COVID-19 FAQ: Students

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

 

Last reviewed: Jan. 7, 2021

With the assistance of our Emergency Operations Centre, dedicated department leaders and staff, and our Joint Occupational and Safety Committee, VCC has successfully applied safe working plans across the campus, and essential experiential learning activities have been effectively resumed in many departments. 

For details, see VCC’s program-specific Return to Campus plans.

VCC continues to work under the Provincial Health Office’s direction and follow the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training’s COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Public Post-Secondary Sector. These allow us to continue planning for a safe return to campus in order to continue providing accessible, quality education and services. Many programs and services are currently continuing with alternative or remote delivery. However, with enhanced safety protocols, more activities on campus will continue to resume over the coming months.

VCC’s senior team 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:

  • Pre-screen. Complete mandatory pre-screenings before entering any VCC campus.
  • Make it quick. Limit your time on campus.
  • Physical distancing. Keep a physical distance of about two metres between yourself and others when you are out. 
  • Respect the signs. Floor decals and room-capacity signs are there to keep you and everyone safe. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wear a mask. Non-medical or cloth face masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces in B.C., including VCC campuses. Using a mask in combination with other preventative measures can help protect those around you. 

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

BC’s Provincial health Officer has ordered that individuals and businesses significantly reduce social interactions and travel in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

See the latest:

What’s Next?

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, and programs that are able to use online delivery will do so until further notice. Individual VCC instructors will determine specific modes of program delivery (online and on-campus). Instructors will contact students directly with course-specific information.

For details, see VCC’s program-specific Return to Campus plans.

 

 

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 Winter 2021 term. 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 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.

Update: VCC is planning for physical distancing requirements to continue into the Winter 2021 term, and programs that are able to continue with online delivery will do so until further notice.

In Spring 2020, VCC temporarily moved the majority of classes to online delivery and alternative modes of instruction. Following this, VCC instructors have developed specific modes of safe program delivery that can include both online and on-campus activities. Instructors will contact students directly with course-specific information.

Some programs and courses may require safe, on-campus attendance in order to complete necessary learning outcomes. On-campus activities may include:

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

If you have any questions regarding your programs or courses, departmental contact information can be found at http://www.mtexeter.com/directory/.

As many VCC courses will be running virtual classrooms, students will need appropriate technology to engage and succeed. While some learning tasks may be completed using a smartphone or tablet, a laptop or desktop computer is recommended to ensure students can complete course requirements. View VCC's technology requirements for online learning.

If you have any questions regarding your programs or courses, departmental contact information can be found at http://www.mtexeter.com/directory/.

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 will continue to be implemented for courses and programs opening to on-campus delivery. 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. 

If you have questions or concerns about returning to a VCC campus, please contact your instructor or department directly. 


BEFORE COMING TO CAMPUS

Self-assessments and ID

  • Your instructor will send you a self-assessment survey via Moodle. Fill out this survey before any visit to a VCC campus. 
  • Wear a non-medical or cloth mask. Masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces in B.C., including VCC campuses.
  • 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.

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.

As of Nov. 19, masks are required to be worn by everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces in B.C. – this includes VCC campuses and applies to common areas where people circulate freely, such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, etc.

  • VCC students and employees must also abide by additional PPE requirements specific to their classses. 

  • 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, or children under the age of 2. Please also remember that some people may have barriers that prevent them from wearing a mask.

Visit Health Canada to learn more about the proper material, structure, and fit of masks and face coverings. 

 

In August 2020, VCC proudly partnered with Vancouver Coastal Health and the B.C. Ministry of Health to support their efforts in keeping our communities safe and healthy by allowing the use of one VCC Parking Lot to be used as a testing site for COVID-19 in Vancouver.

The large parking lot at Broadway campus (north of building B) is being used by VCH for a new COVID-19 testing location and is inaccessible to staff and students.
 
For staff, students, or visitors who need parking, there continues to be street parking as available, and the east (paid) parking lot (beside building B) remains available.

Fees and processes for paying for parking have not changed.

Domestic students

Please register for University Transfer and class-based Academic Upgrading courses online. As self-paced courses require permission to register, please contact 604.871.7000, ext 7366.

International students

  • VCC International registers students in University Transfer classes in Term 1 only. International students must register online in subsequent terms.

VCC is currently only accepting online and mailed cheque payments, as face-to-face registration services are temporarily suspended. LEARN MORE >

Online banking
To pay using your bank account (including credit unions), add Vancouver Community College as a “payee,” and use your VCC Student ID number as the “account number.” 

myVCC (domestic students)
To pay through myVCC (using Plastiq), log in to your student account, then select the “Pay fees/Tax forms” box, and “Make a Payment.” Then, select the applicable term, enter the amount as indicated in your acceptance letter or instalment invoice, and complete your payment by credit card or Interac. 

Cheque
Cheques may be mailed to:

Student Accounts Office
Vancouver Community College
1155 East Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5T 4V5

Wire transfer (international students)
Make an international payment by bank transfer, credit card, or other local payment methods through Flywire. LEARN MORE >

Continuing Studies only 
VCC Continuing Studies students may pay by credit card over the phone or by mailing a cheque.

Phone: 604.443.8484
Mail: VCC Continuing Studies
250 West Pender St.
Vancouver, B.C., V6B 1S9


Questions? Call the Student Accounts Office at 604.871.7000, ext. 8409
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Base programs

In extenuating circumstances, students may contact the Student Accounts Office to discuss payment extensions.

Email: sao@vcc.ca
Phone: 604.871.7000, ext. 8409
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Continuing Studies

Please contact the VCC Continuing Studies office by email or phone, or reach out directly to your program coordinator.

Email: cstudies@vcc.ca
Phone: 604.443.8484

Emergency bursaries

The Government of B.C. significantly increased emergency funding available to post-secondary students, and the VCC Foundation continues to raise money to support student bursaries. Since April 2020, over $358,000 in bursaries have been distributed to students in need, with an additional $275,000 disbursed in scholarships.

Current status:

The application period for VCC's fall bursaries has closed. The next round of bursary applications will open in January 2021.

Students are highly encouraged review VCC's Scholarship, Bursary and Award Guide, available through VCC Financial Aid


More resources

For student loan options, including special COVID-19 updates, visit: 

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

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.

Base programs

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.

Continuing Studies programs

For Continuing Studies course withdrawal, please complete and submit the Course Drop/Add and Program Withdrawal form (PDF) and forward it to the Continuing Studies Registrar’s Office at cstudies@vcc.ca.


Please note that withdrawing from a VCC course does not mean that tuition fees are refunded. Students who withdraw despite the college’s shift in learning modes must appeal for any refund in excess of the college’s normal refund policy and demonstrate why their discontinuation is exclusive to COVID-19 factors and not learning preference.

We understand that, for some students, the transition to online education is not the learning experience they may have envisioned. Please know that our departments and instructors have worked extremely quickly and continue to do everything possible to ensure that enrolled students will be able to meet their course outcomes and program requirements.  

Students in courses that that continue to be offered, including online or in modified formats, are not eligible for tuition refunds, partial refunds, or ancillary fee refunds.

For more information, consult VCC's Tuition and Fee Refund policy (D.3.4).


Please note that withdrawing from a VCC course due to COVID-19-related factors does not mean that tuition fees are refunded. Students who withdraw despite the college’s shift in learning modes must appeal for any refund in excess of the college’s normal refund policy and demonstrate why their discontinuation is exclusive to COVID-19 factors and not learning preference.

Starting in January 2021, students will be billed for U-Pass on a term-by-term basis.

Students with courses scheduled between January and April 2021 will have their U-Pass eligibility re-assessed and their accounts charged or credited based on current schedule information in December 2020.

Please note that your U-Pass eligibility status will be subject to re-assessments in case schedule information is changed. U-PASS DETAILS >

 

Student Work Placement Program

Post-secondary students hired through the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) may now access more flexible start dates and duration of placements. Students may also be permitted to work from home, and post-secondary institutions may access a wage subsidy.


Canada Summer Jobs Program

Through the Canada Summer Jobs Program and other youth employment strategies, the Government of Canada pcreates summer jobs for youth between the ages of 15 and 30.


International students

The Government of Canada has announced the removal of the maximum 20-hour per week work restriction for international students in essential service jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on B.C.’s economy and the job market. Visit VCC's Career Guidance site for valuable resources including employer lists, resume help, and current labour market research. 

No. For our international students concerned about their status in Canada, please note that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated that the transition of Canadian post-secondary programs to online studies due to COVID-19 will not impact study permits.

According to IRCC, post-graduation work permit eligibility will not be affected for international students whose courses have shifted online due to COVID-19. Students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and complete up to 50 per cent of their program online if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

Any time spent studying online from outside Canada since Spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a PGWP. International students will not have time deducted from the length of a PGWP for studies completed outside Canada until April 30, 2021.

If you have questions, please contact VCC International or visit the IRCC website.

 

Yes. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is allowing international students with study permits (or who have applied for study permits) to begin their studies while outside Canada and complete up to 50 per cent of their programs online if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. Any time spent studying online from outside Canada since spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). Intetnational students will not have time deducted from the length of a PGWP for studies completed outside Canada until April 30, 2021.

To learn about your specific program requirements, contact VCC International

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, anyone with symptoms, even mild ones, can get tested for COVID-19. Common symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, and loss of sense of smell or taste. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure.

Use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable. You may also call HealthLink BC (8-1-1).

To learn more about COVID-19 testing and find a testing locations, visit BC Centre for Disease Control – Testing for COVID-19.

Please stay home and avoid contact with others while you wait for your test results. Advise your supervisor and Phoebe Chan immediately of a positive test result.

No. Following the government's advice, VCC instructors have been asked to waive the medical documentation requirement (i.e. a health care practitioner’s note) for students who are ill for less than two weeks. This request was initiated to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will also help to preserve clinic access for people requiring immediate medical attention. Please otherwise follow the normal protocols in your classes for reporting absences due to illness.

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild, strictly self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days as described above.

If you are taking in-person classes on any campuses, satellites, or clinics:

  • Contact your instructor immediately to inform them of the last time you were on campus and which classrooms and other areas you visited.
  • Following a positive COVID-19 test, your local the health authority will guide you on what to do. A case worker from your local health authority will call you every day to check on your health and symptoms.
  • 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 concerns of any exposure to others, the health authority and VCC, where necessary, will make the appropriate notifications or other communications.
  • After you have recovered and are cleared by the health authority to come back to school, please contact your instructor. This generally occurs around 10-14 days from the onset of symptoms, depending on the situation.
  • Please ensure you fill out VCC's pre-screening form and follow all COVID-19 procedures before coming to a VCC campus. (You are not allowed to visit a VCC campus within 14 days of testing positive for COVID-19, even if you do not show symptoms).

If you are taking online classes and are not attending classes in-person at any campuses, satellites, or clinics:

  • You do not need to report your health information to VCC.
  • Following a positive COVID-19 test, your local the health authority will guide you on what to do. A case worker from your local health authority will call you every day to check on your health and symptoms.
  • If you do need to come to a VCC campus for any reason after recovering from COVID-19, as with all students, please ensure you fill out VCC's pre-screening form and follow all COVID-19 procedures. (You are not allowed to visit a VCC campus within 14 days of testing positive for COVID-19, even if you do not show symptoms.)

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.

As of March 25, 2020, it is mandatory under the Quarantine Act that anyone arriving in British Columbia from outside of Canada self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival and complete the federal ArriveCAN application.

Returning travellers that develop symptoms should get tested for COVID-19. Travellers are also required to self-isolate for at least 14 days from their arrival in Canada or 10 days after onset of symptoms, whichever is longer.

See VCC's full quarantine requirements for interational students arriving in B.C.

Yes. VCC's counselling and other student services continue to be available and will be offered by phone/email or online options only.

Phone: 604.871.7000, option 2


Here2Talk

The Government of B.C. has also launched Here2Talk, a new mental-health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Students can access free, confidential, single session counselling services by:

If anyone in your family develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should do all they can to avoid contact with others. Even if symptoms are mild, they should self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Do not go to public places. Do not have visitors to your home.

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

If you are caring for someone with COVID-19, review detailed information on isolation and care giving on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

If a student discloses to you they have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact secure@vcc.ca immediately for direction. 

If an employee discloses to you they have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact Phoebe Chan immediately for direction.

VCC will work closely with local health authorities in the event that a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19. The local health authorities, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, are the professional agencies that advise the college, and will be the main line of contact for students if there is a positive case that impacts you directly.

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 a 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.

VCC has partnered with the City of Vancouver to prepare meals for vulnerable populations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Please check the City of Vancouver's website for meal distribution locations. 

Note that VCC’s cafeterias and food service outlets are temporarily closed, and access to our campuses is restricted.

Visit HealthLink BC’s Translated Content page for COVID-19 handouts and videos in multiple languages, including Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, French, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL).


COVID-19 EMERGENCY BURSARY FUND


Help students meet basic needs during COVID-19

          Donate Now                     Donate Now          
http://www.mtexeter.com/makeagift

In accordance with Phase 3 of the Province of British Columbia's COVID-19 Restart Plan, VCC has developed individual departmental return-to-campus risk mitigation plans to support a gradual return to essential, on-campus learning.

Ssee VCC’s program-specific Return to Campus plans