COVID-19 FAQ: Employees

The following FAQs have been compiled to help VCC employees 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. 

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 Summer 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.

 


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.

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.

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. 

 

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.

 

 

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

Most VCC programs and services are planning to continue with alternative/remote delivery until further notice. 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 Working Alone or in Isolation Procedures (myVCC login required).


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.

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.

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.

Following a positive COVID-19 test, your local health authority will guide you on what to do regarding self-isolation.

  • Contact your supervisor and Phoebe Chan immediately to inform them of the last time you were on campus and which classrooms and other areas at the college you visited.
  • 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 your situation.
  • Before 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.)

For more information, refer to VCC's Campus Plan for Confirmed COVID-19 Cases [PDF].

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.

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.

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 Phoebe Chan 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.

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.

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. 

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

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been temporary changes made to the EI program. For details, see the Government of Canada updates.

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.

The Government of Canada announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new recovery benefits that will better support Canadians as they transition from CERB to EI. For more information, see the Government of Canada updates.

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.

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.

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. 

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

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. 

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.

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.


COVID-19 EMERGENCY BURSARY FUND


Help students meet basic needs during COVID-19

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https://www.vcc.ca/makeagift