Removing barriers for international students working in essential services to fight COVID-19
To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, starting immediately, the government will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.
If you lost your job because of COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as an international student or work permit holder. Among other eligibility criteria, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number. CERB will provide temporary income support to those who are eligible in the amount of $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. Applications are being accepted starting April 6, 2020 to cover the period of March 15 to October 3, 2020. If you have questions about the CERB, contact the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you are eligible for CERB, you might also be eligible for a one-time $1000 payment through the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers. If you live off-campus, you might be eligible for the B.C. Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) for up to $500 a month as well. Please contact the relevant BC government agency directly if you have any questions.
Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Response Benefit (CESB).
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 changes 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.
For International students, please visit the Study Insured Coverage Page here.
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.
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.
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
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/
There is a lot of anxiety around the world at the moment but Sterling College continues to be positive during this time. We know that the COVID-19 virus will pass and life will soon get back to normal. However, it is through social contact that the virus spreads.
We are telling students to stay home for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in accordance with the Canadian government advisory. All classes at Sterling College Surrey and Vancouver will be held online from March 16th until March 30th. All additional activities, including orientations and trips, will be postponed until further notice.
Sterling College teachers are ready and enthusiastic to teach and engage students online from the comfort of their homes. Administrative staff will be working flexible hours to take care of their children and families but will continue to support students and agents.
This decision is not based on fear but rather the responsibility and sensibility to protect the health and safety of all our students, teachers, homestays and staff. Instructions from the Public Health Agency of Canada state that anyone that comes to Canada will be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” During this time we will lead with strength and resilience as a company to protect our students and our community.
Staying calm and respectful and avoiding social interactions, practicing social distancing and following proper health precautions are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.
As we all know, Canada is one of the safest places to be in the world, with an excellent health care system that is well-prepared and citizens who are behaving responsibly.
Young and healthy students are safe here – let’s work together to keep it that way.