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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and First College Updates​

March 18, 2020

There are three COVID-19 updates:

  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:

    2. Essential Service Worker

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

    3. COVID-19 Symptom Self-assessment Tool

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

    March 17, 2020

    Transition to online classes at First College

    Dear students, staff and faculty members,

    As you know, governments and institutions around the world are grappling with the spread and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation continues to evolve and it has become an unprecedented scenario for the College.

    Today I am announcing that most of programs are in a transition to online classes effective Monday, March 24, 2020 until May 29, 2020. Students will receive an email from your faculty this week regarding the details.

    To be clear, NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty or staff. However, we understand the need to be prepared as a College and act accordingly – aligned with guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

    On behalf of First College board of Directors, to all of the students, faculty and staff that make up First College’s community, I want to say I am inspired by the level of support and assistance you are providing one another during this immensely challenging time.

    Best Regards,

    Timothy Yang

    Director of First College

    March 17, 2020

    March 15, 2020

    Dear students, staff and faculty members,

    At this point there is no direction from the Provincial Health Officer to close campuses. Interior Health is reiterating that the risk of infection remains low, given student demographics and the relatively small size of our classes.

    Our campuses will remain open and services will continue to be provided, reviewed as necessary while this situation continues to evolve.

    You can also play a part in helping to prevent the spread of colds, flu and viruses on our campuses. The advice from health agencies is:

    • 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 to avoid spreading the illness to others.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with an infection.

    My thanks to all who are focused on helping students complete their studies this semester. Over my many years working at First College I have always been impressed by the way employees and students have worked together to overcome challenges. I expect this situation to be no different.

    Sincerely,

    Timothy Yang

    Director of First College

    March 15, 2020

    March 13, 2020

    Dear students, staff and faculty members,

    Countries around the world, including Canada, are working to contain the current outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with the virus as “low for Canada”.

    Within British Columbia, Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are leading the coordinated response to COVID-19. First College continues to take direction from the BC Provincial Government and Ministry of Advanced Education as we plan and consider next steps.

    As of March 12, 2020, The Office of the Provincial Medical Health Officer, BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health has advised the following:

    Students, faculty, staff or visitors who have travelled outside Canada (including the United States) after March 13 should stay home or self-isolate in their residence*/room alone for 14 days, immediately on their return. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).

    Students, faculty, staff or visitors who have been laboratory tested for COVID-19 should stay home or self-isolate in their residence*/room alone, until their test results are known.

    Students, faculty, staff or visitors 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 residence*/room alone for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).

    This does not apply to travellers who have returned to Canada up to or before March 13. (Previous mandated self-isolation requirements for travellers returning from Hubei Province, China, Iran, and Italy remain in effect.)

    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 healthcare provider or the provincial health line at 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

    A new toll-free phone line has also been established for Canadians (1-833-784-4397) to answer general questions about COVID-19.

    The Office of the Provincial Medical Health Officer, BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health has also recommended the immediate cancellation or postponement until further notice of all events with more than 250 people in attendance.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

    Sincerely,

    Timothy Yang

    Director of First College

    March 13, 2020

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