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COVID-19

August 4th, 2021

Return to Campus Announcement

It has been almost 1.5 years since CityU, like every post-secondary institution in Canada, was forced to provide instruction virtually to help stop the spread of Covid-19.  It has been a challenging time for the entire CityU learning community, but we know that it has been most challenging for our students.  On behalf of CityU in Canada’s faculty and staff, I want to extend my gratitude to all of our students who made the transition to virtual instruction as successful as it was.   You made the most of a truly difficult situation and thrived. We could not be more proud of you all! 

With increasing vaccination rates and dropping infections, post-secondary institutions in both Alberta and British Columbia have received direction from provincial governments to make the transition back to campus. The stated expectation from government is that institutions begin planning for a return to on-campus in person teaching, learning and research in Fall 2021.  We have been working diligently with respective provincial health authority guidelines and requirements to ensure that our return to campus will be as smooth as we can possibly anticipate. Therefore, CityU in Canada will be transitioning back to the provision of on-campus in-person learning during the fall term, with the majority of courses being scheduled in-person, on campus. Some programs will continue to hold classes virtually in the fall and winter during the transition and program directors will inform students as to how their courses will be delivered. This process will take time to phase in across all programs and locations at CityU and we expect this transition to occur throughout Fall 2021 and throughout Winter 2022.  For programs delivered in BC, this plan will be confirmed the week of September 7th when the provincial health officer is expected to confirm entry into phase 4 of BC’s restart plan. For students in Alberta, this return to in-person learning plan is considered confirmed given the Alberta government’s decision to remove mandatory public health Covid-19 measures effective August 16, 2021. However, City University together with local program directors will continue to work diligently to ensure responsive planning should there be any changes specific to Public Health Orders in the upcoming weeks and months. 

We appreciate that our return to campus may come with both excitement and perhaps some trepidation. As we work to ensure the safety and security of all our staff, faculty and students we recognize that there may be a need to attend to supporting individuals to transition back to in-person educational environments. Should you require accommodations, or support specific to your individual needs, regarding this transition please reach out to your local program director to meet and discuss an appropriate and feasible transition plan. Local program directors will also be following up with the students of those courses that can expect an alternative delivery to the on-campus in-person, experience. 

At this time, CityU in Canada will not be asking staff, faculty or students about personal vaccination status; however, we highly encourage everyone to get their vaccinations.  By September physical distancing requirements will no longer be in place and mask wearing will be optional.  Please keep in mind that each individual will have their own perceptions concerning personal safety. As a learning community we want to respect and support people in making individual choices to stay safe with an attitude of compassion, patience and understanding. Vaccinations and mask wearing requirements will be determined and directed by the provincial health authorities and are subject to change at their discretion. Remember that we are all in this together.

Please watch for continuing updated communication specific to your program from your local program director in the upcoming weeks.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming students onsite this fall. In the meantime, make the most of the summer warmth and stay healthy and safe!

Steve Conway, PsyD
Vice President & Associate Provost, Canadian Programs

February 2, 2021

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

Now that we are into winter quarter, I want to update you about planning for spring quarter. As we have been since last spring (can you believe it’s almost a year!), we continue to pay close attention to guidelines from government and health officials about exactly when we can return to campus and what guidelines we must follow when we do. While certain areas are beginning to reopen more widely again, it is still unclear when a full return to campus for students and classes is likely. We believe it is in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff to plan to offer all courses normally schedule as in-class or mixed-mode via synchronous video throughout spring quarter as we have done for the last several quarters.

If more clear guidance suggests we are able to safely return to campus at some point in winter, we will announce a comprehensive plan to begin doing so. Until then, we will plan to continue our current delivery in the spring quarter.

We will continue to offer in-person or face-to-face classes for international students as needed. We are committed to supporting our international students in maintaining their studies, and as we are doing this winter, we will provide face-to-face instruction to maintain international students’ visa status. We have plans in place to be able to do so safely and ensure health and safety guidelines are followed.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued dedication and hard work through these extraordinary times.

Thank you and stay well,

Scott Carnz, City University of Seattle Provost

October 30, 2020

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

Now that fall quarter has started, I have begun to get questions about planning for winter quarter. As we have been since spring, we continue to pay close attention to guidelines from government and health officials about exactly when we can return to campus and what guidelines we must follow when we do. While certain areas are beginning to reopen more widely, it is still unclear when a full return to campus for students and classes is likely. We believe it is in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff to plan to offer all courses normally schedule as in-class or mixed-mode via synchronous video throughout winter quarter as we have done for the last several quarters.

If more clear guidance suggests we are able to safely return to campus at some point in winter, we will announce a comprehensive plan to begin doing so. Until then, please plan to continue our current delivery in the winter quarter. We will be offering in-person or face-to-face classes for international students, however. We are committed to supporting our international students in maintaining their studies, and as we are doing this fall, we will provide face-to-face instruction to maintain international students’ visa status. We have plans in place to be able to do so safely and ensure health and safety guidelines are followed.

Program Directors will continue to reach out to gather feedback about how this modality is going with an eye towards continuing to improve resources for faculty to be successful in this environment. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued dedication and hard work through these extraordinary times.

Thank you and stay well,

Scott Carnz, City University of Seattle Provost

About the Coronavirus COVID-19

In this video, you will learn about the symptoms associated with COVID-19. They are quite a bit different from a regular cold. The disease seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

COVID-19 Update 3: Symptoms of COVID-19 – YouTube
Canadian (licensed in Canada) Doctor Online (Covered in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia with a valid Health Card). Self-quarantine and improve your immune system by getting enough sleep, eating the right food and drink enough liquid. 
Coronavirus Covid-19 Fact Sheet
COVID-19 self-assessment tool
World Health Organization
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Covid-19 Notices

Updated July 12, 2021.  

On Monday, July 5 the Federal Government implemented the first phase of its approach to ease border restrictions for travellers entering Canada by easing quarantine requirements for certain travellers. 

These changes apply to fully vaccinated travellers who are currently permitted to enter Canada including international students on study permits who are studying at an institution on the federal government’s Designated learning List with an approved readiness submission. To be considered fully vaccinated, a traveller must have received the full series of a vaccine — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. For the full details, please see the federal news release.

It is important to note:

  • All incoming students need a quarantine plan, whether they’re vaccinated or not, in case their arrival test returns positive and they need to isolate in accordance with public health requirements. 
  • All post-secondary institutions (PSIs) need to have up-to-date readiness plans that reflect the changing circumstances. In addition, communicable disease prevention plans now replace COVID19 safety plans.
  • As part of pre-arrival information, kindly ensure your international students are using the BC COVID-19 Support App as well as the ArriveCAN app.

Standards and expectations of readiness plans, including PSI supports and monitoring of their incoming international students, remain in effect to support federal quarantine requirements and community health and safety.

The Government of Canada is expected to announce further stages of border reopening in the coming weeks. Be sure to refer to their website http://travel.gc.ca for the most up-to-date information.   

COVID-19 Resources:

Please note the following COVID-19 update for July 5, 2021:

The COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines were released today to support the full return to in-person education, research and on-campus services for B.C.’s post-secondary institutions. 

COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines 

The COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines  (“the RTC Guidelines”) are aligned with BC’s Restart Plan, and reflect a transition away from prescriptive COVID-specific orders and protocols, back to pre-pandemic occupational health and safety protocols and guidance. 

  • The RTC Guidelines were developed by a team of experts from B.C.’s post-secondary sector in partnership with representatives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, regional health authorities, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. The RTC Guidelines are hosted here.  
  • They are effective immediately and replace the COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-Secondary Sector (June 2021) and the interim Return-to-Campus Primer (April 2021). 

The Province-wide restrictions have been updated in support of the second phase of BC’s Restart: A Plan to Bring Us Back Together:

Communicable disease plan requirements – updated as of June 17, 2021

Dr. Henry advised on June 17, 2021 that institutions will be required to transition COVID-19 specific safety plans into communicable disease plans to reduce the risk of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

  • WorkSafeBC and public health experts are developing a guide that will assist employers in developing their communicable disease plans. 

Revisions to the PHO Events and Gatherings Order – updated as of June 22, 2021

Organized gatherings:

  • Indoor seated organized gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • Outdoor organized gatherings up to 50 people are allowed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • Sports and exercise 
  • Indoor high and low intensity group exercise is allowed with reduced capacity.
  • Indoor and outdoor games and practices for both adults and youth group/team sports are allowed. 
  • Spectators at any indoor sport activities are not allowed. Outdoor spectators of up to 50 people are allowed. 
  • For high performance athletes there is no limit on the number of persons who may participate in a sports event.

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:

Launch of BC’s Restart Plan 

Fall 2021 planning: Return to campus guidance received

May 4th 2021 – City University in Canada

Working within the context and under the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, CityU and other BC universities are planning for a return to in-person activities on campus, including in-person instruction, in September – with faculty and staff returning sooner.

We recognize that the current course of the pandemic is much different than the conditions we expect in the fall.  As with all the planning done to date, the health and safety of our campus community remains our top priority. Please be assured that we are continuing to follow the guidance of the PHO while making preparations for a smooth transition back to campus, and being ready to adapt as needed.

To assist universities and colleges in their planning efforts, the government today released the COVID-19 Return-To-Campus-Primer to provide more detail about the key public health planning assumptions and safety measures necessary to safely guide the return to in-person activities.

The guiding document was produced by representatives from the post-secondary sector, PHO, BC Centre for Disease Control, regional health authorities and the ministry. An update to the detailed COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for BC’s Post-Secondary Sector released in February is expected in the coming weeks.

Outlook for summer and fall

The COVID-19 Return-To-Campus Primer sets out these key public health planning assumptions:

  • BC’s population will be substantially vaccinated with at least one dose of a vaccine by the end of June, leading to significantly improved COVID-19 conditions as early as July 1. In BC, while vaccine supplies are limited, the time between the first and second dose has been extended so more people can receive their first dose and increase the benefit of limited vaccine supplies. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization supports this strategy.
  • COVID-19 transmission rates will be low. More importantly, serious infections will be uncommon – enabling public health to manage the virus in the same way as other common respiratory infections with proven prevention and control measures.

As conditions improve through the summer, we expect that some of the more restrictive public health measures affecting our personal and professional lives will be relaxed.         

As a result of the immunization program, core public health measures and tailoring of prevention and control measures, the PHO team has advised that physical distancing will not be required in controlled post-secondary classrooms and instructional settings this fall.

Commitment to health, safety and well-being

Core measures that are expected to remain in place for September, until otherwise determined by the PHO, include:

  • Completing a daily COVID-19 self-assessment and not coming to campus when ill
  • Following handwashing and hygiene protocols
  • Maintaining up-to-date campus COVID-19 Safety Plans
  • Continuing daily cleaning protocols in all indoor settings and on high-touch surfaces
  • Requiring non-medical masks in indoor common areas depending on the rate of COVID-19 transmission.

We recognize that some people will feel uncomfortable returning to campus given the current COVID-19 context. Our planning assumptions and guidance for welcoming students, faculty and staff to campus is informed by our commitment to follow the guidance of the PHO team to keep people safe while adapting as required to changing conditions.

More detailed information guiding the implementation of these steps is available on the Returning to Campus section.

Remote work principles

We recognize that people are interested in remote work arrangements in the future and appreciate your participation in recent surveys that have helped inform our approach along with learnings from other universities. A principled approach and tools to guide remote working arrangements for staff beyond Sept. 1 will be introduced later in May. 

These planning assumptions may be adjusted based on updated recommendations and/or requirements from health authorities that affect the Go-Forward Guidelines. If at any point public health orders call for a temporary halt to face-to-face classes or other on-campus activities, we will scale back our plans, or return to predominantly online delivery on an emergency basis if needed. We are better prepared to do so now than we were in March 2020.

The university will continue to provide regular updates to the campus community about the COVID-19 context and our plans for the fall.

We remain hopeful that continuing to follow the measured and informed guidance of the PHO will allow us to safely return to campus and our dynamic and vibrant face-to-face teaching and learning environment again this fall.

Thank you again for all that you are doing in support of the current public health measures and our fall planning efforts. 

More information about post-secondary studies during COVID-19

April 21, 2021

PHO Workplace and Post-Secondary Institution Safety Order updated as of April 21, 2021

Changes were made to the PHO Workplace and Post-secondary Institution Safety Order to respond to an increase in community transmission and COVID-19 cases, and to support the WorkSafeBC requirement for COVID-19 Safety Plans to ensure consistent mask-wearing in indoor common areas. This order does not have an expiration date.

Changes include: 

  • A student must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in an indoor common area or a classroom in a post-secondary institution, subject to the exceptions noted in section 9. 
  • Employers must require workers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth in indoor common areas.
  • Employers must strongly encourage workers to work from their private residences, if possible, given the nature of the work involved. 
  • Visitors to indoor common areas continue to be covered by the face covering requirements in the Emergency Program Act Ministerial Order No. M012

COVID-19 updates for April 23, 2021:

  1. New Travel Restrictions
  2. New provincial travel order effective April 23, 2021

A new order will expand existing travel restrictions to ensure that British Columbians stay within their local areas and reduce non-essential travel.

o   Travel restrictions to stop non-essential travel between geographic regions in B.C. will be in effect until May 25, 2021.

o   All non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel for vacation and recreation purposes.

NOTE:   

§  Essential travel includes travel for post-secondary education and training.

  • Travel to attend classes or receive training through a post-secondary institution, including participating in practical learning activities such as fieldwork, practicums and clinical placements, is exempt from the travel restrictions as part of a broad exemption for post-secondary education and training.
  1. Government of Canada suspension of flights from India and Pakistan effective April 22, 2021 for 30 days

o   Mental health supports, including www.here2talk.ca, are available to B.C. post-secondary international students who are affected by the new federal flight restrictions between India, Pakistan and Canada.

o   B.C. will continue to monitor changes to federal travel restrictions and communicate with institutions to ensure BC is responding to all new federal requirements.

  1. Extension of PHO Province-Wide Restrictions

The existing province-wide restrictions have been extended until midnight May 25, 2021 to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. 

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