Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Last updated March 20, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.
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Message from the president re: COVID-19

Dear students and colleagues:

It’s been an unsettling week of breaking news supporting Canadians at home and abroad, paired with cancellations and closures that I know are concerning for us all. On a positive note, I remain incredibly impressed and optimistic by the response from our students, our employees and the communities that surround us.

The Georgian community is a resilient and patient group, and most importantly agile, as we have proven repeatedly as we adapt to the many changes and new processes required to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

I meet regularly with our senior leadership team, who all keep current with other colleges and government officials, and our emergency operations control group to work through the many decisions we must make daily as the situation evolves. For the health and safety of our students and employees, effective Monday, March 23, all campus locations will remain closed to students, including the libraries.

The good news is, consistent with our vision statement to accelerate success through exceptional teaching and learning, innovation and partnerships, we have moved with unparalleled speed, to offer our courses through remote delivery starting on Monday, March 23 – and we’re ready. I couldn’t be more proud of the work our faculty, academic leaders, IT and so many others have done to make this happen – from the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), working with our incredible faculty, to administrative and support staff who have looked after the countless details that keep us running.

I’m committed to providing you all with timely updates and pertinent information to the questions I know you have.

Here’s what you need to know:

Students:

  • Remote classes start on March 23. If you haven’t already, check Blackboard. Faculty have been busy preparing for remote delivery and posting information there.
  • What does remote delivery look like? Faculty, with the support of CTL, retooled courses to offer a mix of synchronous and asynchronous delivery, where possible. What does that mean? It means, as often as possible, you’ll have access to learning materials and activities when and where it’s convenient for you – giving you the most flexibility.
  • If you experience difficulty accessing your course content remotely please contact IT support at 705 728 1968 ext. 1732 or email itsupport@georgiancollege.ca.
  • All campus locations will remain closed until further notice. Those students who require access to their lockers please contact Campus Safety Services at 705.722.5100.
  • I recognize that most of our students have what they need to continue their studies remotely, however not every student has a computer and access to internet. We are working on strategies to address those situations, we have a limited number of loaner laptops, please email your request for a loaner laptop or need for internet access to servicespecialist@georgiancollege.ca.
  • For courses that have a lab or practical component that cannot be completed through remote delivery further details will be provided as your course resumes next week.
  • The Office of the Registrar has moved to remote delivery to help you – email registrar@georgiancollege.ca or call them at 705.728.1968 and press “0”.
  • Student services are available via remote delivery, where possible. A list can be found online and will be updated as services are added.
  • Georgian employment services centres will remain closed to walk-in traffic and will continue to serve clients remotely.
  • Keep in touch with our latest updates and see our answers to your commonly asked questions on the student portal or at in the FAQ section below.

Employees:

  • Thank you, I couldn’t be more proud of the work you’re doing to support our students and their success!
  • At least one member of the senior leadership team is on the Barrie campus each day during business hours, campus security knows who and where they are, and will locate them if needed to support any issue college-wide. All other senior leaders are working remotely and available to anyone who reaches out to them via email or phone.
  • As we move to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all, the senior team has assessed, with the support of college administrators, the employee roles required on-campus in Barrie, Orillia and Owen Sound. Those required to be on campus will be advised by their manager.
  • Some employees will continue to be on-site to maintain certain necessary operations that cannot be performed remotely.
  • All other employees will continue to work remotely. Administrators will provide guidance and support.

Next week will be both exciting and challenging. Exciting, because we will be back to doing what we do best, teaching and learning, providing outstanding services and working collaboratively. Challenging, because of the necessary changes in how and where we do that.

We draw strength from our belief in our mission and vision. We are transforming lives through the power of education, let’s not lose sight of that during this incredibly unsettling and difficult time. Each of you have individual goals, collectively we are committed to building talented individuals and a stronger society – we are accelerating success.

Stay connected, albeit at a safe distance, encourage and support each other, get outside and breathe the fresh air, and take it one day at a time. We will eventually get on the other side of this and together we are stronger.

Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes
President and CEO, Georgian College

Updates

See below for previous updates from Georgian regarding the COVID-19 situation.

Message from the president re: COVID-19

Dear students and colleagues:

Today our Prime Minister and Premier each made announcements regarding efforts to slow and prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus. With the health and safety of our students and employees foremost in my mind, all Georgian campuses will reduce operations to essential services effective tomorrow, Tuesday March 17. This means that for the remainder of this week, the campus is closed to students. Employees should only come to campus if you are asked to do so by your manager.

Critical student supports such as counselling services, registrar’s office, student advisors etc. will continue with remote access. More details to come shortly on georgiancollege.ca and the student portal.

Here’s what else you need to know.

Students:

  • As stated in previous messages, all online programs will continue as usual and we will move all in-person courses to remote delivery on March 23. In the case of the Lakehead-Georgian joint degree courses, they will move to remote delivery on March 18. This closure does not change this plan. All labs and clinics are suspended until further notice. All day and evening apprenticeship classes are postponed effective Monday, March 16.
  • Students will have limited access to computers and quiet study rooms in campus libraries by appointment only beginning March 23. Information regarding appointment booking will be provided later this week and posted on the student portal.
  • For domestic students living in residence, you are encouraged to return home if it’s safe to do so. You will be eligible for a partial refund.
  • Students who choose to remain in residence or in off-campus housing, should practice social distancing and follow all public health guidelines to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Co-ops and placements, including clinical, will continue unless suspended by the employer or host institution. For those concerned with continuing their co-ops, and placements with employers and host institutions, you have the option to suspend this activity. To understand how suspension will affect you, for those on co-op contact your consultant and placements your program placement office.
  • If your co-op is with the college, please follow directions for Georgian employees.
  • The academic leadership team continues to review and prepare academic contingency plans. Georgian is committed to ensuring these plans do not jeopardize your ability to complete your academic semester. Specific details regarding your course completion strategy will be communicated by your professor via Blackboard.
  • Contact Campus Safety Services at extension 5100 if campus access is required during this week.

Employees:

  • If you require items from your office in order to complete work remotely, please contact your manager who will contact campus safety services to make arrangements.
  • Discuss your work assignments with your manager to work remotely or make other arrangements.
  • As the college will continue to deliver programs and services to students remotely, arrangements are being made this week to ensure employees have the tools and resources to support this.
  • During a temporary campus closure, all full-time employees will continue to be paid. Part-time employees will receive compensation for their regularly scheduled shifts.
  • Georgian employment services centres will be closed to walk-in traffic however will continue to serve clients remotely and move to a rotating staff schedule for activities that must be done onsite per ministry guidelines.

Stay up to date by using reliable sources of information such as GeorgianCollege.ca or the student and staff portals. Employees should remain in close contact with their managers to ensure a consistent approach that still fits the needs of each area. Access to the campus will be reviewed weekly.
I appreciate this rapidly evolving situation is stressful. The college is moving quickly, while adhering to the advice of our public health officials and trying to anticipate all that we can to meet the needs and expectations of our students and employees.

I will provide you as much information as I can, however, we may not immediately have all the answers to your questions. I ask for your continued patience as we work through the many details and I am certain that with your understanding and support we will work through this together. Please continue to look after yourselves and your loved ones and be kind and respectful of each other.

Message to students and employees re: COVID-19

To all students and employees:

The college continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and uses the most recent information from federal, provincial and local health authorities. To protect the Georgian community, the college is making two changes, effective Monday, March 16:

  1. All Athletics and Fitness Centres will be closed until further notice
  2. In line with recent changes Health Canada has made to its travel advisories, the following direction now applies to all students and employees of the college:

Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days from your date of return and follow any direction from public health
  • Do not come to campus
  • Students: check Blackboard for instructions or contact your faculty
  • Employees: contact your manager to make arrangements
  • If you develop symptoms within 14 days of travel, contact your local health unit:
    • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at 705.721.7520 or 1.877.721.7520
    • Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health at 1.800.265.7293
    • Grey Bruce Public Health at 519.376.9420 or 1.800.263.3456

Travellers who have been to Hubei province (China), Italy and Iran in the past 14 days:

  • Within 24 hours of arriving in Canada contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at 705.721.7520 or 1.877.721.7520 or the local health unit where you live (see list above)
  • Follow public health’s direction to self-isolate
  • Do not come to campus – contact Campus Safety Services as soon as possible at 705.728.1968, ext. 6111

Message from Georgian College’s president

March 13, updated at 1 p.m.

Dear students and colleagues,

The health and safety of our campus community is always my top priority. After careful consideration, all in-person classes at all Georgian College campuses are suspended from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20 to allow us the time to retool our programs to move to remote delivery where feasible. Existing online courses will continue as usual. Our campuses — including libraries, student services and counselling, food services, the athletic centre and others — will remain open. Georgian Employment Ontario offices will also remain open.

Beginning Monday, March 23, all programs will be delivered through remote means. Students are required to check Blackboard next week regarding their specific program delivery, as well as how we’ll address hands-on learning. Students are expected to attend their co-ops and placements unless otherwise notified.

We are focused on developing solutions that support the safety and wellbeing of staff and students and allow for the successful completion of their semester in a timely fashion.

The college will remain open. Employees are expected to report for work however, we will be encouraging and implementing flexible work arrangements where we are able. We will also be adopting measures that support social distancing and minimize personal contact to create a safer work and learning environment.

I’d also like to remind everyone it’s critical we all continue to be vigilant with illness-prevention practices – including effective hand-washing and staying away from the college if you are ill. I appreciate this is a challenging time for us at the college and would remind everyone the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for employees and counselling services for students.

As this is a dynamic and evolving situation, we will be providing more information as it becomes available. Your patience at this time is appreciated as we work through the details of this plan.

The decision to suspend classes was not taken lightly, but the health and well-being of our Georgian community, is our priority. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented and evolving situation and we are making decisions as quickly as possible with the guidance of public health officials.

I want to thank our faculty, staff and administrators for their commitment to our students and their education. They are moving swiftly to retool their methods of delivery and their expertise and focus on this is deeply appreciated.

Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes
President and CEO, Georgian College

Event cancellations re: COVID-19

March 12, updated at 4 p.m.

Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, all college events until June 1 are cancelled unless advised otherwise.

This decision was made after careful consideration and in consultation with the Government of Canada’s risk assessment tool for planning events.

The health of our students, employees, faculty and members of the community is important to us. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Information surrounding rescheduled events will be released as it becomes available.

For Georgian College events:

  • Visit the events calendar for information on cancelled and rescheduled events.

For Georgian Theatre events:

Update for travellers re: COVID-19

March 12, updated at 9 a.m.

Georgian continues to monitor the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and uses the most recent information from federal, provincial and local health authorities. While the risk to Ontarians and the Georgian community remains low, the college is advising students, employees and visitors to campus of the following:

Travellers who have been to Hubei province (China) and Iran in the past 14 days:

  • Contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at 705.721.7520 or 1.877.721.7520, or contact the local health unit where you live or are staying within 24 hours of arriving in Canada
  • Follow Public Health’s direction to self-isolate
  • Do not come to Georgian

Travellers who have been to mainland China (excluding Hubei province), France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Singapore, South Korea or Spain in the past 14 days:

  • Self-monitor for fever, cough, or difficulty breathing for 14 days
  • During this time, avoid crowded places where you could unknowingly spread illness, e.g., the college
  • Do not come to Georgian

The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

You’re encouraged to follow Government of Canada travel advice and advisories when planning any travel.

FAQs: Academic-related

Co-ops placements will continue unless suspended by the employer or host institution. For those concerned with continuing their co-ops, you have the option to suspend this activity. To understand how suspension will affect you, please contact your co-op consultant. If your co-op is with Georgian College, please follow directions for Georgian employees. For more co-op related FAQs, please visit the co-op page on the student portal.

We’re working on strategies to address those situations.

Update as of March 25: In an effort to offer as many options as possible for internet access, some WiFi signals have been boosted to reach some campus parking lots. Speed decreases the further you are away from the building but you can still get the signal.

Update as of March 27: At this time, we have no more loaner laptops available. If you are without a computer or internet access, please email servicespecialist@georgiancollege.ca so we are aware of your situation and can continue to work on finding solutions.

Please email itsupport@georgiancollege.ca and include your name, student number and the files you need. A service ticket will be created and staff will try to get you your files as soon as possible.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Georgian Stores is open for online orders
  • search Amazon’s used book market
  • search Facebook groups for used books: Orillia Georgian College Book Exchange, Georgian College Barrie Book Swap, Georgian College Used Textbooks
  • Contact the publisher. Some publishers are making textbooks open access during the health crisis. Use your college email.

When purchasing a used textbook, ensure you are getting the edition you need.

Since March 23, the Registrar’s Office has hosting several weekday information sessions via WebEx. Topics covered include how to access your courses, how to participate in group discussions, how to take a test and how to submit assignments. Read the article on the student portal for dates and times from March 30 to April 3, as well as log in instructions.

We know it’s a big adjustment! Staff from our Centre for Teaching and Learning have prepared a Student Remote Learning Kit with lots of great resources. Check it out. Don’t forget you can also connect with your student advisor remotely.

Update as of March 16: Online programs will continue as usual and we will move all in-person courses to remote delivery on March 23. In the case of the Lakehead-Georgian joint degree courses, they will move to remote delivery on March 18. All labs and clinics are suspended until further notice.

Update as of March 19: The winter 2020 semester is following the same dates. Most programs will be completed on April 17, 2020.

We understand that it may be difficult or impossible for you to update the requirements for your Clinical Preparedness Permit due to the impacts of COVID-19 on services in the province. We are continuing to monitor the situation with respect to permits, and will be working closely with our placement partners and other agencies to provide up-to-date information as it becomes available.

The date to withdraw without academic penalty deadline has been extended until April 3, 2020. Please connect with your advisor, academic co-ordinator or faculty member before you withdraw. There may be other options for you to be successful in the course.

The college is working through a number of situations. Please continue to monitor these FAQs and the student portal for updates.

Continuing Education programming (non-credit courses) is cancelled until further notice. Unlike full-time credit programming, we don’t have the same options to deliver non-credit courses online. If you’re registered in a Continuing Education non-credit course, staff will email you soon with specific information. You may be able to transfer to a course at a later date, or you can choose to receive a refund. For more information, please email ptsregistrar@georgiancollege.ca.

FAQs: Student Services-related

As we move from in-person to online courses, Georgian Student Services remain open to support you. Read how to contact each service and their hours of operation.

We realize this is a difficult time for everyone and our Mental Health and Well-being team is here to help.

Yes. If you were charged, paid for health insurance, and did not opt out, you are covered until August 31, 2020.

Update as of March 24: Following the Premier’s announcement to close all non-essential services in Ontario, all Georgian campuses are closed. Items cannot be retrieved from lockers until further notice, unless in the case of an emergency. In case of an emergency, please call Campus Safety Services at 705.722.5100.

You should deactivate your card by logging into your account. Here is a helpful video guide that shows you the steps.

Please note that a $10.80 fee is charged to replace a card. We will charge your Banner account, which you can then pay through online banking. Please contact ONEcard@georgiancollege.ca and we will assist you.

For Barrie students only: If you lose your ONEcard, which includes your U-Pass, you’ll still be able to take the bus. Barrie Transit is offering free service until April 6, 2020.

ONEcard can be loaded via online banking. See instructions on our ONEcard web page.

FAQs: Registrar’s Office-related

This includes the following services: admission, credit transfer, registration, records, fees, transcripts, enrolment verification, financial aid (OSAP), graduation and convocation.

All registrar employees are working remotely. We are here to help you and can provide the majority of services to you. You can email and call the same contacts. For more detailed questions, email registrar@georgiancollege.ca and we can assist you.

Student systems such as Blackboard and MyPath are still operating as normal. Most student systems are online portals that can be accessed from any computer with internet connection. Check the Student Portal for more information.

OSAP for winter 2020 will continue as usual. Amounts will not be reduced.

Yes, you can still apply for a Georgian Bursary on our website. Students who are experiencing a financial emergency can email us at financialaid@georgiancollege.ca for assistance.

For confirmations of enrolment and other verification, please scan (or take a picture) of the document that needs to be filled out and email it to registrar@georgiancollege.ca

We are not currently accepting in-person or phone payments while the college is closed. Tuition deposits/fees can be paid using any of these convenient methods:

  • Flywire (for international applicants/students)
  • banking app
  • online banking
  • online via Banner (only tuition deposits with a credit card).

For detailed instructions on how to pay, visit our finance and fees page. For details regarding Flywire payments, visit our international page.

If you’re a full-time student we can register you into the course and charge your Banner account, which you can pay online. If full fees have not been received within five days, you will be withdrawn from the course.

Any credit will be transferred to your future semesters. If you’re in your last semester, any credit will be refunded to you. Refunds take approximately two to three weeks to process. Cheques are mailed to the address in Banner.

  • Unofficial transcripts: Access your Banner account and select “Unofficial transcript”. This is a free copy of your transcript.
  • Official transcripts: Complete the request for transcript form and email to transcripts@georgiancollege.ca. The cost is $12 per copy. This charge will be added to your Banner account which you can pay through online banking. A PDF copy of your transcript will be emailed to the email address you indicate on the form.
  • Hard copies: Hard copies of transcripts will not be mailed while the college is closed. If you would like a hard copy mailed when the college re-opens, please indicate this on the form. If it is not indicated, no hard copy will be sent. Extenuating circumstances may be considered.

No decision has been made to postpone convocation taking place June 23 and 24. Please continue to monitor these FAQs and the graduation page for updates.

When you submitted your Application to Graduate, if you indicated you will be attending the convocation ceremony in June, then you will receive your credential at that time. If you are not planning to attend, you can contact convocation@georgiancollege.ca for information about having your credential mailed. Please note, credentials will not be mailed out while the campus is limited to essential services only, but will be mailed once full service is restored. Extenuating circumstances may be considered.

We’re still open for applications and planning for all intakes. Domestic applicants can apply via the OCAS website for summer 2020, fall 2020, winter 2021 and summer 2021 intakes.

FAQ about COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some transmit easily from person to person while others do not. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Source: Government of Canada

Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.

Symptoms of human coronaviruses may be very mild or more serious, such as:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands

These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

Hand hygiene

Your hands play a major role in the spread of bacteria and viruses that can cause illness.

Handwashing or using a hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent illness. It’s not new, but it works because it removes or kills germs before they can find their way into our bodies. As more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, proper hand hygiene is essential in protecting your health.

  • Proper handwashing: To make sure you’re washing your hands properly, use soap and water. Wet your hands. Add soap and rub your hands vigorously together for 15 seconds. Rinse hands and dry with a clean towel, then turn off the tap with the towel. It’s the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps free and remove germs. Also remember to keep nails short and clean, wash wrists and remove watches and jewellery when you wash your hands.
  • Proper hand sanitizing: Alcohol-based sanitizers and gels (minimum 60 per cent alcohol) are also an option, but should only be used when your hands are not visibly soiled or dirty. This is because they do not remove visible dirt. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. When using a gel or sanitizer, rub it on all surfaces of your hands until they’re dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in the gel kills non-visible germs that cause colds and the flu.

Protect yourself and others from getting sick:

  • Cover up when you cough or sneeze
  • Clean shared surfaces often. Cleaning with soap or detergent physically removes surface dirt and large numbers of germs. Don’t forget to clean commonly touched items like doorknobs, light switches and faucets. Regularly clean your desk and keyboard and avoid eating at your desk.
  • Stay at home if you are sick. When you’re sick, you can spread your illness to those you come in contact with. Stay home from work if you’re sick and keep your children home from school or child care when they have cold or flu symptoms such as fever, runny nose, dry cough, tiredness and muscle aches.

Everyday actions to maintain your immunity and prevent the spread of germs that cause illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.
  • Get plenty of sleep and manage your stress levels. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune functioning, thus lowering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can be dehydrating.
  • Use a lotion or moisturizing cream to prevent cracks in the skin that can provide an entry point for germs.
  • Be physically active by maintaining a moderate exercise program three to four times a week. It will strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s natural ability to fight infection.
  • Eat healthy, nutritious food; five to nine servings per day of fruits and vegetables is recommended.

If feeling unwell, you should:

  • stay home
  • contact your health-care provider or get free medical advice through Telehealth Ontario at 1.866.797.0000 (toll free)

More information

This page will be continually updated to reflect the most current information regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can also visit the Government of Canada website, or refer to the following resources:

Information for students

Georgian students are advised to visit the student portal for updates and more information about COVID-19.

Visit the student portal
Information for employees

Georgian employees are advised to visit the employee portal for updates and more information about COVID-19.

Visit the employee portal