COVID19 Updates and FAQs
Updates by date of release
March 19, 2020.
To whom it may concern:
Greetings from Simon Fraser University and Fraser International College. We hope this message finds you well.
At SFU and FIC, nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our students. Although to our knowledge, we are not currently aware of any cases of COVID 19 within our university community, as part of our ongoing commitment to educating our students, we are writing to provide you with some additional information in relation to the COVID-19 virus.
We know you may have questions about actions we're taking to help protect our students, staff, and faculty. We wanted to provide you with an update on the initiatives that are currently in place at SFU/FIC. These initiatives include:
- Closely monitoring the situation. We're following updates on COVID-19, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.bccdc.ca) as well as local and global health Simon Fraser University and Fraser International College continue to work very closely to monitor the situation. We will continue to take actions necessary to help protect the community.
- Helping with prevention. Additional sanitizing stations have been installed in student areas, and there have been measures taken to ensure increased sanitization of classrooms and public spaces. We continue to educate the community about resources and best practices to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses and where they can find essential information to contact local health authorities for advice
- Supporting students. We are continually working to support students by providing information on how to access resources and services. Support services are available in-person, by phone, or email for students who have concerns regarding their health.
In addition to the initiatives mentioned above, we also have trained counselling staff and case managers available, who can assist in dealing with critical incidents should this become necessary or should students require additional support. In the event that a student lives in on-campus housing, we will ensure students are properly attended to and supports will be available.
Should you have any questions in relation to the COVID-19 virus or wish to follow-up in relation to one or more of the students or families with whom you interact, please feel free to contact us directly.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is COVID-19?
- What are the symptoms?
- How is it spread?
- How can I prevent getting sick?
- What is social distancing?
- How will social distancing save lives?
- Should I still apply to FIC?
- How will we support current international COVID-19 infected students who are studying at our college?
- How will we support newly arrived students during the 14 days of isolation regarding finding accommodation, food, and other necessities?
- What happens if a student wants to join online but is handicapped by connectivity issues, etc?
- I was admitted to the Summer 2020 semester. Is it going ahead?
- Can I return to my home country and study online?
- What will happen to my deposit if my semester is cancelled because of COVID-19?
- What happens if I decide to withdraw?
SFU Service Updates
- Will there be impacts to Residence and Housing?
- Can I stay in Residence?
- How will other campus services be affected?
- What support will be offered to students who want to stay on-campus during closures/Easter holidays?
- What aspect of Covid-19 diagnoses and treatments are covered by the students’ health insurance?
Campus Life and Wellness
- What should I do if I am sick?
- Should I wear a face mask?
- How can I stay connected while practicing social distancing?
- How can we support each other through this difficult time?
- Can student services staff stay in touch with students when they have gone back home?
- What are some resources for more 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:
- 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:
Allergies Cold Flu Coronavirus
Itchy, runny, stuffy nose
Shortness of breath
Itchy, red, watering eyes
Symptoms appearing 2-14 days after exposure
Muscle or body aches
Muscle or body aches
Runny or stuffy nose
Runny or stuffy nose
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.
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.
Should I still apply to FIC?
- We continue to encourage students to apply to our Canadian colleges. We are hopeful that the travel bans will be lifted shortly. If students are unable to travel, we will have alternative instruction methods available so students can start or continue with their studies uninterrupted.
- Please note:
On March 18 the Government of Canada announced major travel restrictions until June 30th, 2020, allowing only citizens and permanent residents to enter.
The Canadian government has indicated that prospective students who were granted a visa/Study Permit to come to Canada prior to March 18 will still be allowed to come to Canada.
Students should confirm whether their courses are in-person or being remotely delivered at the time of their travel. If students cannot travel, they can still benefit from remotely delivered courses even if the courses are being delivered in-person. We ask that students reconfirm their accommodations prior to your travel as some accommodation providers will be closed for the summer. Students will also need to follow Canada’s self-isolation regulations at the time of entry into Canada.
- 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
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 are working to move 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 2020 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 2020 intake. The intake was originally scheduled to start on May 8 but will now commence on May 14 to ensure our instructors and students are fully prepared to teach and learn in this combined digital and in-person environment. The in-person delivery is subject to the rules and regulations at the start of the term. If in-person delivery is not possible we will deliver the courses fully on-line through remote delivery until such time that in-person delivery is available. Also, if you are unable or unwilling to travel this term, you will still be able to complete your entire term through remote instruction over the internet.
Can I return to my home country and study online?
Starting Monday, March 16th, 2020 all classes will be delivered online for the remainder of the semester, including final exams.
Given this, some of you may now be considering whether or not you wish to leave the Lower Mainland or Canada, if your family or other supports are elsewhere. We understand that these decisions can be difficult to make, particularly in the face of a global situation that is evolving rapidly. Every situation is unique, and we are here to support you as you consider your choices.
We understand that it can feel lonely when you have loved ones around the world. While this is a challenging time around the world, the best thing we can do to stop the spread of the virus and keep everyone we care about safe, is to stop travelling.
We want you to know that FIC will be here for you through the semester, the semester break, and the coming years of your studies in Canada. There is a lot of uncertainty now, but you are not alone in Canada and we are going to be here with you every step of the way. We want to reassure you that you continue to be welcome and supported here.However, it is your family’s decision to make with you about what actions you will take during the coming weeks. Please be sure to follow government advisories both in BC and abroad. The current recommendation for people in BC is to not travel outside of the country.
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 here:
- If any student has specific questions about how the policy applies to them and their personal circumstances, we would be happy to assist them.
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 BC travel advisory recommendation to stay home for 14 days after returning from travel outside of Canada, including travel to the United States, Residence and Housing can arrange meal delivery for any student resident who has returned to Canada after the announcement on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
- Please contact our front desk immediately via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 778-782-4201 so that Residence and Housing can help assist you during this time.
- Should any current residence student choose to move out of their residence room between now and March 31, 2020 their residence fees will be prorated for the remainder of the term. Refunds for remaining residence fees will be uploaded to student’s accounts over the next few weeks. If you are on a meal plan, this will also be prorated for those who choose to leave residence. No refunds of spring term fees will be available for students who move out of Residence on or after April 1, 2020.
Can I stay in Residence?
- Residence and Housing strongly encourages those who are able to move out to safe and comfortable accommodations early to do so. For those who move(d) out between March 13, 2020 and March 27, 2020 Residence and Housing will:
- Provide a credit of $500 to assist with moving expenses (e.g. storage, travel, etc.)
- Pro-rate your residence fees and meal plan fees based on a daily rate from the day you move(d) out
- This funding will be added to your Go SFU account upon completion of move-out.
- In the event you have any questions or require assistance, please contact email@example.com
How will other campus services be affected?
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. Additional housing support during the summer can be coordinated through our student services teams. The UM residences will close for the Summer 2020 term.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
- 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: https://students.fraseric.ca/events/
What are some resources for more information?
- Government of Canada | Travel Advisories
- Government of Canada | COVID-19
- FIC Insider
Summer and Fall 2020 Admission
Is FIC admitting students for the Summer Semester - May 2020?
- Yes, FIC has been continuously assessing students for admission for the May 2020 intake. We have been working closely with students who have experienced challenges completing their admission requirements due to COVID-19 and will continue to do so.
- Is FIC admitting students for the Fall Semester - September 2020?
- Yes, FIC has been continuously assessing students for Fall 2020 admission offers. We are working closely with students who are experiencing challenges completing their admission requirements due to COVID-19.
- I was admitted to the Summer 2020 Semester. Is it going ahead?
- I was admitted to the Fall 2020 term. Is it going ahead?
- Our Fall 2020 term is set to begin on September 8, 2020. We are prepared to offer both in-person and remote learning options. As the semester start date nears, please continue to check your email and our website for updates.
- Is FIC still admitting students?
- FIC has made a number of changes to our campus and services as we continue to maximize social distancing, and protect the health and safety of our community. For this reason, our team is working remotely and continuing to evaluate applications for Summer and Fall 2020.
- When are admission offers made?
- As it is our standard FIC process, we will assess applications and respond to the applicant within 2 business days.
- If I am unable to attend FIC's Summer Semester, can I defer my admission offer?
- Yes, you can defer your admission if the conditions on the latest Letter of Offer have not been met or if your student visa has no been granted. Students wishing to defer must send an email to FIC Admissions at email@example.com stating that they want to defer and the reasoning behind their request. FIC does not allow students to exceed more than three deferrals
- I was/will be unable to submit my documents before the deadline, due to the current situation. What can I do?
- FIC Admissions will work with you o ensure we have the information needed to evaluate your application for admission. Please contact us for more information or to send us your documents.
- How is FIC receiving documents?
- Our Admissions staff are working remotely and we are not able to process mailed documents. Instead, you can send us your official and unofficial documents and we will review them.
- How can I submit required documents?
- You should send your documents to our email and we will assess them.
- What happens if I can't take my secondary school final exams?
- We are aware of final exams being cancelled in many regions and the uncertainty of completing the school year. While we are working to develop a plan, we do not have a clear answer yet. However, the disruption to your classes will not impact your application to FIC. Please continue to check our website for updated information.
- What if I am unable to finish a secondary school required course for admission to Fall 2020?
- We encourage you to complete as much of the school year as possible and we will evaluate your application fairly given the current circumstances. Please submit documentation that you can provide, and we will review on a case by case basis.
- If my secondary school is closed, will FIC consider final grades from online courses?
- Yes, so long as you have an official grade on your transcript, we will use it in the admission evaluation. If you do not have a final grade for your online course but have 50% or more of the course completed, please submit what you can provide, and we will review on a case by case basis.
- What happens if I can't write an English assessment test to meet the English Language Requirement because the testing centres are closed?
- We have three options for students wishing to take an English assessment test:
- Duolingo English Test – FIC is now accepting this test, which has a cost of $49USD. Students can visit englishtest.duolingo.com to register, take the test and release the results to FIC.
- Pearson Versant Test (PVT) – The PVT test can be completed remotely rather than in person at a testing centre. This test is free of charge and can be arranged (upon availability of a Navitas invigilator) by contacting in-market personnel or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition Test – TOEFL has introduced remote testing options for students in all countries where students can normally take a TOEFL test, except for Mainland China or Iran. We encourage students to visit www.ets.org/s/cv/important-update for more information.
- As an international student, can I use the PDF admission offer for my Study Permit?
- For any questions regarding study permits, we recommend you to confer with an immigration consultant and to check the Government of Canada website for more information.
- Will a deferral impact my Study Permit?
- For any questions regarding study permits, we recommend you to work with the FIC recruitment team, confer with an immigration consultant and to check the Government of Canada website for more information.