COVID-19 Information

Updated: May 12, 2020 4:30 pm

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 September 2020:

  • After careful consideration, the college has made a decision to deliver majority of classes online in Fall 2020. Select Science classes with labs will be delivered in person, subject to Ministry’s guidelines. 
  • The College will be delivering a variety of FLEX online courses available to our students. Flex courses will enable students to complete their work on their own time, not dependent on time zones. Students are given a timeframe during which they need to connect to their class at least once or twice. 
  • The government of Canada announced recently that college and university students may study online in the Fall 2020 semester and complete up to 50% of their program via distance learning. If college and university students cannot travel to Canada sooner, new students may begin their classes online while outside Canada, and there will be no impact to the PGWP (Post Graduation Work Permit). At the time of writing, students must have an approved student permit application for studies to count towards the PGWP.
  • Tuition fees have also been frozen for the period of September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Tuition per credit is C$535.
  • With travel restriction in place and the Canadian borders being closed, international students are still unable to enter Canada. We are seeing positive signs of ‘flatening the curve’ in BC and Canada and are hopeful that travel restrictions will gradually be relaxed.  We will continue to provide updated information based on guidelines from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Please email [email protected] for more information on Fall 2020 semester.

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. 

Full-time students may pay their Summer tuition fees in three instalments. Students without MSP (B.C. Medical Services Plan) coverage, will need to pay for Guard.me medical insurance in addition to the first tuition instalment. Students must agree to pay their entire semester tuition fees by July 20, 2020.   

It is important for you to read the criteria and detail of the TIP program below. 

To be part of this program, you must fill out the TIP application form and pay your first instalment before registering in courses. Please complete the application form at: 

Tuition Instalment Plan Application Form

Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. You will not be allowed to pay by instalment if this form is not submitted prior to registration. 

Submission of the TIP form means that you agree with the terms and conditions of the program detailed below. 

For payment methods, please visit: Paying School Fees

Tuition Instalment Plan (TIP) Criteria: 

  • The student applying to this program must be registered in  
    1. a minimum of 9 University Transfer (UT) credits, with the exception of students in their graduating semester who have less than 9 credits remaining to complete their Associate Degree, 
    2. a minimum of 3 Secondary (Sec) courses (or an equivalent combination of UT/Sec), 
    3. a minimum of 3 ELC courses for a 12-week period (or an equivalent combination of ELC/UT, ELC/Sec) 
  • The student accepted into this program, has a contractual agreement with Columbia College and agrees to pay their full 2020 Summer semester fee by July 20, 2020. 
  • Students registering in the TIP program are not eligible for the Advance Payment Incentive (API) program. 
  • If full payment is not received by July 20, 2020, students will be withdrawn from their course(s) and the amount owing to the College will not be cancelled.  
  • The current refund policy holds. This means that the full semester tuition fee is due even if a student withdraws from a course (see refund policy in the 2019-20 College calendar)
  • All fees paid are non-transferrable. 
  • This plan is in effect for the Summer 2020 semester only. 
  • Students who default on the payment plan may not be permitted to complete their course(s), or register in the subsequent Fall 2020 semester. 

Instalment Due Dates:  

For Summer 2020, there are three payment items to consider: 

  1. Total Semester Tuition ($535 per credit x number of credits you plan to enroll in for Summer 2020)  
  2. Guard.meMedical Insurance Premium ($190) unless you have MSP* to be paid in full with Instalment A.  
  3. Other Tuition Fees (e.g. $50 Laboratory Fee for Computer Science courses, $535 Dual Credit Registration) to be paid in full with Instalment A.  

INSTALMENT A = One third of Total Tuition (1.) + Guard.me Medical Insurance ($190 if no MSP) (2.) + Other Tuition Fees (3.). Instalment A must be paid before your registration.   

For continuing students, early registration begins mid-April.  Students who have applied for the TIP will be able to register in a full-time course load (9-14 credits) once Instalment A is paid-in-full.  

Instalment A will be accepted until 5:00pm, Saturday, May 23, 2020 (the last day to register).  

INSTALMENT B = Second third of Total Tuition (1.): Instalment B must be paid in full by 5:00pm, Monday, June 22, 2020.  

INSTALMENT C = Remaining third of Total Tuition (1.):  Instalment C must be paid in full by 5:00pm, Monday, July 20, 2020 [last day to withdraw from course(s)]. 

*If you have MSP coverage, you must show us before your registration date so that we do not charge you for this. To show us, e-mail a photo of the front and back of your card to [email protected].  

Please contact Accounting at: [email protected] if you require further clarification.

Full-time students who pay their tuition-in-full before they register, including Guard.me insurance (for students without MSP), will qualify for a $200  non-refundable tuition credit to be applied to their 2020 Fall semester tuition fees. 

Advance Payment Incentive (API) Criteria:

  • In order to qualify for this API students must be registered in 
    1. a minimum of 9 University Transfer (UT) credits, with the exception of students in their graduating semester who have less than 9 credits remaining to complete their Associate Degree, 
    2. a minimum of 3 Secondary (Sec) courses (or an equivalent combination of UT/Sec), 
    3. a minimum of 3 ELC courses for a 12-week period (or an equivalent combination of ELC/UT, ELC/Sec) 
  • A $200 non-refundable tuition credit will be automatically applied to student’s college accounts if the student has paid-in-full prior to registering for courses.  Please note that the credit will take up to four weeks after the semester start date to be applied to the student’s account. Students in who complete their AssociateDegree requirements in the Summer semester can apply for a cash refund of the A 
  • Students in their last semester who qualify for the API may request a refund of this credit once their Associate Degree requirements are completed. 
  • This incentive is in place for the 2020 Summer semester only. 

Please contact Accounting at: [email protected] if you require further clarification. 

All students registered in the Summer semester are expected to have a laptop compatible with online instructional delivery. To support you in acquiring a laptop, up to a $600 credit will be applied to your College account for the Summer 2020 semester if you meet all the conditions listed below. The purchase must be made between April 1, 2020 and May 25, 2020 and must be purchased using Canadian currency from a company that sells in Canada (such as: Amazon.ca, Best Buy, London Drugs, Staples, The Source, etc.).

To receive your laptop credit in the Summer semester, you must first fill out the Laptop Assistance Program application form.

This form should be submitted electronically prior to paying and registering for courses, along with a copy of the receipt, proof of payment, proof of laptop specifications meeting College requirements, and a photo of the laptop serial number.

If you pay for your tuition in full prior to registering for courses, you will receive your laptop credit shortly after May 25, 2020 the last day to register in courses, and may obtain a refund for the value of your laptop purchase after the credit is processed (less any fees owing). If you are paying for your tuition using the TIP (Tuition Instalment program), the credit will be applied to your 2nd instalment.

Once you submit the required documentation, you will receive a confirmation email to verify your submission and the forthcoming credit to your account. You will not be allowed to apply the tuition credit to the Summer semester if the required documentation is not received prior to paying and registering for your Summer semester, if you do not meet the stated eligibility criteria, or if the laptop does not meet College specifications.

Submission of the LAP form means that you agree with the terms and conditions of the program detailed below and included in the LAP registration form.

Note that if you are completing your Associate Degree in the Summer semester and have a remaining credit balance relating to the LAP program, you may apply for a cash refund of this credit (less any fees owing) once your degree requirements are met.

Laptop Assistance Program (LAP) Criteria:

  • The student applying to this program must be registered in 

-a minimum of 9 University Transfer (UT) credits, with the exception of students in their graduating semester who have less than 9 credits remaining to complete their Associate Degree,

-a minimum of 3 Secondary (Sec) courses (or an equivalent combination of UT/Sec),

-a minimum of 3 ELC courses for a 12-week period (or an equivalent combination of ELC/UT, ELC/Sec)

-a minimum of WD 098/ENGL 098 and 1 UT course, or ENGL 099 and 2 UT courses

  • You must have no outstanding funds owing to the College although students who have made a minimum payment of Instalment A and are enrolled in the Tuition Instalment Plan (TIP), are eligible.

Up to a $600 credit will be applied to a student College account given proof of purchase of a laptop meeting the specifications below:

Laptop Specifications (minimum to be met to be reimbursed):

      • Operating System: Windows 10 or above (Not recommended: Windows 10S)* 
      • Recommended Processor (CPU): Intel i5 or higher, or AMD Ryzen 5 Processor or higher
      • Minimum Memory: 8GB Memory
      • Minimum Storage: 500GB internal mechanical hard drive or at least 256GB internal Solid-state drive
      • Webcam and a microphone built in

NOTE: *Chromebook, Android tablets, Apple computers and iPads, and non-Windows tablets are not eligible for credit under the “Laptop Assistance Program”

Please contact the Technology Helpdesk at: [email protected] if you require further clarification.