Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: March 18, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Columbia College is open May 2020 to both new and continuing students. Applications are being accepted from new students currently in Canada. Apply here.

Our first priority is to keep our community safe and support our students, instructors, staff, and homestay families. All classes are now online effective March 16, 2020. 

The College building is closed as of Thursday, March 19, until further notice. To continue to serve you in the best possible way, effective immediately, all College operations will be available online from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Please contact us as follows and we will do our best to support you:

For Academic questions email: your instructor 
For Student Services email: [email protected] 
For Administration questions email: [email protected] 
For IT help: [email protected] 

Online Class Information

All students have been asked to ensure they have Internet access from home, the application software needed to complete their course, to communicate to their instructor and their class, and access from home to an electronic device that enables use of the required software. IT Services will be available during office hours for the rest of the semester. For IT help please email: [email protected].

Each student has been asked to check their College email and student portal constantly. We will not be communicating to home emails as we move to an online class delivery.

Instructors will be available during regular class time and during communicated office hours. Flexibility will be required during this difficult time and patience too, as all of us adjust to a new learning experience. However, we remain committed to providing excellent instruction and supports to our students.

*Please note when using Zoom:
Instructors using Zoom should inform students that:
-Zoom servers may be located outside of Canada
-First name/nickname should be used to maintain their privacy
-Turning off their camera and muting their microphones
-Discourage the use of recording discussions with sensitive information

Student Services Continue to be Available

As it is the College’s intention to continue to provide students with a supportive and engaging online learning environment, students will have the opportunity to complete their semester as planned. Our extensive Student Services will continue and students will have access to Academic/Immigration Counselling, Career Services, the Learning Centre, Nursing Consultation and Homestay support. To access these services students are asked to email: [email protected] to schedule a virtual appointment. Library Services are available through AskAway, the online chat platform.

All students have been asked not to go to their home countries until further notice as the federal government has shut the border to non-citizens. In addition, some countries will not support use of the application software needed to complete a course.

Anyone looking for non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations, can call or text the provincial government through a newly created hotline at 1-888-268-4319 (1-888-COVID19) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

English Language Centre (ELC)

Starting March 16, 2020, all classes in the English Language Centre have been moved online. We understand that this may initially appear challenging for the students in our program because of the additional language barrier.

We would like the parents and custodians to know that the ELC students have regularly engaged in online or technology-related activities throughout the semester, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, because we believe that these are important skills the student should start acquiring as early as possible. All the instructors in our program have also chosen to use the same online platform (Microsoft Team) to connect with the students so that they can more easily adapt to the new system. Students will continue learning English through virtual face-to-face sessions with their instructors and classmates, collaborative tools, as well as a combination of physical and digital textbooks and resources. Instructors will monitor each student’s online attendance and participation and respond to any learning needs as they see fit. As a member of

Languages Canada, we are in close contact with the association on resources and protocols taken by other accredited institutions to ensure that we adhere to the highest standards possible for an academic language program.

If you or your child have any questions or concerns about our program, including the digital grade card reports, please contact Ginny Chien, The Dean of English Language Centre, at [email protected].

Current ELC students can also reach Ginny via Microsoft Team private chat during her regular office hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Columbia College Secondary, Grades 10-12

As with all Columbia College Programs, starting March 16, 2020, all Secondary classes have been moved to an online format to ensure that students are able to continue and complete their courses this semester. Secondary instructors are using a variety of interactive, online educational tools to ensure that students continue to receive quality education.

The Columbia College Secondary Program adheres to the guidelines of the BC Ministry of Education. Please see the update from Rob Flemming, the Minister of Education for British Columbia here.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s progress and progression in their online courses, please contact the Head of Secondary, Sarah Scali at [email protected].

Current Secondary students can also reach Sarah via Microsoft Team private chat during regular office hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm.

Homestay students who are enrolled in the January and future semesters are welcome to continue living with their host families during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the host family will continue caring for the safety and well-being of the student.

Students should remain in Canada and are not recommended to return to their home country. On-line classes can be accessed while living in homestay. Students will be required to have their own computer and avoid using their host family’s devices.

Students and host families will adhere to the updated guidelines set by Vancouver Coastal Health to avoid the spread of the virus. This includes the revised 8 pm curfew effectively immediately to all students.

The Homestay department will continue to monitor the student while in homestay and are available M-F 7:30–3 pm or by email [email protected].

New Students Starting in May 2020:

As with the federal government shutting down its borders to foreign travelers in an attempt to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, all international students will not be allowed to enter Canada as of Wednesday, March 18. This is really unfortunate but we believe is a much needed measure in this very challenging time.

For students who have paid the tuition deposit:

· If you have paid your tuition deposit for May 2020 semester, we will defer your intake into September 2020.

· If you do not wish to defer to September 2020 and wish to withdraw from Columbia College, we will refund 100% of tuition deposit less $200 administrative fee.

For students who have not paid the tuition deposit:

· Please do not make any tuition deposit as we will not be issuing a Letter of Acceptance for May 2020.

· Contact us if you would like to defer your intake to September 2020. Please email [email protected] for communication related to the above issues or email Treshia Gunardi, Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Marketing at [email protected].

What to Do if You Think You Have COVID-19

If a student has a respiratory infection, they are asked to contact a clinic for direction (811). Students who are ill and not able to attend or participate in online classes, are to  fill out a self-declaration form at https://www.columbiacollege.ca/student-self-declaration/ and contact their Instructor. Staff from the College will be in touch with each student once the self-declaration form is submitted. 

The BC Ministry of Health has developed a self assessment tool that will help determine whether a student may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. Students can complete this assessment for themselves, or on behalf of someone else. Please visit: https://covid19.thrive.health/  

We are in constant contact with health professionals and we are doing everything we can to keep the community safe, including homestay families who are in close contact with our students. Please visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/common-questions 

The province has a launched a new non-medical information line for British Columbians who have questions about COVID-19: 1-888-COVID19. Phone lines are open 7 days a week from 7:30 AM to 8 PM, and information is available in more than 110 languages. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Inbound Students on Guard.me

For students who are on guard.me, be assured that all the provisions of guard.me policies for inbound (to Canada) coverage remain in force and there are no special conditions or exclusions due to the prevalence of the virus. More information about coverage during this time can be found at guard.me’s Travelling to Canada FAQs.