Updates about COVID-19 - International Education Program
We will post summaries from our health authorities and guidelines from our international program here.  UPDATED NOVEMBER 16th -  Travelling to Canada
Updates about COVID-19 - International Education Program

We will post summaries from our health authorities and guidelines from our international program here.  UPDATED NOVEMBER 16th -  Travelling to Canada

November 16th   Update 

Preparation for Student Arrival in the Central Okanagan
Hello to our partners around the world. We have been so fortunate to welcome 33  new students since the border opening on October 20th.  We are now looking forward to meeting the rest of our students in January and February for semester 2.

There have been some changes to the requirements for entry into Canada. The changes have been added to the student guide. Please share the attached document: International Student Arrival Guide and New Student Information with your students.

 Change Summary
Requirements for travellers entering Canada by air as of November 21

Travellers flying to Canada as their final destination, must use ArriveCAN to submit their:

  • travel and contact information
  • quarantine plan
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessments

Travellers must:

  • submit their information before they board their flight to Canada
  • be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada. A border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally

All travellers must provide information after their entry into Canada.
Travellers must use ArriveCAN or call 1-833-641-0343 to:

  • confirm that they have arrived at the address they provided for your quarantine or isolation location within 48 hours of your entry into Canada
  • complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments during your quarantine period

Please also make your students aware of a scam that one student experienced in Canada. The IRCC-related scam is described at the link below.  Advise your international students, particularly those new students who are completing the 14 day quarantine requirement that although they can expect to receive calls to monitor their compliance, no legitimate authority that is calling will ever ask for money, bank account info, etc.
https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1203&top=31

Recommended Arrival Dates
 Semester 2 begins on February 1st.  We recommend an arrival date between January 15th – 18th (based on a 14-day quarantine). Orientation for students will be on-line during their quarantine period based on their arrival dates.  Recommended arrival dates and orientation dates and formats will be adjusted if the quarantine requirement changes in the new year. 

Students are required to complete a 14-day quarantine before physically attending classes. Hometay families will host students in their homes during the quarantine period.
Students must bring a study permit or port of entry letter of introduction and a valid letter of acceptance from their program. 

Travel Requirements

  • Students must have a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit (letter of introduction. Students will not be permitted to enter Canada for purposes of studying in programs of less than 6 months without a study permit. 
  • Students must be attending an approved designated learning institution. Schools in the Central Okanagan International Program are all on the approved list of designated institutions and has permission for the Government of Canada to host new students as of October 20th.
  • Student are travelling to Canada for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose. Travel to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if student have all of the required documents and their school is on the designated learning institution list. We will be sending a Non-Discretionary Travel Letter for each student to you next week.
  • Students should bring a signed copy of the Safety Protocol Acknowledgement Letter (page 14 of the International Student Arrival Guide attached). This form does not need to be sent to us ahead of time.

Travelling to Canada

  • Students travelling to Canada must pass a health check conducted by airlines before being allowed to board a flight.
  • Students must wear a non-medical mask or face covering during travel and wear a mask until they have arrived at the homestay location.
  • Students must provide basic contact information upon arrival using the Federal Arrive CAN Application.  
  • Students will be assessed by border security upon arrival to Canada. A border services officer will ask students when they arrive in Canada about the purpose of their visit and whether they are feeling ill or unwell. The border services officer may ask additional questions as part of their assessment. Officers will look for signs of illness, regardless of how students respond to screening questions. Officers will refer any traveller they suspect is ill for a further medical assessment by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Flight Information
Email flight information to international.education@sd23.bc.ca. Host families and/or a staff member will meet students at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and transport students to their homes by personal vehicle.
Students are asked to contact our emergency phone line +1-250-801-5684 if their arrival time changes or if they need any assistance during their travels. Students should also contact their homestay family if their arrival time at the Kelowna International Airport is changed.

14-Day Quarantine
International travellers arriving in Canada are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days. Our program has organized for student to quarantine in their homestay family's home during their 14-day quarantine. Once students arrive in their homestay, they will have clearly defined protocols and designated areas within the home.

Please find attached an International Student Arrival Guide which explains the self-isolation protocols in basic terms. Health authorities will be contacting students and the homestay families regularly to check how they are doing as well as ensure that isolation protocols are being followed. Students will receive phone calls from health authorities, government officials or local police officers during the self-isolation period. When contacting students during quarantine to ensure compliance, the Canadian Government will never ask for financial information.

Students must physical distancing from others, monitor their health, communicate their needs to their host families, engage in on-line orientation, participate in homestay coordinators' on-line sessions, stay physically active, and respect the guidelines of their host-families. We will do all that we can to keep students connected to program and school staff and engaged in learning opportunities virtually. We will also be monitoring students' health daily during this period of time. It is very crucial that students understand the importance* of following all requirements of self-quarantine.

Program Orientations and English Assessments
Program orientation sessions and English assessments for new students are scheduled from and January 19th – 22nd and from February 1st – 4th. All sessions will be delivered virtually during students' quarantine periods. Future orientation dates will be scheduled for late arrival students.

Community Update
We continue to be fortunate in the Central Okanagan to have small numbers of confirmed COVID cases despite the number of cases increasing in other communities in Canada and globally. As of today, there are 173 confirmed active cases in the Interior Health Region. Some of these cases are in the Kelowna area. Interior Health does not break down cases by community. 

Presently we have had a few confirmed cases in some Kelowna schools. When a student or staff member in a school has a confirmed case, the health authority contacts close contacts with direction regarding self-monitoring and/or self-isolaiton. The cohort system and the safety measures in place in our schools has provided the ability for our district to isolate groups of staff and students. All schools remain open for most staff and students. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.

Medical Insurance
Semester 2 students will receive their medical insurance policy number by email in early January.

Canadian Phone Plans
Signing up for a Canadian phone plan can be quite confusing--which is why we are making this as simple as possible for our students. Our partner PhoneBox is providing SIM cards to all homestay families. There will be a SIM card waiting for each student with your Canadian homestay family that students can easily activate during self-isolation. SIM cards can also be sent to students overseas in advance of their departure at no cost. This phone plan is not mandatory, however, we are providing this option for students so that they can be connected to a plan as quickly as possible. To simplify the process for international students to obtain a Canadian phone number and mobile phone plan prior to arrival (given the ArriveCan app and quarantine requirements) PhoneBox has prepared the following websites. You may wish to share this link with students for their consideration - https://try.gophonebox.com/newarrivals/ .  

School Update
Schools are at Stage 2 of the BC School Re-Start Plan. Stage 2 is designed to provide in-classroom instruction for all students while limiting the size of learning groups.  To limit learning group size, high schools in the Central Okanagan plan to use a quarterly schedule. Students are engaged in 2 courses per quarter plus additional courses outside the timetable (before or after school). High school students will receive 100% of the curriculum but attend 75% of the time (mornings every day and afternoons every other day).  Please read the attached Central Okanagan Fact Sheet for more details.

BC COVID App
An app is available to provide BC residents, students, and visitors with up to date information and resources including a self-isolation health monitoring tool. The app provides access to restart plans, statistics, testing information, on-line help, translated resources, etc. This may be a useful tool for students, parents and partners to get the latest news about our province. Please visit https://bc.thrive.health for more information about CB COVID app.


The Central Okanagan International Program team is looking forward to welcoming our students in semester 2. We will update our partners should any changes be made to the present travel requirements.


Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the Central International Education Program.

General Email - international.education@sd23.bc.ca  and homestay@sd23.bc.ca
Emergency Phone Number +1-250-801-5684

Kind regards,
Raquel Steen
District Principal

Important Attachments: Please find attached some documents to share with your students and families:

  • International Student Arrival Guide
  • New Student Information 2020-2021
  • BC K-12 Education Restart Plan
  • Central Okanagan Fact Sheet

 
Information Links
For an overview of COVID cases in BC please visit - COVID-19 Dashboard 
For an overview of the BC Education Restart Plan for K-12 please visit -  K-12 Education Restart Plan
For an overview of the BC Return to School Plan please visit -  Return to School Plan
For information about the new BC COVID app please visit – BC COVID-19 App


Attachments:
BC K-12 Education Re-Start Plan.pdf
Fact sheets.docx
Student Arrival Guide - Updated November 15.pdf
Student Information - 2020-2021 Semester 2.pdf


October 20th  Update
Preparation for Student Arrival in the Central Okanagan in November & February
Greetings from the Central Okanagan. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we awaited news regarding the border order. As of October 20, 2020, designated learning institutions (DLIs) are now able to reopen to international students who are not currently in Canada. We are ready to welcome our students to the Central Okanagan when they have their required documentation.  Please share the attached document: International Student Arrival Guide and New Student Information with your students.

Community Update
We continue to be fortunate in the Central Okanagan to have limited COVID cases despite the number of cases increasing in other communities in Canada and globally. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.
 
Recommended Arrival Dates
Quarter 2 begins in all our high schools on November 16th.  If students have the required documents to travel to Canada, our recommended arrival dates are between October 29th and November 1st (based on a 14-day quarantine). Students may arrive earlier if they have the required documents. We will transition them into their schools as soon as possible. Orientation for students will be on-line during their quarantine period based on their arrival dates.

Semester 2 begins on February 1st.  For semester 2 students, we recommend an arrival date between January 15th – 18th (based on a14-day quarantine). Orientation for students will be on-line during their quarantine period based on their arrival dates.  Recommended arrival dates and orientation dates and formats will be adjusted if the quarantine requirement changes in the new year. 

Students are required to complete a 14-day quarantine before physically attending classes. Hometay families will host students in their homes during the quarantine period.
Students must bring a study permit or port of entry letter of introduction and a valid letter of acceptance from their program. 

Flight Information
Email flight information to international.education@sd23.bc.ca. Host families and/or a staff member will meet students at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and transport students to their homes by personal vehicle.
Students are asked to contact our emergency phone line +1-250-801-5684 if their arrival time changes or if they need any assistance during their travels. Students should also contact their homestay family if their arrival time at the Kelowna International Airport is changed.

Travel Requirements

  • Students must have a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit (letter of introduction. Students will not be permitted to enter Canada for purposes of studying in programs of less than 6 months without a study permit. 
  • Students must be attending an approved designated learning institution. Schools in the Central Okanagan International Program are all on the approved list of designated institutions and has permission for the Government of Canada to host new students as of October 20th.
  • Student are travelling to Canada for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose. Travel to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if student have all of the required documents and their school is on the designated learning institution list. We will be sending a Non-Discretionary Travel Letter for each student to you next week.
  • Students should bring a signed copy of the Safety Protocol Acknowledgement Letter (page 14 of the International Student Arrival Guide attached)

 
Travelling to Canada

  • Students travelling to Canada must pass a health check conducted by airlines before being allowed to board a flight.
  • Students must wear a non-medical mask or face covering during travel and wear a mask until they have arrived at the homestay location.
  • Students must provide basic contact information upon arrival using the Federal Arrive CAN Application.  
  • Students will be assessed by border security upon arrival to Canada. A border services officer will ask students when they arrive in Canada about the purpose of their visit and whether they are feeling ill or unwell. The border services officer may ask additional questions as part of their assessment. Officers will look for signs of illness, regardless of how students respond to screening questions. Officers will refer any traveller they suspect is ill for a further medical assessment by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

 
14-Day Quarantine
International travellers arriving in Canada are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days. Our program has organized for student to quarantine in their homestay family's home during their 14-day quarantine. Once students arrive in their homestay, they will have clearly defined protocols and designated areas within the home.

Please find attached an International Student Arrival Guide which explains the self-isolation protocols in basic terms. Health authorities will be contacting students and the homestay families regularly to check how they are doing as well as ensure that isolation protocols are being followed. Students will receive phone calls from health authorities, government officials or local police officers during the self-isolation period. When contacting students during quarantine to ensure compliance, the Canadian Government will never ask for financial information.

Students must physical distancing from others, monitor their health, communicate their needs to their host families, engage in on-line orientation, participate in homestay coordinators' on-line sessions, stay physically active, and respect the guidelines of their host-families. We will do all that we can to keep students connected to program and school staff and engaged in learning opportunities virtually. We will also be monitoring students' health daily during this period of time. It is very crucial that students understand the importance* of following all requirements of self-quarantine.

Medical Insurance
Semester 1 students will receive their medical insurance policy number by email once we have received their flight information. Semester 2 students will receive their medical insurance policy number by email in early January.

Canadian Phone Plans
Signing up for a Canadian phone plan can be quite confusing--which is why we are making this as simple as possible for our students. Our partner PhoneBox is providing SIM cards to all homestay families. There will be a SIM card waiting for each student with your Canadian homestay family that students can easily activate during self-isolation. SIM cards can also be sent to students overseas in advance of their departure at no cost. This phone plan is not mandatory, however, we are providing this option for students so that they can be connected to a plan as quickly as possible. To simplify the process for international students to obtain a Canadian phone number and mobile phone plan prior to arrival (given the ArriveCan app and quarantine requirements,) PhoneBox has prepared the following websites. You may wish to share this link with students for their consideration - https://try.gophonebox.com/newarrivals/ . 

Cell Phone App
iCent is a mobile app designed for our international students. This app provides students with important information and is used for activity sign up during your stay in the Central Okanagan. Instructions about signing up for iCent will be sent in August. For more information about iCent please visit:  https://www.icentapp.com/

School Update
Schools continue to report that students are happy to be back at school engaging with teachers in-person once again. Students have adjusted well to the health and safety regulations and procedures that are in place. Schools are at Stage 2 of the BC School Re-Start Plan. Stage 2 is designed to provide in-classroom instruction for all students while limiting the size of learning groups. 

Elementary and middle school students attend full-time as in previous years. To limit learning group size, high schools in the Central Okanagan plan to use a quarterly schedule. Students are engaged in 2 courses per quarter plus additional courses outside the timetable (before or after school). High school students will receive 100% of the curriculum but attend 75% of the time (mornings every day and afternoons every other day).  Please read the attached Central Okanagan Fact Sheet for more details.
 
Tuition Payments
All payments are due prior to students' arrival in Canada.

BC COVID App
An app is available to provide BC residents, students, and visitors with up to date information and resources including a self-isolation health monitoring tool. The app provides access to restart plans, statistics, testing information, on-line help, translated resources, etc. This may be a useful tool for students, parents and partners to get the latest news about our province. Please visit https://bc.thrive.health for more information about CB COVID app.

Study Permit Processing Timelines
IRCC is currently focused on finalizing Stage 2 approvals and other applications for those attending schools that are on the approved list. The wait time for approvals is dependent on VAC availability.  For a link to the list of VACs that are open please click here. We recognize that the study permit application process has been delayed. We will continue to adjust start dates, orientation dates, and homestay dates accordingly as students receive their study permits and we have a better idea of student arrival dates. Our schools and host families are ready to welcome students when they are able to arrive. 

School Programming Update
Schools is in Stage 2 of the BC School Re-Start Plan. Stage 2 is designed to provide in-classroom instruction for all students while limiting the size of learning groups. Elementary and middle school students will attend full-time as in previous years. To limit learning group size, high schools in the Central Okanagan plan to use a quarterly schedule. Students are engaged in 2 courses per quarter plus additional courses outside the timetable (before or after school). High school students will receive 100% of the curriculum but attend 75% of the time (mornings every day and afternoons every other day). Please read the attached Central Okanagan Restart Plan for more details. Schools are reporting a successful startup. The response from the community has been incredibly positive and local media reports have focused on the positive work that has been done in our schools. Together our school staff members and leaders have set the conditions to meet our learners academic and social emotional needs during the pandemic.

Program Orientations and English Assessments
Program orientation sessions and English assessments for new students are scheduled from November 9th – 13th and January 19th – 22nd.  All sessions will be delivered virtually during students' quarantine periods. Future orientation dates will be scheduled for late arrival students.

The Central Okanagan International Program in committed to supporting students with a high quality education program and a positive cultural experience in Canada. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the Central International Education Program.

General Email - international.education@sd23.bc.ca  and homestay@sd23.bc.ca
Emergency Phone Number +1-250-801-5684

Kind regards,
Raquel Steen
District Principal

Important Attachments: Please find attached some documents to share with your students and families:

  • International Student Arrival Guide
  • New Student Information 2020-2021
  • BC K-12 Education Restart Plan
  • Central Okanagan Fact Sheet

 
Information Links
For an overview of COVID cases in BC please visit - COVID-19 Dashboard 
For an overview of the BC Education Restart Plan for K-12 please visit -  K-12 Education Restart Plan
For an overview of the BC Return to School Plan please visit -  Return to School Plan
For information about the new BC COVID app please visit – BC COVID-19 App

Attachments:
BC K-12 Education Re-Start Plan.pdf
Central Okanagan Fact Sheet.pdf
International Student Arrival Guide - Updated October 20.pdf
New Student Information - 2020-2021.pdf

Update October 11th

Greetings from the Central Okanagan. As we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, we wanted to begin this update by expressing our gratitude for the collaborative partnership we have with you and your team. We are thankful to work with such dedicated people around the world who aim to provide amazing study abroad opportunities for young people. Thank you for your continued support of our program.

We received positive news from our government that a border exemption for international students will begin on October 20th allowing international students to enter Canada if their designated learning institution has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place. Our school district has been approved to welcome students.

We have also received the following important information:

1) Requirement to Have a Study Permit: 

International students must have a valid study permit or a letter of 'approval' or "introduction" in order to qualify under the exemption.  Students will not be permitted to enter Canada for purposes of studying in programs of less than 6 months without a study permit. 

2) Study Permit Processing Timelines:

IRCC is currently focused on preparing for October 20th and will look at finalizing Stage 2 approvals and other applications for those attending institutions or K-12 provinces that are on the approved list. The wait time for approvals is dependent on VAC availability.  Presently about 60% of VACs are currently open.  For a link to the list of VACs that are open please click here

School Options Update

Quarter 2 begins in all our high schools on November 16thWe will continue to keep spaces in the schools for students with a November start date unless we receive confirmation from you that your students have decided to:

  • defer to February
  • defer to next year
  • cancel their program.

Currently, if students have the required documents to travel to Canada, our recommended arrival dates are between October 29th and November 1st.  Students may arrive earlier if they have the required documents. We will transition them into their schools as soon as possible. Orientation for students will be on-line during their quarantine period based on their arrival dates. Please send flight information to international.education@sd23.bc.ca

Semester 2/Quarter 3 begins on February 1st.  For semester 2 students, we recommend an arrival date between January 15th – 18th (based on a a 14-day quarantine). Orientation for students will be on-line during their quarantine period based on their arrival dates, unless the quarantine requirement changes by the new year. Please send flight information to international.education@sd23.bc.ca 

School Programming Update

Schools have re-opened and are reporting a successful startup. The response from the community has been incredibly positive and local media reports have focused on the positive work that has been done in our schools. Together our school staff members and leaders have set the conditions to meet our learners academic and social emotional needs during the pandemic. School sports can now hold practices at this time with the possibility of inter-school competition coming in the near future upon approval by health authorities. Attached, please find the Ministry of Education update with data about the pandemic here in BC, Canada and the world. The province of British Columbia is doing well as a jurisdiction and to date, the Interior Health Region has only had 3 school exposures with none in the Central Okanagan. This data may be comforting for you and for your students and their parents as they struggle with the decision to travel, defer or cancel.

Community Update

We continue to be very fortunate in the Central Okanagan to have limited COVID cases despite the number of cases increasing in other communities in Canada and globally. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.

Study Permit Delays

We recognize that the study permit application process has been delayed. We will continue to adjust start dates, orientation dates, and homestay dates accordingly as students receive their study permits and we have a better idea of student arrival dates. Students taking on-line courses must be in the process of applying for a study permit. Our schools and host families are ready to welcome students when they are able to arrive. 

We look forward to welcoming new students very soon. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the Central International Education Program.

Ministry of Education Report_Oct_2020.pdf 

Update October 2nd

We have received positive news from our government. A border exemption for international students was announced today and will begin on October 20th. This is such positive news after a long wait. We are expecting more details next week regarding required documents. We are on the approved institution list to welcome students. I will send out more information once we have official directions from our government.

" Amended travel restrictions will take effect on October 20, allowing international students to enter Canada if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place. Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all necessary authorizations to qualify to come to Canada under the new rules."

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/10/update-on-travel-restriction-exemptions-for-international-students.html

More details will be sent next week.. Quarter 2 begins in all of our high schools on November 16th.

September 30 Update  

Greetings from the Central Okanagan. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during another month of waiting for news regarding the border order. We have received notice that the border restrictions will remain in place until October 31st. Order in Council was renewed with no further exemptions at this time. Exemptions can be implemented at any time, not just at the time of expiry of the orde

We continue to remain hopeful that the student exemptions will change this fall but completely understand if students want to defer or cancel their program due to the on-going uncertainty. We will keep spaces in the schools for your students with a November start date unless we receive confirmation from you that your students have decided to defer to February, defer to next year or to cancel their program.

School Options Update

For student still unable to arrive in Canada, the Central Okanagan International Program is offering the following options.

  • Option 1 – Shorten program with a new start date of November 1st (quarter 2 begins on November 16th)
  • Option 2 - Defer to second semester
  • Option 3 - Defer to the 2021-2022 school year
  • Option 4 - Participate in on-line learning until student can arrive for in-person learning
  • Option 5 - Cancel registration. 

School Programming Update

Schools have re-opened and are reporting a successful start up. It is wonderful to have students back in the schools engaging with teachers in-person once again. School sports can now hold practices at this time with the possibility of inter-school competition coming in the near future upon approval by health authorities. Monday is World Teacher Day. We are very fortunate to have amazing dedicated teachers in our district who continue to go above and beyond every day for students. Happy World Teacher's Day to all teachers around the world.

Community Update

We continue to be very fortunate in the Central Okanagan to have limited COVID cases despite the number of cases increasing in other communities in Canada and globally. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.

Present Travel exemptions and restriction for international students

To be able to enter Canada, students must meet 2 requirements:

  1. Students must be travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.
  2. Students must be 1 of the following:
  • an international student with a valid study permit 
  • an international student who was approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020 or
  • travelling directly from the US

Student travel to Canada may be considered non-discretionary as a student if:

  • student already lives in Canada
  • student needs to be in Canada for your program (for laboratory work, workshops, or similar)
  • student's school is not offering online study options
  • student can't study online from home country because of internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations
  • student can't participate in live online classes from home country because of the difference in time zones

Border services officers will make the final decision on whether your reason for travelling to Canada is non-discretionary or non-optional. We will provide documentation to support students coming for in-person instruction.

Study Permit Delays

We recognize that the study permit application process has been delayed. We will continue to adjust start dates, orientation dates, and homestay dates accordingly as students receive their study permits and we have a better idea of student arrival dates. Students taking on-line courses must be in the process of applying for a study permit. Our schools and host families are ready to welcome students when they are able to arrive. 

We look forward to supporting students with a high quality education program on-line and in our community once they are able to arrive here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the Central International Education Program.

 

August 30th Update  

Greetings from the Central Okanagan. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we awaited news regarding the border order. We have received notice that the border restrictions will remain in place until September 30th.  Our provincial government continues to engage in active dialogue about border exemptions. The province of British Columbia is in a good position to welcome students if the Canadian government considers regional exemptions for border openings this fall.

Present Travel exemptions and restriction for international students

To be able to enter Canada, students must meet 2 requirements:

  1. Students must be travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.
  2. Students must be 1 of the following:
  • an international student with a valid study permit or who was approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020  or
  • travelling directly from the US

Student travel to Canada may be considered non-discretionary as a student if:

  • student already lives in Canada
  • student needs to be in Canada for your program (for laboratory work, workshops, or similar)
  • student's school is not offering online study options
  • student can't study online from home country because of internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations
  • student can't participate in live online classes from home country because of the difference in time zones

Border services officers will make the final decision on whether your reason for travelling to Canada is non-discretionary or non-optional. We will provide documentation to support students coming for in-person instruction.

School Options Update

For student unable to arrive in Canada until the border order changes, the Central Okanagan International Program is offering the following options.

  • Option 1 - Participate in on-line learning until student can arrive for in-person learning
  • Option 2 – Shorten program with a new start date of October 1st or later
  • Options 3 - Defer to second semester
  • Option 4 - Defer to the 2020-2021 school year
  • Option 5 - Cancel registration

Option 1

Student will be registered in 2 on-line courses at a time. Student receives credit for courses once course is complete and student has arrived in BC. Prior to commencing on-line learning, tuition must be paid and agreement signed that confirms an intent to study in BC once border restrictions allow entry into Canada. (government requirements).  

If possible, student arrives in October or early November. Quarter 2 begins on November 16th.  Student would receive virtual ELL support and participate in homestay check ins on-line until arrival date. 

Option 2

Student attends school in home country.  When border restrictions change, student begins school in BC.  All fees due prior to student arrival in the program. Tuition, medical and homestay fees pro-rated based on month of student arrival.

Option 3

Student defers to semester 2. No additional fees. Full year student refunded for semester 1.

Option 4

Student defers to the 2021-2022 school year.  Student placed at same school or another school of preference. 

Option 5

Student cancels program.

School Programming Update

Schools will re-open at Stage 2 of the BC School Re-Start Plan. Stage 2 is designed to provide in-classroom instruction for all students while limiting the size of learning groups.

Elementary and middle school students will attend full-time as in previous years. To limit learning group size, high schools in the Central Okanagan plan to use a quarterly schedule. Students will be engaged in 2 courses per quarter plus additional courses outside the timetable (before or after school). High school students will receive 100% of the curriculum but attend 75% of the time (mornings every day and afternoons every other day). 

Community Update

We continue to be very fortunate in the Central Okanagan to have limited COVID cases despite the busy tourist season. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.

BC COVID App

A new app is available to provide BC residents, students, and visitors with up to date information and resources including a self-isolation health monitoring tool. The app provides access to restart plans, statistics, testing information, on-line help, translated resources, etc. This may be a useful tool for students, parents and partners to get the latest news about our province. Please visit https://bc.thrive.health for more information about CB COVID app.

 Study Permit Delays

We recognize that the study permit application process has been delayed. We will continue to adjust start dates, orientation dates, and homestay dates accordingly as students receive their study permits and we have a better idea of student arrival dates. Our schools and host families are ready to welcome students when they are able to arrive. 

Flight Information

For students who are able to enter Canada under the present restrictions or students who are awaiting news of border changes, please email flight information, if any, to international.education@sd23.bc.ca. Host families and/or a staff member will meet students at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and transport students to their homes by personal vehicle.

Required Travel Documents

 International travellers arriving in British Columbia are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, must submit complete the federal ArriveCAN application for approval prior to enter BC and to Canada. Students will use their homestay address, phone number and information for their identified location.

14-Day Quarantine

Our program has organized for student to quarantine in their homestay family's home during their 14-day quarantine. Students have been placed with families who will welcome students into their homes during the 14-day period and for their study term.

Program Orientations and English Assessments: Program orientation sessions and English assessments for new students are scheduled from September 1st – 8th.  All sessions will be delivered virtually during students' quarantine periods. Future orientation dates will be scheduled for late arrival students.

Important Attachments: Please find attached some documents to share with your students and families:

  • Central Okanagan Return to School Plan
  • International Student Arrival Guide – September 2020
  • BC K-12 Education Restart Plan

Information Links

For an overview of the BC Government Restart Plan please visit – BC Restart Plan

For an overview of COVID cases in BC please visit - COVID-19 Dashboard 

For an overview of the BC Education Restart Plan for K-12 please visit -  K-12 Education Restart Plan

For an overview of the BC Return to School Plan please visit -  Return to School Plan

For an overview of Health & Safety Guidelines please visit – BC Schools Operational Guidelines

For information about the new BC COVID app please visit – BC COVID-19 App

Contact Information

General Email - international.education@sd23.bc.ca  and homestay@sd23.bc.ca

Emergency Phone Number +1-250-801-5684

The Central Okanagan International Program want to continue to work with you to provide the best possible options for your students. We look forward to supporting students with a high quality education program on-line and in our community once they are able to arrive her. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the Central International Education Program.

August 23rd Update

With a few weeks away from school start up, we continue to anxiously await news regarding our border restrictions. In the meantime, we are sending the latest update about school planning, on-line learning, program fees and a new COVID app.  As always, with this update comes positive well wishes to everyone during these challenging times.

Community Update

We continue to be very fortunate in the Central Okanagan to have limited COVID cases despite the busy tourist season. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.

Travel Restrictions and Entry Requirements

The present border order expires on August 31st. Our provincial government is aware that the Central Okanagan is ready to welcome international students while following the Canadian and BC travel requirements. We remain hopeful that study permits will be processed in a timely manner and students with valid study permits will be able to enter Canada sometime this fall. We will communicate information as soon as we receive an update regarding border restrictions.

Students with study permits (dates prior to March 18th), required travel documents, and district letters have arrived in the Central Okanagan over the past few weeks and are with their host families during their 14-day self-quarantine period. District staff are connecting with students on a regular basis.

BC COVID App

A new app is available to provide BC residents, students, and visitors with up to date information and resources including a self-isolation health monitoring tool. The app provides access to restart plans, statistics, testing information, on-line help, translated resources, etc. This may be a useful tool for students, parents and partners to get the latest news about our province. Please visit https://bc.thrive.health for more information about CB COVID app.

School District Update

Our school staffs are preparing for the start of school and will be implementing increased health and safety measures designed for school settings. The start of classes has been delayed 2 days to provide an opportunity for staff to learn the new safety guidelines and prepare fully for students to arrive. In person classroom instruction will commence on September 10th. 

Schools will re-open at Stage 2 of the BC School Re-Start Plan. Stage 2 is designed to provide in-classroom instruction for all students while limited the size of learning groups. To limit learning group size, high schools in the Central Okanagan plan to use a quarterly schedule. Students will be engaged in 2 courses per quarter plus additional courses offered before and after school. Students will participate in a minimum of 4 courses per semester.  A quarterly schedule will also provide opportunity for students to enter learning cohorts late in case there are extended study permit delays. Elementary and middle schools schedules will be consistent with previous years.

Distance Learning Option Update

Our provincial government has opened possible distance learning opportunities for students who plan to attend full-time classes in our district once they are able to enter Canada. We will work with our partners to provide learning opportunities for students who require and/or chose to take advantage of interim on-line options. Once we have more information regarding travel restrictions, we will provide more details about these possible interim learning options.

Study Permit Delays

We recognize that the study permit application process has been delayed. We will continue to adjust start dates, orientation dates, and homestay dates accordingly as students receive their study permits and we have a better idea of student arrival dates. Our schools and host families are ready to welcome students when they are able to arrive.

Flight Information

For students who are able to enter Canada under the present restrictions or students who are awaiting news of border changes, please email flight information, if any, to international.education@sd23.bc.ca. Host families and/or a staff member will meet students at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and transport students to their homes by personal vehicle.

Students are asked to contact our emergency phone line +1 -250-801-5684 if their arrival time changes or if they need any assistance during their travels. Students should also contact their homestay family if their arrival time at the Kelowna International Airport is changed.

Students must travel with a face mask to all Canadian destinations.  Students should also bring hand sanitizer, gloves, and additional masks. Students must wear a mask in the Kelowna

 Required Travel Documents

International travellers arriving in British Columbia are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, must submit a BC Support for Travelers Self Isolation Plan Form, and complete the federal ArriveCAN application for approval prior to enter BC and to Canada. Students will use their homestay address, phone number and information for their identified location.

Required Documents Summary

  1. Complete BC Support for Travelers Self Isolation Plan Form (see attached).
  2. Send copy to international.education@sd23.bc.ca
  3. Complete and submit the same form online under https://travelscreening.gov.bc.ca/
  4. Bring printed copy of Support for Travelers Self-Isolation Plan in their carry-on luggage/phone
  5. Download arrive Canada app and fill out form upon arrival ArriveCAN app for Android or ArriveCAN app for iOS

14-Day Quarantine

Our program has organized for student to quarantine in their homestay family's home during their 14-day quarantine. Students have been placed with families who will welcome students into their homes during the 14-day period and for their study term. Once students arrive in their homestay, they will have clearly defined protocols and designated areas within the home. Please find attached an International Student Arrival Guide which explains the self-isolation protocols in basic terms. Health authorities will be contacting students and the homestay families to check how they are doing as well as ensure that isolation protocols are being followed. Students will receive phone calls from health authorities, government officials or local police officers during the self-isolation period. When contacting students during quarantine to ensure compliance, the Canadian Government will never ask for financial information.

Students must physically distance from others, monitor their health, communicate their needs to their host families, engage in on-line orientation, participate in homestay coordinators' on-line sessions, stay physically active, and respect the guidelines of their host-families. We will do all that we can to keep students connected to program and school staff and engaged in learning opportunities virtually. We will also be monitoring students' health daily during this period of time. It is very crucial that students understand the importance* of following all requirements of self-quarantine.

Program Orientations and English Assessments

Program orientation sessions and English assessments for new students are scheduled from September 1st – 8th.  All sessions will be delivered virtually during students' quarantine periods. Future orientation dates will be scheduled for late arrival students.

Information Links

For an overview of the BC Government Restart Plan please visit – BC Restart Plan

For an overview of COVID cases in BC please visit - COVID-19 Dashboard 

For an overview of the BC Education Restart Plan for K-12 please visit -  K-12 Education Restart Plan

For an overview of the BC Return to School Plan please visit -  Return to School Plan

For an overview of Health & Safety Guidelines please visit – BC Schools Operational Guidelines

For information about the new BC COVID app please visit – BC COVID-19 App

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the Central International Education Program.


Update ​August 1st, 2020

 It has been a hot and sunny summer in the Central Okanagan Valley. Many people have been able to enjoy all that the region has to offer for both indoor and outdoor activities. As always, with this update comes positive well wishes to everyone during these challenging times.

 School District Update

The provincial government announced this week that schools will be re-opening for full-time instruction in September. Our school district will implement additional health and safety measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, following the guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control. For more information about school places please visit -  BC Government Return to School Plan

Community Update

The Central Okanagan is an active tourist community over the summer. Most businesses are open and continue to follow health guidelines to ensure the safety of guests. The health risk in the Central Okanagan and number of reported COVID cases in our region remains low despite the influx of tourism in our cities.  For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 in BC, please visit. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard. The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Health Region.

Travel Restrictions and Entry Requirements

Canada has extended travel restrictions for most foreign travellers until August 31st with a new Order in Council.  Negotiations are still ongoing between the BC and Canadian governments for international student exemptions – at this time only students with a study permit dated prior to March 18th, 2020 are allowed into Canada. We are very hopeful that this situation will change in the coming weeks. For those students who are able to enter Canada under these restrictions, please contact us if a travel letter is required by the airline. Email requests to international.education@sd23.bc.ca.

Presently international travellers arriving in British Columbia are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, must submit a BC Support for Travelers Self Isolation Plan Form, and complete the federal ArriveCAN application for approval prior to enter BC and to Canada. Students will use their homestay address, phone number and information for their identified location.

Required Documents Summary

  1. Complete BC Support for Travelers Self Isolation Plan Form (see attached).
  2. Send copy to international.education@sd23.bc.ca (so we can verify accurate homestay info)
  3. Complete and submit the same form online under https://travelscreening.gov.bc.ca/
  4. Bring printed copy of Support for Travelers Self-Isolation Plan in their carry-on luggage/phone
  5. Download arrive Canada app and fill out form upon arrival ArriveCAN app for Android or ArriveCAN app for iOS

14-Day Quarantine

Our program has organized for student to quarantine in their homestay family's home during their 14-day quarantine. Students have been placed with families who will welcome students into their homes during the 14-day period and for their study term. Once students arrive in their homestay, they will have clearly defined protocols and designated areas within the home. Please find attached an International Student Arrival Guide which explains the self-isolation protocols in basic terms. Health authorities will be contacting students and the homestay families regularly to check how they are doing as well as ensure that isolation protocols are being followed. Students will receive phone calls from health authorities, government officials or local police officers during the self-isolation period. When contacting students during quarantine to ensure compliance, the Canadian Government will never ask for financial information.

Students must physical distancing from others, monitor their health, communicate their needs to their host families, engage in on-line orientation, participate in homestay coordinators' on-line sessions, stay physically active, and respect the guidelines of their host-families. We will do all that we can to keep students connected to program and school staff and engaged in learning opportunities virtually. We will also be monitoring students' health daily during this period of time. It is very crucial that students understand the importance* of following all requirements of self-quarantine.

*This quarantine period is in compliance with the Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act, requiring mandatory quarantine upon arrival. The 14-day quarantine requirements are in accordance with the requirements set out in the Emergency Order Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation) No. 3. Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance. We note that in addition to the offenses under the Quarantine Act, international students may face consequences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, such as being deemed inadmissible and subject to a removal order, for any non-compliance with quarantine requirements under the Quarantine Act. International students will be reminded that a student permit alone is not a travel authorization. IRCC will communicate to international students once travel authorization has been granted and remind them that this authorization may be cancelled if the circumstances in their destined institution or province change.

Flight Information

  • Please send flight information to international.education@sd23.bc.ca
  • Host families and/or a staff member will meet students at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and transport students to their homes by personal vehicle.
  • Students are asked to contact our emergency phone line +1 -250-801-5684 if their arrival time changes or if they need any assistance during their travels. Students should also contact their homestay family if their arrival time at the Kelowna International Airport is changed.

Students must travel with a face mask to all Canadian destinations.  Students should also bring hand sanitizer, gloves,  and additional masks. Students must wear a mask in the Kelowna

Study Permit Delays

We recognize that the study permit application process has been delayed. We will continue to adjust start dates, orientation dates, homestay dates accordingly as students receive their study permits and we have a better idea of student arrival dates.

Program Orientations and English Assessments

Program orientation sessions and English assessments for new students are scheduled from September 1st – 8th. These sessions will be delivered virtually during students' quarantine periods. Please see the attached: Student Information – September 2020 for dates and other key information about the Central Okanagan Fall Session 2020-2021.

Information Links

For an overview of the BC Government Restart Plan please visit – BC Restart Plan

For an overview of COVID cases in BC please visit - COVID-19 Dashboard  (Central Okanagan is in the Interior)

For an overview of the BC Education Restart Plan for K-12 please visit -  K-12 Education Restart Plan

For an overview of the BC Return to School Plan please visit -  Return to School Plan

 

Update ​June 29th, 2020

Greetings from the Central Okanagan. Below is the latest update on our program and community.  As always, with this update comes positive well wishes to everyone during these challenging times.

Community Update

The Central Okanagan is once again a vibrant community where everyone is enjoying the warm sunny weather, the breathtaking scenery, and the many cultural and outdoor activities in the region. Almost all businesses are open and continue to follow health guidelines to ensure the safety of guests. It has been interesting to see the many creative ways our busy tourist hub has adjusted to the new normal while continuing to provide a fun vacation opportunities and experiences in our cities. The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low and we have had no reported cases in our region since the June 7th update.

At the provincial level, British Columbia remains in Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan with additional openings of cinemas, swimming pools, children's' day camps and our film industry, "Hollywood North". Currently, most Canadians and citizens are travelling locally, and our national borders remain closed to non-essential travelers, however, our airlines have added additional flights and have recalled employees in preparation for an expansion of more international travel very soon. For an overview of the plan please visit – BC Restart Plan.

School District Update

In Central Okanagan Public Schools, we continued in Phase 3 of the K-12 Restart Plan during the month of June. Many stories of success in our District during COVID and beyond can be found in this year's edition of "Together We Learn". Click here to access the Together We Learn June Edition.  Also included as an attachment is the Central Okanagan Public Schools Superintendent of Schools/CEO Year in Review 2019-2020.

Overall, students have achieved well in their studies. Our school staffs have worked hard to support students in-person and virtually across the globe to ensure that all learners experienced success.  Students who returned home remained connected to teachers throughout the final school term despite time zones and technology obstacles. This is a testament to the students' efforts and motivation to succeed in their studies, as well as to the hard work and dedication of the Central Okanagan teachers and support staff. Finally, congratulations to the many international students graduated this year.

The government of BC has stated that the plan for K-12 schools is to return to full-time in-person classes (phase 5) in September 2020 should it remain safe to do so.  For an overview of the full BC Education Restart Plan please visit - K-12 Education Restart Plan.

Homestay & Activity Update

For our June activity, homestay families and their students enjoyed a round of golf together at 19 Greens. In additions, last week, students participated in a unique outdoor adventure at Myra Canyon Adventure Park, with 9 aerial tree-top courses and one of the largest ropes and challenge courses in Canada.

Homestay coordinators continued to meet by zoom with students weekly in June and hosted in-person good-bye events for students either at the school or in a local park. Students enjoyed being together again where they signed Canadian flags and received their program certificates. We want to wish all of our students safe travels home and the best of luck in their future. We hope that they have enjoyed their time in the Central Okanagan and have positive lifelong memories of this truly adventurous time…

Gratitude

As the 2019/20 school year comes to an end,we would like to thank everyone for your support of our students and our program. This has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges and together our district and our partners have overcome each one. Exceptional collaborative work has been done by staff, parents, homestay parents, community members and our global partners. The hard work, flexibility, and innovative problem solving have confirmed our belief that we have amazing people working around the world and throughout the school district with student best interests in mind. We know how much effort you have put into supporting all our students. Thank you for everything.

Superintendent of Schools-CEO Year in Review 2019-2020.pdf

Program Information – CENTRAL OKANAGAN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION

Update ​June 7th, 2020

 Greetings from the Central Okanagan. We hope the situation in your part of the world is continuing to improve.

 Community Update

The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low. There has been several weeks with no new reported cases in our community. This week the provincial health officer released a more detailed breakdown of each region. The Okanagan region had a total of 97 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. This includes North, South and Central Okanagan. All cases of COVID-19 in our region are resolved. At the provincial level, British Columbia had only 1 new case reported in total yesterday. This is also very good news for our province. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard.

British Columbia has moved to phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan with the re-opening of almost all services and businesses including stores, parks, restaurants, hair salons, hotels, recreation facilities, museums and campgrounds. In Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country, our 4 communities, students are now able to enjoy the beaches and parks, go shopping at the mall, meet up with friends in small groups at restaurants, have fun golfing, hiking, swimming, visit museums and galleries, go the drive-in outdoor theater etc. The weather is warm and sunny, and life has returned to a new "normal" here. For an overview of the plan please visit – BC Restart Plan.

School District Update

On June 1st our schools re-opened for in-class learning. Students are scheduled to attend school one or two days a week. Students who need additional support in their courses can attend 5 days a week. Teachers and school staff welcomed thousands of our students back to school throughout the week. It was great to see so many happy and healthy students return to in-class learning. In the Central Okanagan we are currently in Phase 3 of the K-12 Restart Plan with the goal of returning to full-time classes (phase 5) in September 2020. For an overview of the full BC Education Restart Plan please visit - K-12 Education Restart Plan. For more detailed outlines of the safety plans for schools please see the links at the end of this update.

Homestay & Activity Update

Homestay coordinators continue to meet by zoom with students who are back home and in Canada. ELL teachers also join these meetings to connect with students about school assignments and answer any academic questions that they have. Homestay coordinators and ESL teachers are planning in-person school-based yearend events. Students will receive a Canadian flag and their participation certificate. Our activities coordinator continues to organize monthly program activities that meet the guidelines of the health authority. In May, international students and their host families participated in a hike and ice cream activity ("Ice-cursion"). The first activity in June will be a mini-golf family outing at 19-Greens. This golf putting course overlooks the Okanagan lake and valley.

Gratitude

Thank you for your continued support of the students who are living in the Central Okanagan and to those who have returned home and continue to do on-line learning through our schools.  Our collaborative work during this unprecedented pandemic has enabled all students to continue to be successful academically, to stay healthy, and to remain connected to peers, teachers, and families. We are grateful for your continued partnership with the Central Okanagan International Education Program.

Update ​May 25th, 2020

The Ministry of Education of BC is working with all school districts, public health officials, and education partners to begin a phased-in approach to the expansion of in-class learning on June 1, 2020.

Currently in B.C., about 5,000 students are in school. This includes the children of essential service workers and those who need the extra support that a school setting provides. As we move to Stage 3 of BC's Restart Plan and more students join their peers already learning in schools, the provincial health and safety guidelines for K-12 setting will be put in place. We know you may have lots of questions about this transition. 

To help, the Ministry of Education has developed a FAQ web page that contains information about a variety of topics, such as health and safety measures (including resources), supports for students with disabilities and diverse abilities, as well as assessments and graduation. This section has information in multiple languages.

Returning to in-class instruction is optional, however, we encourage all of our international students to attend school on their scheduled days. The health risk in the Central Okanagan remains low with very few or no new cases here for the past few weeks. Our homestay coordinators have been working with our partners, host parents and natural parents, to ensure that all students who are still living in Canada will be able to return to class on June 1st if they choose to do so.  Please contact the homestay coordinators if there are any issues regarding the student or natural parents wishes not to return to school on June 1st. 

Update ​May 15th, 2020

In-class instruction will begin in June. Our health authorities have designed a restart plan for the province as well as for the educational sector. Many of our businesses, parks and recreation facilities will be opening next week with in-class instruction increases in upcoming weeks as well.

Community Update

On Monday, May 19th, the province of BC will move to phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan with the re-opening of many services and businesses.  For an overview of the plan please visit – BC Restart Plan. All the reopenings will include enhanced protocols to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low. We have had several weeks with no or few new reported cases in the region. In total there have been 181 cases in the Interior Health Region since early March, 175 people have recovered, and 1 person is in hospital. For details please visit the COVID-19 Dashboard.

School District Update

The BC Ministry of Education has developed the K-12 Education Restart Plan, a five-stage approach for resuming in-class instruction in a measured way to align with B.C.'s Restart Plan. Each stage will be guided by health and safety guidelines, measures, protocols and orders as well as the principles developed for continuity of learning during the pandemic. (See attachment - BC Education Restart Plan for K-12). 

On June 1st, all schools in BC will be moving to Stage 3 in the re-start plan. Parents will have the choice of bringing their children back to class on a part-time basis this school year, with the goal of returning to full-time classes in September 2020, provided it is safe to do so. In this stage students in grades K-5 can participate in in-class instruction at school at least 2 days per week. Students in grades 6-12 can participate in in-class instruction at least 1 day per week. Schools will be sending specific schedule details to parents and students in the upcoming week. Returning to part-time in-class instruction is optional for parents and families, and students can also choose to continue with remote learning or both options. The Central Okanagan International Program is encouraging all students who are still in Canada to return to in-class instruction during the month of June.  A comprehensive safety plan has been developed for workers and student to be on-site (See attachment - COVID-19 K-12 School Guidance). If students are concerned about returning to school, please have them connect with their homestay coordinator.

Homestay & Activity Update

Homestay coordinators continue to meet by zoom with students who are back home and in Canada. ELL teachers also join these meetings to connect with students about school assignments and answer any academic questions that they have. Homestay coordinators and ELL teachers have been working hard to ensure that all international students continue to engage in their learning. Our activity coordinator is planning a May and June activities that follow health authority guidelines.

Gratitude

We are  grateful the generosity of our community, the kindness of our homestay families, the hard work of our teachers, the caring nature of our program staff, the cooperation and understating of our partners, and the health and well-being of our students, our colleagues and our families and yours. 

Attachments:
BCEducationRe-StartPlanforK-12.pdf
COVID-19K-12SchoolGuidance-2020May14.pdf

Update ​May 6th, 2020

May is here and with it comes positive news about the Central Okanagan and British Columbia in the fight against COVID-19. Our provincial government opened up COVID testing to the broader population a few weeks ago. With more testing being done, officials predicted an elevation in confirmed cases but this has not happened. The number of cases has remained low in our province with cases in the Central Okanagan remaining at minimal levels with many days reporting no new cases.

Community Update

Today our government leaders presented the BC Restart Plan to begin a gradual return to a "new normal"  as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decrease in our province. The reopening of BC will be a phased-in process beginning next week. All the reopenings will include enhanced protocols to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Highlights of the next phases of the plan include:

  • Expansion of social circles with gatherings of 2-6 people permitted next week
  • Retail stores, hair salons, childcare, restaurants, libraries and museums reopening in the next few weeks
  • Provincial parks expected to open for day use next week
  • Hotels, movie theatres and the film industry possibly reopening in the summer
  • Increased phased in school and in-class instruction in June with a greater or full expansion in September
  • Overnight camping could be allowed in June
  • Post-secondary in class sessions re-opening in September

The government has provided public access to the COVID-19 Dashboard which provides data tracking numbers of cases and other pertinent information (see link below). The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Region. COVID-19 Dashboard: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/a6f23959a8b14bfa989e3cda29297ded

School District Update
All schools in the Central Okanagan District have some students attending for part of the school day. Students needing academic support beyond on-line instruction have been invited into middle and secondary schools to get additional help from teachers and staff. In international students are struggling and need extra support, they should contact their homestay coordinator and/or ELL teacher. Some elective courses such as automotive, sewing and yearbook have students back in the schools in small groups working on projects. Elementary schools are supporting the children of health care workers and other essential service workers with in-class instruction and daycare. All school district staff are working on school sites at least one day per week. Some staff are beginning to work on site every day. Our district will continue to add students into the schools while following all safety procedures required by our health authorities. 

Homestay & Activity Update
Many of our international students participated in the Global Student Leadership Summit on May 6 & 7. This was an amazing opportunity for students to hear world renowned motivational speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, Olympic athletes, humanitarians and to participate in leadership activities virtually (https://www.globalstudentleadershipday.com/). With the recent announcement by our provincial government to re-open additional businesses, our activities coordinator is busy planning our May and June activities.  More information about these plans will be coming soon. Homestay coordinators continue to meet with students in weekly meetings virtually.

Gratitude
Thank you for your patience as we work through the ever changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and around the world. We are trying to provide timely information to you as it comes in. The last update was delayed a few weeks as there was nothing significant to report, however, today brought good news from our region. We are hopeful that everyone in all parts of the globe will be experiencing a return to "normal" life very soon so we can all enjoy the many wonderful things our world has to offer with the many wonderful people that are close to us. 

As always, we are grateful for your continued support of our program. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Wishing you, your family, and colleagues continued good health and a special recognition of all of you who are mothers as we celebrate Mother's Day on May 10th here in Canada. 
 

Update ​April 21st, 2020

Although we are still experiencing social distancing and other restrictions in the Central Okanagan, the warm weather and sunny days have added a positive boost in our region. We hope that your part of the world is also experiencing hope and a positive outlook on the days ahead.

Community Update

Our government officials have begun to outline first steps towards reducing restrictions, re-opening parts of our economy, and planning for phased in school openings if the COVID situation continues to improve. They are continuing to make decisions based on the data from our health authorities. Our provincial government has opened up COVID testing to the broader population. As more testing is done, we may see an elevation in the data of confirmed cases over the next few days or weeks. It is important to understand the change in the provincial testing approach may be reflected over the coming days with an increase in COVID cases in our provincial data.

The government has now provided public access to the COVID-19 Dashboard which provides data tracking numbers of cases and other pertinent information (see link below). The main page of the website outlines the number of COVID cases for the province of British Columbia. The data can also be filtered by region which provides more precise data about different areas in our province.  The Central Okanagan is in the Interior Region. The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low.

COVID-19 Dashboard: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/a6f23959a8b14bfa989e3cda29297ded

Homestay & Activity Update

Due to social distancing restriction, in lieu of a community-based group activity for students, our activities coordinator has organized a pizza and movie night for our students and families to enjoy together at home. Helping to create a memorable experience for everyone, also allows us to extend our gratitude to our amazing host families who continue to offer their unwavering support and care for our students so deeply during this unprecedented time. 

As a second activity, our homestay coordinators and activity coordinator are encouraging students to sign up for the Global Student Leadership Summit being offered for free by one of our Canadian student leadership partners. This is the first ever virtual Global Summit for students. It is being held on May 6 & 7, 2020. This will be an incredible student leadership event featuring world renowned motivational speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, Olympic athletes, humanitarians and more. For more information about this event, please visit: https://www.globalstudentleadershipday.com/

 Students interested in participating need to register online ASAP to reserve a spot. Registration must be completed by each individual student with our program name (Central Okanagan Public Schools - International Education), first/last name, email, and country.  Students can register at: https://fs18.formsite.com/ylccmedia/cpkhstdgao/index.html

Gratitude

As always, we are also grateful for your continued support of our program, and most importantly, for working with us to ensure that our students are safe and supported.  Wishing you, your family, and colleagues continued good health and optimistic hope for our world. 

 

Update ​April 16th, 2020

Attached below is a letter that was sent to parents and homestay parents on Tuesday outlining the Continuity of Learning Plan for the Central Okanagan School District.

Our district is making every effort to maintain a quality education program in our temporary on-line environment while supporting students emotionally and intellectually.  Our District Continuity of Learning Support Team has created a  website  to provide a space for our educators to share ideas, samples, resources, and inspirations as they plan for the continuity of educational opportunities during this time. This website is a work in progress, and it will be regularly updated as our district continues to learn from and gather samples from educators around the district. The web address is: https://www.centralokanagancontinuityofeducationalopportu nities.com/

Our  provincial government has forecasted a possible re-opening of school sometime this spring. The timeline for a re-opening of schools will be based on recommendations from our provincial health authorities as they monitor the evolving situation in British Columbia. 'Minister Rob Fleming not ruling out possibility of reopening BC schools before June' https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/minister-fleming-bc-schools-covid19-1.5531925 Updates from the Ministry of Education will be provided as things progress.

There are  many encouraging stories from across the Central Okanagan about the way groups of educators and support staff are coming together to find creative solutions as we make the transition to remote learning for students. Thank you for all continuing to help us connect with students and families during this transition to ensure that all of our student feel supported in this new learning journey.

Together we are making a positive difference during this pandemic.  Be safe and be kind.

Letter to Parents from the Superintendent - Continuity of Learning.pdf

Update ​April 15th, 2020

Greetings from the Central Okanagan International Program. We continue to send positive wishes of happiness and good health to our partners around the world and to their families and friends. We have been fortunate to have warm, sunny, spring days over the past few weeks. The warmer weather has enabled people to get outside to enjoy the sunshine and go for walks, hikes and bike rides while maintaining social distancing requirements.

Canada and Community Update

In Canada there are now 27,063 reported COVID cases.  The large majority of cases are in eastern provinces (over 20,000).  British Columbia has 1517 confirmed cases in our province with 124 people hospitalized and 942 cases resolved as fully recovered. Over half of the cases in British Columbia are related to outbreaks in nursing homes, long term care facilities, prisons and/or are travel related. The average daily rate of reported cases is between 20-30 with 0-5 hospitalizations in our province. There has been no significant increase in cases since the precautionary measures were established. Health authorities are confident that the measures our governments have in place are making a significant difference in controlling the spread of the virus.

The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low. In the Interior Health Region where the Central Okanagan is located (please see below for a link to a map of the region) there have been 141 confirmed cases. There are 11 people is hospital in the Interior Health Region. There are multiple hospitals in this large region. Over the past 12 days we have had many daily reports of no new cases in the Central Okanagan and only a few cases in the Interior Health Region. Most of the present cases in our area are linked to an isolated outbreak on a local farm where employees live in a common residence. The facility is in quarantine while the employees recover from their illness.

On a day to day basis, the community is quiet and citizens continue to work from home or stay at home as much as possible, however, residents are able to go enjoy outdoor activities as long as they are maintaining social distancing measures. Most citizens in our communities continue to follow all the precautionary restrictions. Many industries and businesses are open but have made adjustments to their services to accommodate social distancing requirements. Some golf courses are planning to open this weekend as well as some other leisure activity businesses such as one of our local ziplining companies. Local restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery. Drug stores and grocery stores remain open for supplies as do hardware stores and convenience stores. Our health authorities continue to monitor the situation closely especially after our recent long weekend. There is optimism that more business and facilities may be able to re-open in this region if the health risk remains low and stable.

The Okanagan Valley is a part of Interior Health Region. Click the link to see a map of the Interior Health Region – LINK to MAP of INTERIOR HEALTH REGION. Interior Health posts active facility outbreaks on their website. For the most accurate updates please visit the Interior Health website – INTERIOR HEALTH

Homestay Meetings

Our homestay coordinators continue to meet with students virtually. The meetings have been positive, and the students enjoy reconnecting with one another. The meetings have been a good opportunity for students to share more about the situation in their home countries as well as in Canada. ELL teachers have also participated in the meetings to answer questions about on-line learning etc. The large majority of our international students remain in Canada with their host families, but the homestay coordinators host multiple meetings for students living abroad in order to accommodate the many time zones. Homestay coordinators have also been busy collecting items from lockers that were left at school when students returned home. Homestay coordinators will be communicating with each student to find out which items need to be shipped to them. This process may take some time.

School Update

On-line classes are scheduled on a daily basis during the week.  Most schools are following a regular block rotation for students living in Canada.  Teachers are providing differentiated lessons or recordings of lessons for students who cannot join the classroom activities at the scheduled times. Most students have been actively engaged in their learning.  ELL teachers are also providing additional support for our international students and have connected with all our students by email, by phone, by text or by a social media app.

Presently our schools are providing instruction in the school buildings for the children of our front line health care workers. When the health authorities indicate it is safe to expand this service, our schools will welcome additional students into the building of tier 2 and 3 essential service workers. We are hopeful that this will happen sooner than later in our region. The latest news release summarizing the progress on the Provincial priorities can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/3bQi7Sp. The government of British Columbia has provided a FAQ section regarding education in our province. This information can be accessed at:Frequently Asked Questions on Continuity of Learning

Student and Staff Wellness

We have received many resources created in Canada to help support parents, students and staff during this world pandemic. For students and families, the Canadian Mental Health Association has created workbooks and compiled informative websites which students and parents may find helpful.

Workbooks for Youth from the Canadian Mental Health Association 

Managing Stress & Anxiety in Families: 

A reminder that students in our program  have access to a mobile doctor through their Guard Me Insurance. Students can also access counselling support through the Keep Me Safe service. Links to both services are below and on our website.

Some of our educational partners have created resources for staff who are working at home. As many of your own staff members may be working at home,  you might find this resource helpful.

Well at Home:

Resources for Staff Working at Home

Refunds

For students who have returned home, homestay and applicable medical fee refunds for the 2019-2020 school year will be processed at the end of April once the 30-day insurance wait period is over. Optional trip refunds are presently in process.

The Central Okanagan International Program as amended our refund policy for the 2020-2021 school year and adjusted fee payments due dates in order help our partners generate both new enrollments and maintain commitments from prospective families while the world adjusts to the realities of COVID-19. The detailed amended policy was sent out to partners on April 14th. The amended policy is also posted on our website in the Future Student section.

Gratitude

As always, we are grateful to our partners, families, host families, staff members and students for their cooperation and understanding during this world pandemic situation. Together we will ensure that our students are safe and cared for and continue to have a positive outlook on their future. Sending wishes of hope, happiness and good health from the Central Okanagan.

Update ​April 3rd, 2020

Sending well wishes and positive thoughts over the miles from the Central Okanagan International Program staff to all of you, your families, and colleagues. Our hearts go out to all of you in areas of the world experiencing significant health emergencies. Being so connected in the international education makes every news story from every country so important to all of us.  We hope that in the coming days, the news about each of your countries takes a positive turn as your citizens work through this pandemic together. Stay safe, be healthy and find a reason to smile everyday.

Community Update

The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low although the alert in our area has been heightened with more local cases of COVID-19 being confirmed. To date there are now 107 confirmed COVID cases in the Interior Health Region (please see below for a link to a map of the region). Our local hospital and medical facilities are prepared and ready for increased cases.

Most citiens in our communities continue to follow all the precautionary restrictions.  Families are being urged to stay together as a family unit when out for walks and exercise. We are fortunate to live in a low-density population area surrounded by nature. There are many walks, hikes and cycle paths that are available nearby.

Essential service businesses remain open and food and other essential supplies are available in our grocery stores and pharmacies. These stores are well stocked, and most food and non-food items are readily available. Our homes in Canada typically have large storage areas and additional freezers so families can purchase more food less often. This helps our families to stay home more as they do not need to go out to get additional supplies as often.

Homestay Meetings

Our homestay coordinators have had several check in meetings with their students from around the world. Students were happy to see each other on a video chat from a variety of time zones.  Many meetings turned into impromptu Show & Tell sessions with students introducing each other to their Canadian siblings, parents, and pets. The homestay coordinators will continue to adjust their virtual homestay meeting groupings and times based on student needs. Next week the ELL teachers from each school will also be joining the meetings to answer questions about school planning and provide support with other subject areas. The homestay coordinators have also shared a wide variety of activities and ideas with students to continue to expand their learning and practice their English skills.

School Update

During the first week our teachers and school staffs have been working together to activate the on-line educational program. Staff have been busy connecting with families to ensure that we understand each student's situation and create appropriate learning opportunities and expectations. Teachers from each school have communicated with students about their learning plans. If your students were not contacted by a teacher by Friday, April 3rd, please ask them to connect with their homestay coordinator for assistance.

At the district level in the Central Okanagan, we have a skilled tech support team and a knowledgeable instructional support team. We also have district level ELL support teams as well as ELL teachers assigned for every school. We are fortunate to have experienced, dedicated teachers who work collaboratively to support the varying needs of all learners in our system. In addition to teaching staff, a wide variety of district professionals are collaborating and making plans to remotely provide a high level of service to students with diverse abilities and needs including our international students. District staff, in partnership with community agencies, will provide support for the social, emotional and physical well-being of all students.

Our district motto, Together We Learn, guides the approach that our teachers, district support staff and community partners have taken as they design innovative lessons for the new on-line environment. All grade levels will blend synchronous learning (where teachers and students connect in real time through technology) and asynchronous learning (where students continue learning on their own time through meaningful activities and assignments). Teachers will differentiate lessons for students who are living in different time zones as needed.  

The latest message to families from the Board of Education can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/2UDnv5A

The latest news release summarizing the progress on the Provincial priorities can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/3bQi7Sp

Frequently asked questions about final marks, graduation and the Continuity of Learning Plan for the province of British Columbia is available in multiple languages including English, Arabic, Chines, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Tagalog can be accessed here:

 https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/program-management/safe-caring-and-orderly-schools

This site also provides information about final marks and graduation. This site is updated regularly.  The last update was made on April 1st

Medical and Counselling Support

Students in our program who are in Canada have access to a mobile doctor through their Guard Me Insurance. Students are covered for all new and emergent conditions and medically necessary treatment, including COVID-19. Students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID 19 can connect through the Mobile Doctor service.  Students can also access counselling support through the Keep Me Safe service.  Links to both services are below and on our website. Our insurance provider, Guard Me, also posts regular updates on their homepage with useful links and FAQ sections - https://www.guard.me/cosd

Counselling = Keep Me Safe

Doctor = Mobile Doctor

Government Policy Update

Recently the Canadian government changed travel restrictions for international students.  Any international students who have received a valid study permit or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020 are exempt from the travel restrictions. If students are travelling by air, they need to pass a health check conducted by airlines before they are allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air. Upon arrival in Canada students will be medically assessed before they leave the port of entry. Students must isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms. This is mandatory. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the Canadian and BC government will continue to make amendments. The government of British Columbia also continues to add additional precautionary measures at the provincial level.  A summary of updates can be accessed at BC Gov News

Gratitude

Thank you again for your patience, kindness, and support of our students as we navigate through these difficult circumstances. Together, we will continue to grow and learn and stay connected safely to ensure a healthy tomorrow. Sending positive wishes of good health around the world from the Central Okanagan.

The Okanagan Valley is a part of Interior Health Region. Click the link to see a map of the Interior Health Region – LINK to MAP of INTERIOR HEALTH REGION. Interior Health posts active facility outbreaks on their website. For the most accurate updates please visit the Interior Health website – INTERIOR HEALTH

Update ​March 29, 2020

Attached below is a letter sent to parents and homestay parents on Friday, March 27th from the Minister of Education and President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. This letter provides important information regarding the continuity of learning plan and the priorities of the government of British Columbia.  Also included are translated versions in Chinese, Punjabi and French. 

During the first week after Spring Break (March 30th – April 3rd), schools will not be open to students. During this week our teachers and school staffs will be working together to activate the on-line educational program to begin the week of April 6th – 10th.

The Ministry of Education has launched Keep Learning BC at www.openschool.bc.ca/KeepLearning in order to provide resources for self-directed learning for the first week (March 30th – April 3rd). This site offers a list of everyday educational activities for every age designed to support the BC curriculum and includes four main sections:

  • Learning at Home – Outline and practical tips
  • Everyday Learning Activities – For elementary students
  • Resources – Some on-line courses, e-textbooks, library resources, learning videos
  • Keeping Healthy – COVID-19 information resources, on-line safety, mental health supports & resources

The Ministry of Education has also created a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions regarding the Continuity of Learning K-12 Education System at www.gov.bc.ca/SafeSchools/. This site will continue to be updated with new information.

Attachments:
LettertoParentsfromtheBCMinistryofEducationMarch27th2020.pdf
LettertoParentsfromtheBCMinistryofEducationMarch27th2020Chinese.pdf
LettertoParentsfromtheBCMinistryofEducationMarch27th2020French.pdf
LettertoParentsfromtheBCMinistryofEducationMarch27th2020Punjabi.pdf

Update ​March 27, 2020

Thank you for your continued support of our students during this unprecedented time. We are very happy to hear that our students who returned home have safely arrived and reunited with their families and that are students who remain in the Central Okanagan are enjoying their spring break with their Canadian families. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the complex layers that this world pandemic has created for our international program.  We are very fortunate to have such caring partners to work and collaborate with to ensure the health, well-being, and happiness of our students.

Community Update

The health risk in the Central Okanagan remains low. To date there are now 62 confirmed COVID cases in the Interior Health Region (please see below for a link to a map of the region). Most citizens in our communities are diligently following all of the precautionary restrictions.  Essential service businesses remain open and food and other essential supplies are available in our grocery stores and pharmacies. Our local hospital and medical facilities are well prepared. Provincial and national parks have now closed.

Government Policy Update

The Canadian government has now mandated that all citizens returning from abroad must self-isolate. Failure to do so will result in fines and/or jail time. Travellers returning to Canada must use personal vehicles to return to their homes. If personal vehicles are not available, officials will assist them in returning to their homes for their self-isolation period.  Travellers returning from abroad cannot use public transportation.  The government of British Columbia also continues to add additional precautionary measures at the provincial level.  A summary of updates can be accessed at BC Gov News

Medical and Counselling Support

Students in our program who are in Canada have access to a mobile doctor through their Guard Me Insurance. Students are covered for all new and emergent conditions and medically necessary treatment, including COVID-19. Students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID 19 can connect through the Mobile Doctor service.  Students can also access counselling support through the Keep Me Safe service.  Links to both services are below and on our website.  Counselling = Keep Me Safe    Doctor = Mobile Doctor

School Update

Teachers and school staff were on spring break for the past two weeks. During this time, provincial and district staff have formulated a coordinated approach for the continuity of learning in response to COVID-19. The health and safety of school staff, students, parents and communities remains the highest priority.

During the first week after Spring Break (March 30th – April 3rd), schools will not be open to students. During this week our teachers and school staffs will be working together to activate the on-line educational program for our 23,000 students including all international students who have chosen to continue on-line learning and returned to their home countries or remain in Canada (options 2 & 3).

Each school will be coordinating their own on-line system. Once we receive more information from our schools, we will communicate the school level plans with you. A teacher will be connecting with each student in our program by Friday, April 3rd.  If your students have not been contacted by a teacher by Friday, March 3rd, please ask them to connect with their homestay coordinator for assistance.

All students continuing to participate in our program will receive final grades if they successfully complete assigned work and assessments using the on-line learning platform.  Reports cards and graduation/convalidation documents will be issued at the end of the program. School report cards for term 3 will also be issued but may be delayed due to the recent COVID situation.

Homestay Meetings

Our homestay coordinators have scheduled on-line zoom meetings on Monday or Tuesday next week.  Students were sent an invitation and a link for their homestay zoom meetings. Meetings will be recorded and shared with students who are unable to attend on-line meetings.  Homestay coordinators will schedule regular check in meetings and information meetings each week and will be adjusting meeting times to allow for multiple time zones.

International Activities

Our activity coordinator has organized on-line activities for our students that will provide some fun for them while respecting social distancing guidelines. As restrictions decrease, the activities coordinator will organize other appropriate activities for students who are living in the Central Okanagan.  Homestay coordinators will share more information about activities during their student zoom meetings.

Refund Update

The Central Okanagan International Program will process homestay and medical insurance refunds as soon as possible. Our insurance provider requires a 30 day wait period to determine if a claim has been made. No medical refund will be made for a policy that has had a claim. The final combined homestay and medical refunds will be processed together in a single refund after the 30 day wait period.

As we are not able to predict exactly how the COVID-19 pandemic will play out in our country, we will also be refunding all Rocky Mountain and Vancouver/Victoria trip fees in full.  Refunds will be issued to the same credit card used for registration. This process may take some time, but please be assured the fees will be refunded as soon as possible. Should it become possible for our students still living in the Central Okanagan to travel as a group prior to the end of the school year, we will explore trip options at that time and update you accordingly. 

Gratitude

Thank you for your on-going support in reinforcing with our students the importance of staying at home as much as possible for their own safety and the safety of community. Thank you as well for continuing to keep us informed of updates regarding changing travel plans and family decisions for each student.  Sending positive wishes of good health around the world from the Central Okanagan.

The Okanagan Valley is a part of Interior Health Region. Click the link to see a map of the Interior Health Region – LINK to MAP of INTERIOR HEALTH REGION. Interior Health posts active facility outbreaks on their website. For the most accurate updates please visit the Interior Health website – INTERIOR HEALTH

 

Update ​March 23, 2020

The  health risk in our community remains low and our provincial health authority and government continue to remind all citizens of the importance of following all precautionary restrictions diligently. To date there have been 30 confirmed cases in the Interior Health Region (please see below for a link to a map of the region). Most non-essential businesses and public facilities are now closed including public parks and school yards.

In a press conference this morning the Canadian Prime Minister stated that there will be no tolerance for citizens disobeying orders to socially distance from others in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19. Over the weekend, some provinces have implemented more restrictive measures including arrests and fines in order to enforce social distancing. Although the province of British Columbia has not implemented these measures, there is a strong possibility of increased restrictions in the days and weeks ahead.

Our Prime Minister has stated that everyone living in Canada:

  • Must practice social distancing (staying at least 2 meters away from others)
  • Must stay at home (exceptions for work and accessing basic necessities)
  • Must self-isolate for 14 days if they or anyone living in their house has flu or cold symptoms

The vast majority of our citizens are respecting the restrictions by our government. For the protection of everyone, it is important  that our students understand what is being required at this time. Students must understand that the majority of each day will be spent at home with their host families. Their social lives and regular activities will remain impacted in the weeks ahead. This includes meeting up with friends in public places. They will have to meet with them on-line.  

Thank you for your assistance in reinforcing with our students the importance of staying at home as much as possible for their own safety and the safety of our most vulnerable and elderly. We are not able to predict exactly how the pandemic will play out in our country, however, all indicators point to increased restrictions in the coming days and weeks.

The Okanagan Valley is a part of Interior Health Region. Click the link to see a map of the Interior Health Region – LINK to MAP of INTERIOR HEALTH REGION. Interior Health posts active facility outbreaks on their website. For the most accurate updates please visit the Interior Health website – INTERIOR HEALTH

Update ​March 20, 2020

Please refer to the government websites for the most accurate sources of information about our province and country in relation to COVID-19:

CANADA INFO  Government of Canada COVID- 19 Updates     

BC INFO - Government of BC COVID-19 Updates

Our community continues to take precautionary measures to control the spread of COVID-19. To date there have been 12 confirmed cases in the Interior Health Region. The Okanagan Valley is a part of this health region.  Please click the link to see a map of the Interior Health Region – LINK to MAP of INTERIOR HEALTH REGION. We do not know how many of these 12 cases are in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country which are our communities in the Central Okanagan. Interior Health posts active facility outbreaks on their website. Presently there are no cases listed on this site in Kelowna, West Kelowna or Lake Country. For the most accurate updates please visit the Interior Health website – INTERIOR HEALTH

In the Central Okanagan many businesses and facilities have now shut down or are working with skeletal staffs in order to maintain services. Restaurants and coffee shops are open with drive thru and pick up services.  Many stores have reduced hours and have customer capacity limits. Most food items and household supplies are still available. 

Our most pressing issue in the international program is our students understanding the importance of social distancing and staying at home. Student must take these precautions seriously if they have chosen to stay in our program during these crucial weeks.  Host families are following the Prime Minister's appeal to Canadians and residents to stay home and to practice stringent social distancing restrictions. Many of our host families have elderly relatives and/or young children who are at risk. Many of our host parents work in industries that are linked directly or indirectly to health care and other essential services. Our students need to respect social distancing recommendations. Our federal and provincial health authorities are strongly encouraging all residents to stay home if possible in order to flatten the curve of reported COVID-19 cases. If students have chosen to stay in the Central Okanagan, they must understand the importance of the social distancing restrictions and respect the guidelines that their host parents are asking of them. Their social lives and regular activities have been impacted and will remain impacted in the weeks ahead. This includes meeting up with friends and participating in sleepovers in other students' homes. We ask for your assistance in reinforcing with our students the importance of staying at home as much as possible for their own safety.  There are many indoor (in home) and outdoor activities that are possible during this waiting period that can be done alone or with a friend or family member with the permission of their host parents. Thank you in advance for your support in reinforcing the importance of staying at home.

Student who have been in our program since September are have MSP coverage and Guard Me Plus BC medical insurance. See the links below:

Students who started in the new year have a different medical plan so that they are fully covered without MSP.  See the link below:

Our Guard Me website has other additional information included regular updates regarding COVID-19.  It also has our policies in multiple languages. See the links below:

Our students also have 24-hour access to our Keep Me Safe on-line counselling program. Keep Me Safe provides counselling in multiple languages. This program has trained counsellors who understand cultural differences and specialize in working with students abroad. Please remind students of this important support service – Keep Me Safe

It is impossible for me to predict the future on the situation in our region.  The most accurate information based on facts from government sources will be posted on our website. This is a difficult time for many of our students and their parents. We will continue to support each student as they work through their decision to return home or to stay in the Central Okanagan. Those choosing to return home will have access to distance learning. As teachers are still on spring break, we not yet know the details of the educational plan yet. This will be coming in the next few days. If students are choosing to go home, please let me know if they would like to withdraw from our program or continue with on-line learning so I am able to update schools regarding their plan.

Thank you again for your continued support through this unprecedented time. We are very fortunate to have such supportive partners working with us in the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic situation.

Update ​March 18, 2020
On March 17th, the Provincial Health Officer declared a Public Health Emergency in British Columbia. The Ministry of Education directed all schools to suspend in-class instruction until further notice. Central Okanagan Public Schools is currently on spring break, and therefore, our schools are not in session.  

Although the health risk in the Central Okanagan remains low, we are asking that parents, homestay parents, and agents continue to remind students of the social distancing restrictions and the importance of good hygiene practices in order to keep themselves safe as safety is our number one priority.

The Central Okanagan Public Schools is planning for the continuity of education for our students after spring break. After March 29th, while in-class instruction is suspended indefinitely, schools will provide an educational program to ensure continued learning and support for our students. 

Teachers and school staff will support learning and academic progress for all international students through on-line technology. International students who are graduating, working on credits for graduation, or validating their year abroad will receive the curriculum and instructional hours necessary to meet requirements. So long as students continue to engage in their courses and complete all assignments, students will receive school credits and complete their program.

Should students be going home at this time? 

There is no easy response to this question as each student and family situation is different. In addition, government directives and health risks vary by region and country. 

The Central Okanagan International Program is offering the following options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Students should be able to access on-line learning from their home country.

  1. Students can choose to return home and withdraw from the program. 
  2. Students can choose to return home while remaining in the program and continue their educational program via distance learning. 
  3. Students can remain in the Central Okanagan and continue their educational program via distance learning. It is important to note that the risk of remaining in Canada at this time is our inability to predict the availability of air travel in the upcoming weeks.
Should the Public Health Officer and the Ministry of Education decide to resume in-class instruction, all students who are enrolled in the program will be able to return to regular classes. 

Update (2) ​March 17, 2020

The attached two letters were released by the Central Okanagan School District and the Ministry of Education today.  Our team will be providing more information specifically about our international student program as soon as possible. 

Please read the following letters to parents from the Superintendent of Schools/CEO and the Ministry of Education regarding COVID-19.

Letter to Parents re: COVID-19 - March 17, 2020 

Ministry of Education Letter to Parents - March 17, 2020 

Update ​March 17, 2020

An  announcement has just been made by the BC Government about indefinitely extending school closures. Our team is working to provide an update of next steps for students, homestay parents and agents as quickly as possible. We will be sending out more information as soon as we have all of the details of this announcement and the impact it will have for our international program. Updates will be emailed to agents, homestay families, and students directly and will also be posted on our website www.international.sd23.bc.ca

Update ​March 16, 2020

Thank you for your continued support of communicating with the parents of our students in the Central Okanagan. 

Today more announcements were made by the provincial and federal governments. In summary:

  • Canadian borders will be closed to foreign nationals. Only Canadian citizens and US citizens, permanent residents, diplomats, and other essential service personal will allowed into Canada
  • International airport entry points have been reduced to 4 locations: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary
  • Social distancing restrictions are now limited to 50 people of less
  • All people in Canada are being encouraged to stay at home when possible
  •  For full details: CANADA INFO  Government of Canada COVID- 19 Updates     BC INFO - Government of BC COVID-19 Updates

To date there are 2 confirmed cases in the Okanagan Valley. 

Shopping malls, stores, and many businesses remain open. Our main shopping mall is reducing hours to allow for additional cleaning. Recreation centers, movie theaters and ski hills (including Big White) have closed. Restaurant and other service facilities have customer limits. Groceries stores were quite empty on the weekend, but the shelves have been replenished and most food and other necessities are available.

The health risk in the Central Okanagan continues to remain low. We must encourage our students to follow the recommendations announced by our health authority today. Teenagers are very social in nature. 

We are asking for your support in reaffirming with our students that they must limit socialization to small groups and respect their homestay parents' guidelines and directions. The situation seems to be changing daily and the homestay parents have the students' best interests in mind. 

New closures and social distancing restrictions will impact our students' regular routines. Thank you for your help in communicating these latest changes to our students and their parents.

Update March 15, 2020

An update regarding COVID 19 and the situation in the Central Okanagan was sent out on March 14th. Please see the March 15th update below with important changes in BOLD FONT below based on changes in the past 24 hours.

As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly across the world. The purpose of this email is to provide you with an update regarding COVID-19 and the Central Okanagan International Program. To begin I want to reassure our partners, parents, and students that the health risk in Canada remains low. To date, there is one confirmed COVID-19 case in the Central Okanagan. Recreation centers, shopping malls, ski resorts etc. are opened for business and functioning as they normally would with the addition of enhanced cleaning routines in place as precautionary measures. The medical health officer continues to confirm that the best preventative measure is good hygiene. The health and safety of our students in our district and our international program continues to be our highest priority. Our district works closely with our local health authority, the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the Ministry of Education.   

The BC Health Officer advised travel and large event restrictions on Thursday in our province. Yesterday the Government of Canada also implemented similar restrictions for all Canadians. 

  • The health authority is advising against all non-essential travel outside Canada, including to the United States.  If people travel outside of Canada, then they must self-isolate and stay away from school or work for 14 days upon return.
  • Gatherings and events larger than 250 people, should not be held or should be cancelled.

These restrictions are preventative measures that have been implemented by our government as most COVID cases in our country have been directly or indirectly linked to international travel. The health risk in our province and country remains low. For more detailed information click here – BC Health

Central Okanagan Public School District is on a 2 week spring break from March 14th – March 29th. This is a regularly scheduled spring break. School is scheduled to re-open on March 30th as per our regular calendar. Our superintendent will be closely monitoring the situation and will inform us if there is an indication of a potential closure. Presently the Provincial Health Officer has advised that closing schools for additional days is not appropriate or advised at this time. The Health Minister also stated that public health officials will be working with the education sector during spring break to continue monitoring the pandemic and the province's response to it.

Please find the attached letter sent directly to parents and homestay parents with important information from the Superintendent, the Deputy Minister of Education, the Provincial Medical Officer and the District. The Ministry has provided letters in multiple languages including: English, Chinese, Punjabi and French. 

Please note that the "international field studies" in this letter is not a reference to the Central Okanagan International Program. This reference is to school field trips that were scheduled outside of Canada over spring break. All field trips outside of Canada have been cancelled. For those of you with students scheduled to participate in the program's spring break trip, the tour to the Rockies (in the province of Alberta) will NOT be going forward as scheduled. The trip has been postponed until further notice based on closures and announcements made in the past few hours by the government of Alberta. Travel within Canada is not restricted, however, the government of Alberta (location of the Rocky Mountain Trip) announced school closures and restrictions of gatherings of more than 50.

As our group surpasses this number, we are unable to travel in a tour at this time. We are also uncertain at this point in time which attractions on the itinerary will remain open in the next few days. The safety of our students is our top priority during this dynamic and quickly changing environment related to COVID-19. We will provide more information regarding future travel as soon as possible. We ask for your patience as we work through possible date changes with the tour company. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Please assure our students and their parents that the health and safety of our students in our top priority. The health care system in Canada is excellent and the provincial and federal governments are working diligently in preparation for the impact of this world pandemic. I also want to remind our partners of our 24 hour emergency phone line should they have any urgent questions or concerns after regular office hours. Emergency Phone +1-250-801-5684

Spring in the Central Okanagan is a beautiful season. Hopefully the warmer days and sunshine will help students have a fun, relaxing and safe spring break and that they are able to enjoy time with their friends and their Canadian family. 

 We will provide more information regarding future travel at a later date as soon as possible.  We ask your patience at this time as we work through this change. Thank you for your understanding and support.


Attachments:
LetterfromtheMinistryofHealth-Chineseversion.pdf
LetterfromtheMinistryofHealth-FrenchVersion.pdf
LetterfromtheMinistryofHealth-PunjabiVersion.pdf
LetterfromtheMinistryofHeatlhCOVID-19.pdf
LetterfromtheSuperintendentofSchoolsCOVID19.pdf

 

UPDATE MARCH 14, 2020

As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly across the world. The purpose of this email is to provide you with an update regarding COVID-19 and the Central Okanagan International Program. To begin I want to reassure our partners, parents, and students that the health risk in Canada remains low. To date, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Central Okanagan. Recreation centers, shopping malls, ski resorts etc. are opened for business and functioning as they normally would with the addition of enhanced cleaning routines in place as precautionary measures. The medical health officer continues to confirm that the best preventative measure is good hygiene. The health and safety of our students in our district and our international program continues to be our highest priority. Our district works closely with our local health authority, the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the Ministry of Education.   

The BC Health Officer advised travel and large event restrictions on Thursday in our province. Yesterday the Government of Canada also implemented similar restrictions for all Canadians. 

  • The health authority is advising against all non-essential travel outside Canada, including to the United States.  If people travel outside of Canada, then they must self-isolate and stay away from school or work for 14 days upon return.
  • Gatherings and events larger than 250 people, should not be held or should be cancelled.

These restrictions are preventative measures that have been implemented by our government as most COVID cases in our country have been directly or indirectly linked to international travel. The health risk in our province and country remains low. For more detailed information click here – BC Health

Central Okanagan Public School District is on a 2 week spring break from March 14th – March 29th. This is a regularly scheduled spring break. School is scheduled to re-open on March 30th as per our regular calendar. Our superintendent will be closely monitoring the situation and will inform us if there is an indication of a potential closure. Presently the Provincial Health Officer has advised that closing schools for additional days is not appropriate or advised at this time. The Health Minister also stated that public health officials will be working with the education sector during spring break to continue monitoring the pandemic and the province's response to it.

Please find the attached letter sent directly to parents and homestay parents with important information from the Superintendent, the Deputy Minister of Education, the Provincial Medical Officer and the District. The Ministry has provided letters in multiple languages including: English, Chinese, Punjabi and French. 

Please note that the "international field studies" in this letter is not a reference to the Central Okanagan International Program. This reference is to school field trips that were scheduled outside of Canada over spring break.  All field trips outside of Canada have been cancelled. For those of you with students scheduled to participate in the program's spring break trip, the tour to the Rockies (in the province of Alberta) will be going forward as scheduled. Travel within Canada is not restricted and has not impacting this planned trip. The health risk in the province of Alberta also remains low and school is still in session in Alberta. In addition, most of the activities on the trip itinerary are outdoors. Our tour company has been in close contact with all of their hotel properties and other attractions and will adjust the itinerary should it be deemed necessary. There is no necessity to do so at this time. The international staff will continue to remind students to wash their hands and take other normal hygiene precautions. 

Please assure our students and their parents that the health and safety of our students in our top priority. The health care system in Canada is excellent and the provincial and federal governments are working diligently in preparation for the impact of this world pandemic. I also want to remind our partners of our 24 hour emergency phone line should they have any urgent questions or concerns after regular office hours. Emergency Phone +1-250-801-5684

Spring in the Central Okanagan is a beautiful season. Hopefully the warmer days and sunshine will help students have a fun, relaxing and safe spring break and that they are able to enjoy time with their friends and their Canadian family. 

Attachments:
LetterfromtheMinistryofHealth-Chineseversion.pdf
LetterfromtheMinistryofHealth-FrenchVersion.pdf
LetterfromtheMinistryofHealth-PunjabiVersion.pdf
LetterfromtheMinistryofHeatlhCOVID-19.pdf
LetterfromtheSuperintendentofSchoolsCOVID19.pdf




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    The Central Okanagan Public Schools International Program is accredited by the British Columbia Ministry of Education.  The district is an EduCanada brand-authorized institution. Canadian institutions that are brand authorized consistently provide high-quality education programs, deal with international students in accordance with recognized codes of practice, and are subject to quality assurance mechanisms that monitor adherence to set standards. The Central Okanagan Public Schools is a member of the Canadian Association of Public Schools International, the International Public Schools Education Association, and the British Columbia council for International Education. 

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