Employee FAQs

Find answers to FAQs for employees related to Camosun College & COVID-19. We will update these FAQs as new information becomes available.

FACULTY GUIDE FOR A FULL RETURN TO FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES

Can employees with an underlying health condition be accommodated to work remotely?

  • It is anticipated that the COVID-19 vaccination will contribute to the safety of all employees, including those with underlying health conditions, such that the safety risks will be similar to pre-pandemic circumstances. Employees should discuss the safety practices being implemented with their workplace leader and consult with their doctor to evaluate the level of risk for their condition.
  • If you present with medically-supported functional limitations that you feel may prevent you from being on campus or require additional safety measures, please consult with your Employee Health Advisor to determine if a medical accommodation may be appropriate.  Should it be determined that remote work may be an appropriate medical accommodation, but is not operationally feasible, other leave options may be explored.
  • Medical accommodations are provided when an employee has a diagnosed medical condition that presents with medically supported restrictions or limitations impacting an employee’s functional capabilities to perform their job demands. The specific accommodation measure(s) implemented to support the employee will be dependent upon the employee’s functional capabilities and the college’s operational requirements, including pedagogical and service level needs.

Can employees who care for a family member with a medical condition that makes them clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 be accommodated to work remotely?

  • Workplace accommodations may be provided when an employee’s family obligations are such that there is a serious interference between their workplace and family responsibilities. The specific accommodation measure(s) implemented would be dependent on the employee’s individual circumstances and the college’s operational requirements, including pedagogical and service level needs.
  • It is anticipated that the COVID-19 vaccination will contribute to the safety of all British Columbians, including those with underlying health conditions, such that the safety risks will be similar to pre-pandemic circumstances.  Employees should discuss the safety practices being implemented with their workplace leader and consult with their family member and their family member’s doctor to evaluate the level of risk.
  • If your family member does present with a medical condition that may require you to work remotely, as a means of reducing risk to your family member, please contact your Human Resources Consultant to explore the family status accommodation process. Should it be determined that remote work may be an appropriate family status accommodation, but is not operationally feasible, other leave options may be explored.

Do instructors need to wear a mask while teaching?

  • Instructors and other presenters do not need to wear a mask when behind a barrier or two metres away from students while teaching in indoor public spaces.

Do students need to wear a mask while presenting?

Are there any face mask exemptions?

What type of masks are required?

  • We are following the guidance and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.
  • The Provincial Health Officer order defines a face covering as a medical or non-medical mask; or a tightly woven fabric; but does not include a small or large clear plastic face shield.

Where are masks available?

  • If you have lost or forgotten your mask, a disposable replacement mask can be provided at the campus libraries, the facilities reception desk, or at vending machines at Interurban campus.
  • Students can also pick up a replacement mask at the CCSS Office in Campus Centre at Interurban campus, and/or Fisher Building at Lansdowne.
  • Masks are also available for purchase at the bookshops on both campuses.

What should instructors do if a student is not wearing a mask?

  • Ask them to leave and come back when they have a mask.

If students refuse to wear a mask should faculty call security?

  • Yes, the same as enforcing any other campus policy.

Are students who say they are exempt from wearing a mask allowed to stay in a class?

  • Students requiring a medical exemption in learning spaces should be registered with the Centre for Accessible Learning.

What happens when there is a positive COVID-19 case on campus?

  • As outlined in the BCCDC return-to-campus guidance, public health follows up on every person who tests positive for COVID-19. This process is called contact tracing.
  • Contact tracing helps to identify and manage close contacts, who may be at increased risk for COVID-19.
  • Public health will work with post-secondary institutions to manage cases and clusters of COVID-19, as required.

What is the college doing to improve ventilation in buildings?

  • As per BCCDC return-to-campus guidance, Camosun continues to ensure that all mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are designed, operated and maintained in accordance with WorkSafe BC requirements and ASHRAE Standards for indoor air quality, and that they are working properly.
  • Watch this video on the college’s ventilation systems.

Will the situation change? Could we go back to online delivery?

  • The college continues to follow public health guidance and recommendations.
  • We will take our lead from public health experts to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.

Are students and employees required to physically distance in indoor spaces?

  • The physical distancing requirement of keeping two metres (six feet) away from one another, while in a public indoor setting, is no longer in place as of July 1, 2021.
  • While physical distancing is not required, we still need to respect people’s personal space.

Are there additional sanitizing measures?

  • Camosun continues to clean and disinfect educational spaces, public spaces and high touch areas daily.
  • As per the BCCDC return to campus guidance, cleaning is not required between classes.

Will vaccinations be available on campus?

  • The Island Health Vax Van will be on campus with first and second doses (after 28 days) available to anyone who wants one. Dates will be shared in CamNews and posted at camosun.ca/covid19

Will testing be available on campus?

  • BC Colleges has issued a statement on behalf of its 10 members colleges, including, Camosun, saying that we will not be requiring voluntary vaccination disclosure or testing for educational activities.

Do I need a BC Vaccine Card to enter the cafeteria or bookstore?

  • On-campus cafeterias and campus bookstores are excluded from the BC Vaccine Card.

Any plans for a vaccination survey?

  • We know that vaccination rates in our region are high.
  • According to the BCCDC COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, as of Aug. 30, 2021, 91% of people 18 and older in Greater Victoria have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 84% are fully vaccinated with both doses.

What if I don’t feel safe coming back to campus?

It’s understandable that many people are feeling anxious and stressed with the return to campus. Students and employees should be reassured that Camosun College has effective prevention measures in place in accordance with public health guidelines to ensure a low-risk environment for COVID-19. Please review the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Guidelines 

The Provincial Health Officer’s evidence-based research continues to indicate that with our safety measures, our campuses are safe places to study and work; and the ongoing efforts to vaccinate our population continue to strengthen our safety practices. Employees who continue to have safety concerns about being back on campus are encouraged to bring their concerns forward to their workplace leader.

Frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distance, and avoiding touching the face are important factors in controlling the spread of COVID-19; and wearing a mask in common spaces or when physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained, is, to date, the most effective control measure known.

More information on post-secondary return-to-campus measures visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/post-secondary.

Both employees and workplace leaders who are seeking support in navigating safety concerns are encouraged to contact the College’s Occupational Health and Safety team, OHS@camosun.ca, or the College’s Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, CamosunJOSH@camosun.ca) for additional support.

What happens if employees or students are sick? Can classes move online?

  • Students or employees who are sick should stay home.
  • Faculty cannot arbitrarily move to online or hybrid. The modality has been set, we need to stick to it unless directed otherwise by the Provincial Health Officer.
  • If a faculty member is unwell, they should stay home and not be working. If absences go beyond two classes, the college will attempt to find a substitute.

Can faculty hold office hours online?

  • Office hours can be delivered as faculty deem appropriate.

How will the college address people who feel their workplace is unsafe?

  • As per WorkSafeBC, if you have reasonable cause to believe that performing a job or task puts you or someone else at risk, you must not perform the job or task. You must immediately notify your supervisor or employer, who will then take the appropriate steps to determine if the work is unsafe and remedy the situation.

Will the college be introducing flexible work conditions?

  • All employees at Camosun are expected to transition back to campus by the end of September.
  • The college is developing a framework to create a fair and transparent process to support the continuation of working from home for employees in the near future.

What information is available to employees who need to take time off work for COVID-19 symptoms?

Information associated with absences from campus due to COVID-19 can be found in the college’s Directive for all students and employees related to Absences from Campus Due to COVID-19.

If, at any time, an employee experiences symptoms associated with COVID-19 that prevent them from performing assigned work duties, sick leave provisions in Collective Agreements or Terms and Conditions of Employment for Exempt Employees will apply.

What can I do if I feel a colleague is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have concerns about another employee’s health, it is appropriate to politely and respectfully point out any visible signs such as coughing, sneezing, or a general appearance of being unwell. If symptoms are causing concern, you may suggest that the employee talk to their workplace leader about whether it is appropriate for them to be on campus.

How soon can a student or employee return to campus after going home because they were showing COVID-19 symptoms? How do we notify other students and employees? Do people still need to self-isolate for 14 days or get tested?

Anyone who exhibits COVID-19 should call 8-1-1 for direction. If the individual is directed to be tested for COVID-19, the next course of action will be determined based on the test results and public health direction. This may include a direction to self-isolate. Information on self-isolation/self-monitoring can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/self-isolation.

If a test comes back negative but symptoms persist, the person will be asked to stay home until the symptoms abate.

Island Health will contact the college in the event there is a need for contact tracing.

What happens if I miss work due to illness?

Please contact your workplace leader immediately if you are absent due to illness and follow your normal sick leave protocol as per your collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment or employment contract.

Do I need a doctor's note if I’m required to self-isolate?

Employees who have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and have been directed to self-isolate in accordance with public health guidance, are not required to provide a medical note. If the direction is received in writing, employees are encouraged to provide the document to their workplace leader, providing it does not contain any private/confidential information about an individual.

Employees whose lab tests confirm a positive case of COVID-19 are required to provide a medical note confirming their need for a medical absence and indicating an approximate expected duration of absence. A diagnosis should not be included on the medical note and lab test results are not required to be provided to the college. Normal sick leave provisions as per your collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment will apply.

What happens to my pay if I’m directed to self-isolate?

Employees who are not sick but are unable to work because they are self-isolating in accordance with public health guidance are not entitled to the sick leave provisions of their collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment.

Depending on the circumstances, employees may be entitled to another leave under their collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment and should discuss their options with their workplace leader.

Employees who are not eligible for any leave under their collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment may be eligible for COVID-19 benefits and services offered through Employment Insurance (EI). For information on COVID-19 related EI benefits and services, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html

What happens with employees after the initial sick leave period if the person continues to be sick with COVID-19?

Eligible employees who continue to be ill after their initial sick leave period (this period is dependent on your employee group) are required to apply for short-term disability benefits as per the college’s standard process. For more information on the College’s sick leave processes, visit our Intranet.

What happens with employees who need to self-isolate but are asymptomatic?

If the employee’s job allows for remote work, then the employee may work remotely during the required self-isolation period. It is recognized however that not all positions can be performed remotely. In those situations, employees should speak with their workplace leader to determine whether a temporary alternative schedule can be arranged, what leave provisions may be utilized under their respective collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment, or what other leaves may be accessible to them.

Employees who are not sick but are unable to work because they are self-isolating in accordance with public health guidance may be entitled to either an applicable leave under the appropriate collective agreement or appropriate COVID-19 benefits and services offered through Employment Insurance (EI) For information on EI benefits and services, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html

What options may be available for leaves under the Canada Recovery Benefits Act?

  1. Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
    This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 4 weeks between September 27, 2020 and October 23, 2021 to individual employees who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
    For details, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit.html
  2. Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
    This benefit provides $500 per week for up to 42 weeks per household between September 27, 2020 and October 23, 2021, where an employee is unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member requiring supervised care (which could include a child over age 12).
    For details, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html
  3. Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
    As of August 2, 2021, CRB amounts changed to $600 for each 2-week period for employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. You may be eligible if you already applied for 21 periods (42 weeks) or your first time applying for the CRB is for period 22 (July 18 – 31, 2021).
    For details, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.htm

What should I do if I’m experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19?

Employees, students, or guests experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 are not permitted to be on-campus. If employees, students, or guests arrive on campus displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19, they may be asked to remove themselves from campus until their symptoms resolve.

Unrelated to travel, if an employee has an absence or anticipated absence related to COVID-19, who do they tell?

Employees need to report any absence or anticipated absence related to COVID-19 directly to their workplace leader or alternate. Additional information may be requested from the employee depending on the situation. If the employee is ill, they are not required to provide a specific medical diagnosis.

Depending on the nature of the absence, the employee may be referred to their employee health advisor.

Can I come onto campus after travelling outside of BC or Canada?

The college follows the direction of the Province of BC and the BC Centre for Disease Control in relation to travel.

For information on travelling to BC from another province, visit the Province of BC website at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/travel/current#leaving.

For information on returning to BC from outside of Canada, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/self-isolation.

Employees are encouraged to avoid non-essential travel.

Should an employee be required to self-isolate as a result of travel, where possible, the employer will consider if it's operationally feasible for the employee to work from home for the duration of the isolation period. If it is not operationally feasible to work from home, the employee may have the option of using vacation time or taking an unpaid leave of absence. Sick leave is not available for this purpose.

How do I self-isolate?

For the most up-to-date information on how to self-isolate please see the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Can I ask a colleague or other individual at the college if they are vaccinated?

No, an individual’s vaccination status is confidential and is protected under the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).  If a colleague or other individual at the college asks you of your vaccination status, you are not required to provide this information.

What am I allowed to ask?

There may be instances where you want to be congizant and respectful of an individual’s personal preferences related to COVID-19. Below are examples of some questions that may be appropriate to ask when engaging with a colleague or other individual on campus:

  • When in an area where masks are not mandated:
    • Are you comfortable with me not wearing a mask?
    • Would you prefer that I wear a mask?
    • Are you ok if I sit here? (when appropriate distance cannot be obtained)
    • Are you ok if I enter your office/workspace?

Feeling anxious about the return to campus? Need support?

Whether you’re feeling anxious about the return, or just having difficulty maintaining your mental wellbeing, it’s important to recognize that this is a common emotion to experience at times of great change and that we have supports available to assist you, including the following:

  • Talk to someone
    A strong support network can make a significant difference in caring for one’s mental well-being.  Support can be found from a variety of places – friends, family, healthcare providers, and from our supports here at the College.
    If you are feeling anxious about returning to campus, discuss your concerns with your workplace leader so they can assist you in feeling supported in the workplace.
    You can also reach out to your Employee Health Advisor who may be able to assist in finding the supports you need.
  • Healthcare Support
    Seeking professional support from a healthcare provider can be extremely beneficial in addressing and coping with a difficult situation. Many employees will have access to healthcare supports through their extended health and benefits plans, including:
    • Homewood Health, our employee and family assistance program. Homewood Health provides free and confidential telephone-based, online, or in-person counselling, coaching, and e-learning services to employees and their eligible family members. Homewood Health can be accessed 24/7 by contacting 1-800-663-1142.  Visit this link to learn more about Homewood Health’s services.
    • Reimbursement of professional services fees to visit a psychologist or clinical counsellor. Coverage will vary per employment group.  Please refer to your benefits booklet to determine what coverage is available to you.
      If you are having difficulty seeking healthcare support, the following resources may be able to assist you:
  • Healthy Together!
    Healthy Together! continues to provide resources health-related resources during the pandemic.  The information in our CamHelps articles provide relevant support and resources to assist in navigating these challenges; our monthly newsletters explore relevant health topics and events happening across campus; and our Sharepoint site offers a variety of wellness resources.
    If you’re looking for information on a specific topic, please contact healthytogether@camosun.bc.ca.
  • Camosun College’s COVID-19 Employee Mental Well-being Support Plan (the Plan)
    The Plan was implemented in November 2020 to help support employees through the pandemic by building resilience, reducing stigma surrounding mental well-being, and providing learning and development opportunities that relate to the COVID-19 experience.
    More information about The Plan is available is available here and ongoing learning opportunities and initiatives continue to be published in the weekly CamNews.
  • Emergency help is available.
    For emergency or urgent mental health support, the following resources are available:
    The Vancouver Island Crisis Line (1-888-494-3888) provides 24/7 support, including crisis intervention, information, and resources to Island residents
    The KUU-US Crisis Response Service (1-800-588-8717) provides 24/7 culturally-aware crisis support to Indigenous people in B.C.
    Call 911