COVID-19 FAQ: Employees

The following FAQs have been compiled to help VCC employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Last reviewed: July 13, 2020

VCC has been closely monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19 and is following all recommendations by the Provincial Health Officer to limit potential risk on our campuses. This has included the temporary suspension of most face-to-face instruction and services, heightened cleaning measures, cancellation of all events and room bookings, increased communications, and more. 

VCC has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), consisting of a dedicated team including medical and safety professionals. This team meets regularly to actively monitor the COVID-19 situation and liaise with local and provincial health authorities. The EOC will continue to implement the government’s recommendations and offer guidance and instructions to the VCC community as needed.

VCC’s senior leadership team also continues to meet regularly to evaluate and respond to the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19 and to support the continuation of learning and operations at VCC during this challenging time.

Please bookmark vcc.ca/bulletins and check this page frequently for updates and recommendations. These FAQs will also be updated as needed. 

As B.C. progresses through its reopening phases, HealthLink BC recommends the following to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Physical distancing. Keep a physical distance of about two metres between yourself and others when you are out. 
  • Avoid contact. Avoid handshaking and hugs outside of your family. Smile and wave instead.
  • Wash your hands. Especially after returning home and before eating. Clean your phone and work surfaces frequently.
  • Wear non-medical or cloth masks. A non-medical mask or face covering is recommended when you cannot keep a safe distance from others.
  • Don’t touch your face. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice respiratory etiquette. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of tissues immediately.
  • Isolate if you feel sick. Even if you have only mild symptoms, self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Do not go to work, school, or public places.
  • Get tested. Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get tested for COVID-19. Find a testing centre.

For further information on how to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19, visit HealthLink BC or the BC Centre for Disease Control.

By staying home, British Columbians have done their part "flatten the curve." With each day, the rate of growth in COVID-19 cases has steadily declined and more than 2,600 people have recovered.

B.C.’s Restart Plan lays out a careful, step-by-step process to resume some social and economic activities while maintaining physical distancing restrictions, so that our combined efforts and sacrifices are not squandered.

At VCC, we are planning for physical distancing to continue into the Fall 2020 term, and programs that are able to continue with online delivery will do so until further notice. Specific modes of program delivery (whether online and on-campus) will be determined by individual VCC departments. Instructors will contact students directly with guidance about learning modes.

 

 

VCC continues to remain open, although with limited in-person access, to support quality learning and training in alternative ways. We also remain open in order to support our community and the provincial response to this pandemic, and we will be part of the ecosystem that helps rebuild and shape our collective future.

VCC’s actions are consistent with the B.C. government’s objectives to balance health and safety with access to educational programs. Almost all VCC programs and services are now being provided through alternative (non-face-to-face) methods.

VCC is planning for physical distancing requirements to continue into the Fall 2020 term. Currently, we are not anticipating a full “return to normal” in Fall 2020, so please be prepared to continue with online and alternative delivery of programs, with on-campus instruction only when safe and essential. Limited, on-campus program delivery will follow all Provincial Health Officer directives and recommended health and safety measures (i.e. physical distancing, gathering size, regulatory guidelines).

Domestic students

Registration is now open. Registration for programs will be completed as outlined in each student's acceptance letter and upon payment of deposit or first installment.

See the full list of VCC programs with space available


Continuing Studies

  • VCC Continuing Studies is currently offering courses and programs using online learning and alternate delivery modes. Unless otherwise notified, classes will be offered online.
  • VCC Continuing Studies offers three ways to register:
  • Please direct any questions to cstudies@vcc.ca or to individual program coordinators. Departmental contact information can be found in the VCC directory.


International students

  • International students will receive class schedules and registration information from VCC International.
  • For all programs except University Transfer, VCC international students are registered for the entire duration of their programs.

Regular employees should see no disruption in their pay or benefits at this time. It is government’s expectation that pay will continue through March and April 2020 for regular employees whose work would not otherwise have been interrupted, save for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

VCC will continue to pay temporary, faculty term, and casual employees through March and April 2020, provided their contract and/or schedule continues through this timeframe and would not have otherwise been interrupted save for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Scenario 1: Employee’s contract is scheduled to end before April 30, 2020.
If an employee’s contract is scheduled to end before April 30, 2020 and there is no additional work, VCC will not issue an additional contract. 

Scenario 2: Employee’s contract is scheduled to end after April 30, 2020.
If an employee’s contract is scheduled to end after April 30, 2020, VCC will continue to employ and pay the employee through March and April 2020.
Applicable provisions within each collective agreement will apply should the early termination of a contract be required.

Scenario 3: An employee, under normal circumstances, would be offered an extension or new contracts at this time and there is work available.
VCC will follow normal procedures and continue to extend or offer new contracts, provided there is available work for the duration of the contract. VCC will assess the availability of work before extending or offering an employee an extension or a new contract, making efforts to provide continued work as circumstances allow.
Applicable provisions within each collective agreement will apply should the early termination of a contract be required. 

Scenario 4: An employee, under normal circumstances , would be offered an extension or a new contract at this time, however, there is now no work available.
VCC will not extend contracts or offer additional contracts if there is no longer work available. Supervisors and managers should advise their employees if no work will be available to contact Payroll for a Record of Employment (ROE).

Scenario 5: An employee is a support staff casual or faculty auxiliary employee and normally employed on an as -needed basis.
VCC will continue to employ and pay casual or faculty auxiliary employees if and as scheduled through March and April 2020. Employees who will not be scheduled beyond their current schedule can contact Payroll for a Record of Employment (ROE).
Supervisors, department leaders, and managers should advise their casual or faculty auxiliary employees if no work will be available beyond the current schedule.

Most VCC programs in Fall 2020 will continue with alternative/remote delivery. A phased return to some work on campus will be implemented over the coming months to support in-person instruction and essential, experiential learning.

Temporary Remote Working Guidelines

For employees who are able to work remotely, VCC will support temporary remote working arrangements. Any current temporary remote workplace agreements will be automatically extended as required.

All employees working remotely are required to review VCC's Temporary Remote Working Guidelines (PDF) and complete the checklist. If you have not yet submitted your checklist, send your completed package (7 pages) to Danielle Somogyi and your supervisor (their signature is not required). Any supervisor with concerns related to remote working arrangements should contact their HR Advisor to discuss.

If you have already submitted your package but have questions or concerns about your remote working location or setup and have not yet been contacted by Yang Wang, Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator, please reach out to Yang directly.

Self-isolation

Employees who are self-isolating by recommendation of a health authority, or as a result of returning from travel but are asymptomatic and capable of working, may also work from home during the self-isolation period. These arrangements should be discussed and approved through an employee’s supervisor working with Human Resources. Please contact your supervisor to arrange this.

Online access

VCC employees are encouraged to establish remote access to college systems via VCC’s VPN. Learn more about the tools available to work from home by visiting the new COVID-19 Working From Home section on myVCC.

VCC campuses are operating, but with restricted access to ensure that VCC is supporting physical distancing recommendations from the health authorities. Strict health and safety measures and individual safety plans that adhere to the Provincial Health Officer's guidelines will be implemented for employees returning to campus.

Those working on campus should also review VCC's situational awareness guidance.


BEFORE COMING TO CAMPUS

Self-assessments and ID

  • Effective June 15, 2020, all VCC employees must complete a weekly pre-screen health questionnaire before accessing any VCC campus. All staff will will be emailed the questionnaire on a weekly basis. For more information please contact Danielle Somogyi. (For information or questions related to the pre-screen health questionnaires for students, please contact secure@vcc.ca.)
  • 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 


WHAT TO EXPECT ON CAMPUS

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, and respect all signs posted.
  • Avoid touching surfaces whenever possible.
  • Use proper respiratory hygiene practices.

COVID-19-distancing-signage-samples-620

Washrooms 

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.

Food and eating

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.

Parking fees at both the Broadway and Downtown campuses have been reinstated as of Monday, June 1. Processes for paying for parking have not changed.

Employees who have payroll deductions for parking, your payments will restart in June. If you have questions or would like to make changes to your monthly parking plan, please contact Surinder Aulakh by emailing saulakh@vcc.ca.

VCC Marketing and Communcations has created a tip sheet (PDF) to help you set up online information sessions using Zoom.

Official VCC backgrounds have also been provided to help you create a professional look for your presentations.

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.

View special messages to the VCC Class of 2020.

Employees may submit requests to Service Canada for Employment Insurance (EI) without first having an ROE. Depending on the type of EI claim being submitted, Service Canada will advise if an ROE is required from VCC. If employees have not received their ROE from VCC, they can still apply for EI benefits, and Service Canada will contact VCC and request the ROE be sent directly to them. 

Employees should submit ROE requests to Payroll by emailing payroll@vcc.ca and include their employee group (CUPE, faculty, or Continuing Studies) and date of their last day worked. Submitting requests to payroll@vcc.ca will ensure requests are processed as quickly as possible.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, do all you can to avoid contact with others. Even if your symptoms are mild, self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Do not go to work, school, or public places. Do not use public transit, taxis, or ride shares. Do not have visitors to your home. VCC students and employees should follow the normal protocol in their department for reporting absences due to illness.

Common symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of sense of smell or taste. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. If you are unsure about your symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call HealthLink BC (8-1-1).

Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get tested for COVID-19 in B.C. Find a testing centre.

Anyone returning from travel outside of Canada is legally required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival. Travellers will also be barred from using public transit to get to the place where they will be isolating.

Even if you haven’t travelled, anyone who develops COVID-19 (flu-like) symptoms is also required to self-isolate for a period 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Do not go to work, school, or public places. Do not use public transit, taxis or ride shares. Do not have visitors to your home. 

If you are unsure about your symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call HealthLink BC (8-1-1).

Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get tested for COVID-19 in B.C. Find a testing centre.

Employees who are ill and eligible for benefits (i.e. sick leave and short-term disability) will be covered by those benefits for the duration of their illness.

Employees who were placed under self-isolation prior to March 19, 2020 are eligible for short-term disability benefits, even if the employee was not tested or did not have a positive test for COVID-19. This was an administrative exception made by SunLife, VCC’s short-term disability insurer. SunLife has provided a self-declaration form for individuals in this situation. Please contact Phoebe Chan, Specialist, Health and Disability (phchan@vcc.ca) to have the form emailed to you.

Effective March 19, 2020, SunLife will no longer be granting this administrative exception of covering short-term disability for employees who are not exhibiting flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms and are placed under self-isolation or quarantine.

Permanent CUPE employees who are under a compulsory quarantine certified by the Provincial Health Officer are covered by the provisions set out at Clause 14.4.23 of their collective agreement. Employees must keep VCC updated regarding the status of any medical assessment or direction they receive from the health authority or a qualified medical practitioner. 

Whether you are on campus or working remotely:

  • Contact HR and your supervisor immediately to inform them of the last time you were on campus and which classrooms and other areas at the college you visited.
  • Following a positive COVID-19 test, your local health authority will guide you on what to do regarding self-isolation.
  • If necessary, the health authority will also work with you and VCC to conduct contact tracing to ensure the safety of the community. If there are any concerns of exposure to others, the health authority and VCC, where necessary, will make the appropriate notifications or other communications.
  • After you have been cleared by the health authority to return to work, reach out to HR and your supervisor. This generally occurs around 10-14 days from the onset of symptoms depending on the situation.
  • Befure returning to a VCC campus, be sure to fill out the pre-screening form and follow all COVID-19 procedures. (You are not permitted to visit a VCC campus within 14 days of testing positive for COVID-19, even if you do not show any symptoms.)

Employees who are not eligible for sick leave benefits or other forms of paid leave may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

The Government of Canada has also taken measures such as waiving the one-week waiting period for employees in quarantine or those who have been directed to self-isolate so that they can immediately receive EI sickness benefits. Such benefits likely do not cover employees who have voluntarily chosen to self-isolate and are not ill or do not have a reason to be quarantined. Guidance on quarantines can be taken from the BC Centre for Disease Control, local public health authority, or HealthLink BC (call 8-1-1).

For eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada is introducing temporary income support in the form of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Applications are open as of Monday, April 6, 2020. (This single benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.)

For additional options available to Canadians and British Columbians who are facing uncertainty or hardship due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our Resources page.

VCC is exploring this situation and will provide information as soon as possible, however, employees should be aware that there is uncertainty that self-isolation under these circumstances will be a paid leave or whether the VCC will require employees to use their time banks such as vacation or take an unpaid leave. SunLife will not be covering these periods self-isolation for employees in this situation. In some cases, working remotely may be an option during the self-isolation period.

The Government of Canada is strongly recommending against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Keep up to date by visiting the Government of Canada Travel Advisories.

Employees who have been directed by the Provincial Health Officer, local health authority, or qualified medical practitioner to isolate will be provided with documentation from their physician or a health authority clearing them to return to work once they are recovered or are no longer infectious, which must then be provided to VCC before returning to active duty in the workplace.

Employees returning from travel abroad and who are asymptomatic after the 14 days of self-isolation should advise their department of the date that they will be returning. Please keep your supervisor or department leader informed of your health status so that arrangements can be made for your return. In some cases, working remotely may be an option during the self-isolation period.

Yes. An employer is permitted to collect and use personal information when it is necessary for managing the employment relationship. VCC may have to collect, use, and disclose personal information in order to prevent or manage the risk and/or reality of COVID-19’s rapid spread. In the event that an employee attends the workplace (a) within 14 days of travelling to an area of high-risk for COVID-19 transmission; or (b) within 14 days of developing symptoms for COVID-19; or (c) after testing positive for the COVID-19, VCC is faced with the difficult task of balancing that individual’s right to privacy with the obligation to maintain a safe workplace for everyone.

VCC is encouraging and enabling as many employees as possible work remotely. For employees wanting or needing to continue to come to campus, plans and approaches may be individually developed that adhere to the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines.

Under B.C.’s occupational health and safety legislation, an employee has the right to refuse unsafe work. Broadly, to be entitled to refuse work an employee must have reasonable cause to believe that performing the work would create an undue hazard to the health and safety of themselves or another person. If that is the case, the employee must immediately report the unsafe condition to their employer. VCC then has an obligation to investigate the matter and address the issue in accordance with procedures set out in section 3.12 of the OHS Regulation.

If an employee discloses that they are suffering symptoms consistent with COVID-19, as with any other illness, it is reasonable and appropriate to direct the employee to remain away from the workplace until they are well enough to work and do not pose a risk to their colleagues. In some cases, working from home may be appropriate and should be discussed and approved through a supervisor.

Yes. VCC has counselling resources that are available for employees through Morneau-Shepell. Their call centres are available 24/7/365 with counselling services available in 147 languages and six different formats. These services are available to all VCC administrators, support staff, faculty, and their eligible dependents. 

Please note: Due to the increased traffic to the Morneau-Shepell website, you may experience delays. Should you encounter issues, you can still access Morneau-Shepell’s online services (call centre, chat function, etc.) by visiting the Employee and Family Assistance site directly, at myeapsupport.com.

Phone: 1-844-880-9142
Online: www.workhealthlife.com or myeapsupport.com

The B.C. Government is working with Health Authorities to compile a list of available child care spaces, and will assist essential workers in accessing them. An application is required

 

Every member of the VCC community has the right to be treated with respect and dignity and to be welcomed and supported. No one should subjected to discrimination based on a perceived disease or disability, or their race, ancestry, etc. This kind of targeting is discriminatory and a breach of VCC’s policies and procedures:

  • Prevention of Harassment, Discrimination, and Bullying Policy (A.3.1)
  • Prevention of Harassment, Discrimination, and Bullying Procedure (A.3.1)
  • Violence Prevention Policy (A.3.8) 
  • Student Code of Conduct (Non-Educational Matters) Policy (D.4.3)
  • Student Educational Code of Conduct Procedure (D.4.5)

If you feel you have been targeted based on any of the above factors, please report this behaviour. If you need immediate assistance because you fear for your personal safety, contact 9-1-1. For an college-related safety concern, contact VCC Security Services at:

If you do not need immediate assistance, or after you have received help, please report the behaviour to VCC's Student Conduct and Judicial Affairs Officer by emailing dstevenson@vcc.ca. The officer's first action will be to invite you to have a confidential conversation about the policies and response options available.

Yes. VCC’s dental, esthetics and makeup, hairstyling, health, science, jewellery, and auto collision programs have joined VCC's Facilities and Security departments to donate over 60,000 pieces of PPE to Vancouver Coastal Health. 

Many of VCC’s COVID-19 relief projects involve skilled professionals and are operating under strict health and safety protocols. VCC’s efforts are also closely coordinated the City of Vancouver and the Province of B.C.

If you are able to make a financial contribution or donate other resources to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, please consider doing so via the City of Vancouver. Learn more by visiting https://www.giveahandvancouver.ca.

According to Health Canada, wearing a non-medical mask in the community has not been proven to protect against COVID-19, however, it can be used as a measure to protect others around you. Canadians are currently advised to wear non-medical face masks in situations where proper physical distancing can’t be ensured.

According to Health Canada, because letters and packages are generally in transit for days or weeks at room temperature, the risk of COVID-19 contamination is low. 

To ensure your safety, do the following when handling items shipped to your home:

  • clean and disinfect surfaces,
  • wash your hands, and
  • do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

 


COVID-19 EMERGENCY BURSARY FUND


Help students meet basic needs during COVID-19

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https://www.vcc.ca/makeagift