Find answers to FAQs for employees related to Camosun College & COVID-19. We will update these FAQs as new information becomes available.
What is the Camosun notification process after testing positive for COVID-19?
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should email their workplace leader and OHS@camosun.ca advising when and where they were last on campus, and when they tested positive.
- Students who test positive for COVID-19 should email their instructor(s) advising when and where they were last on campus, and when they tested positive. Instructors should pass the information on to their Chair who then informs OHS@camosun.ca.
How soon can a person return to campus after testing positive for COVID-19?
If you are fully vaccinated, you must wait until after ending required self-isolation:
- at least five (5) days have passed since your symptoms started;
- at least five (5) days have passed since your positive test date if you do not have symptoms;
- Fever has resolved for 24 hours without medication and symptoms have improved.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you must wait until after ending required self-isolation:
- At least ten (10) days have passed since your symptoms started;
- At least ten (10) days have passed since your positive test date if you did not have symptoms;
- Fever has resolved for 24 hours without medication and symptoms have improved.
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.
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.
- Employees may be requested to provide medical notes for absences of five days or more at the college’s discretion.
What happens with employees who need to self-isolate but are asymptomatic?
- If the employee’s job allows for work from home, then the employee may work from home during the required self-isolation period. It is recognized however that not all positions can be performed from home. 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, such as vacation or unpaid leave, or appropriate COVID-19 benefits and services offered through Service Canada. For information on these benefits and services, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html
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, but do not have COVID-19 symptoms, 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 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 Service Canada. For information on these benefits and services, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits.html.
- Employees whose lab tests confirm a positive case of COVID-19 may be required to provide a medical note confirming their need for a medical absence of five days or more. A specific diagnosis is not required; however, the College will accept confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test for the employee in place of a medical note at the employee' discretion. An expected duration of absence should be included. Normal sick leave provisions as per the applicable collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment will apply, including the requirement to provide further medical documentation at the employer’s discretion.
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 Service Canada. For information on COVID-19 related these 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?
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals 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 getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
- If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a one-week period.
- If your situation continues, you will need to apply again. You may apply for up to a total of six weeks between Sept. 27, 2020 and May 7, 2022. Visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit.html
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
- If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each one-week period.
- If your situation continues, you will need to apply again. Each household may apply for up to a total of 44 weeks between Sept. 27, 2020 and May 7, 2022. Visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html
What happens if a faculty member is sick? Can classes move online?
- Any employee who is 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. Please follow your normal sick leave protocol as per your collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment or employment contract, which may include the requirement for a medical note for absences of five days or more.
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, which may include a requirement to provide a medical note for absences of five days or more.
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.
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, which may include the requirement for a medical note for absences of five days or more.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
- Talk to someone
Where do I need to wear a mask?
- Masks are required in all indoor public areas including:
- Bathrooms, bookstores, elevators, lobbies, hallways and stairwells.
- Masks may be lowered for a sip of a beverage or a quite bite to eat but must be put back on immediately.
- Cafeterias, coffee shops and diners when not seated.
- Please wear a mask if not consuming food or beverages while seated.
- Classrooms, study spaces, laboratories and all indoor instructional settings.
- Masks may be removed for a sip of a beverage or a quick bite to eat but must be put back on immediately.
- As per the PHO order, an instructor or student may remove their mask when presenting if they can maintain two metres physical distance.
- During in-person appointments with campus services such as academic advising, counselling
What kind of mask do I need to wear?
- On Jan. 4, 2022, the Provincial Health Officer said that the best mask is that one that you wear properly and consistently, and recommended a good-fitting mask with three-layers.
- On the topic of N95 masks, the Provincial Health Officer stated: “In the majority of settings, the incremental benefit in a low-risk setting [like a post-secondary institution] is minimal. What is most important is that you have a good fitting mask that you wear appropriately.”
Are N95 masks recommended for staff and faculty?
- No. The recommendation from the Provincial Health Officer is for a three-layer face mask.
How do I correctly wear a mask?
- Masks are most effective when they fit closely over the mouth, nose and chin with no gaps around the face, and they can be worn comfortably for long periods.
Are there any face mask exemptions?
- Face mask exemptions are contained in the Order of the Public Health Officer.
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 should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Contact tracing has been replaced by a self-management process as the Omicron variant is highly contagious and spreads rapidly.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, the BCCDC advises that you need to:
- Complete an online form to report your test result
- Self-isolate and manage your symptoms
- Let your close contacts know
How do I determine who my close contacts are?
- Review the BCCDC definition of close contacts to understand who needs to be notified.
How do I let close contacts know I have tested positive for COVID-19?
- Individuals who test positive are now able to send standardized notifications by using the Send a notification to your close contacts
Would a class of students be considered a close contact?
- The BCCDC defines a close contact as someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes when health and safety measures were not in place or were insufficient.
- There are multiple layers of protection in place on campus, including the requirement to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and inside classrooms.
- The college’s Communicable Disease Prevention Plan and Communicable Disease Prevention Guidelines outline the various measures.
Who should I notify at the college, and when is it safe for me to return to campus?
- Review the BCCDC guidelines for self isolation to determine your safe return date
- If you are a student, please notify your instructor(s) of the dates that you will need to miss in-person instruction due to self-isolating
- If you are an employee, please notify your Workplace Leader and OHS
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.
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.
Can I come to work if a close contact has COVID-19?
- A close contact is generally someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes when health and safety measures were not in place or were insufficient.
- If you are sick stay home.
- If you are fully vaccinated or have COVID-19 in last 90 days you do not need to self-isolate. Come to work.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, you need to self-isolate for 10 days.
Does the college require a medical note for employees who are off sick for more than five days?
- Employees whose lab tests confirm a positive case of COVID-19 are required to provide the college with a medical note to confirm their need for a medical absence of five days or more.
- A specific diagnosis is not required; however, the college will accept confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test for the employee in place of a medical note at the employee’s discretion. An expected duration of absence should be included.
- Normal sick leave provisions as per the applicable collective agreement/terms and conditions of employment will apply.
Are there any provisions for employees who need to self-isolate for 10 days and do not have any COVID-19 symptoms?
- Employees required to self-isolate, and who are able, can work from home with the approval of their Dean or Director. Otherwise, employees can access appropriate leave provisions of their applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment such as vacation or unpaid leave.
- Please visit the general section of the Employee FAQs for information on what happens with your pay if you are required to self-isolate but do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Should an employee become symptomatic over the course of their self-isolation, sick leave provisions of the applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment would apply.
What happens if students are sick? Can classes move online?
- Students who are sick should stay home.
- Faculty cannot arbitrarily move to online or hybrid. The modality has been set and we need to stick to it unless directed otherwise by the Provincial Health Officer.
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?
- 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.
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.
How soon can a person return to campus after going home because they were showing COVID-19 symptoms? Do people still need to self-isolate for 14 days or get tested? How do we notify others (employees or students)?
- Anyone who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms 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. Medical notes may be requested for absences of five days or more at the College’s discretion.
- Island Health will contact the college in the event there is a need for contact tracing.
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 cognizant 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?