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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

COVID-19 Information

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19 and include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs
How is it spread?
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 2 metres/6.5 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or in saliva when speaking in close proximity.According to the  Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Touching an object that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, eyes before washing your hands. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Identifying COVID-19 symptoms can be difficult as they are like those of a common cold or flu:

How can I prevent to get sick
  • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wearing masks
What is Social Distancing?
  • According to the CDC, social distancing involves “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance” whenever possible to limit the ability of the virus to spread.
  • This means avoiding concerts, restaurants, bars or clubs, malls, conferences, and any non-essential locations where there are large groups of people who may not know they are sick yet.
How will Social Distancing save lives?
  • While the same number of people will still get the virus, social distancing slows down the rate at which people get sick.
  • This gives hospitals and the health care system a chance to help the most severe cases to recover
  • This also protects doctors, nurses, and health care workers as well as other patients in hospitals from spreading the virus.
  • This concept is called “Flattening the Curve”. If you want to understand more about how viruses spread and how social distancing can help save lives click here.

FIC Updates

Should I still apply to FIC?
  • We continue to encourage students to apply to our Canadian colleges. Currently, we are offering all our programs remotely which would allow students to continue their studies.
  • We encourage students to apply for permission to come to Canada through regular channels for visas/study permits. When these offices re-open and international travel is permitted, students may avoid further delays by having paperwork submitted in order to start classes.
  • For the most up to date information about travelling to Canada please visit the FIC Travelling to Canada page.
How will we support current international COVID-19 infected students who are studying at our colleges?
  • Academic: We have quickly moved to remote delivery of instruction in tandem with our university partners to minimize disruption to studies.  Our instructors are available for online meetings with students and we have transitioned our peer-led programming (e.g. peer tutoring) to online platforms.
  • Student Support: While we cannot continue in-person group activities, we are offering programming and student services online to ensure students remain engaged, connected, and supported (online chat/activities, games, peer support, etc.).  We will also continue our proactive support to students, reaching out to them electronically to ensure they are safe and secure.
  • Health and well-being: We will be conducting health checks with students to ensure they have the supports they require to be healthy in mind and body.  Our university partners have committed to continue providing essential services to students including on-campus dining (for those living on campus).  Our staff stand ready to assist and support students during urgent circumstances.
How will we support newly arrived students during the 14 days of isolation regarding finding accommodation, food, and other necessities?

We are prepared to help identify temporary accommodation which will support their immediate shelter and dietary needs during isolation. In addition, we will design virtual orientation activities to help students engage with peers and adjust – as best as possible – to university life in Canada.  This is in addition to the measures noted above.

What happens if a student wants to join online but is handicapped by connectivity issues, etc?
  • Instructors are working on developing assessments that are conducive to the remote delivery environment and not simply replicating what is being done during in-person classes. These assessments may include longer periods of time to complete and submit assignments/exams to accommodate challenges like slower internet connections.
  • Student Services will be available to students who are unable to fulfill their course obligations. FIC will continue to offer a withdrawal period with no financial penalty following normal procedures.
I was admitted to the Summer 2021 semester. Is it going ahead?

FIC will be offering courses in a variety of delivery methods for our Summer Semester. In response to COVID-19 Coronavirus global pandemic, FIC has options for both in-person (when available) and remote delivery for our May 2021 intake. The intake is scheduled to start on May 11, 2021. We will be contacting students in March 2021 to inform them of the final decision about in-person teaching for Summer 2021 term.

What will happen to my deposit if my semester is cancelled because of COVID-19?
  • Students’ deposits are completely safe. In the unlikely event that we will have to cancel a semester because of COVID-19, students will have the option to either defer to a later semester or receive a refund.
  • Please note that the likelihood of this happening is extremely low. We have options available to ensure students still get the education and support they require.
What happens if I decide to withdraw?
  • As a first option, we encourage students to remain in the College.  If they wish to defer their studies to a later term, they may do so with no academic penalty.
  • We recognize that this is an uncertain time and that students and their families may make alternate decisions.  Should a student wish to voluntarily withdraw from the College, we will honour the refund policy, which can be found on FIC’s Conditions of Enrolment.
  • If any student has specific questions about how the policy applies to them and their personal circumstances, we would be happy to assist them.
What should I do if I am planning to travel to Canada?

SFU Service Updates

Will there be impacts to Residence and Housing?
  • Residence and Housing will continue to remain open in some capacity, even while classes have moved to online instruction. There are currently no plans to shut down all of residences or ask residents to leave or move out.
  • Due to the mandatory 14-day isolation that is required after international travel, you will not be able to isolate at SFU Residence and Housing. You will be able to move into to Residence after you have completed your 14-day isolation period.
  • Please contact the Residence and Housing front desk immediately via email at or by phone at 778-782-4201 so that Residence and Housing can help assist you during this time.
What support will be offered to students who want to stay on-campus during closures/Easter holidays?

We have worked with our university partners to ensure that our students currently in residence may remain through to the close of the current term and be provided essential services including food, security, and the like.  While it will be a quiet time as there will be no formal on-campus programming, we will ensure they are able to reach out online to peer networks and supports.

What aspect of Covid-19 diagnoses and treatments are covered by the students’ health insurance?

Students are covered by health insurance. Note that tests are available based on screening measures (i.e. you must have symptoms or demonstrated risk of exposure), but there is no charge for testing or treatment. Students diagnosed with an illness when they are in Canada, including COVID-19, are eligible for medically necessary treatment as per the normal terms and conditions of their policy. If, for any reason, a student returns to their home country they are subject to the “home country exclusion” and will not be eligible for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the policy. COVID-19 will be treated like any other illness in this situation.

Campus Life and Wellness

What should I do if I am sick?

If you are sick, you should take the following CDC’s Recommendations for Prevention to protect yourself and the community:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Contact your instructors and to let us know you are unwell.
  • Avoid public areas and public transportation.
  • Separate yourself from others in your home.
  • Use Mobile Doctor or call ahead before visiting your doctor in person.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with elbow.
  • Wear a face mask if you are sick.
  • Clean your hands often for 20+ seconds.
  • Avoid sharing personal items.
  • Clean all surfaces that you touch. Monitor your symptoms and stay at home until you are instructed to leave.
Should I wear a face mask?
  • Masks are required in many indoor places in BC, for more information please visit the Government of BC official website.
  • For more information please see the World Health Organization (WHO) guide for how and when to use face masks.
  • It is also important to recognize the cultural practice of wearing face masks across the world. In several countries across Asia, wearing face masks is often seen as an act of solidarity and collective responsibility to minimize the transmission of diseases. It is also believed that wearing a mask prompts people to not touch their face or eyes. This understanding is crucial to reducing the social stigma and discrimination that can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone is specifically at risk for the disease.
How can I stay connected while practicing social distancing?
  • During these times it is important to take care of ourselves. If you are feeling disconnected you can also try to video chat with your friends and family, call them on the phone, or send them messages and chat online. Make sure you are eating well and stay healthy and hydrated. I recommend you take a break from reading the news, watch some funny videos, try to relax a little bit and get a good night’s sleep.
  • If you would like to speak with someone about how you are feeling we would also encourage you to connect with MySSP which is a 24/7 online counselling service available in over 60 different languages, where you can call, text, and video chat depending on your preference.
  • Advising is also available by drop-in, phone, email, and live chat if you would like to connect with a Student Success Advisor to discuss any concerns that you have.
How can we support each other through this difficult time?
  • Express empathy to each other – it’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during an outbreak.
  • Help each to make connections with friends, family, and others to talk about how they feel.
  • If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed, help them seek support from a healthcare professional.
  • Talk to people about how it is important, in general, but especially now, to keep the body as healthy as possible by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
  • Discuss how often you’re checking social media. In order to limit worry, one can limit their media exposure to a few trusted sources and try to access it less frequently. Help people understand that there is a lot of misinformation out there.
Can student services staff stay in touch with students when they have gone back home?

Yes, definitely. Whether we run a term fully remote or both remote and in-person, we will regularly organize interactive events to keep students engaged and part of the community. For example:

  • Counselling and advising services remain available no matter the location of the students;
  • Advisors will continue to practice proactive advising for all students;
  • Instructors are continuing to take attendance for live sessions, as well as through engagement with offline course activities. We are following up on all students; and
  • Our peer programs have moved online as well as activities and they can be found with links to their online location here:
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