International

Student Information

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International Programs in West Vancouver in September 2020

We would like to give students and their families some illustrative examples and web-based resources to help better understand what life might be like in during September 2020 edition of West Vancouver’s international programs.

This information may change with short notice, so please bookmark this page and refer to it often.

Frequently asked questions

Q. On August 28, the Canadian federal government extended its ban on entry by international travellers until September 30. Can students defer their entry until a later semester?

A. From Saturday, August 29 to Thursday, September 3 at 12 pm, we are allowing new students to withdraw or defer to September 2021. Please email Michael Frankowski at mfrankowski@wvschools.ca for more information.

We cannot automatically defer 5-month students until February 2021 because we need to ensure that we have enough homestay families to host these students.  

 

Q. Some students may come into Canada when the border opens. Which students are those?

A. As of August 31, there are two types of students that may enter Canada: 

1. A returning student who was studying in Canada in 2019-2020 and who already has a current Study Permit. The Study Permit must not expire before their anticipated arrival date. Many Study Permits expire on September 30 each year, so be sure to check the permit expiry date and flight arrival dates. 

2. A student who has received from IRCC a “Letter of Introduction” dated March 18, 2020 or earlier. This letter is sent from a visa office to confirm approval of their Study Permit and the student must present the letter when they arrive in Canada to get a Study Permit. 

As these rules are generated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), they are subject to change without notice. If any changes are made we  will notify our international community immediately. 

 

Q. Some students MAY NOT come into Canada when the border opens. Which students are those?

A.  As of August 31, there are two types of students that MAY NOT enter Canada. Rules are subject to change without notice. I will notify our International community immediately. 

1. A student who has a “Letter of Introduction” dated March 19, 2020 or later. 

2. A student who would not qualify for a Study Permit because they were coming for a program lasting six months or less. Normally, these students will simply enter Canada with an ETA or a TRV and they have not been included in any exemptions to the entry ban so far. 

 

Q. Can students – both new and returning – get a full refund now that the federal government has extended the ban on entry until September 30, 2020? 

A. We remain hopeful that students will only experience minor delays due to flights, quarantine, etc. and we trust our schools will integrate the students when they arrive.

If a new student cannot legally enter the country, they should email Michael Frankowski at mfrankowski@wvschools.ca for more information.

Most returning students can legally enter Canada and we expect them to return, quarantine, and re-enter classes in-person.

We can offer partial refunds that follow our Refund Policy here: https://westvancouverschools.ca/international/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/09/International-Student-Legal-Agreement.pdf

Please note that we do not offer partial refunds for missed days of school due to unforeseen circumstances. 

 

Q. A student has applied for their Study Permit and/or entry visa (TRV) but they have not heard back from the Canadian federal government. What should they do? May they defer or get a refund? 

A. We will offer 100% refund to all students who have an official communication from the Canadian federal government that their Study Permit or entry visa has been declined. 

Q. May a student participate in New Student Orientation, regardless of their arrival date in Canada? 

A. New Student Orientation in August 2020 will be entirely online. All new secondary students are welcome to join! International Programs staff will be contacting new students in the weeks leading up to orientation. 

See our website for more details: https://westvancouverschools.ca/international/orientation/ 

Please note there will not be a New Student Orientation for elementary students this year. 

 

Q. A special letter is needed for a student to prove at the Canadian border that they are required to be in their classes in-person. Where can the student get this letter? 

A. The letter detailing the requirement for a student to attend school in-person will be emailed to students in the second week of August. The letter can requested from international.reception@wvschools.ca if their flight will occur before then. 

The letter should be printed and shown to any officials when the student enters Canada. Many school districts across Canada have used a similar letter. 

 

Q. If a student is no longer comfortable coming to Canada or cannot find a convenient flight at the beginning of September, may they cancel the program?

A. Students may cancel their program for a number of reasons but must be fully aware of our Refund Policy here:https://westvancouverschools.ca/international/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/06/West-Vancouver-International-Program-Legal-Agreement.pdf 

 

Q. If the border is still closed in September, may a student take all their classes online?

A. Schools in British Columbia will be returning to in-person instruction full-time starting on Tuesday, September 8. Teachers will not be conducting remote learning work, so students may not take all their classes online. 

 At this time, we are not offering online courses for students.

Q. School begins on Thursday, September 10. If a student arrives on September 1 or later, they will have to quarantine for 14 days, missing some classes. Can they still join school when their quarantine is over? 

A. Once the quarantine is over, students should proceed to school as normal. All classes will be in-person starting on Thursday, September 10.

 

Q. Can a student begin their schooling while they are in quarantine?

A. Teachers will not be conducting remote learning work, so students begin their classes when they integrate into the school environment. 

 

Q. What is the latest date a student can arrive in Canada for school?

A. We can accommodate a student who is able to integrate into the classroom by October 15. This means the student must be physically in BC by October 1 in order to undertake the 14-day quarantine. 

 

Q. What will school look like in BC in September 2020?

A. Classes will be in-person for all school days.The Ministry of Education has a plan here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/covid-19-return-to-school 

Arrival

All students must fill out the Student Arrival Details Form.

We are assuming that a 14 day quarantine will be required and are therefore recommending to all students to arrive on Monday, August 24, 2020. See our Welcome Plan 2020.

You may have some questions about what to expect when you arrive to YVR Airport in terms of their COVID-19 protection practices, safety measures and International arrival expectations. Please click here for YVR website which covers these topics as well as other frequently asked questions.

We strongly suggest against booking any connection flights via the USA. Current Canadian rules do not allow entry into Canada from the USA and we are unable to predict when these rules will change.

Academics

Please regularly check our orientation webpage for latest updates on schedule.

The provincial government of British Columbia controls both the health and education sectors and has worked to have a comprehensive plan for the re-starting of schools. Please refer to the website below for more information on the current stage. There will be updates in the third week of August.

The first day of classes is still Tuesday, September 8. If the Quarantine Act is still in place, students should arrive on August 24 to start school on September 8.

According to the BC government, students are unable to start remote education while still in their home country. They must be physically present in BC in order to participate in any educational programs.

Schools will accommodate late entries if students are unable to start on September 8, 2020. The later a student arrives at school the more impact it may have on their ability to adjust their course selections. Counsellors have programmed students based on their course selections provided in their applications.

Classes may be in person, offered remotely, or a combination of both. Students need to bring their own personal computers; a tablet or phone will not be sufficient.

Ensuring children have time for outdoor play is important and recess is expected to continue. The Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has reassured students and parents that playgrounds are a safe environment as long as appropriate personal hygiene practices are observed before, during and after outdoor play.

Students will no longer be permitted to attend school when they have evidence of colds or fever. If students attend in this condition, they risk being sent home from school. Students who have allergies should be mindful of how to manage them.

If a student chooses to return to their home country prematurely, they will end their program with West Vancouver Schools. Remote delivery of instruction will not be provided to repatriated students.

When students miss school, it will still be their responsibility to contact teachers and make up missed work or assignments.

There will be protocols in place at the schools regarding mandatory hand sanitizing, washing, and social distancing that students will be asked to follow. This may look different in each building, classroom, grade level, and subject area.

Masks are a personal choice. At this time students are neither encouraged nor discouraged from wearing masks in schools. Masks are not supplied by the school district to students.

Large scale ceremonies, school wide assemblies, and activities will not proceed until our health authorities grant permission. For example, it is possible that in-person graduation parties or celebrations will not be allowed.

Please see some web resources below.

Homestay

Language Limousine is the student arrival airport pickup service, available for new student arrivals. It is unknown at this time if the Language Limousine pickup service will available upon your arrival. Click here for a detailed notice of their pickup procedures. Note that service is available for the first time a student arrives to YVR only and is coordinated by the Homestay Coordinator (homestay@wvschools.ca).

Please see our Welcome Plan for details on how your homestay or private accommodation will provide the necessary quarantine.

Students will be very curious what to expect when they walk into their new homes when they arrive in Vancouver. Each homestay family may have their own rules and guidelines on how they choose to protect the health and safety of their homes and families.

Students will be expected to adhere to those rules outlined by their individual homestays.

Most host families strictly follow guidelines from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). When a student becomes part of a host family, it is expected that they will respect social distancing, practice good hygiene, and frequently wash their hands. They might also be asked to limit socialization with friends outside of the school building to avoid points of contact.

At the time of writing, students have a reduced curfew and are not authorized to go on or invite friends for sleepovers. Click here for more information on homestay rules.

There are several activities students can look forward to doing with their homestay families, despite the social distancing restrictions. Our homestays and all families have learned different ways to get creative in their homes when it comes to spending time together.

Games, movies, hikes and walks, in home workouts and lots of experimenting with cooking and baking are just a few of the ideas and feedback we have heard from students and families so far. It is exciting to hear about how our homestay families have gotten creative and used their time to make special memories with their students that they may not have had the time or chance to do otherwise.

Health

All international students have medical insurance provided by either MSP or Guard.Me. Click here to learn more about medical insurance for international students.

In general, new, emergency, and medically necessary treatments are covered, but costs associated with self-isolation or quarantine are not. Please refer to the following links below for more details.

If you think you might have symptoms or need to see a doctor, please make sure to let your homestay parents know or review the following website for instructions provided by the government.

In BC, there are a lot of free resources, tools and services (in-person and virtual) provided by the government for youth to cope with the general anxiety or other mental health challenges arising from the COVID-19. Please click the following links for more information.

  • Foundry Virtual and Foundry North Shore: Free counselling, peer support, primary care and social services for youth aged 12-24
  • Teen Mindfulness by YMCA: Free six-seven week long programs online for young people aged 13-17 to cope with stress, worry and anxiety
  • WE Well-being: Free online resource for students, parents and educators to support social and emotional well-being
  • FamilySmart: Parent peer support and child & youth mental health navigation

For more mental wellness resources, please see Virtual Mental Health Supports During COVID-19.

Daily Life

Activities in and around Vancouver are starting a slow return to what we now are experiencing as “The New Normal”.  As each of the four phases will be carried out, it may be helpful to understand what daily life now looks like. Click here for a website which outlines what BC’s Restart Plan looks like as well as useful resources for information on travel, tourism, health and FAQ’s.

Our local bus company, Translink, has implemented a high level of daily cleaning measurements and is dedicated to ensuring their serviced comply with provincial health guidelines to protect customers and employees.

With the economy reopening and ridership increasing, wearing a mask is mandatory as physical distancing is not always possible when using public transportation.

Cautionary measures and transit etiquette can be found here.

Cafes and restaurants are slowly in the process of re-opening with certain restrictions. What you might expect now when you go out to eat will be fewer tables available to allow for social distancing (two metres between each table). Many restaurants have installed barriers between tables, allowing for a safe distance between tables, servers and customers.

At present, there is a maximum allowance of 6 people dining together in a party. Most restaurants have continued to offer take out and delivery services.

Contact sports (soccer, football, rugby, wrestling, etc.) may not be held in 2020 because physical distancing is not possible. Conventions, live audience professional sports, or concerts in Vancouver will likely not be held in the 2020-2021 academic year. 

We have all been waiting patiently for grooming services to re-open! Now that hair salons, barber shops and some nail and spa services have returned to business, you can expect many changes to those personal services. Most salons have implemented mandatory mask use with the option to purchase a mask at the salon if you do not have one.  

Appointment booking times may require flexibility to allow for proper sanitation and lounge and waiting areas will likely be closed for use.

At this time, all recreation and fitness facilities are closed until further notice. This includes Spring and Summer programs such as tennis, dance, sports, summer camps, pool, ice rink and use of fitness spaces and equipments. Click here for the latest updates of West Vancouver Community Centre.

Grocery stores stayed open as an essential service. Retail stores and shopping malls have re-opened as well. It is recommended to wear face masks, use hand sanitizers, and expect line-ups at your favorite shops. Each retail store seem to be handling merchandise in different ways. Some stores are allowing customers to try on or touch items while others are not. Different measures are being taken to ensure that touched items are properly sanitized. 

The following is a list of websites providing up to date information on popular tourist activities in the Greater Vancouver area:  

More tourist attractions and activities can be found on our Activities page.