration

By clicking "Submit" below, I agree my Quarantine Plan meets the requirements set out by Okanagan College, Government of B.C., and Government of Canada. 

Quarantine plans for students travelling to Canada

New and current Okanagan College students who are currently outside of Canada and planning to travel to Canada to study at Okanagan College are encourage to review the new Quarantine plan for International students travelling to Canada page, which details:

  • Pre-arrival planning that must be undertaken,
  • Quarantine requirements for arrival in Kelowna,
  • What to expect during quarantine

Go to the page

 

 

 

 

 

Quarantine Plan for International Students

Quarantine plan for International students travelling to Canada

This information is for all new and current Okanagan College students who are currently outside Canada and planning to travel to Canada to pursue studies at Okanagan College. If you are making plans to come to Canada please let us know as soon as possible by contacting Okanagan College International Education by emailing inted@okanagan.bc.ca . 

The 14-day quarantine plan is required by law under Canada's current travel restrictions.

Complete the OC Self-Isolation Plan

Pre-arrival planning

Step-by-step instructions

Note: all steps must be completed prior to travelling to Canada and ideally 3-4 weeks in advance of your departure.

  1. Send an email to OC International to inted@okanagan.bc.ca to notify us that you are intending to travel to Canada.
  2. Cultural Liaisons and settlement staff are available to help and will review your quarantine plan. Book an appointment online to speak with a Cultural Liaison or contact culturalliaison@okanagan.bc.ca

Prepare to show us you have the following as part of your quarantine plan:

  1. Study permit: You must have a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit. See the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans.
  2. Medical coverageConfirm you have valid medical insurance coverage with MSP (returning students) or purchase Guardme insurance starting from the day you arrive in Canada.
  3. Accommodations for quarantine: Book and/or confirm a suitable accommodation for your 14 day quarantine period.
  4. Flight itinerary: When booking your flights to Canada, make sure you book a connecting flight to Kelowna (YLW).
  5. OC Quarantine Plan form: Submit your OC Quarantine Plan to the International Education office. 

Before you travel

  1. Federal ArriveCAN Application: Submit your arrival info to the Government of Canada using the app for travellers entering Canada and submit your quarantine contact information.
  2. Visit the BC Self-Quarantine website to review the B.C. Government requirements and know what to expect at the point of entry to B.C. or the Canadian border.

    Letter of support

    Okanagan College can issue letters of support to international students who are registered in the upcoming semester and have an approved study permit eligible for travel to travel to Canada. A travel support letter will be e-mailed from International Education within three business days after your quarantine plan is approved and all documents are received. We will then send you the following documents.

    New students: 

    • Travel to Canada Letter of Support
    • Letter of Acceptance
    • Current course registration 

    Returning and current students:

    • Travel to Canada Letter of Support
    • Copy of unofficial transcript

    Timing of travel to Canada

    Okanagan College Winter 2021 semester classes begin on Jan. 11, 2021. For students currently enrolled and who planning to arrive while the semester is in session, travel to Canada is not recommend mid-semester as this may be disruptive to your studies. Should you need to travel mid-semester, please make sure to book your trip outside of your scheduled class time and be prepared in case of travel delays. 

    Flights

    When booking your flight to Canada, please make sure you book a connecting flight directly to Kelowna (YLW). It is much simpler, faster, and safer to fly directly to Kelowna, rather than flying to Vancouver and then travelling to Kelowna with a separate flight or other arrangements.

    Arrival in Kelowna and quarantine requirements

    Transportation to your quarantine location

    Travel only by airport-approved taxi from the Kelowna International Airport to your quarantine location ensuring physical distancing measure at all times and do not share rides with other travelers. For homestay and hotel quarantine, transportation will be arranged for you. Taxis at the airport are prepared to transport international travelers under isolation measures.

    Local Kelowna taxi companies include:

    • Kelowna Cabs 250-762-2222
    • Current Taxi 250-864-8294
    • West Cabs 778-754-8888

    *Please record your taxi and driver information as it may be collected for contact tracing.

    Accommodation for your 14-day quarantine

    You will be required legally to check in to your individual room and remain there in quarantine for 14 days. OC International will assist you with implementing your quarantine plan. To ensure your preferences, the best possible rates and availability, please let us know as early as possible in your planning.

    Hotels

    Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton and Four Points by Sheraton are a group of new hotels conveniently located near the Kelowna airport, offering 14-night minimum self-quarantine period stay including 3 meals per day. Packages include accommodation, high-speed Internet access, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner delivered to your room. Transportation from the Kelowna airport (YLW) to the hotel is included.

    • Hampton Inn: $1,666 ($119/night) + $266 taxes (16%) = $1,933
    • Four Points: $1,806 ($129/night) + $289 taxes (16%) = $2,095

    For bookings:

    Download the Hampton Inn offer    Download the Four Points offer

    Homestay

    OC International has a great network of Host families that can provide affordable accommodation to meet your needs. All fees must be paid in advance of placement and availability may be limited. 

    • Short stay for 14-day self-quarantine period including 3 meals per day and snacks. Transportation to your homestay from the airport will be arranged and you will be placed in a home in your private bedroom with a separate bathroom. The all included cost is $1,000 (limited spaces available).
    • For those looking to live in homestay longer term for the semester (a minimum 2 months), regular rates apply for homestay ($800 per month + placement fee $200 = $3,400 for 1 semester) including 3 meals per day and the self-quarantine fee may be waived. Meals are still included. Contact homestay@okanagan.bc.ca for details and availability. Visit the homestay website.

    What to expect during quarantine period

    • Pack enough clothes for 14 days because you will not have access to laundry facilities until after the isolation period
    • Bring enough toiletries for 14 days
    • Bring your own electronic devices (laptop, tablet, cellular phone, etc.) as you will not be permitted to leave your room for 14 days, except to seek medical assistance
    • Expect a regular check in from the International Settlement and Support team to ensure that you are healthy and that you have everything you need and that you are adhering to your quarantine plan.
    • If you feel unwell or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, please call HealthLink BC at 811 for guidance, and notify International Education immediately
    • You will not be allowed to have any guests during the quarantine period
    • Check in within 48 hours of arrival through the ArriveCAN app or call 1-833-641-0343.

    What do do if you become sick

    Social supports

    Online delivery of necessities and groceries

    Two popular super markets in Kelowna offer online shopping and deliveries. Both carry a wide variety of food and healthcare products:

    Meal delivery options

    There are many options in Kelowna for take-out restaurant meals and delivery services:

    Questions

    If you need assistance or have questions with regard to your travel or quarantine plan, please send us a quick email to inted@okanagan.bc.ca requesting:

    • To book an appointment to have a live chat with an International Student Settlement and Support Service team member
    • To get in touch with other International Education Staff such as an International Education Advisor (Academic), International Student Immigration Advisor or International Student Recruiter, visit Meet the Team.

    Use the iCent app to connect with us and book a virtual appointment today!

    OC students will receive their student IDs by mail

    Okanagan College will be issuing Student ID cards by mail directly to students (all campuses and centres) this semester. Students can login to myOkanagan to upload a photo and complete the process online. Once logged in, go to  Online Services >> Student Photo ID >> Upload your photo to upload a photo, fill in your information and submit your Student ID card application.

    It is expected that processing of requests/delivery of student ID cards will take 7-10 days. Thank you for your patience as the College works to process and mail cards as quickly as possible. 

    Students can access mental-health supports 24/7 with Here2Talk

    As students at OC and other post-secondary institutions hit the books this fall, the Province of BC is reminding students that the Here2Talk mental-health counselling and referral service is available 24/7 to provide support to students who need it. Read more about Here2Talk.

    To learn more about the Counselling resources available to you through OC, including GROW@OC, a new drop-in online group workshop counselling service, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/counselling.  

    A message from Meri Kim Oliver, Vice President Students

     As we draw close to the start of the fall semester, there are several important initiatives that we want to alert students to, in relation to Okanagan College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    These include:

    These initiatives are all integral to our responsibilities to collectively maintain the safe, healthy learning and working environments to which we are committed. The directives have been developed in compliance with directions from the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafeBC, The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, and the Go-Forward Guidelines for Post-Secondary developed by the province.

    They have also been discussed and reviewed with student association leaders and have been vetted by the College’s COVID-19 Steering Committee, the Operations Implementation Team and the Student Experience Team. They supplement the College’s already-developed COVID-19 Safety Plan, its Exposure Control Plan, the campus-specific Re-Occupancy Guides and the program- and event-specific Health and Safety Plans.

    Continuing Studies alumna, Noelle Eugster
    College unveils new online CS brochure, array of courses for fall

    August 26, 2020

    OC Occupational Health and Safety grad put her skills to work With fall approaching and parents and students of all ages making decisions about going back to school, Noelle Eugster still considers it one of the best decisions she’s made in her life. “Making a complete career change and going back to College in my mid-40s was certainly scary, but I’m so glad I did. It was easily one of the smartest choices I’ve ever made,” says Eugster, who completed the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Certificate. Eugster puts her training to work on a...

    Read more...