Important pre-arrival information for incoming international students to VCC

Posted on July 20, 2020

Updated July 22, 2022

Thank you for visiting. This page is no longer being maintained.

To see important information for international students entering Canada, please visit VCC International.




Next steps in COVID-19 response

Posted on April 7, 2022

Dear VCC community,

As we head into our third year living with COVID-19, post-secondary institutions such as Vancouver Community College (VCC), continue to be one of the safest places to learn and work. At VCC, we are proud of our faculty, staff, and students for our response to the pandemic and for working collectively to keep our community safe.

We are pleased to share additional updates from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) that are relevant to our community as we continue to move forward.  

SPRING BOOSTER PROGRAM

On Tuesday, April 5, the PHO announced additional measures to address COVID-19 in the community, while protecting those most at risk. Most significantly, seniors over the age of 70 and Indigenous elders over the age of 55 will be eligible to receive a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose. In addition, immune-compromised individuals will be eligible as well. If you fall into one of these categories, find out more details about the province’s spring booster program.

PROOF OF VACCINATION NO LONGER REQUIRED

As Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated, easing restrictions comes after ongoing and careful review of current data. The PHO’s approach to COVID-19 was to have only “the minimum necessary restrictions to keep our community safe” until we can progress from “legally enforceable requirements to a place of collective [management]”.

As a result, the province is continuing with previously announced plans to further lift COVID-19 restrictions. As of Friday, April 8 at 12:01 a.m., proof of vaccination to access businesses, events, and services is no longer required. This extends to VCC restaurants and services including JJ’s Restaurant, The Bistro, VCC Salon & Spa, and others (See the full list of on-campus services at VCC). 

GET YOUR VACCINE AND BOOSTER

British Columbians continue to lead the way in being one of the most vaccinated provinces in the country with more than 93 per cent of eligible adults having received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage everyone in the VCC community to receive your vaccine and eligible booster if you have not already done so. 

Let’s continue to all do our part in maintaining a safe place to work and learn – get vaccinated, use your layers of protection, monitor symptoms, and stay home if ill. Although masks are no longer mandated in indoor public settings, some people may choose to continue wearing a mask indoors and others will not. We encourage everyone to go at your own pace and be respectful of others. 

Thank you for your continued commitment to the safety of our community.

VCC green signature bar 

Sincerely,

VCC Emergency Operations Centre

Surinder Aulakh, EOC Director
Clayton Munro, Deputy Director
Jen Hill, Communications Lead
Sladjana Borovcanin, Operations Section Chief
David McMullen, Planning Section Chief
Soleille Cyr, RTC Lead
Darlene Hodgson, People Services Resource
Robyn Wood, CUPE Representative
Taryn Thomson, FA Representative
Jo-Ellen Zakoor, VCC Admin. Dean of Health

 

 

 




Updated COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines

Posted on March 23, 2022

An updated version of the COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines was posted today to reflect evolving public health guidance including updated BCCDC guidance for the post-secondary sector.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. 

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Surinder Aulakh
VCC Director Safety, Security & Risk

 

COVID-19 resources:

 




COVID-19: Update on safety measures on VCC campuses

Posted on March 11, 2022

On behalf of VCC’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), we would like to share an update on recent communications from the Provincial Health Office and how it impacts the VCC community.

On Thursday, March 10, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced an easing of several restrictions representing a further shift in the province’s public health strategy from risk elimination to risk reduction.

A highlight of the major changes is included below.

As of Friday, March 11 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Masks are no longer mandated in public indoor settings under a public health order.

On April 8, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., further restrictions will be lifted:

  • Proof of vaccination will no longer be required to access businesses, events and services.
  • Businesses, including post-secondary institutions, will no longer need a COVID-19 safety plan and can transition to communicable disease plans.

MASKS ON CAMPUS

As per VCC’s COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan, guidance on mask protocols is adjusted based on direction from the Provincial Health Office. As Dr. Henry stated, masks are no longer mandated in indoor public settings that are considered low risk, which includes post-secondary institutions. However, individuals may still choose to wear one, especially if you are older, immune-compromised or if your household is not completely vaccinated. You may also wish to continue wearing a mask in large crowds.

Please continue to implement your own personal safety measures. This includes monitoring your symptoms, staying home if you are unwell, washing your hands frequently and getting vaccinated and boosted.

We appreciate that for some, these changes are too fast and for others, not fast enough. Some people may choose to continue wearing a mask indoors and others will not. We encourage everyone to go at your own pace and be respectful of others.

At VCC, an easing of restrictions in low-risk settings is a welcome change as we move to this next phase in the pandemic. 

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Sincerely, 

VCC Emergency Operations Centre

Surinder Aulakh, EOC Director
Clayton Munro, Deputy Director
Jen Hill, Communications Lead
Sladjana Borovcanin, Operations Section Chief
David McMullen, Planning Section Chief
Soleille Cyr, RTC Lead
Darlene Hodgson, People Services Resource
Robyn Wood, CUPE Representative
Taryn Thomson, FA Representative
Jo-Ellen Zakoor, VCC Admin. Dean of Health




COVID-19: Staying safe while looking ahead

Posted on February 10, 2022

On Tuesday, Feb. 8, Vancouver Community College (VCC) held a virtual Town Hall for employees. We were very pleased to welcome Vancouver Coastal Health Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, to speak about the province’s current approach to COVID-19, how it affects our work as a college, and answer questions submitted by staff.

Shifting from pandemic to endemic

Dr. Lysyshyn presented on the province’s current approach to COVID-19 safety measures and how the VCC community can start to think about COVID-19 as endemic rather than pandemic. Dr. Lysyshyn explained that another way to think of this is “a shift from risk elimination to risk reduction.” The intention here is to slowly reduce restriction levels in order to balance public health measures with as little disruption to people’s daily lives and mental health as possible.

While risk cannot be completely eliminated, it can be reduced to a manageable level. Eventually, COVID-19 management will become similar to the management of other seasonal respiratory infections from a health care systems perspective.

Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19

With the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, many employees submitted questions around whether a booster was necessary, especially for those who recently experienced a COVID-19 infection. Dr. Lysyshyn confirmed that while some natural immunity will be attained through infection, vaccines offer the most comprehensive level of protection.

It was also reiterated that the Omicron variant has shown to be less severe for those who are fully vaccinated.

He also referred to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI) recently updated guidelines [PDF] on receiving booster shots after COVID-19 infection: eight weeks for those who have not completed their primary vaccines series and three months for those who have.

If you are unwell, stay home

Dr. Lysyshyn reiterated that the main way to keep our community safe is to stay home if you feel unwell. He explained that with the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the health authorities’ current strategy is to isolate cases as much as possible while recognizing that it may not capture everybody who is exposed. Again, this leads back to risk reduction strategies and prioritizing those who are most at risk.

If you do test positive or suspect you have COVID-19, the BC Centre for Disease Control’s recommended guidelines are as follows:

  • For fully vaccinated individuals, isolate for five days from the onset of symptoms.
  • For unvaccinated individuals, including those who have not completed their primary vaccines series, isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

These guidelines are in conjunction with your daily health checks. If your symptoms worsen or do not improve after the recommended isolation periods, stay home until your symptoms begin to improve. Monitoring a fever is one of the key indicators of wellness.

Rapid tests will be available to VCC employees

VCC president Ajay Patel addressed at the Town Hall that post-secondary institutions are working with the Provincial Health Officer and B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to supply rapid tests to colleges. Plans for distribution of the tests to employees are in development and details will be forthcoming.

COVID-19 and ventilation systems

For employees concerned about the transmissibility of the virus through ventilation systems, Dr. Lysyshyn addressed that the majority of ways that COVID-19 is spread is through unstructured, face-to-face interaction between people and not through ventilation systems.

VCC director of Facilities Management Sladjana Borovcanin confirmed that VCC follows current guidelines on ventilation standards, ensuring enhanced coverage and optimal management of indoor air quality.


Since the start of the pandemic, the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has worked to ensure the safety of the VCC community while maintaining continuity of service for our students.

We appreciate everyone’s commitment to employee and student safety as we work through the coming weeks and months together. 

Get vaccinated.

Self-assess.

Be safe.

More information

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Thank you,

VCC Emergency Operations Centre

Surinder Aulakh, EOC Director
Clayton Munroe, Deputy Director
Jen Hill, Communications Lead
Sladjana Borovcanin, Operations Section Chief
David McMullen, Planning Section Chief
Soleille Cyr, RTC Lead
Darlene Hodgson, People Services Resource
Robyn Wood, CUPE Representative
Taryn Thomson, FA Representative
Jo-Ellen Zakoor, VCC Admin. Dean of Health




PHO Announces New BC Vaccine Card

Posted on August 23, 2021

We would like to acknowledge that VCC is on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples who have been stewards of this land from time immemorial.

 

Today, August 23, 2021, Premier John Horgan, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix announced that BC would be implementing a BC Vaccine Card. By order of the B.C. Public Health Officer (PHO), proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services and businesses. Starting September 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated.

Key Points from Today’s Announcement

  • The Delta variant is the key focus of the increased measures and need for vaccines.
  • Vaccines are our way forward as a province.
  • At this time, BC is not moving forward to Step 4 of the B.C. Restart Plan on September 7, 2021. However, the plan to open campuses back up in September is not affected by the postponement of Step 4 of the B.C. Restart Plan.

We will be reviewing the new BC Vaccine Card requirements in consultation with the PHO and our Ministry, and any impact it may have on program areas that are public facing (cafeteria, Seiffert Market, VCC Salon & Spa, JJ’s Restaurant, etc.). More information and details will be coming from government soon. We will share that information with the broader VCC community when it becomes available.

About On-Campus Planning for September

Although there may be some amended measures added to how we work and learn together on campus, the return-to-campus planning is moving forward and remains in line with the BC COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

VCC will continue to follow the orders from the B.C. Public Health Officer and Ministry of Advanced Education (AEST).

Our goal is to bring campuses back together safely, and to return to the activities that sustain us as individuals, communities and learning institutions.

If you are not already fully vaccinated, please register immediately and schedule your vaccination. If you are already fully vaccinated, thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and those around you.

You can find out more about vaccinations at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated. For more information for student vaccinations, visit the Vancouver Coast Health webpage for students.

If you have any questions of concerns, please email secure@vcc.ca.




COVID-19 Update: Letter from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry

Posted on January 21, 2022

The following is a letter from Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed to all post-secondary institution presidents in B.C. The letter outlines how colleges like ours that are successfully returning to on-campus operations continue to be safe places to work and learn.

 

January 21, 2022

Dear Post-Secondary Institution Presidents:


Thank you for your continued collaboration with Public Health for a safe return to campus this winter. I appreciate the challenging circumstances many of you are navigating and I commend you for addressing the educational needs of students as well as safety and business continuity considerations at your institutions. As we have discussed, it remains important that we continue to guide our pandemic response based on the epidemiology of SARS-CoV2 and to balance the risk of COVID with the negative impacts of public health measures.

Our post-secondary guidance reflects this need to implement effective prevention measures and avoid ineffective measures that provide little health benefit, and may cause significant disruption as well as adversely affect health and well-being. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant to become dominant in BC was associated with changes in the epidemiology including a shorter incubation period. At the same time, this variant is associated with a significantly reduced risk of serious illness and hospitalization particularly in people vaccinated with two doses of vaccine. Much, however, remains the same in terms of risk settings and measures to prevent spread and we continue to see lower risk in structured seated settings. Given as well the disproportionate adverse impacts of the pandemic on our young adults in the context of a highly vaccinated population, I urge you to prioritize on-campus instruction whenever possible.

Our advice strongly recommending the continuation of on-campus instruction at post-secondary institutions is rooted in the goals of pandemic response, which are to reduce serious illness and death, protect the health care system and minimize societal disruption. Vaccination continues to be proven to be the single most effective intervention for reducing the burden of illness related to COVID-19. Epidemiological data from BC shows that being unvaccinated is the strongest risk factor for severe illness requiring hospitalization or critical care. We see an impressive 27-fold reduction in rates of critical care admissions in the fully vaccinated compared to the unvaccinated populations. Analyses of BC’s hospitalization data further demonstrate that the vast majority of the post-secondary community, including faculty and staff, are at a very low risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.

We continue to see lower rates of COVID-19 incidence in the post-secondary population, and this reflects the high vaccination rates and comprehensive safety measures in place. In contrast to the controlled nature of classrooms and offices, SARS-CoV-2 transmits most efficiently in homes and unstructured or informal social settings. Public Health investigation has found that when a post-secondary student or employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the exposure was most often associated with their home or social setting, and they have not generated forward transmission in the classroom or office environment. Indeed, spending fewer hours in structured settings may paradoxically increase time spent in unstructured settings that are at higher risk of transmission. Therefore, we recommend that non-educational and social gatherings that bring staff and students together outside of educational activities follow current public health guidance.

The vast majority of post-secondary students and staff have stepped up and received their vaccinations. While transmission can occur in any setting, high immunization rates and sector-wide measures such as masking in the post-secondary communities have enabled a lower risk environment in support of in- person instruction. The primary concern with the Omicron variant is the potential for faculty, staff, and students to be absent for short periods of time due to illness. Therefore, it is important for your institutions to periodically review and update your business continuity plans.

Limiting on-campus instruction, on the other hand, has been associated with significant negative consequences for post-secondary students, who reported significantly poorer and worsening mental health outcomes and greater negative impacts than other British Columbians. Students and families are concerned about missing out on enriching experiences of post-secondary education. Indeed, many are distressed during this key developmental stage in their lives.

The experience post-secondary institutions across BC have with successfully returning to on campus learning in the fall of 2021 should guide our return in 2022 and indeed 17 institutions have resumed on campus learning already. We have the tools to effectively manage cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 if and when they occur and to continue to provide the essential educational and research experiences that students, staff and faculty need.

Public health remains committed to providing evidence-informed advice to manage COVID-19. We expect that COVID-19 will transition from a pandemic to an endemic state over the coming months. Our epidemiological data shows that we are past the peak of the current wave in terms of community transmission, and hospitalizations are plateauing. New variants will undoubtedly emerge as SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate globally. We will continue to monitor for emerging evidence and continue to offer a preventive approach that supports the best public health outcomes for students, staff, and faculty.

I encourage you to promote vaccination and other prevention measures outlined in the COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines [PDF] as well as your institutional communicable disease prevention plan among your faculty, staff, and students. These measures have been effective at preventing COVID-19 in a wide variety of post-secondary settings and will continue to support successful on-campus instruction.

Thank you again for the ongoing collaboration with Public Health and your efforts to enable on-campus education. I am grateful for the tremendous contribution from your membership to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of our province, and the health and well-being of our young generation in particular.
 

Sincerely,

Bonnie Henry
MD, MPH, FRCPC
Provincial Health Officer 


For the latest updates on VCC operations, please bookmark and check VCC’s COVID-19 information site regularly. 




COVID-19 Update: Letter from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

Posted on January 7, 2022

Vancouver Community College (VCC), along with all the other post-secondary institutions in B.C. received a letter from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training today, outlining the commitment to our students and community to provide learning and business continuity during the current spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

VCC is dedicated to continuing to provide our students with the safest, highest quality educational experience during this difficult time. We thank our students, faculty, and staff for their flexibility as we navigate through this evolving situation. (See letter below.)

 

From: B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training

To: Public PSI Presidents; VPs Academic; VPs Finance/Administration; VPs Research; Sector Association Presidents

Learning and Business Continuity for Post-secondary Institutions

Public health in B.C. continues to strongly recommend the continuation of on-campus instruction for post-secondary institutions (PSIs) starting Jan. 10, 2022 as outlined in the Provincial Health Officer’s recommendations [PDF].

  • Evidence to date indicates that BC’s PSIs are low-risk settings for the transmission of COVID-19 due to:
    • High vaccination rates;
    • Sector-wide health and safety protocols; and,
    • High compliance with Provincial Health Officer orders, including the requirement for masks in all post-secondary classrooms and workplaces.
  • In-person learning is critical to alleviating the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on young adults in British Columbia as documented by the BCCDC COVID-19 Young Adult Task Force [PDF], including significantly worsening mental health.
  • As part of a long-term, sustainable approach to managing COVID-19, PSIs need contingency plans in place to support learning continuity for students as well as operational continuity during short-term business disruptions resulting from students, faculty or staff becoming ill due to COVID-19, as per direction from BC’s Provincial Health Officer. Institutions should reference the COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines [PDF] and the COVID-19 resources noted below to review and update their existing business continuity plans.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions.


COVID-19 Resources:




COVID-19 Update: VCC on track to welcome students back on Jan. 10

Posted on January 6, 2022

A message from VCC Director, Safety, Security and Risk, Surinder Aulakh

As we all prepare to safely return to campus for the Winter 2022 term on Jan. 10, Vancouver Community College (VCC) urges all students and employees to continue to follow all safety measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Although health data shows that Omicron can spread faster and more easily than previous virus strains and has already become the dominant strain in British Columbia, we know that, in the majority of cases, the Omicron variant causes less severe illnesses and fewer hospitalizations, and COVID-19 vaccinations are also continuing to provide protection.

Stay home if you have symptoms

This Winter 2022 term, we ask all VCC students and employees to pay special attention to Omicron symptoms and stay home if you are feeling even mildly sick.

The most commonly reported symptoms for the COVID-19 Omicron variant include:

  • congestion and runny nose
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • sore throat
  • cough

This online tool will determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

Get vaccinated

Vaccination remains the best line of defence we have against COVID-19 outbreaks, severe illnesses, and deaths.

VCC strongly encourages all students and employees who are eligible and able, to get vaccinated, including receiving a third/booster shot when available. 

Wear a mask

Masks are currently required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+).

At VCC, this applies to all indoor public areas on campuses including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, libraries, cafeterias (when not eating), classrooms, and labs. 

Please remember that wearing a mask is not possible for some people. Wear a mask if you are able, and respect those who cannot.

Wash your hands often

Personal hygiene measures such as proper hand washing and sanitizing, and coughing and sneezing into elbows continue to be strongly recommended.  

VCC has continued to follow enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols for all common, high-traffic areas, and high-contact surfaces.  

Thank you for your continued commitment to the safety of our community and helping ensure learning continuity. We look forward to seeing VCC students, faculty, and staff back on campus on Jan. 10. 

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Sincerely,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security and Risk
Vancouver Community College




President's message: On-campus instruction delayed until Jan. 10, 2022

Posted on December 30, 2021

Dear VCC community,

As we know, the nature of the pandemic is changing every day.

Over the holidays, we have continued to watch the situation very closely, and work with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST) and the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

Today, in consideration of the latest COVID-19 updates from the PHO and in consultation with the AEST, Vancouver Community College (VCC) has decided to delay the delivery of in-person courses and programs, where feasible, to Monday, Jan. 10. (See letter below.)

 

To: Public PSI Presidents; VPs Academic; VPs Finance/Administration; VPs Research; Sector Association Presidents

Recommendation for Jan. 10/22 start of classes:

Post-secondary institutions are advised to delay the start of in-person instruction until Mon, Jan 10/22, where operationally feasible, in order to allow additional time to assess the impact of the Omicron variant and review plans for returning to campus after the winter break. BC's Provincial Health Officer (PHO) is supportive of this delay.

  • Time sensitive programs including clinical or other experiential components, trades training and practicums may however begin as planned on Jan 4/22 with appropriate safety protocols in place.
  • Post-secondary campuses will remain open and available to learners including student housing and student services.
  • Based on experience in BC and internationally, educational settings are low-risk for COVID-19 transmission. 

Public health continues to monitor COVID-19 closely to ensure that safety measures are informed by evolving evidence. In the event that the measures need to change, the PHO and AEST will discuss with post-secondary institutions immediately.

 

In response, VCC will delay in person instruction, where feasible, to Monday, Jan. 10. Students can expect emails from their instructor/program with any changes to their start date, or if they will be required to be on campus during the week of Jan. 4.

VCC campuses will open on Jan. 4. Other campus operations and current work arrangements for staff and faculty will continue as scheduled. Student services will be available based on operational needs and institutional capacity.

Based on Dr. Henry’s memo last week we know the measures we have in place are working. Transmission in educational settings on campus continues to be uncommon. This delayed start to on-campus instruction will allow us to have a safe start to 2022.

Please visit the VCC website and monitor your respective emails for further updates. As always, I appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we navigate the situation.

My hope is that you have all been able to find some time with your close family and nearest friends to celebrate, safely, the accomplishments of the past year and ring in a happy new year together.

 

Sincerely,

Ajay Patel
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College

 


 

COVID-19 Resources:




VCC continues to monitor the Omicron situation daily

Posted on December 29, 2021

If any changes should occur regarding VCC's students and employees return to campus on January 4, 2022 as previously planned, information for the Winter term will be shared on vcc.ca and our social media channels. Please check often for the most updated information.




Prepare for a return to on-campus learning in January 2022

Posted on December 21, 2021

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Dr. Bonnie Henry, advised that all B.C. post-secondary institutions should plan for a return to on-campus learning in January 2022.

VCC's students and employees can expect to return to campus on January 4, as planned.

The PHO will continue to monitor COVID-19 and remain actively engaged with post-secondary institutions to make new recommendations, if and when they become necessary.

Read the Provincial Health Officer's letter [PDF]

As the COVID-19 Omicron variant threatens to spread rapidly during the holiday season, please continue to follow all active health guidelines, and continue checking VCC's COVID-19 information site for the latest information about college operations.




Holiday safety and the COVID-19 Omicron variant

Posted on December 16, 2021

A message from VCC Director, Safety, Security and Risk, Surinder Aulakh

Updated Dec. 21, 2021


Dear VCC community,

As you are likely aware, the new Omicron variant of the virus causing COVID-19 has brought heightened concerns around increased virus spread. It has also reinforced the need for continuing vaccinations and booster shots.

VCC continues to plan for on-campus delivery of programs and services in January 2022, which we have been doing safely since September 2021. Should direction change, updates will be shared as soon as possible with students and employees.

During VCC’s holiday break (Dec. 22 to Jan. 3), members of the VCC Emergency Operations Centre and senior leadership will be in contact with government, health authorities, and other post-secondary leaders. We will continue to assess the risk and any interventions or protocols that may be necessary to continue to keep our communities safe. As always, VCC will follow the direction of the B.C. government and health authorities regarding COVID-19.

As we approach the holidays, I would also like to remind students, faculty, and staff to continue to adhere to the updated safety recommendations and protocols set out by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Please follow Dr. Henry's order to limit holiday gatherings to close friends and family and avoid attending or hosting parties with strangers of unknown vaccination status.

British Columbians must limit personal gatherings to 
their household plus 10 visitors and avoid large holiday parties.

 For updates and/or any changes to on-campus protocols,
please check VCC's COVID-19 information site.


How you can do your part over the holiday break

Please consider these top three ways everyone can do their part to keep themselves and each other safe.

1. Get vaccinated

Vaccines are our best option for preventing COVID-19 infections, serious outcomes, and sustained transmission. Full vaccination (currently two doses) continues to offer a high level of protection against COVID-19.

VCC strongly encourages all students and employees who are eligible and able, to get vaccinated.

2. Conduct a daily self-assessment

Before heading out to any holiday activity, perform a self-assessment to check on possible COVID-19 symptoms. This COVID-19 self-assessment tool will help you determine whether you may need further testing COVID-19. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.

3. Wear a mask

Masks are currently required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+).

Please remember that there are those for whom wearing a mask is not an option. Wear a mask if you are able, and respect those who cannot.

Additionally, personal hygiene measures such as proper hand washing and sanitizing, and coughing or sneezing into elbows continue to be strongly recommended.  


Keep informed by visiting the BC Centre for Disease Control website for the latest information on COVID-19 and check the BC Government's COVID-19 site for any additional public health updates. The Government of Canada's COVID-19 information line can also be reached by calling 1.833.784.4397.

The VCC community has done a tremendous job navigating and responding to new orders and recommendations from the PHO, and I am confident that we will continue to do so. 

Please have a safe holiday, get vaccinated, and let’s continue to do our very best to take care of each other.

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Sincerely,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security and Risk
Vancouver Community College

 




Fall 2021: Health and safety on VCC campuses

Posted on September 2, 2021

A message from VCC Director, Safety, Security and Risk, Surinder Aulakh


Warm greetings to the VCC community,


Next week, students, faculty, and staff will return to campus, many for the first time in a year and a half.

Although it is exciting to be able to see each other again and learn together in-person, I know that there are some concerns about what to expect when you arrive.

Public health experts in British Columbia fully support the Sept. 7 return to on-campus instruction for all post-secondary institutions. We also know that educational settings like colleges are low-risk sites for COVID-19 transmission.

For the past 18 months and prior to vaccine availability, VCC remained open and successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic with no person-to-person, on-campus transmissions.  

Today, we know that vaccines are proven to be highly effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, serious outcomes, and sustained transmission. Full vaccination (two doses) offers a high level of protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Immunization has resulted in much lower infection rates, hospitalizations, and death rates in B.C., even as society has re-opened.

At VCC, we are committed to the health and safety of our community. We are also responsible for the delivery of post-secondary programs without barriers. Over the past 18 months, young adults aged 18-29 were among the hardest hit by pandemic-related response measures, and now is the time to support their recovery.

The plan to return to in-person learning this fall is about everyone to coming back together safely, so we can continue to offer hands-on, dynamic programs for our students.


How you can do your part

In preparation for next week, there are three key ways everyone can do their part to keep themselves and each other safe:


Get vaccinated

Vaccination is the best line of defence we have against COVID-19.

VCC strongly encourages all students and employees who are eligible and able, to get vaccinated.

We expect to receive new detailed information in the coming days about specifics around the BC Vaccine Card, and how to incorporate this measure into daily operations at certain on-campus services such as JJ’s Restaurant and The Bistro. We will continue to share updates with the VCC community as details are made available. 


Conduct a daily self pre-screen

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, all students and employees are required to perform a daily self-assessment before coming onto VCC campuses. This online tool will determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.


Wear a mask

Masks are currently required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+).

At VCC, this applies to all indoor public areas on campuses including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, libraries, cafeterias (when not eating), classrooms, and labs. 

Please remember, there are those for whom wearing a mask is not an option. Wear a mask if you are able, and respect those who cannot.

Additionally, personal hygiene measures such as proper hand washing and sanitizing, and coughing and sneezing into elbows continue to be strongly recommended.  


The VCC community has done a tremendous job navigating and responding to new orders and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer over these many months, and I am confident that we will continue to do so. 

Please get vaccinated, and let’s continue to do our very best to take care of each other.

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Sincerely,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security and Risk
Vancouver Community College




Return to Campus Public Health Guidance from BC Ministry of Health

Posted on September 3, 2021

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the BC Ministry of Health have released a return to campus public health guiding document that outlines communicable disease (including COVID-19) prevention measures recommended by public health for BC post-secondary institutions.

 

Click to download and read the BCCDC and Ministry of Health’s Return to Campus Public Health Guidance document. [PDF]

 




COVID-19 update – Safety information for those returning to campus

Posted on June 18, 2020

Since Phase 2 of British Columbia’s Restart Plan began on May 19, 2020, Vancouver Community College (VCC) has been working closely with WorkSafeBC and provincial health authorities to safely resume necessary elements of on-campus learning.

Thus far, instructors have been in direct contact with any students returning to VCC campuses for essential, hands-on learning activities, providing specific guidance and safety instructions in every case. 

Strict health and safety measures will continue to be implemented for courses and programs opening to on-campus delivery in the coming weeks. To prepare for your potential return to campus, please review the following guidelines. Please also note that these may change as COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines evolve.


Before coming to campus

Students

  • Your instructor will send you a self-assessment survey via Moodle. Fill out this survey before any visit to a VCC campus. 
  • Bring your VCC identification card (VCC ID) with you.
    • You will be required to show your VCC ID to security at the Downtown campus.
    • You may be required to show your VCC ID to security while at the Broadway campus.

Employees

  • A self-assessment survey has been provided to all departments. Fill out this survey at the start of each and any week you’ll be on campus.
  • Bring your employee identification card with you. 
    • You will be required to show your ID to security at the Downtown campus.
    • You may be required to show your ID to security while at the Broadway campus.

Entrances

Only the following entrances will be open:

  • Downtown – Dunsmuir St. entrance (at Hamilton St.)
  • Broadway – Broadway main entrance (building A) and 7th Ave. entrances (building B)
  • Annacis Island – Main entrance 

Bulletin-question-icon-30px  If you have questions or concerns about returning to a VCC campus, please contact your instructor or department directly. 


What to expect on campus

When you arrive on campus, look for:

  • Directional signage in areas that are confined
  • Signage about safe use of elevators and classroom capacity
  • Limited seating in public spaces to support physical distancing 

COVID-19-distancing-signage-samples-620

To ensure the safety of all VCC students and employees, please:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands upon entering the campus and regularly throughout the day
  • Limit your time on campus
  • Maintain a two-metre distance from others
  • Avoid touching surfaces whenever possible
  • Use proper respiratory hygiene practices

 
Bulletin-question-icon-30px  If you have any questions or concerns about these safety measures, please contact your instructor or department directly.

Washrooms and campus sanitization

VCC has implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols for all common, high-traffic areas, and high-contact surfaces. Cleaning and sanitization schedules are updated regularly to reflect the number of people on campus. 

Currently, approximately 30 per cent of washrooms at VCC are closed. Washroom availability will be based on ongoing campus occupancy. 

Open washrooms are clearly marked and located near high-traffic areas, central locations, and areas adjacent to elevators and stairs for ease of access.

Hand sanitizer

Upon entering the building, please clean your hands by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.

Public hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed in high-traffic areas across VCC campuses. However, due to sanitizer shortages with commercial vendors, students and employees may wish to be prepared by bringing personal bottles of hand sanitizer. 

Masks

Face masks are not required to be worn at VCC campuses. This decision is supported by WorkSafeBC, the public health officer (PHO), and the BC Centre for Disease Control. Even so, non-medical masks are encouraged to protect people around you in situations where two-metre physical distancing can’t be ensured.

VCC is currently working with suppliers to have non-medical masks available for online purchase through the VCC Bookstore.

Bulletin-Accessibility-icon-30px-2  When wearing a mask, please be mindful of our Deaf and hard of hearing students, staff, and faulty, as the inability to see mouths can be a barrier to understanding and communication. 

Campus services

Campus services continue to be limited. Food service outlets including cafeterias, bakeries, and restaurants are closed. 

If you must spend a full day on campus, please plan to buy food elsewhere or bring a meal with you. Vending machines remain available. 

Please refrain from eating in classrooms.


General health and safety behaviour 

Our goal is to ensure that all VCC students, staff, and faculty have the information and resources they need to teach, learn, and work safely and successfully throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Please continue to be mindful of others’ personal space and comfort levels. We have all worked very hard to “flatten the curve” in B.C. Let’s continue this trend, being respectful, kind, and patient with each other as we re-introduce necessary on-campus learning.  

Throughout this process, VCC is committed to following all directives and recommendations from WorkSafeBC, the PHO, and the BC Centre of Disease Control. Thank you for helping us stick to these rules. It’s up to all of us to keep on-campus learning happening safely. 

Bulletin-question-icon-30px  If you have questions or concerns about returning to a VCC campus, please contact your instructor or department directly.  


Check VCC’s COVID-19 information page regularly for ongoing updates about campus access, as well as useful FAQs and other resources for VCC students.




BC Colleges statement on vaccine mandates

Posted on August 27, 2021

A message from VCC president Ajay Patel

Good afternoon VCC community,

As colleges across the province prepare for full on-campus activity, BC Colleges has written a statement in response to the new B.C. Public Health Orders regarding mask mandates and the new BC Vaccine Card.  

Click to download and read the BC Colleges news release. [PDF]

BC Colleges News Release Aug 27 2021

It is important to remember that in B.C., colleges operate differently from universities and are considered agents of government under the Colleges and Institutes Act. We follow the advice of the Provincial Health Officer.  

Colleges are considered low-risk environments. For the past 18 months and prior to vaccine availability, VCC remained open and successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic with no person-to-person, on-campus transmissions.   

With the recent increase in vaccinations across the province, I am confident in our ability to incorporate the new mask mandate as the best course of action to continue to keep our community safe.  

BC Colleges shares this confidence and commitment to follow the orders set out by the Provincial Heath Officer (PHO) in their media release today. I encourage you to read the release.  

We will continue to respond to the needs of our community during this health crisis by following the recommendations and guidelines set by the PHO, with the understanding that this issue is dynamic and will continue to evolve. We will provide the community with updates accordingly. 

Please help us keep our community safe and get vaccinated if you are able. You can learn more about vaccinations at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated

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Sincerely, 

Ajay Patel
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College
 




Safety updates for VCC campuses

Posted on August 24, 2021

Good afternoon VCC community,

On Tuesday, Aug. 24, Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST), and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO) announced updated safety measures for post-secondary institutions for the 2021-22 school year.

Key points

  • Effective Wednesday, Aug. 25, everyone 12 years old and over must wear a mask when in indoor public settings.
  • The mask order will apply to all indoor public areas on post-secondary campuses including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, libraries, cafeterias, classrooms, and labs.

For VCC this means that all employees, students and visitors are to wear a mask when:

  • walking in hallways,
  • moving through common traffic spaces (e.g. stairwells, elevators),
  • when in non-academic group activity spaces (e.g. cafeteria, bookstores, bakery, library, etc.),
  • in the classroom (masks will be required to be worn by students and faculty)

Social distancing is not required.

Please remember, there are those for whom wearing a mask is not an option. Wear a mask if you are able, and respect those who cannot.

Returning to campus

VCC strongly encourages all students and employees who are eligible and able, to be vaccinated.

Vaccination is the best line of defence we have against COVID-19. 

Starting Monday, Sept. 13, everyone 12 years old and over will need to provide proof of vaccination to access a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province. This will include some services on campus that are also accessible to the broader public.

VCC will continue to work with AEST and the PHO on details on implementation of these requirements and any further actions we may need to take.

Learn more about vaccinations at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated. For more information for student vaccinations, visit the Vancouver Coast Health webpage for students.

Keeping our community safe

It goes without saying that over the last 18+ months we have been navigating dynamic health and safety issues, and we will continue to do so.

I am proud of all we have accomplished to keep our community safe. And, I know we will continue to work together to ensure our classrooms and our workspaces remail safe and in-line with the orders from the PHO.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email secure@vcc.ca.

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Sincerely,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security & Risk
Vancouver Community College

 


More Information




Message from the President: Upcoming Mask Information

Posted on August 20, 2021

Dear VCC community,

I would like to acknowledge that VCC is on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples who have been stewards of this land from time immemorial.

We have heard your concerns about wearing masks on campus, and what might be done at VCC to ensure masks are taken seriously on campus this fall. Please know we share your concerns.

It is important to remember that during a health crisis like COVID-19, post-secondary institutions take direction on safety protocols from government, the Provincial Health Office, and local health authorities.

I want to share with you this morning that, while VCC continues towards full on-campus operations in September, we have also been advocating for, and working with our ministry and the Provincial Health Office on mask and vaccine guidelines for the post-secondary sector.

We anticipate new information from the PHO and Ministry on these issues in the coming days.

VCC remains committed to the health and safety of all our employees and students. We appreciate all the feedback we have received by our community, and thank you for your support.

If you are not already fully vaccinated, please register immediately and schedule your vaccination.  If you are already fully vaccinated, thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and those around you.

You can find out more about vaccinations at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.

Stay safe and well, and continue to follow the PHO guidelines.

Look for further updates from the college in the coming days.

 

Sincerely,

Ajay Patel

VCC President & CEO




Return to in-person learning follows BC's restart plan

Posted on July 5, 2021

 

Students, faculty and staff at B.C.’s colleges and universities are being supported to come back together for in-person learning this fall, informed by the release of new Return-to-Campus Guidelines.

This follows the announcement that B.C. has transitioned to Step 3 of the Province’s restart plan.

“The pandemic has made the past year and a half difficult for post-secondary students and institutions, but now, thanks to vaccines, brighter days are right around the corner,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “I am so thankful to students, faculty and staff for showcasing their professionalism, flexibility and compassion throughout the pandemic, and I am excited for students to return to in-person learning this fall.”

The Return-to-Campus Guidelines are designed to parallel B.C.’s four-step restart plan. The transition period between Step 3, which took effect July 1, and the beginning of September is a crucial time, as post-secondary institutions ramp up operations and welcome back faculty, staff and students. The guidelines highlight the importance of public health measures, such as daily health checks and hand hygiene, as well as classroom logistics and on-campus student housing and dining services. For example, on-campus student housing providers can plan for close-to-full occupancy for the fall. Access to mental health supports for students, faculty and staff, Indigenous gathering places and accommodations for on campus-services are also outlined to support the transition. 

“We have made excellent progress with our provincial immunization program in B.C. That, along with declining case counts and low hospitalization rates, means we can gradually and safely move ahead with our restart plan – including in-person learning at our colleges and universities,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “We will continue to carefully monitor any transmission episodes on campuses, just as we do with influenza or other respiratory illnesses this fall, to keep students, faculty and staff safe. This is something we have shown we can successfully manage in B.C.”

The new Return-to-Campus Guidelines are the result of consultations with a broad team of experts from the public post-secondary sector, including Indigenous organizations and student associations, alongside faculty and staff unions, in partnership with the ministry and public health experts from the BC Centre for Disease Control, regional health authorities and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.

Previous versions of B.C.’s guidelines for post-secondary institutions have been adopted by other jurisdictions across Canada as a model for planning a return to on-campus instruction.

Further, post-secondary institutions will no longer be required to have a COVID-19 safety plan. Instead, institutions are developing communicable disease plans to reduce the risk of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The goal for the fall is to transition from highly prescriptive COVID-19 specific orders and protocols back to normal institutional policies and guidance on occupational health and safety.

Quick Facts:

  • B.C.’s vaccination coverage is among the highest in the world, and that is what is transforming the ability to safely live with COVID-19.
  • On June 29, 2021, with the transition to Step 3 of BC’s Restart plan, almost 80% of British Columbians have had at least one dose of vaccine.
  • As of June 25, 2021, 64.63% of people aged 18 to 29 in B.C. have received at least one dose of vaccine. https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/vaccination-coverage/#a3

Learn more at https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AEST0045-001298




Coming back together this September

Posted on July 12, 2021

A video message from VCC president Ajay Patel

Coming back together this September

 

Ajay Patel, VCC President and CEO, shares a commitment with the VCC community to come back together for in-person learning this fall.

“We have accomplished remarkable things together over the last year-and-a-half.

And I know that in the coming weeks and months, we will continue to be excellent in our work and take care of each other.”

B.C. is on track to meet the province’s plan for full operational return this September and post-secondary institutions are planning for a safe return to in-person learning this fall.

VCC employees and students can look forward to a safe return to full on-campus activity by the end of summer.

“I very much look forward to being with you all again. Stay safe, get your vaccines, and have a wonderful summer.”


Ajay Patel

VCC President and CEO




COVID-19 – Looking ahead to September on campus

Posted on June 17, 2021

A message for VCC employees from Surinder Aulakh, Director, Safety, Security & Risk


On Monday, June 14, Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province is moving to Step 2 of B.C.’s four-step Restart Plan, and that we are on track for moving to Step 3 on July 1.  

The information from the PHO is very encouraging — that by the end of summer, we can expect COVID-19 cases to be low and vaccine rates to be high. 

At VCC, staff and faculty should expect a return to on-campus activity in September, and the successful advancement to Step 4 of the Restart Plan. 


Over the summer, VCC will be focusing on the following strategies which support B.C.’s Restart Plan: 

  • extending remote work until August 1, and beginning the transition in August for a full return in September;
  • completing Departmental Safety Plans; and
  • producing and distributing a Return to Campus Employee Handbook from People Services.

There will also be a college-wide Town Hall in July that will outline our strategies and requirements for returning to campus in September. Details to follow. 


About B.C.'s Restart Plan

B.C.’s four-step Restart Plan was designed based on data and guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the PHO.   

The criteria for moving to Step 4, and subsequently enabling B.C. colleges to return to full on-campus operations, is that more than 70 per cent of the 18+ population be vaccinated with a first dose, and that the province has low COVID-19 case counts and low hospitalizations.  

View full size
B.C's Restart Plan table

About Step 4 of B.C.'s Restart Plan: 

  • The earliest date we can move to Step 4 is September 7, 2021.
  • Masks in public indoor settings will be a personal choice.
  • Normal social contact is safe.
  • If you or anyone in your family feels sick, please stay home and get tested immediately.

PHO message for post-secondary

Last month, PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry also spoke with post-secondary leaders about how vaccine effectiveness has reinforced confidence in a safe and full return to campus for colleges and universities in the fall.  

We encourage all VCC employees to take the time to watch this recorded meeting to get a better understanding of what campus life will look like this fall. 


Returning to VCC campuses in September

Our top priority is and always will be safety, and we are committed to following the direction of the PHO and complying with WorkSafeBC regulations. 

Over the summer, our main focus will be to ensure a full return to on-campus operations for September. We will continue the transition of some instructional programming to blended or online delivery, providing it has the approval of educational governance and school leadership. 

While there have been many lessons learned over the past 16 months, any future operational changes should be done in concert with VCC People Services and approved by the executive team. 

Vaccines

Just as VCC encourages everyone to get their flu shots and take measures to keep themselves safe and healthy, we strongly encourage our entire community to follow the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.

Vaccines do more than protect the people getting vaccinated, they also protect everyone around them. The more people in a community who are immunized and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread.

Find information about B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccinations and learn how to register at gov.bc.ca/covid-19.

Safety and support

We’re looking forward to having everyone return to campus this September, and will be working with departments to start easing employees back onto campus over the summer, all while adhering to PHO guidelines.  

We know there will be many questions as we move closer to September. Although this is exciting for many, we understand that for some employees, returning to campus may also cause anxiety. We are looking at opportunities to support employee questions.  

The upcoming Return to Campus Employee Handbook from People Services will also provide clarity on moving to a full recovery this fall.  

Stay safe and well, and please look for further updates from the college and your departments in the coming weeks.  

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Regards,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security & Risk
Vancouver Community College 




Update for students: Returning to campus in Fall 2021

Posted on June 10, 2021

A message from VCC's Recovery Plan Working Group (RPWG)

As we look towards the sunny days of summer, there are a few key areas where students can help ensure a safe return to on-campus activity at Vancouver Community College (VCC) this fall.

Vaccines

Just as VCC encourages our students to get their flu shots and take measures to keep themselves safe and healthy, we strongly encourage our entire community to follow the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.

Vaccines do more than protect the people getting vaccinated, they also protect everyone around them. The more people in a community who are immunized and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread.

Find information about B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccinations and learn how to register at gov.bc.ca/covid-19.

VCC’s COVID-19 information site

Later this month, content on VCC's COVID-19 information site will be updated and organized to include facts and FAQs relevant to this next stage of the pandemic and VCC operations moving into the fall.

We encourage students to bookmark this page and check it over the summer months for updates heading into September.

Returning to campus

Staff and faculty at VCC are currently planning for a safe return to on-campus activity this fall. Over the summer, your department(s) and/or instructors will be reaching out to you to ensure you have all the information required for a safe start of the semester.

Our student support areas are also open to help you with questions, including admissions, registration, fees, and advising.

In a recent Town Hall with the Alliance of BC Students, the British Columbia Federation of Students, and Indigenous student associations and student unions from 25 public post-secondary institutions, PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke about how vaccine effectiveness has reinforced confidence in a full return to campus for post-secondary institutions in the fall.

 

Have a safe summer

The information being shared out from the PHO is very encouraging — that by the end of summer, we can expect COVID-19 cases to be low and vaccine rates to be high.

Throughout the pandemic, VCC has continued to operate essential learning activities safely on campus, and over the past year, we have set an example of how to adapt to unprecedented challenges. 

We have every confidence that, over the next few months, we will be able to plan for a safe return in the fall.

Please stay safe and continue to follow provincial guidelines and recommendations.


 

 

 




COVID-19 – Update on return-to-campus planning

Posted on May 12, 2021

A message from Surinder Aulakh, Director, Safety, Security & Risk

On behalf of VCC’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Recovery Plan Working Group (RPWG), I would like to share an update as we look towards September and returning to campus.

The RPWG, which includes input from all areas of the college including CUPE and FA, has been working on identifying gaps in college resources and developing a Return to Campus Guide for departments and service areas. This guide will support unique area needs when planning for on-campus operations this fall.

On Monday, B.C. post-secondary leaders attended a town hall with Dr. Bonnie Henry, where we had a fulsome conversation around the recently released Provincial COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Primer (PDF).

A key takeaway from the town hall was optimism from the PHO that by September:

  • anyone who wants a vaccination will have one; 
    • All adults in B.C. will have had an opportunity to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before July 1, 2021, while many will have received two doses by the end of August.
  • COVID-19 transmission will be low, and serious infections will be uncommon. 

As we move forward, VCC leadership, EOC, and RPWG will continue to review any PHO updates, alongside the primer, as part of our ongoing work to ensure a safe return to campus for all students and employees.


Some key questions

Given the number of daily COVID-19 cases and worries over the impact of new variants, is VCC still planning for a full return in September? Are we still confident that can happen?

Yes and yes. Our planning is based on the PHO’s indication that those wanting to be vaccinated will have had their shots by July.

That does not take away from the fact we are now in a critical phase of the pandemic and the province remains under strict safety protocols. We anticipate that VCC’s current on-campus safety measures will stay in place at least through May and June. Employees are currently encouraged to work from home where possible and continue to follow the recommendations and restrictions that have been put in place by the PHO.

For planning purposes, however, we’ll continue to look ahead and prepare for the next phase.

What are the main considerations for the planning process?

Safety will always be the overriding consideration. Even as we move into the next phase of the pandemic response, VCC will continue to follow all safety guidelines issued by the PHO, AEST, and WorkSafeBC— as we have from the outset.

We are also committed to providing the best possible learning experience for our students and the best working environment for our employees, consistent with ensuring health and safety. We welcome the prospect of returning the elements of personal engagement, campus life, and collegial exchange we have missed over the past year.


Lastly, please remember that B.C. is still operating under pandemic restrictions and current orders from the Provincial Health Office remain.

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Regards,

Surinder Aulakh
Director, Safety, Security & Risk
Vancouver Community College 




COVID-19 – Updates on B.C. travel restrictions affecting VCC

Posted on April 26, 2021

A message from the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

Effective Friday, April 23, 2021, the B.C. government has expanded travel restrictions to stop non-essential travel outside of one’s local area. These travel restrictions will remain in effect until at least May 25, 2021, which includes the upcoming Victoria Day holiday weekend. 

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is urging all students and employees to review these restrictions and avoid any travel for non-essential purposes such vacations and social visits, including outdoor recreation.

Please note that previously implemented restrictions regarding indoor gatherings, exercise classes, restaurant dining, and masks have also been extended to May 25. 2021. 

Travelling for school

VCC students and employees may continue to travel between regions in order to attend school, as the B.C. government has stated that essential travel includes travel for post-secondary education and training. Allowed activities include travel to attend post-secondary classes or receive training through a post-secondary institution, including participating in practical learning activities such as fieldwork, practicums, and clinical placements.

International travel

Effective Thursday, April 22, the Government of Canada has also suspended all flights from the countries of India and Pakistan for at least 30 days in order to limit the international spread of COVID-19. 

VCC International Education recommends that any international students who are planning to travel to Canada from India or Pakistan should not make flight arrangements during this period until further notice. International students may call 604.443.8600 or email ieservices@vcc.ca with any questions or concerns regarding these travel restrictions.

For full details, see our latest bulletin for incoming international students to VCC.

Monitoring and maintaining your mental health

We understand that many of these recent announcements may cause an increase in stress, worry, or feelings of isolation or frustration for VCC students and employees. We strongly recommend reaching out for help if this is the case, as many resources are available.

International students
For students affected by international travel restrictions, the B.C. government has complied this list of resources including many Punjabi-language services and translations.

All VCC students
All VCC students may access VCC’s free counselling services or the B.C. government’s 24-hour Here2Talk mental health support network.

VCC employees
VCC employees are reminded that the college’s Employee Family Assistance Plan provides access to multiple helpful resources including counselling services, stress management, and help with financial concerns.  


Feeling sick? Use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you should be tested for COVID-19. 

Get on the list. All British Columbians 18 years of age or older may now register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

 




Planning VCC’s safe return to campus

Posted on April 9, 2021

A message from the VCC Recovery Plan Working Group 

VCC's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has convened a Recovery Plan Working Group (RPWG) to ensure a safe, robust, and comprehensive process for a full return to on-campus activities this fall.

The RPWG has been meeting since March and is looking at strategies to continue to support a safe return to campus for all employees and students in September.

Over the coming months, much of the work the RPWG will be doing will be driven by provincial “Go Forward Guidelines,” which will be supplied by the BC Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training in the coming weeks.

Given the complexity and needs of each department and area at VCC, the college community will need to approach returning to full capacity with the same commitment and care as was given to moving online and off-campus last year, and the limited return to campus last summer.

In the coming weeks, the RPWG will be connecting with departments to provide information and resources as they come available from the PHO.

For the broader VCC community, content at vcc.ca/covid-19 will be updated and organized to include facts and FAQs relevant to this next stage of the pandemic and our operations moving into the fall.

It is important to note that VCC has continued to operate essential learning activities safely on campus during the pandemic, and over the course of the past year, we have set an example of how to adapt to unprecedented challenges. We have every confidence that, over the next few months, we will be able to plan for a safe return in the fall. 

Please stay safe and continue to follow provincial guidelines and recommendations


Thank you,

VCC Emergency Operations Centre
and Recovery Plan Working Group




Expect a return to campus in September 2021

Posted on March 9, 2021

On March 8, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang announced that the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Dr. Bonnie Henry advised all B.C. post-secondary institutions to begin planning for a return to safe, on-campus teaching and learning in September 2021.

"I'm encouraged by Dr. Henry's advice that a return to in-person instruction can be done safely this fall for all students, staff, and faculty. In fact, it’s important to do so for people's well-being," said Minister Kang. 

This announcement is an outcome of the demonstrated leadership of the post-secondary sector in responding to COVID-19, including adopting new health and safety protocols and quickly adapting to remote learning. It is an exciting and eagerly anticipated step forward in our journey together through the pandemic.

What happens now

While this is encouraging news, please keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and we must continue to follow all active health guidelines in order to realize this goal.

Looking ahead to September, VCC's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will immediately convene a Campus Recovery Working Group to ensure a safe, robust, and comprehensive process for returning to on-campus activities that adhere to the province's Go-Forward guidelines [PDF].

It is important to note that VCC has continued to operate essential learning activities safely on campus during the pandemic, and we have every confidence that, over the next six months, we will be able to plan for a safe return in the fall.

As this is new information, the EOC will share plans and details as they become available.  

Let's do this together

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult and stressful time for everyone, including VCC students, faculty, and staff. This past year has challenged all of us in ways we could never have expected. We know that young adults have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic — as evidenced by worsening mental health, increased financial instability, and concerns over diminished future prospects.

The safe return to VCC campuses will benefit everyone's health and well-being. That’s why it is vital that we resume delivery of our programs and robust educational experiences for our students.  

Many students, faculty, and staff are eager to return to campus, while others may be feeling a bit anxious. Please be assured that at every step, we will be working with Dr. Henry and all our partners to make sure the right measures are in place to keep people safe.

A return to on-campus learning is excellent news for VCC, as well as for the economic health and strength of our communities and province. We need to get back to doing what we do best: delivering innovative, experiential learning for life.

VCC has shown that we can do amazing work in difficult times and we will continue to do so. Brighter days are ahead.

 




COVID-19 – Safety updates for VCC campuses

Posted on February 18, 2021

A message from the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

As we settle into the beginning of 2021 and the winter term, it’s important that we continue our collective efforts to keep each other safe and healthy.

VCC leadership, employees, and the EOC are committed to responding to the evolving needs of the college as we navigate the coming months together.

What's happening on campus

Cleaning

Our cleaning staff continue to maintain a frequent schedule of cleaning and disinfecting of high-traffic areas, such as elevators, handrails, doorknobs, office surfaces, classrooms, and washrooms. It is important that any spaces being used are communicated to your department manager and the facilities department so that cleaning can be scheduled.

Washrooms

In response to some concerns raised in the recent VCC COVID-19 Employee Engagement Survey, washroom access has been increased. If there are washroom concerns such as cleaning or access, please submit a facilities service request.

Air and HVAC systems

As employees and students continue to work and learn on campus, some questions have been raised around air quality. Despite reduced occupancies, our HVAC systems have remained in full operation and have been regularly maintained. Facilities staff has also, as an additional measure, been running HVAC system 1-2 hrs before occupancy and 1-2 hrs after to flush out air. 

Where possible, facilities staff has increased the outdoor air, while continuing to maintain comfortable indoor temperature levels. These measures bring more fresh air into the building and help reduce re-circulation of air. 

Service requests

In an effort to ensure timely responses to employee concerns around facilities use, the EOC would like to remind staff and faculty of the available facilities service request portal. 

This online form is an easy way to let the VCC facilities team know of any concerns, and will better ensure a quick response to any concerns or questions. 


When on campus

Daily self-assessment

All VCC employees (admin, staff, faculty) are required to complete a daily self-assessment each day you are physically on any VCC campus.

  • This is in addition to the weekly Pre-Screen Questionnaire.
  • At this time the daily assessment is a self-check, and does not need to be submitted to VCC. However, this may change depending on orders from the Public Health Office.
  • Follow the directions of the self-assessment and inform your supervisor if you need to seek medical attention.
  • Students will continue with the assessment process via Moodle and their instructors. 

Masks are required in all indoor public settings and workplaces

  • This applies to common areas where people circulate freely, such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, etc.
  • The mask requirement does not apply to people unable to wear a mask, or those who are unable to put on or remove a mask on their own. 
  • Masks are not provided by security. Individuals are required to supply their own masks.

Off-campus reminders

Social gatherings 

Social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your household or core bubble are prohibited. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. 

  • A person who lives alone may have up to two other people visit if they are people with whom the person regularly interacts. 
  • Please see page 15 of the COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for BC’s Post-Secondary Sector [PDF] for information on exempt educational activities. 

 Events

All events and gatherings as defined in the PHO Gatherings and Events Order are suspended until further notice. 

 




New on-campus safety measures in effect November 19th

Posted on November 23, 2020

A message from the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has ordered new province-wide restrictions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Some of these restrictions previously applied to the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Regions only. As of November 19, 2020, they apply to the entire province.

ON CAMPUS

Daily self-assessment

Due to increased provincial health restrictions and tracking measures, all employees (admin, staff, faculty) are now required to complete a daily self-assessment (https://bc.thrive.health) each day you are physically on any VCC campus. 

  • This is in addition to the weekly Pre-Screen Questionnaire. 
  • The daily assessment is a self-check, and does not need to be submitted to VCC.
    • However, a negative assessment needs to be communicated to your supervisor.
    • Students will continue with the assessment process via Moodle and their instructors.

Masks are required in all indoor public settings and workplaces

  • This applies to common areas where people circulate freely, such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, etc. 
    • Enclosed office spaces are exempt where physical distancing can be maintained. 
    • The mask requirement does not apply to people unable to wear a mask or put on or remove a mask on their own.  

OFF CAMPUS

This summary of restrictions relates to activities that may impact students and staff in their personal lives off campus.

Refer to the new province-wide restrictions for more details. 

Social gatherings 

No social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your household or core bubble. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. 

  • A person who lives alone may have up to two other people visit if they are people with whom the person regularly interacts. 

Events

  • All events and gatherings as defined in the PHO Gatherings and Events Order are suspended until further notice. 
    • NOTE: this does not apply to educational activities offered by post-secondary institutions to deliver and/or support student learning and development, as safety precautions are already in place.  
    • Please see page 15 of the COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for BC’s Post-Secondary Sector [PDF] for more information on educational activities. 
    • Events such as convocation ceremonies are not considered educational activities, and will take place virtually when possible.  

Athletic Activities

  • Please review the Athletic Activities section of the new province-wide restrictions.
  • The following high-risk indoor group physical activities must be suspended:
    • Spin classes
    • Hot yoga
    • High intensity interval training 
  • Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed. 
  • Games, competitions, and practices can continue with no spectators and no travel. 

Travel

  • All non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.  
  • Essential travel within B.C. includes:
    • Regular travel for work within your region
    • Travel for medical appointments and hospital visits 




New on-campus safety measures in effect November 10th

Posted on November 9, 2020

A message from the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

VCC is adding new safety procedures regarding coming onto VCC campuses, in response to orders from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) that were announced on Sat. Nov. 7.

Effective immediately:

  • Security guards will be stationed at the main entrances of all VCC campuses to bring attention to COVID-19 screening questions and the college’s on-campus health expectations. Please use the following entrances only:
    • Broadway campus, Broadway entrance, and E. 7th entrance
    • Downtown Campus, Dunsmuir and Hamilton street entrance
    • Annacis Island, main entrance
  • Non-medical masks should be worn in all common areas of the college and students must continue to abide by additional PPE requirements, specific to your class. It is also important to remember that some people may have barriers that prevent them from wearing a mask.

These new safety changes are in addition to the existing measures. As a reminder, these safety measures include:

  • Fill out the pre-screening form before coming onto the campus.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands upon entering the campus and regularly throughout the day.
  • Limit your time on campus.
  • Maintain a two-metre distance from others.
  • Respect all signs posted.
  • Adhere to all capacity requirements of rooms, space (e.g. elevators, lunchrooms).
  • Avoid touching surfaces whenever possible.
  • Use proper respiratory hygiene practices (e.g. cough or sneeze into your elbow).

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

For a list of the recent orders for Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Valley Health areas, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/lower-mainland




VCC partners with VCH to support access to COVID-19 testing

Posted on August 17, 2020

A message from the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

 

VCC was contacted on Friday by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), and the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Departments of Safety/Security and Facilities have since been working with VCH to help meet the need for increased testing sites for COVID-19 in Vancouver.

Starting this week, our parking lot at the Broadway campus (north of building B, large lot) will be used by VCH for a new COVID-19 testing location. The Public Heath Office (PHO) has asked for more sites to be made available as a key part of their plan for increased COVID-19 testing and tracing.  

Testing locations allow for health care workers, essential service providers, and the public to easily and safely access a COVID-19 test without needing to leave their vehicle or enter a public building like a doctor’s office or health clinic.

VCC is proud to be a partner with VCH and the Ministry of Health, and to support all efforts to keep our communities safe and healthy. 

For staff, students, or visitors who need parking, there will continue to be street parking as available, and the east (paid) parking lot (beside building B) will remain available.

VCH will be working with our teams to ensure that strict safety measures are adhered to. As well, Vancouver Police will be attending the testing site to manage car traffic and pedestrian safety.

Once again, we would like to thank everyone in our VCC community for doing their part to help keep everyone safe and healthy. 


Frequently Asked Questions  


What is a testing location?

Testing locations allow for health care workers, essential service providers and the public to easily and safely access a COVID-19 test without needing to leave their vehicle or enter a public building like a doctor’s office or health clinic. This greatly reduces the risk of spreading the virus. 

 

Are testing sites a risk to the public?

No. Medical staff are on site, as well as police officers, to ensure that all health and safety protocols are followed. The public remains in their car during testing. 

 

When will the testing location be operating? 

VCH is working to have the VCC location up and running this week. It will run Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except statutory holidays).

 

Can I access testing through the location at VCC?

Yes. The VCC COVID-19 testing site is open to health care workers, essential service providers, and the public (children over 12 years old). Learn more about COVID-19 testing in BC.

 

Who can I contact if I have questions about access to the parking lot?

Please contact Surinder Aulakh, VCC Director of Safety, Security and Risk at saulakh@vcc.ca.




COVID-19 – Looking ahead to Summer and Fall 2020

Posted on May 14, 2020

 Watch an American Sign Language (ASL) version of this message 

Dear VCC students,

The past two months have been challenging for all of us in so many ways, but I am extremely proud of what VCC, and especially you, our students, have accomplished in this time. You have adapted, persevered, and most importantly, you have helped limit the spread of COVID-19. Today, I am writing to ensure you that VCC will continue to support your learning and progress in the year ahead.

VCC is working very hard alongside the B.C. Government and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to envision and plan how programs and courses will continue into the Spring/Summer and Fall 2020 terms while respecting the important, ongoing restrictions meant to keep our community safe. 

Our instructors are redesigning curriculums, our technicians are building new online systems, and our service staff are wholly transforming the way they support your learning success in order to continue providing you the fullest VCC experience possible.

Spring/Summer 2020 term

For Spring/Summer 2020, course and program delivery will continue online and by alternative delivery modes wherever possible. Programs and courses that absolutely require in-person learning will be assessed for limited, in-person delivery options that follow all PHO safety directives and any other requirements from educational regulators (e.g. physical distancing, gathering size, etc.)

Most VCC service team members will continue to work remotely, and student services will remain accessible primarily by phone, email, and online options, with limited exceptions following all PHO guidelines.

Fall 2020 term

VCC is also planning for physical distancing requirements to continue into the Fall 2020 term. Currently, we are not anticipating a full “return to normal” in September, so please be prepared to continue with online and alternative delivery of programs, with in-person instruction and services only when safe and essential. 

As the situation progresses and we receive guidance from health authorities and government, VCC is committed to communicating decisions as quickly as possible. All important updates will be sent by email to you and posted to VCC’s COVID-19 information site as well as our official social media accounts, so please stay connected.

Please visit VCC’s COVID-19 information site regularly for updates.

Finally, I want to acknowledge this year’s high school grads and other newly admitted VCC students starting programs at VCC this September. To you, I want to offer a heartfelt welcome. While we may not be shaking hands, I want to assure you that you have a place in the VCC community – a community like no other – and I sincerely hope you recognize this when you meet your new instructors and classmates online.

In the meantime, as we continue to support each other on this journey, please keep listening to our health authorities. We are proof that physical distancing works. Keep your hands clean and your loved ones safe. Only our combined efforts will save lives.

News-green-bar-6px

Ajay Patel
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College




COVID-19 – Limited return to on-campus learning

Posted on May 21, 2020

A message from VCC president Ajay Patel

 

Dear VCC students,

Last week, we sent a message to all students that shared how VCC will be approaching the Spring/Summer and Fall 2020 terms.

Today, I would like to share how VCC is working to build safety measures around courses and programs that need to partially return to on-campus delivery.

At VCC, we have seen a dramatic and swift transition to online and distance-based educational delivery modes over the past three months. However, as we continue to do our part to stem the spread of COVID-19, we also recognize that many of our programs require a significant portion of hands-on learning. For some courses, it is not possible to complete the learning outcomes entirely online.

As early as next week, some programs and courses will be re-incorporating face-to-face activities/experiential learning on campus.

Will you be returning to campus? 

Face-to-face/on-campus activities that are under consideration include:

  • Assessments and exams
  • Clinics and labs
  • Hair and esthetics activities
  • Trades practical/shop activities

Over the coming days and weeks, if a portion of your program or course needs to be delivered on campus, your instructor will contact you directly.

Please note: programs that are able to continue with online delivery will do so until further notice.

What you'll need to know

It is important for students to understand that, in the coming weeks and months, returning to campus will be a very different experience.

Our leadership teams, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and facilities personnel have created health and safety protocols that all students, staff, and faculty will need to adhere to when visiting any of our three campuses.

Some of these measures may include:

  • Checking in through Moodle and completing a COVID-19 checklist
  • Cleaning work areas before and after use
  • Maintaining recommended physical distancing at all times, including in elevators and stairwells
  • Adjusting class sizes and schedules to ensure safe working conditions and capacity

If you are enrolled in a course that requires face-to-face and/or hands-on delivery, your instructor will be your main point of contact. Your instructor will give you clear information on safety measures that you and your classmates will need to follow. These safety measures may differ depending on the course or department.

We're here for you

For students continuing to study online only, I know that learning during the COVID-19 pandemic may be challenging, and not everyone’s conditions are ideal. That’s why I want to remind you that VCC has numerous resources to support you in meeting – even exceeding ­– your educational goals during this unusual time. 

Please reach out to VCC’s counsellorsLearning Centre tutors, or other student services for any support you may need. If you have questions or concerns about your programs or courses, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructor.

You likely have many more questions about the coming months. We may not have all the answers right now, but we also know we’ll never go wrong by putting your safety and well-being first. With this guiding our way, we’ll continue to work hard to make your time at VCC a success.

News-green-bar-6px

Ajay Patel
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College




COVID-19 – Expect online/hybrid learning to continue into Fall and Winter terms

Posted on July 29, 2020

A message from the VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

Over the past few months at Vancouver Community College (VCC), our students and employees have truly redefined what it means to teach and learn. The need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was urgent, and our community rose to the occasion. Through a radical shift to online and alternative/hybrid learning, universities and colleges like ours played a major role in “flattening the curve” in B.C.

We have adapted our habits, our surroundings, and ourselves. Many of us are adjusting well to a new normal. This is a good thing, but as we enjoy B.C.’s beautiful summer, now is not the time to let down our guard. 

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has expressed special concern about a recent spike in COVID-19 cases among young adults under the age of 29. Many of these cases are linked to large social gatherings and Canada Day parties, and the resulting outbreak has tripled hospitalizations in the province. In light of this, Dr. Henry is strongly advising young people to “play safe and stay safe." 

Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 at VCC

As a commitment to continued physical distancing and limiting the spread of COVID-19, VCC is now preparing to continue offering programs online and through alternative/hybrid learning modes for both the Fall 2020 (September to December) and Winter 2021 (January to April) terms. 

Of course, we have no way of knowing what the fall and winter of 2020-21 will bring. We can only continue giving VCC students and employees as much information as possible to help prepare for the upcoming school year. Things may change, but with your help, we will continue to adapt to the best of our combined abilities and keep teaching and learning happening safely.


For the latest updates, please bookmark and check VCC's COVID-19 information site regularly. 




Coronavirus – update for VCC students and employees

Posted on February 11, 2020



We know the VCC community is concerned with the recent coronavirus outbreak and its arrival in British Columbia.

 

UPDATE FROM THE PROVINCE

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced the third and fourth presumptive cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in British Columbia on February 6, 2020. Both of these cases were expected, as they are contained to the same household as the second case announced on Feb. 4.

Additionally, a letter from Dr. Bonnie Henry was issued to all parents and students in the K-12 sector on February 7, 2020, we are sharing that letter with you here as additional information: Letter to Parents/Guardians of K-12 Students from Ministry of Health .

 

LEVEL OF RISK FOR VANCOUVER CITIZENS

Even with these announcements, the risk to residents in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region and in B.C. remains low. Health care staff in our region are prepared should other cases arise.

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with the virus as “low for Canada and for Canadian travelers”.

  • There is no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in the Chinese-Canadian community.
  • VCC has no reports of any Coronavirus illness among our students, faculty, or staff.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

We can all help to reduce the spread of infections by following proper respiratory hygiene etiquette during the cold and flu season. This includes:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially if you’ve been out in public. Hand sanitizer is also distributed around our campus.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow. If you use a tissue, make sure to dispose of it properly and wash your hands.
  • If you feel unwell, stay home so you don’t pass your infection onto others, especially those who may be at higher risk.
  • If you are concerned you have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, stay home from school or work, and contact your health-care provider, local public health office, or call 811.
  • The Provincial Health Officer advises that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 811.

 

WHAT VCC IS DOING

VCC takes the safety and security of our community both in Canada and abroad very seriously. We will continue to take guidance from provincial and federal agencies on all prevention recommendations.

Examples of some of the steps that have been taken so far at VCC:

  • VCC has convened an Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) to ensure preparedness across all campuses.
  • Proper handwashing materials have been made available in all washrooms, and at all handwashing stations.
  • Additional hand-sanitizing stations have been set up across all campuses.
  • Senior staff are engaged in frequent and consistent communications with the BC Public Health Officer, Ministry of Advanced Education, and local health authorities.
  • An online Bulletin Page has been created on vcc.ca for up-to-date information sharing: https://www.vcc.ca/bulletins/

We appreciate your cooperation in helping keep our community safe.


Coronavirus – update for VCC students and employees
Posted on Jan 31, 2020




COVID-19 update – VCC open, transitioning to alternative delivery

Posted on March 15, 2020

VCC is open, transitioning to alternative delivery to allow students to continue programs

A message from Ajay Patel, Interim President of Vancouver Community College

To students and employees at VCC,

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this very challenging and complex time. Vancouver Community College (VCC) continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and has the health of our college community, students, and employees as our top priority.

The VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and deans met today to discuss additional measures on how we can maintain social distancing on campus to minimize close contact with each other. This is in alignment with the guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, and we are working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Until further notice, our campuses will remain open and services will continue to be provided. The college will continue to review its actions as the situation evolves.


Alternative program delivery

Where possible and reasonable, VCC is transitioning to alternative modes of instruction and assessment for the rest of the term, which may include online delivery for some students.

Given the wide range of programs and courses at VCC, it will take time to transition to these new measures. Classes will continue as scheduled unless students learn otherwise from their instructors, who will be taking guidance from their department leaders and deans.

Because of the diversity of the types of programs we offer, we recognize that not all programs, courses, labs, and shops may be suited to alternative deliveries. Our deans will be working with instructors, departments, and program areas to determine whether and how best to accommodate alternative methods of instruction and assessment. Students will learn of the changes affecting them through their instructors as the changes are implemented. 


COVID-19 and the VCC community

This step is being taken out of an abundance of caution and a desire of VCC to do its part in helping to contain the spread of COVID-19. It is important to note that, at this time, there are no known COVID-19 cases at VCC. At this point, there is no direction from the Provincial Health Officer to close campuses, and the risk of infection remains low.

Providing a safe and healthy learning and working environment for students and employees is a focus for our deliberations and decision-making in these matters. We also want to ensure that students receive the education and assessment that will deliver the learning outcomes they seek.

 


What is VCC doing?

Our announcement on Friday, March 13 was the latest in a series of steps we have already taken as we have followed the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer and health authorities. In response, other recommendations from government that we have put into place include:

  • All events over 250 people are cancelled until the end of April 2020.
  • All events planned to take place on VCC campuses within in the next two months will be reviewed. Information about cancellations or postponements will be shared as soon as possible.
  • All VCC work-related travel outside of Canada is cancelled immediately until further notice. We recommend against all travel outside of Canada, including to the United States.
  • Staff and students returning to VCC from travel outside of Canada are asked to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work. VCC is working with government and other agencies to determine best approach and implications for those who self-isolate.

  • All external bookings for meeting space have been cancelled on all of our campuses (to be reviewed end of April).

  • Additional cleaning measures have been implemented at all our campuses, as well as distribution of additional hand-sanitizing stations and posting of information about recommended measures to help avoid the spread of the virus.


My gratitude to all students and employees for your hard work and understanding during this challenging time. It is our desire to ensure students complete their studies this term.

Please continue to visit vcc.ca/bulletins for updates and relevant information.

 

Ajay Patel
President and CEO (Interim)
Vancouver Community College

 




COVID-19 – update on Spring/Summer 2020 term, emergency bursaries, IT services

Posted on April 2, 2020

 Watch an American Sign Language (ASL) version of this message 

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is committed to the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty. Thank you for your patience over the past weeks as our college and our community do their part in promoting physical distancing and containing the spread of COVID-19. Alongside the many health and safety precautions in place, VCC is committed to helping students continue their programs and achieve their learning goals.

Spring/Summer 2020

The majority of VCC courses and programs scheduled to commence in the Spring/Summer 2020 term will proceed using online learning and alternative delivery modes. If permitted by the Provincial Health Officer, there may also be limited in-person learning to complete applied activities such as labs and trades training.

Given the wide range of hands-on programs and courses at VCC that are impacted by COVID-19-related restrictions, the course scheduling information you receive upon registration may not be accurate. Individual department leaders and instructors will contact students with details about course formats, schedules, etc. If you have questions, please contact your instructor or department. Contact information can be found at https://www.vcc.ca/directory/.

Trades intakes

For students enrolled in trades or apprenticeship programs in Spring/Summer 2020, VCC departments are developing customized solutions for each program, and insructors will communicate details with students directly.

Emergency funding for students

VCC Foundation and the Government of B.C. are increasing non-repayable emergency funding available for part-time and full-time VCC students. 

Applications are open until 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, 2020. All applications received by that time will be reviewed and assessed. Should additional funds become available at a later date, we will re-open applications.

Students are also encouraged review VCC's Scholarship, Bursary and Award Guide, which lists all awards and bursaries available at VCC.

Information Technology Services

VCC’s IT HelpDesk remains available for assistance with online learning and other technical needs. They can be reached by calling 604.443.8700 or emailing helpdesk@vcc.ca. Please note that the majority of IT technicians are working remotely; be prepared for longer wait times due to increased demand for services.

VCC campus access

While VCC campuses remain open for urgent and operational needs, please avoid visiting in person. With the move to remote delivery of instruction and services, opening hours have been reduced and access has been restricted. If visiting a VCC campus, students must be prepared to show VCC or government-issued ID and a letter from their program identifying them as an active student. These measures are in place based on orders from the Provincial Health Officer to practice physical distancing and contain the spread of COVID-19.




COVID-19 update – VCC pausing all face-to-face instruction for the time being

Posted on March 19, 2020, reviewed on March 24, 2020

A message from Ajay Patel, Interim President of Vancouver Community College

 Watch an American Sign Language (ASL) version of this message 

 

VCC students and employees, 

As VCC continues to receive updated information and guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic from the Provincial Health Officer and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training, I would like to update you on VCC program delivery and operations, campus services, and ongoing health and wellness for the VCC students and employees.The college, along with the public post-secondary system in B.C., remains open as directed by the Provincial Health Officer. Please remember, as the recommended response to COVID-19 continues to change, so too may the information. 

I want to extend my personal gratitude and thanks to everyone for the collaborative and extensive work by all of you, in a very short and disruptive time, to make the shifts and changes to the way we deliver education and operate.  I am heartened to see the support and care for each other, and inspired by the innovation and creativity many of you are showing in situations where time is of the essence.  You have all been REMARKABLE! 

 

1. Delivery of programs for students next week

This week, the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), faculty, instructors and staff have put a tremendous amount of work into shifting course delivery from in person to online or alternative methods. These adaptations have been made to support the continuity of teaching and learning through the evolving situation of COVID-19. Our overarching goal is to ensure we are actively contributing to society’s greater efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

With most of our programs moving to alternate methods of delivery, we are pausing all face-to-face classes for the time being. Alternative delivery methods that have been established will continue to take place. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students accordingly.

At this time, our educational leadership teams are continuing to assess what needs to happen with some of these complex, hands-on courses and programs that are not easily shifted to on-line delivery. We understand that this uncertainty can be frustrating and worrisome for students and faculty. 

Instructors will be in communication with students about delivery and service changes soon, if they have not already done so.

 

2. Staff and the ongoing operations of VCC

VCC is currently transitioning to have some VCC staff working remotely. For employees wanting or needing to continue to come to work, plans and approaches are being developed to provide as much flexibility based on the provincial health officer’s guidelines.

 

3. Access to campus services

To ensure we are actively supporting ‘social distancing’ recommendations from the health authorities, we are temporarily moving all in-person/face-to-face on-campus services for students and the public, to online/phone call only options. 

For detailed information about accessing campus services online go to: vcc.ca/bulletins/covid19-faqs

 

4. Health & Wellness 

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be worried about the health and safety of yourself or your family and friends. This is a challenging and uncertain time. It is not uncommon to experience higher levels of stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. If this is your experience, please seek help and support.

Counselling and supports are available online to students and VCC employees who are affected by COVID-19. We encourage everyone who may need support at this time to contact one of the following services:

 

Students: Counselling Services or 24-hour emergency lines 

Employees: Employee & Family Assistance Program

 

Also, the BC Ministry of Health developed a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. Guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the BC Pandemic Preparedness website. Monitor the BC Centre for Disease Control website for updates, information and resources.

For non-health related COVID-19 questions (e.g. supports, programs, etc), a new dedicated phone line is available at 1-888-COVID-19.

 

Ajay Patel
President and CEO (Interim)
Vancouver Community College




COVID-19 update – VCC temporarily suspending face-to-face instruction for the week

Posted on March 18, 2020

To mitigate further risk to the spread of COVID-19, we are closing face to face/in person registration at VCC.

 

Registration for Spring 2020 will open online at 8:30 a.m. on March 19, 2020.

 

Application information can be found here:
https://www.vcc.ca/applying/apply-now/

 

The Registrar's Office will not be open for in person registration.

Please register online or call 604.871.7000 and press option 4 for assistance.

Payments can be paid online:
https://www.vcc.ca/applying/registration-services/fees-and-payments/


VCC temporarily suspending face-to-face instruction and moving to alternate modes of delivery

A message from Ajay Patel, Interim President of Vancouver Community College

Watch an American Sign Language (ASL) version of this message. 

March 16, 2020

 

Dear VCC community,

Thank you for your patience and understanding during a very challenging and complex time. Vancouver Community College (VCC) will be temporarily suspending all in-person classes for the rest of the week beginning Tuesday, March 17 in order to transition to alternative modes of program and course delivery where possible.

VCC campuses will remain open and student services will be available during this time, although services for students may be modified. We encourage students to contact our offices online and by phone.

We realize that this is a very stressful time for many students and employees. These steps are being taken out of an abundance of ongoing caution and a desire for VCC do its part in promoting social distancing and containing the spread of COVID-19. It is important to note that there are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases at VCC.


Alternative program delivery at VCC

Specific modes of alternative program delivery will be determined by individual VCC departments. Instructors will contact students with guidance about alternative modes, which may include online instruction, and assessment, or other forms of non-face-to-face learning. This process will be in place for the foreseeable future.

Given the wide range of programs and hands-on courses at VCC, the transition time will vary, and instructors have been asked to contact students as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this process. Alongside these increased health and safety precautions, VCC is committed to helping students continue their programs, where possible.


Commercial services closed 

VCC has many programs that support student-run commercial services throughout the college that serve the public. Until further notice, all commercial services will be closed, including the Dental Clinic, Salon and Spa, Automotive Shop, Seiffert’s Market, the Bistro, and JJ’s Restaurant.

This situation surrounding COVID-19 is unprecedented and stressful, but we are a resilient community. Thank you, not only for your patience with college decision making, but also for supporting one another mentally and emotionally at this time. At VCC, we greatly value the health and wellbeing of all our students and employees, and we will continue to follow the advice of health officials in order to come through this together.

 

Ajay Patel
President and CEO (Interim)
Vancouver Community College

 

To mitigate further risk to the spread of COVID-19, we are closing face to face/in person registration at VCC.
Registration for Spring 2020 will open online at 8:30 on March 19, 2020. 
Application information can be found here:https://www.vcc.ca/applying/apply-now/
The Registration Office will not be open for in person registration. Please register online or call 604-871-7000 and press 4 for assistance. Payments can be paid online: https://www.vcc.ca/applying/registration-services/fees-and-payments/

 




COVID-19 – latest update for VCC students and employees

Posted on March 25, 2020, reviewed on March 31, 2020

VCC is committed to the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. The VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) continues to meet regularly throughout the week to actively monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and liaise with local and provincial health authorities. The EOC will continue to put plans in place for timely responses to the VCC community, as needed.

VCC’s senior leadership team also continues to meet daily to evaluate and respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak.

In response to this unprecedented situation, VCC has implemented the following measures, which are aligned with advice from public health authorities, and provincial government: 

  • VCC campuses are open with limited access to students. See below for details.
  • All face-to-face classes and services for students have been paused for the time being and are currently being delivered by alternative delivery methods, including online. 
  • All college events have been cancelled until further notice. 
  • VCC employees are working remotely wherever possible. 
  • All non-essential college travel is suspended.  

 

ACCESS TO CAMPUS SERVICES

VCC campuses are operating, with restricted access. In-person services have moved online and are using alternative modes of delivery. 

To ensure that VCC is actively supporting physical distancing recommendations from the health authorities, we are temporarily moving all in-person, on-campus services for students and the public to online/phone-call-only options. 

  • Downtown campus: Access to the Downtown campus is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Students must bring VCC or government-issued ID and a letter from their program identifying them as an active student. Students are to enter through the Dunsmuir St. entrance. Security will have you sign in and provide you access.
  • Broadway campus: Access to the Broadway campus is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Access to the campus is restricted, and students may enter the campus either through 7th Ave. or the Broadway entrances. Please note that ALL in-person/face-to-face on-campus services are closed.
  • Annacis Island campus: Access to the Annacis Island campus is 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.

See VCC’s COVID-19 FAQ page for details on how to access college services online. 

 

CONVOCATION

VCC’s Spring 2020 convocation (originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 10, 2020) is postponed. VCC is looking at alternatives to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. Including the possibility of holding an additional ceremony in conjunction with our Fall 2020 ceremony. However, this will be dependent on being able to ensure everyone's health and safety to gather in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VCC will be in contact with our graduates as additional information becomes available. 

 

COURSE/PROGRAM DELIVERY

All face-to-face classes have been temporarily paused and classes that are currently being delivered by alternative methods (i.e. online) will continue. Alternative program delivery continues in collaboration with academic leaders, deans, and directors and is determined by individual VCC departments. Instructors will contact students with guidance about alternative modes, which may include online instruction and assessment. This process will be in place for the foreseeable future. 

If you have any questions regarding your programs or classes, departmental contact information can be found at https://www.vcc.ca/directory/

 

COURSE WITHDRAWALS

Withdrawal deadlines have been extended for those currently taking classes. Students can withdraw up to the final day of class and receive a grade of 'W' for their course.

VCC students requesting a withdrawal can either submit the Course Drop/Add and Program Withdrawal form (PDF) form or e-mail the Registrar’s Office at ro@vcc.ca. Please provide your name, student ID number, and the name of the course or program you wish to withdraw from.

Additional announcements will be coming soon to address:

  • Courses available in the Spring and Summer 2020 terms, and associated start dates
  • Information on practicums, experiential, and workplace learning placements

 

STAFF AND ONGOING OPERATIONS OF VCC

VCC operations continue in order to provide quality learning and training opportunities in alternate ways – learners will not be left behind and will be prepared for future opportunities.

Many VCC staff have transitioned to working remotely during this challenging time. For those employees who want to work from the campus, or need to provide critical on-campus supports, we ask you to actively support 'physical distancing' recommendations from the health authorities. Please refer to VCC’s Situational awareness document on myVCC. 

 

HEALTH AND WELLNESS 

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be worried about the health and safety of yourself or your family and friends. This is a challenging and uncertain time. It is not uncommon to experience higher levels of stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. If this is your experience, please seek help and support.

Counselling and supports are available online to students and VCC employees who are affected by COVID-19. We encourage everyone who may need support at this time to contact one of the following services:

Students: Counselling Services or 24-hour emergency lines 

Employees: Employee & Family Assistance Program

The B.C. Ministry of Health has also developed a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. 

Guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the BC Pandemic Preparedness website. 

Monitor the BC Centre for Disease Control website for updates, information, and resources.




Update on COVID-19 from government and the impact on VCC

Posted on March 13, 2020

A message to all the VCC community from the office of the president 

Dear VCC community,

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer (PHO) issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0077-000484 

All public post-secondary institution presidents and Board Chairpersons have been informed and instructed to follow these new guidelines. I encourage all VCC staff, students, and faculty to review the statement.


Key points from the March 12 joint statement that may affect operations at VCC:

  • Recommendation against travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Effective today, anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada will be asked to stay away from work or school for 14 days upon their return.
  • The cancellation of any gathering larger than 250 people. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events.

The leadership team and Board of Governors at VCC are committed to the safety and health of all VCC staff, students, and faculty, and take these instructions seriously. 

While the risk of contracting the illness remains low, we recognize that our community may have some questions about how we’re responding to this evolving situation.


How do these updates affect work and learning at VCC?

The VCC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is implementing Level 2 of the college’s Emergency Management Plan, and will be including the recommendations from government into our ongoing communicable disease strategies.

  • All events over 250 people are cancelled until the end of April 2020.
  • All events planned to take place on VCC campuses within in the next two months will be reviewed. Information about cancellations or postponements will be shared as soon as possible.
  • All VCC work-related travel outside of Canada is cancelled immediately until further notice. We recommend against all travel outside of Canada, including to the United States.
  • Staff returning to VCC from travel outside of Canada are asked to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work. VCC is working with government and other agencies to determine best approach and implications for those who are asked to self-isolate.


Stay informed

It is important to remember that recommendations from government and the health authorities may change. COVID-19 is a public health issue, and will evolve and change as the days and weeks progress. 

Information will be posted as updates become available. 

Please visit www.vcc.ca/bulletins frequently.   

I would like to take this time to thank our EOC and all of our staff, faculty, and students who have worked very hard over the last few weeks to keep our college community safe and healthy. This is a challenging time, and it is important that we continue to stay vigilant and cautious, but also continue to act responsibly.

 

Ajay Patel

President and CEO (Interim)
Vancouver Community College


Learn more

Link to the March 12, 2020 joint statement from government and the PHO: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0077-000484

For guidance on mass gatherings from the BC Centre for Disease Control, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/mass-gatherings-risk-assesment.html

For federal government recommendations on cruise ship travel, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html#cruis

For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel) 

For information on self-isolation, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)#Self-isolation--and--testing

 For the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and planning materials, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza

 For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit its website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

 For the latest audio clips of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit: https://soundcloud.com/bcgov




COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update March 12, 2020

Posted on March 12, 2020

Government update

For the latest information and recommendations on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in British Columbia, please read the following joint statement from Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0074-000470.


What you need to know about COVID-19

  • Risk is low – The risk of COVID-19 transmission continues to remain low for residents of British Columbia. People without symptoms do not pose a risk.
  • Watch for symptoms – Reported signs and symptoms include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, and/or pneumonia in both lungs. If you think you have the symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home and call 8-1-1.
  • Practice prevention – Health experts say the best protection is to follow proper hygiene etiquette as in any cold and flu season. This includes proper hand washing with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you are sick.
  • Leave the mask – B.C. health authorities do not recommend that people without symptoms wear masks in the community, as surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide significant protection.
  • Stay informed – For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre’s website: http://www.bccdc.ca. B.C. residents are encouraged to call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 with any additional questions about COVID-19.


Translated COVID-19 information

Chinese – Chinese-COVID-21pt

Punjabi – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions in Punjabi

Farsi – Farsi-COVID-21pt


Travel information

  • Returning from Iran or Hubei province in China: If you have returned from these areas, monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after your return.
  • Returning from any travel: Others returning from international travel are not asked to self-isolate, but should monitor themselves for symptoms. If you have been travelling and you become ill, or become ill after you return, tell your health care provider. You should also tell your health care provider if you had close contact with a sick person or animals. 


COVID-19 frequently asked questions 

What can I do to protect myself and my friends or family?
Follow the same hygiene etiquette as you would for cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell, and staying home when you are sick.


Should I wear a mask?
B.C. health authorities do not recommend that people without symptoms wear masks in the community, as surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide significant protection. The use of masks may also increase facial touching. 

If you are sick or have symptoms, a mask is recommended. The use of a surgical mask can prevent droplets from entering the air when you cough or sneeze, thereby reducing the risk to others. 


I am a returning traveller. Should I self-isolate and avoid public places?
If you have returned from Iran or Hubei province in China, monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after your return. People who have self-isolated can return to normal activities after 14 days if they have not developed any symptoms.

Others returning from international travel are not asked self-isolate but should monitor themselves daily for symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Those who feel unwell should see their health care provider or call 8-1-1.

I have not left B.C. Should I be worried about becoming ill from COVID-19?
No. The risk of spread of this virus in B.C. remains low at this time. There is no evidence that there is general spread of the virus in the community. If are concerned that you may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19, call 8-1-1.

Is it safe to go out in public (e.g. work, school, transit, or a swimming pool)?
Yes. Although B.C. has identified individual cases of COVID-19 infection, there is no known spread of the virus in the community. WorkSafeBC is currently not recommending any special precautions for employers, workers, and worksites other than those already in place for the seasonal flu.

When you go out in public, follow the same procedures as recommended during cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell, and staying home when you are sick.

Should people who have travelled to COVID-19-affected areas be excluded from public places? (e.g. work, school, child care centres)?
Out of an abundance of caution, public health officials are recommending that individuals who have been to Iran and Hubei province in China monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after returning to Canada. 

Others returning from international travel are not asked self-isolate but should monitor themselves daily for symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If you have been travelling and you become ill, or become ill after you return, tell your health care provider. You should also tell your health care provider or call 8-1-1 if you had close contact with a sick person or animals. 

For more answers to frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-statement-on-coronavirus


Where can I find the latest information? 

For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre’s website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

For more recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)

For the latest travel advisories, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

For the latest global case counts, please visit the World Health Organization (WHO) Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) map

For the latest Canadian counts, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

For the latest B.C. counts, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control COVID-19 case counts webpage.


What is VCC doing?

VCC takes the safety and security of our community both in Canada and abroad very seriously. We will continue to take guidance from provincial and federal agencies and follow all recommendations.

Steps that have been taken so far at VCC include:

  • VCC convened its Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) to ensure preparedness across all campuses. The EOC meets weekly, and is in frequent and consistent communication with B.C.’s Public Health Officer, Ministry of Advanced Education, and local health authorities, as well as all other colleges in B.C.
  • VCC has followed all recommended protocols and recommendations for a communicable disease outbreak.
  • Proper handwashing materials have been made available in all washrooms and at all handwashing stations.
  • Additional hand-sanitizing stations have been set up across all campuses.
  • Information on preventative measures for staff and students are being broadcast on all campus screens.
  • VCC's custodial and cleaning staff have implemented communicable disease cleaning measures, which include but are not isolated to: frequent disinfection of surfaces, door handles, taps, elevator buttons, and handrails.
  • VCC social media has posted frequent reminders on hygiene best practices and links to additional information.
  • bulletin section has been created on VCC's homepage for up-to-date information sharing.

What is an Emergency Operations Committee?

An EOC is a central command responsible for carrying out emergency preparedness and emergency management.  VCC’s 14-member EOC is working diligently to ensure the continuity of operation at VCC while keeping the community safe and informed.




COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – update for VCC students and employees

Posted on February 21, 2020

Office of the Provincial Health Officer logo

View the original letter from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control

 

Provincial Coronavirus Response

Feb. 21, 2020

 

To Post-Secondary Students, Faculty, and Staff:

We [Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control] are writing to provide information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a new virus causing respiratory illness.

There have been a small number of cases of COVID-19 in B.C. which are being very closely managed. Updated information regarding these cases can be found at bccdc.ca. All B.C. cases have a recent history of travel to affected areas or close contact with a traveller. There has been no sustained community transmission, and the risk to British Columbians at this point remains low. 

As the areas affected by the outbreak change and we learn more about the virus, we will provide updated public health recommendations.

We are now aware that this virus can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms, and it is possible that people will not recognize symptoms that are mild. Given this new information, there are steps that people at risk of COVID-19 can take to reduce the chance of spread to others.

There are measures that all students, faculty, and staff can take to help reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses such as coronavirus, colds, and influenza:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • If a sink is not available, 60-90% alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer) can be used to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol-based disposable hand wipe to remove the dirt and then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Do not touch your face/eyes/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.
  • Stay home when you are ill.


Advice for students, faculty, or staff on self-isolation

We now recommend that:

  • Students, faculty, or staff returning from Hubei Province, China stay home or self-isolate in their dorm/room alone for 14 days after they left Hubei. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
  • Students, faculty, or staff who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing should stay home or self-isolate in their dorm/room alone for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
  • Students, faculty, or staff who have been in other parts of mainland China (outside Hubei Province) should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing)for 14 days after they left China. They do not need to self-isolate.

Those who develop symptoms during the 14-day monitoring period should immediately self-isolate (stay in a room that is not shared with anyone else) and call their health-care provider or the provincial health line 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

More information on self-isolation is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-sheet-travelled-hubei-province-china.html.

While these recommendations are important, they are voluntary. You do not need to report people who are not self-isolating. If you have concerns, you can discuss them with your institution’s administration.

The following advice is for people who are self-isolating. Students, faculty, or staff who are recommended to self-isolate under the guidance above should call 8-1-1 for additional advice. While self-isolating:

  • Stay in a well-ventilated room, including an open window, if possible. Do not have other people come in the room.
  • Do not attend classes. Limit going in shared spaces. Try to keep a two-meter distance between yourself and others whenever possible.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene as described above.
  • If possible, have supplies dropped off outside your door to help avoid direct contact, and limit the number of people helping to take care of you.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Regular household cleaning products are effective against most viruses, and you can also use 1-part bleach to 9-parts water as an effective disinfectant.
  • Use dedicated linen and utensils, which can be washed with soap and water and re-used, and do not need to be disposed of.
  • Dispose of any tissues, wipes, masks, or gloves in a waste container lined with a plastic bag before disposing with other household waste.
  • Wash your clothes in hot water (between 60-90 °C), and then thoroughly dry them.

If you are sick and depend on post-secondary housing, food, laundry, hygiene, or other critical services, please let your institution know that you are self-isolating so that they can help support you, including in your current studies.

Staying in isolation can be difficult and lonely. If you are isolated, keep contact with friends and family through phone or computer.

The Provincial Health Officer asks you not to make assumptions about the risk of students, faculty or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.

 

Advice on School Events, Outings and Trips

It is not necessary to cancel school events, outings or field trips to public locations. Trips, including educational exchanges to China are not recommended at this time. Up-to-date information on travel advisories to China can be found here: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/210

Additional information on COVID-19 is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website at: www.bccdc.ca

 

 

Health authorities logos




Coronavirus – update for VCC students and employees

Posted on January 31, 2020

News-Coronavirus-800


Updated Friday, Jan. 31, 2020

B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Tuesday, Jan. 28, that the first case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been confirmed in B.C.

At Vancouver Community College (VCC), we understand that our students, faculty, and staff may have questions and concerns about novel coronavirus. 

When it comes to decisions about public health, B.C. colleges and universities take their direction from the Ministry of Health and local health authorities. These organizations are closely monitoring novel coronavirus throughout B.C. as well as nationally and internationally. VCC is in regular communication with these health authorities, and all precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We will also make every effort to keep VCC students and employees safe and provide updates as they become available.

Official information sources

Please be mindful that fake news regarding novel coronavirus has begun to circulate on social media. At VCC, we encourage students, staff, and their families to refer to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website for the latest information and updates. 

Additional resources have been provided to HealthLink BC’s free-of-charge health information line, 8-1-1. This line is in operation 24/7.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has also provided a new toll-free number, 1.833.784.4397, to answer questions about novel coronavirus. This line is available from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. (PDT).

Reducing risk

The BCCDC and Dr. Henry recommend reducing risk of exposure to novel coronavirus using the same measures normally taken to prevent the spread of cold or flu viruses.

  • Wash your hands frequently. It is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection. E.g. If you touch droplets containing a virus, as long as you clean your hands before you touch your face or your mouth, you are not at risk of getting the virus in your body. 
  • Do not touch your face/eyes/nose/mouth with your hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow). The virus is not something that enters the body through the skin. It needs to get into your lungs and access your mucous membranes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health. Eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation.
  • Stay away from others if you are sick. Stay home from work or school, and contact your health care provider so you can be safely assessed.

Advice on masks 

  • Be aware that masks may give people a false sense of security and limit other good hygiene habits.
  • Wearing a mask may increase touching of your face/eyes/nose/mouth with your hands.
  • If you are sick, a mask does help prevent transmission to other people. That's why somebody with a cough or respiratory symptoms is asked to wear a mask and clean their hands when entering an emergency room.

Considering travel?

  • If you are considering travel to and from a region affected by coronavirus, please consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Health Notices regularly as recommendations may change as new information becomes available.
  • No matter where you plan to travel, the Public Health Agency recommends consulting the Government of Canada’s Travel and Tourism website to help make informed decisions about safety abroad. 
  • If you become ill after returning to Canada, contact your health care provider immediately to seek care and inform them about your travel history.

________________________________________

   Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website >