COVID-19 Updates: FULL DETAILS

COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus) Information

Latest Update

  • Posted May 01, 2020 at 03:42 PM

    Fall Term Information

    Plans are underway for delivery of the fall term. Whether classes will be in-person or online, Olds College will be open and ready for the fall term. We recognize that the COVID-19 restrictions are a fluid situation, the College’s planning considers online delivery, and also accounts for face-to-face delivery in September should the province lift restrictions.  

    We’ve recently updated our Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions section (see below) with information relating to the fall term.  


    Convocation Postponed 

    As part of Olds College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of the restrictions placed on large gatherings by the Government of Alberta, we have made the decision to postpone our spring convocation ceremony that was originally scheduled for June 6, 2020. We look forward to celebrating your significant achievements at a fall convocation ceremony. More information will be shared about the event once it is available.  

    If you have qualified to do so, you will still graduate from your program at the end of this semester. See the Graduation Requirements page for more information.    


    Limited Campus Operations

    Following the guidelines of Alberta Health Services around social distancing, we have moved to a limited Campus operation. Only essential service employees will be working on campus, all other staff are required to work remotely. All buildings on campus are now closed, with the exception of  the Olds College Brewery, which remains open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon - 6 p.m. The Learning Resource Centre also remains open, with limited access. 

    All computer labs on campus are now closed. If students require access to a computer please email ITSupport@oldscollege.ca

    Students or staff who require IT assistance can call 403.507.7777, email ITsupport@oldscollege.ca or fill out the Support Form for account or password issues. 

    Students can access the Office of the Registrar by calling 403.556.8281 or email info@oldscollege.ca

    Students can access the following Health & Wellness services through email:


    Online Classes Continue 

    Olds College is working closely with Alberta Health Services to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority.

    Under the recommendations of the Government of Alberta, all in-person classes have been cancelled for the spring/summer semesters. Classes have resumed in an online format. We wish to extend our appreciation to all of you for your patience and kindness as we navigate these new circumstances together. Please note: all faculty and student meetings must be done virtually. 


    Final Grades for Winter 2020 Term

    Thank you for your incredible work in ensuring we can complete this winter semester. I recognize this is a very challenging time and appreciate the efforts from our students, faculty and staff.  As a college community, we continue to evolve our response to the COVID-19 situation. We have received considerable feedback about final grades in credit courses for this term. After careful consideration, with a focus on academic quality and student success as well as to help alleviate the stress that both staff and students are experiencing, we are implementing the following final grade guidelines:

    Students will have the choice to accept their final course grade, or alternatively  opt for a Credit Received (CR) or No Credit Received - Fail (NCF) for each of their courses in the Winter 2020 term. The decision to allow this option is a direct acknowledgement of this unprecedented situation. We know how hard our faculty have worked to redesign their courses to maintain a high quality learning environment. While students will have the choice to accept their final course grade or opt for a Credit Received (CR) or a No Credit Received - Fail (NCF) grade, this does not impact our expectations that students will continue to stay highly engaged and committed to their learning and assessments. 

    Below are some important frequently asked questions for students.

Fall Term 2020 for Students

Will the College be open in the fall?

Yes, Olds College is preparing for the fall term.  If COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, the College is planning to offer courses in an online format. We will continue to work with Alberta Advanced Education and Alberta Health Services if and when restrictions are lifted, to return to in-person classes.

If Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, what will Olds College course and program delivery look like in the fall?

Program teams are working with Deans and Associate Deans to plan for online delivery of the fall term, while also planning for face-to-face delivery as soon as permissible. We recognize that this is a fluid situation. Our planning accounts for face-to-face delivery in September should the province lift restrictions.

Should I still apply for campus housing for the fall?

Applications are open and students interested in living on-campus should submit an application for fall 2020. In the event that COVID-19 restrictions prevent students from being on-campus, your application will be moved to the Winter 2021 term or to the term when you will first be able to be on-campus.

If course delivery for the fall term is online, will housing application fees and deposit be returned?

Application fees and deposits for campus housing will be moved from the fall 2020 term to the Winter 2021 term. If your program is only one term in length (Veterinary Technical Assistant, Pre-Employment, etc), your application fee and deposit for the fall 2020 term will be refunded. If you decide that you no longer wish to live in campus housing, standard refund policies and procedures apply.

Are any changes being made to admission requirements for programs due to COVID-19?

No, all program admission requirements are remaining the same and must be met for an Offer of Admission to be given. This includes providing transcripts and other required documentation,  proof of English Language Proficiency, work experience, or job shadowing hours, etc.

I am applying to Olds College after attending another institution. How will Olds College review my transcripts if I have Credit/Non-Credit or Pass/Fail grades?

Olds College is employing a flexible approach that does not disadvantage students. In all cases students must still “pass” (50% or CR) the course or graduate from the program being used for admission.

Can I defer my admission if I do not want to enrol in the fall term?

Admission cannot be deferred. If you decide that you do not want to attend Olds College for the fall 2020 term, you are required to cancel your application. If you wish to be considered for admission again in the future, you will be required to submit another application. Standard refund policies and procedures apply to any cancelled applications.

How will the hands-on labs be facilitated?

In the event that the fall term shifts to online delivery, some practical lab components may be altered where feasible. In addition, lab components that cannot be accommodated virtually may be moved to a future term.

I was recruited to play for the Olds College Broncos, will I still get the opportunity to play?

Olds College is working closely with the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC). If on-campus program delivery is not permitted, the ACAC is working on potential scenarios for delayed start dates to the 2020-21 season. Broncos coaches will work with student athletes remotely to communicate training plans so that athletes are ready to go when the season resumes. Fall term enrolment and GPA requirements remain in place for eligibility. All athletic scholarship commitments will remain in place as long as GPA and eligibility requirements are met.

Will apprenticeship technical training be running in the fall?

Olds College is working closely with Alberta Industry Training (AIT) to determine what options will be available to apprentices in the fall 2020 term. We encourage you to continue checking www.tradesecrets.alberta.ca for registration opening and updates.

How can I access online courses if I cannot afford to access the internet?

Students can apply for a student loan to assist with covering computer costs which can include the cost of WiFi. Student Aid will typically assess up to $500 in computer-related costs (e.g. computer, laptop, internet). Students are to submit a student loan application under the province they have resided in 12 months outside of their period of study.

If I am attending Olds College online, will I still have to pay the recreation fee?

In this scenario, students will not pay the fitness centre membership and pool access portions ($73.64/term) of the fee as they will not have access to the Pool or Fitness Centre. Students will continue to pay the portion of this fee that supports student health and wellness related recreation programming ($25.61/term). Once students are back on-campus and have access to these facilities, the full fee will be reinstated.

How will I get my textbooks for the fall?

An online form will be available via the Admitted Student Information section on your program’s webpage to order textbooks from the campus store. Your textbooks will then be shipped to you.

How will I be able to access services & supports (counselling, accessibility services, tutoring, etc) if classes are online in the fall?

Student supports and services will continue to be available using remote technology (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet). Students will learn how to access this information in the fall via online orientation and the student newsletter.

If there is another “wave” of COVID-19, how will Olds College respond to that?

Olds College continues to follow the directives of Alberta Health Services and Alberta Advanced Education.

  

Fall 2020 for International Students

How will post-graduation immigration be impacted if the College moves to an online fall term?

To address ongoing developments with respect to COVID-19, on April 7, 2020, IRCC introduced temporary policy changes to the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP). These changes, effective immediately for Spring and Summer terms, allow for an international student graduating from an eligible Designated Learning Institution to be eligible for a work permit if the graduate has:

  • completed a program of study in Canada (minimum 8 month duration);
  • completed at least 50% of their studies in Canada; and,
  • completed at least 50% of their studies in-class

Olds College will continue to monitor the situation for the fall term. Visit the Government of Canada hosted Study in Canada Webpage for up to date information.

As an international student, if I am taking the program online do I still have to pay international tuition?

Yes, international students, regardless of program delivery format are required to pay international tuition rates.

If English Language Testing centres are closed, how can I get proof of English Language Proficiency to support my application?
  1. TOEFL has an online testing option.

  2. Olds College, like many other Canadian institutions, is accepting Duolingo for the 2020-2021 academic year. Visit the International Students page for more information about this service including test score requirements.

  

Final Grades for Winter 2020 Term

Why is Olds College providing the Credit Received (CR) or a No Credit Received - Fail (NCF) choice to students?

This approach will help students who need their grades for certain programs and placements either now or in the future, while not penalizing those whose performance is affected by difficult circumstances.  We fully expect and trust our students to continue to apply themselves academically and act with integrity as they complete this Winter term.

What are some of the things I should consider when making my choice between a final grade or opting for a Credit Received (CR) or a No Credit Received - Fail (NCF)?

This is an important decision for students and one that should be considered carefully. There are circumstances where students will need their grades in order to pursue further studies, either now or in the future. There are also cases where students need their grades to write exams (ex: Apprenticeship) or where future employers may consider grades as part of their employment decision. It is highly recommended that if students have any questions about their decision, they reach out to their instructor or Associate Dean to discuss further.

When will I be able to decide on the choice to accept my final grade or opt for a CR/NCF?

Once students receive their final grades, which are expected to be released to students by May 4, they can exercise their choice: to accept their grade or choose CR/NCF, for each course.

What is the minimum grade I need to receive a Credit Received (CR)?

A minimum of 50% is required to receive a CR.

Can I choose this option course by course?

Yes, you can choose to accept your grade in one course and choose CR/NCF in another.

How will this impact my GPA?

Courses with Credit Received or No Credit Received - Fail will not be included in GPA calculations.

Will courses with a CR grade still count towards my certificate/diploma/applied degree requirements?

Yes, if you opt to accept a CR in a course, it will count towards your program requirements.

If I receive NCF in a course do I need to take it over?

Yes, just like a grade below 50%, NCF indicates you have not passed the class and you will be required to take it again.

How long will I have to decide if I want to accept my final grade or choose CR/NCF?

Students will have until May 15 to indicate their choice to the Registrar’s Office through an online submission process. A Final Grade Choice Form will be posted on the Student Forms Webpage by May 4, 2020.

If I want to accept all of the final grades as they stand, do I need to do anything?

No, if you do not notify the Registrar’s Office using the Final Grade Choice Form, your final grade will stand.

Does this option apply to any other term?

No, this applies only to the Winter 2020 term.  As well, this does not apply to courses that were completed prior to March 16, 2020.

What if despite this option, I still want to withdraw from my course(s)?

We realize that in spite of these accommodations, some students will simply not be in a position to complete their course work and may wish to withdraw from their course(s). Due to this unprecedented circumstance, we have extended the deadline to withdraw to April 17. While there will be no refund for withdrawals, we encourage students who are considering this option to first speak to their instructors or Associate Dean to seek solutions that might best support them.

  

Current Conditions

What is the current status of COVID-19 at Olds College?

Olds College is taking the COVID-19 situation seriously. The health and safety of our students remains our number one priority. We are actively monitoring the situation and working closely with Alberta Health Services, who are the lead on COVID-19 in our province. The College has enacted our emergency response team to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the impact it may have on employees and students. 

Under the recommendations of the Government of Alberta, all in-person classes have been cancelled for the winter and spring/summer semesters. Classes resume Monday, March 23 in an online format.

We are also taking precautionary measures on campus including extra diligence on cleaning with a focus on high-touch areas like handrails, door handles, and washrooms. Employees are encouraged to work from home when operationally possible. 

What is being done to protect the health of the Olds College Community?

We are also taking precautionary measures on campus to prevent the spread of illness,  including:

  • Enacting the Olds College emergency response team to manage our response to COVID-19. The team is working closely with Alberta Health Services to monitor the situation and the impact it may have on Olds College employees and students.

  • Under the recommendations of the Government of Alberta, all in-person classes have been cancelled for the winter and spring/summer semesters. Classes resume Monday, March 23 in an online format.

  • Extra diligence on cleaning with a focus on high-touch areas like handrails, door handles, and washrooms.

  • Promoting good hygiene practices among members of the college community (e.g., handwashing) and providing appropriate hand-cleaning facilities and alternatives like alcohol hand rub.

  • Social distancing protocols have been put in place. 

  • Providing regular and ongoing communication to the campus community. 

  • Employees are encouraged to work from home when operationally possible.  

  • All events on campus have been canceled until April 30, 2020.

What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and have travelled outside Canada or may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, stay home and call Health Link 811 or fill out the COVID-19 Self Assessment tool.  

  • Call 911 if you are seriously ill and need immediate medical attention.

Employees should fill out the Reporting Staff Absence form and notify their direct supervisor.

What if someone does test positive for COVID-19 at Olds College?

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be under the direction and support of Alberta Health Services. Alberta Health Services will follow-up with potential close contacts of the individual. Olds College will take direction from Alberta Health Services as to what follow-up measures are to be implemented, should the need arise.

Employees should fill out the Reporting Staff Absence Form and notify their supervisor.

Is there a chance that Olds College will be closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19?

Working with Alberta Health Services, Olds College continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the potential impact on our community. Under the recommendations of the Government of Alberta, all in-person classes have been cancelled for the winter and spring/summer semesters. Classes resume Monday, March 23 in an online format.

The campus remains open with restrictions.

If I need to self-isolate because of possible exposure to COVID-19, whom do I need to tell at Olds College?

Staff and faculty must fill out the Reporting Staff Absence form and notify their supervisor or Association Dean.

  

Campus Operations

What are the current restrictions for accessing campus?

Following the guidelines of Alberta Health Services around social distancing, we have moved to a limited Campus operation. Only essential service employees will be working on campus, all other staff are required to work remotely. All buildings on campus are now closed, with the exception of  the Olds College Brewery, which remains open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon - 6 p.m. 

All computer labs on campus are now closed. If students require access to a computer please email ITSupport@oldscollege.ca. 

Students or staff who require IT assistance can call 403.507.7777, email ITsupport@oldscollege.ca or fill out the Support Form for account or password issues. 

Students can access the Office of the Registrar by calling 403.556.8281 or email info@oldscollege.ca

Students can access the following Health & Wellness services through email:

Will Convocation still be taking place?

As part of Olds College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of the restrictions placed on large gatherings by the Government of Alberta, we have made the decision to postpone our spring convocation ceremony that was originally scheduled for June 6, 2020. We look forward to celebrating your significant achievements at a fall convocation ceremony. More information will be shared about the event once it is available.  

If you have qualified to do so, you will still graduate from your program at the end of this semester. See the Graduation Requirements page for more information.  

Do I need to renew my library items?

Any library items that are checked out have a due date of May 31, 2020. You do not need to renew, and no library fines will accumulate over this period.

I was scheduled to begin the meat processing program in May, will this program be offered online?

The Meat Processing program requires students to demonstrate hands-on skills in a lab environment. Given the current COVID-19 restrictions around social distancing, it is not possible for us to offer the required lab environment that is needed. As such, we are postponing the May intake of the meat processing program until September 2020. 

I was enrolled in the Spring/Summer Animal Health Technology program, is this program still scheduled to take place?

The Animal Health Technology program requires students to demonstrate hands-on skills in a clinic environment. Given the current COVID-19 restrictions around social distancing,  it is not possible for us to offer the required clinic environment that is needed. As such, and after consulting with the appropriate Government Agency, the spring/summer intake (beginning on campus May 4) for the Animal Health Technology program will be postponed to September 2020. Please continue with your online classes. You will continue to receive communication from your instructors. 

As a student enrolled to start the on campus portion of the program May 4, 2020, you will now start your program on September 8, 2020. Additional information about the Fall term will be shared via email.

I was enrolled to take an Apprenticeship program, is that still happening?

As stated by the Alberta Government, the March-April and May-June intakes for apprenticeship training are cancelled, this includes any Apprenticeship program that started after March 2, 2020. Students in these programs will be refunded their tuition. Watch your email for more details. For more information visit the Trades Secret website.

Will I be refunded for my parking pass?

Yes, students will receive a refund for parking, prorated to March 13, 2020. Staff will receive a refund for parking prorated to March 20, 2020.

  

Student Supports & Resources

Is there any COVID-19 financial assistance available to me as a student?

The following is a compilation of available financial aid resources, as of April 2, 2020, for students during this period of active COVID-19 protocols. Please note that some of these supports may not apply to you and that resources are frequently updated. Please continue to check the links below as new information may become available. 

Students can still apply for Student Loans until 30 days remaining in their program. If you are struggling financially make sure to apply under your provincial loan provider as soon as possible. If you have a current student loan and require additional funding, you can submit a request for review on your Student Aid Account outlining your circumstances to be assessed for additional funding (if eligible). 

COVID-19 Provincial Financial Supports (Alberta) 

  • Emergency Isolation Support – for working adults who must self-isolate.
  • Utility payment deferral – residential customers can defer utility payments for the next 90 days
  • Alberta student loan repayment deferral – students in current repayment for Alberta student loans will have payments paused until Sept. 30, 2020. with no accrual of i…..nterest starting Mar. 30, 2020 (please visit Student Aid Alberta website)
  • ATB banking customers and Alberta Credit Unions – deferral of loans, lines of credit or mortgage payments (please contact your individual institution for information)

COVID-19 Government of Canada Financial Supports

The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) was announced as additional relief for students who fell through the cracks of the previous Federal government announcements.  The Emergency Student Benefit Act was passed in Parliament on April 29.  Pending parliamentary approval Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, Protected Persons, and those persons registered under the Indian Act will be eligible.  The application will be launched in May, but no specific date specified as yet.  Below are the details to date:

  • Students will be eligible for $1250/ month (May to August) and an additional $750 top-up for students with disabilities or dependents (this is a change from the original $500 announced and now aligns with the $2000 announced through the CERB Canada Emergency Response Benefit)
  • Students studying full-time or part-time are eligible
  • Recent post-secondary graduates (December 2019) can apply
  • High school graduates are eligible as long as they are enrolled in a PSE by February 2021 (definition of enrolled TBD)
  • Must attest to unable to work or unable to find work or threshold not reached when working (threshold to be released)
  • Canadian Students studying abroad are eligible for funding.
  • The CESB does not need to be declared on the Federal portion student loan application as a targeted resource. Please speak with your province or territory to determine if this will be treated as a resource.
  • Students can access these funds and apply for FT or PT student loan funding if in school.
  • Students who need to demonstrate they have a disability will be able to do so either through an attestation process or through disability status established through CSLP

Other Financial Support 

  • Consult directly with your banking institution for additional possible options when managing hardships caused by recent developments.
  • Students requiring short-term assistance with food are encouraged to contact local food banks:

Student Awards

Winter awards have been selected and students were sent notification to their Olds College email account.  

Students that are currently enrolled may be eligible to apply for external awards.  External awards are not administered by Olds College and most post-secondary students are eligible to apply.  To get you started, a list of external awards is posted on the scholarship page of the Olds College website.  Each award has individual criteria and deadline. It takes a bit of searching, but there are endless student award opportunities available.  Search scholarships, bursaries and awards using keywords such as; your program, your home county, your parents’ or your employers, local agricultural society or other service clubs.

If you are experiencing extreme financial difficulties or need assistance in applying for funding please reach out to the Financial Aid Advisor - Hannah Ayearst Hayearst@oldscollege.ca or by phone: 403.556.8285

Is campus housing still open?

The health and safety of our staff and students continues to be our top priority. The majority of students living in Campus Housing have moved out. We continue to work with students to help them vacate residence, and support them through the process. Campus Housing will be closed as of March 30, 2020. 

Please note, effective immediately no visitors are being permitted to visit campus housing.

I am feeling very overwhelmed and anxious about COVID-19, is that normal?

It is completely normal to have feelings of being sad, confused, angry or scared when dealing with these kinds of situations. We will do everything possible to communicate accurate information, in a timely manner, and to explore options that will continue to ensure the safest learning environment possible for all. 

Additional tips to stay mentally and physically healthy include: 

  • Limit watching news reports and social media

  • Use only trusted sources of information, such as the Olds College website and the resources we have listed).

  • Keep to regular routines as much as possible.

  • Be sure to look after yourself physically by getting enough rest, fresh air, exercise and nutrition.  

  • Don't isolate yourself from other people (unless ill) but do use reasonable precautions when in close physical contact. Talk to people you trust such as friends or family by phone or email.

  • Avoid using substances to deal with emotions. Instead focus on your strengths and what has helped you through difficult times in the past and use these skills to try to help manage your current situation.

  • Virtual counselling services remain available to students, email councellor@oldscollege.ca to book a phone or google meet appointment.
I cannot log into Moodle/MyOldsCollege/Student Email, who do I contact?

Please contact IT Support 403.507.7777 or ITsupport@oldscollege.ca. For Account issues or password troubles you can also complete the support form that will go to our Learning Commons IT Support team.

Is the College offering any virtual health & wellness events?

The Health & Wellness team has organized the following virtual events for students and staff: 

  

Faculty Supports & Resources

Should staff and faculty be working from home?

The health and safety of our staff and students continues to be our top priority. As of Monday, March 30, only essential service employees should be on campus. All other staff are required to work remotely.  

See the Working from Home Technology Tips article on OC Connect.

I am having technology issues, who do I contact?

Please contact IT Support 403.507.7777 or ITsupport@oldscollege.ca. Our IT and TLCI teams are ready to help.

What travel restrictions are currently in place for Olds College?
  • Olds College business related travel, outside of the province, is not permitted. 

  • Effective March 25, any Olds College employee choosing to travel outside of the province for personal reasons are required to self isolate for 14 days and work from home. If working from home is not possible, this period of self isolation will have to be taken as vacation days. 

  • Olds College does not classify Professional Development as essential at this time.  All non-essential Olds College related travel should be canceled.

Should I be attending meetings in person?

Olds College employees are advised when possible to meet over the phone (conference) or electronic web meetings, etc. Only those external meetings (onsite or offsite) deemed essential to College operations are permitted.

Social distance protocol must be followed for all in-person meetings.

As an employee who should I tell if I am sick or cannot attend work?

Staff returning from travel outside the country (or living with family members who are returning from travel outside the country) should self isolate for 14 days and work remotely, if possible, while monitoring symptoms, and complete the Staff Absence Form.  

Staff who are ill with cold or flu-like symptoms:

  1. Should stay home and complete the COVID Self Assessment.
  2. Based on the outcome of the assessment, decide whether to call Healthlink (811) for instruction.
  3. If instructed to self-isolate by Healthlink, staff should inform their direct supervisor and complete this Staff Absence Form which can also be found on oldscollege.ca/covid19.

Staff who are absent due to COVID-19 illness or advised to self-isolate:

  1. Will be paid for time absent while sick or otherwise self-isolated.
  2. Are not required to produce a doctor’s note. 
  3. Are required to notify their supervisor/manager of their intention to self-isolate.

Staff who are instructed to self-isolate, and are not sick or symptomatic, should discuss with their manager whether they can work remotely and complete the Staff Absence Form.  

At this time, staff who cannot find alternative child care due to the closure of schools and daycare centres should notify their manager to discuss whether they can work remotely and complete the Staff Absence Form.

Please contact Human Resources if you have other unresolved concerns. We will continue to support our staff members as we face this challenge together.

As an Olds College employee, am I expected to work from home while I am in self-isolation?
Staff who are instructed to self-isolate, and are not sick or symptomatic, are encouraged to work from home, if possible. They should discuss with their manager. 
What if I have concerns about someone else who is ill in my work area?

If you are concerned about a co-worker in the workplace who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, speak to your Supervisor/Manager. Supervisors/Managers can contact Human Resources for further information as needed.


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