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Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus
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Campus Coronavirus Update

News Update: Friday, March 27 – 2:00pm PST

StudentAid BC would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our institutional partners who are working incredibly hard to support students during this challenging time.

Please review measures outlined below that have been put in place to mitigate any potential impacts related to COVID-19 on students who receive financial assistance.

Temporary Suspension of Repayment

Effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loan borrowers will temporarily have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. During this time, no payment will be required, and interest that currently applies to the federal portion of student loans will not accrue. Repayment will be paused automatically, so borrowers do not need to apply to have their repayment suspended.

For more information on the suspension of repayment, please read the  COVID-19 Information Update on the StudentAid BC website.

Service Delivery Process Changes

The following process changes have been put in place to support continued delivery of services at this time:

  • To ensure timely document processing, please encourage students to submit documents and correspondence through their StudentAid BC dashboard account or by email to (excluding documents requiring an ink signature).
    • At this time, an exception has been made to accept Part-Time Applications via document upload or email.
  • Many institutions are moving toward online delivery of programs to comply with public health directives. StudentAid BC will support these measures through the following changes:
  • For Program Year 2019/20 (ending July 31, 2020), existing programs moving from on site to online delivery do not require a Confirmation of Distance Education Eligibility (CODEE) form and institutions do not need to notify StudentAid BC of these changes but must ensure compliance with their regulator.
  • StudentAid BC will waive online distance policy requirements for new programs for the remainder of the program year, if all other program eligibility requirements are met.   However, to notify StudentAid BC of the new online program, please submit a CODEE.
  • Online programs submitted for the 2020/21 Program Year will be assessed based on the current Online Program Policy.

National Student Loans Service Centre Service Disruption

  • StudentAid BC is working with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) to address a temporary NSLSC systems outage that has affected disbursements. This outage resulted in disbursements being temporarily halted.
  • NSLSC is working on this issue and we will provide regular updates on this matter until the issue is resolved.
  • We will provide further updates as required.

News Update: Tuesday, March 24 – 11:10am PST

Please note the following COVID-19 updates:

  1. Provincial Child Care Supports

The BC government announced new Support for Child Care Providers including funding for child care centres continuing to operate with reduced enrolment, as well as closed centres with fixed operating costs such as rent.

  1. Payroll COVID-19 Q&A

The Canadian Payroll Association released an Employer Q&A for COVID-19 to help operationalize the Federal Government payroll and employment insurance measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  1. Provincial COVID-19 Action Plan

The BC Government announced a COVID-19 Action Plan which includes $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.

  1. Federal Travel Exemptions

The federal government announced additional Exemptions to Travel Restrictions which will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home.

Please share these updates broadly within your respective institutions.

COVID-19 Resources:

News Update: Thursday, March 19 – 9:00 am PST

    1. Federal Economic Response Plan

    The federal government announced an $82 billion COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.  Highlights include:

    • Canada Student Loan repayments and interest accrual will be suspended for six months.  The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is working with the Ministry of Finance on a strategy for BC Student Loans, which are integrated with Canada Student Loans, as part of BC’s COVID-19 response plan.
    • New Emergency Support Benefits for workers facing unemployment who are ineligible for EI, as well as a new Indigenous Community Support Fund.
    • All non-essential travel across the Canada-US border is temporarily restricted.
    1. On-campus Child Care

    The Provincial Health Officer is currently not recommending child care closures for the prevention of COVID-19.  A variety of options are being considered to support access to child care services for essential service workers.  The Ministry of Children and Family Development is monitoring the situation closely and reviewing child care funding policies to support both childcare providers and families.

    1. First Responders

    Click here for more information on Provincial Health Officer-issued advice on self-isolation precautions for first responders.

News Update: Wednesday, March 18 – 9:45 am PST

  1. Federal Travel Restrictions
  • The federal government announced several travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 including limitations on:
    • International flights;
    • Entry of passengers to Canada, including those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents; and,
    • Entry of passengers with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Further details are available on federal government websites:


  1. Essential Service Workers

Attached is new guidance from Dr. Bonnie Henry on essential service workers.


  1. COVID-19 Symptom Self-assessment Tool

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.

Please share these updates broadly within your respective institutions.

COVID-19 Resources:

News Update: Tuesday, March 17 – 9:15am PST

Today, the Provincial Health Officer issued direction against gatherings of 50 people or more.  Please comply with this new direction in order to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  If you have messaging on an institutional website, please update the messaging to reflect this new direction.

  • COVID-19 guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the BC Pandemic Preparedness
  • Please 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 has been set up at 1-888-COVID-19.
  • If you require advice regarding a potential COVID-19 case, please contact your local Medical Health Officer.

Remember to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.

News Update: Sunday, March 15 – 9:10 am PST

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.

News Update: Thursday, March 12 9:50am PST

What is it?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) In January 2020, a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China. The situation is rapidly evolving and Public Health Ontario, along with the Ministry of Health, is closely monitoring the outbreak, conducting surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and providing public health and infection control guidance. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that originate in animals but are known to cause respiratory illness in humans, particularly during the fall and winter months. Other novel coronaviruses have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

Who is at risk?

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available. The risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low but will vary depending on the destination. The Public Health Agency of Canada is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in other countries. Please consult the destination page on for the latest travel advice. It is important for all travellers to monitor their health when they return to Canada. While abroad, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus. PHAC asks that you monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada. If you have these symptoms, call the public health authority in the province or territory you are in to inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do. The risk of more severe illness may be higher for individuals with weakened immune systems such as older people or chronic diseases such as diabetes, or heart, renal or chronic lung disease.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:

• fever
• cough
• difficulty breathing

Many of these symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza. Should you experience these symptoms AND have recently travelled internationally to an affected region, avoid contact with others and follow-up with your health care professional. In advance of attending a clinic advise them of your symptoms and travel history.

What can I do to protect myself?

Continue to practise good hand washing techniques and hygiene practices.
As is the usual best practice, we encourage students and staff to:

• Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when needed
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow
• If you sick with a cold or the flu stay home

Should teachers or staff come to school if they have flu like symptoms?

No one should be excluded or banned from attending classes or work. Students, staff and faculty with flu-like symptoms should stay home. At this time, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.

Travellers returning from other affected areas should monitor for symptoms. Those who develop symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or any other symptoms within 14 days after returning to Canada, are advised to contact your health-care provider, or local health authority. Inform them about your symptoms and travel history.

How to self-monitor.

You may also want to purchase the following items to keep on hand as a precautionary measure given the fact it is the flu seasons:

• Over-the-counter medication to reduce aches and fever (e.g., acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
• Cough medicine and throat lozenges
• Any prescription medicines you take
• A thermometer (non-mercury)
• Tissues
• Hand sanitizer (should contain at least 60% alcohol)
• Disinfecting wipes or cleaning products to clean your shared and personal space
• A water canteen or bottled water, and juice

What if I am concerned with someone that is exhibiting symptoms at the school?

If you are concerned about someone in the workplace who is ill and exhibiting flu-like symptoms or have concerns about safety in your workplace, speak to your Manager if you are staff and Staff member (Teacher or Student Services) if you are a student. Managers are advised to contact the HR Office. Employees who are ill with flu-like symptoms should advise their Manager, stay home and seek out medical advice accordingly

What if I’ve recently travelled or plan to travel?

If you are planning to travel, please consult the Government of Canada website for travel advice and advisories related to COVID-19. You should be aware that some countries have entry and exit restrictions.

Students who are planning to travel outside of Canada are encouraged to:

Consult with your travel agency or service provider in order to determine if there are any restrictions or limitations. You may also wish to inquire into travel cancellation or re-booking.

Let Student Services at ILAC know you will be traveling, your dates and location.

What does self isolation mean?

Self-isolation means staying home. Do not use public transportation, taxis, or rideshares, attend work, school or other public places. Contact with others should be limited as much as possible.


Additional Information

For more information, please visit the following resources:

BC Public Health

World Health Organization updates on the virus

Government of Canada updates on the virus

Travel Advice and Advisories