Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

MEMO: Faculty & Students

RE: COVID-19

Date: April 3, 2020

This memo is to advise that in response to the COVID-19 virus, Oulton College has made the following decisions in regards to operations:

  • As of Monday, March 23rd, students should be prepared to resume classes in an online or alternate setting, as determined by program needs, until at least May 8th.
  • All work-related travel is suspended until the end of the academic year for faculty.
  • All college-related events after May 8th (including the Travel and Hospitality Europe trip) will be reviewed and decisions will be made at a later date.
  • Ongoing information as it relates to college closure will be provided via our website: oultoncollege.com and an information address of communications@oultoncollege.com will be monitored for any questions. Please expect a reply within 1 business day.

We recognize that with this closure comes many questions about program end dates, contracts, and funding. Please be patient as we work out these details. As we understand more about the impact this will have, we will keep you informed.

We will continue to monitor the most recent advisories and keep you informed as things continue to unfold. We recognize the anxiety that can be triggered by an outbreak of this kind and encourage you to follow only credible news sources to prevent panic over misinformation. Please remember that you also have 24/7 access to our confidential “inConfidence” support line should you be experiencing uncontrolled fear or anxiety. To access this service please call: 1-877-418-2181

Student Faq- COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Is the college closed?

Yes, the college campuses are closed to students from March 16- May 8th inclusive. During the week of March 16th-20th, faculty worked to create lesson delivery that can be delivered online. As of March 23rd, your course content has moved to an online forum called Microsoft Teams. For this reason, it is essential you set up your Oulton College e-mail address if you have not already done so.

How will delayed closures affect my tuition?

Tuition payment schedules remain in effect, as we continue to support your learning outcomes. IF your program requires a contract extension due to the impacts of COVID-19, rest assured that no additional tuition fees will be charged. College administration and faculty continue to work on individualized program plans to provide information as soon as possible to any program that may expect extensions to program timelines.

What is social distancing and self-isolation?

“Social distancing measures are approaches taken to minimize close contact with others in the community and include: quarantine and self-isolation at the individual level as well as other community-based approaches (e.g. avoiding crowding, school measures and closures, workplace measures and closures, public/mass gathering cancellations).” Cited from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/public-health-measures-mitigate-covid-19.html

It is important to remember that this period of class suspension is not a break or vacation. Public health is asking, that in order to focus on prevention, that you please limit your contact with the public whenever possible.

How will I access my course content and lesson delivery from home?

College faculty and administration worked on this during the week of March 16th-20th. We are utilizing Microsoft Teams in most cases but this may vary from program to program. Program-specific information was communicated to students last week. If you are in doubt, feel free to contact your lead instructor.

I don’t have a computer or internet access, what do I do?

Should you find yourself without a means of participating in online education please connect with April Jay, Student Success Coordinator: ajay@oultoncollege.com for support.

I don’t have speakers or a microphone, will I still be able to participate in my live online classes?

Yes. A microphone will not be necessary and speakers are built into any device you are using for classes (computer, phone, and tablet).

Will graduation be delayed?

At this time there is no reason to expect that graduation will be delayed. While the impacts of COVID-19 on the community are still quickly evolving and could require extended closure, there are no immediate plans to delay in-class learning past May 8th at this time. We will continue to monitor and update our operational plans accordingly while ensuring we continue to advise all students of changes as quickly as possible.

Please note that should summer graduation be impacted, it will be rescheduled NOT cancelled. Students will be issued their diploma at the time of course completion and will then have the option to participate in a ceremony when social distancing protocols have been lifted.

How does this closure affect my student financing?

Our discussions to date with Provincial and Federal student loans have indicated that there is no planned impact to funding at this time. Disruption to education has been felt across the country and should not affect your funding during this period. We will continue to monitor any changes to this as well and communicate any information as it becomes available.

Note that:

  • Student Loans are still approving loans and are reviewing all procedures to ensure that no hardships will be placed on students during this time.
  • Payments to student loans have been suspended for six months with no interest as well. This affects only people who are paying students loans at this time.

Due to layoffs I have lost my income. What do I do?

If you have experienced a job loss due to the impact of COVID-19, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html to learn more about how EI is making plans to help and to apply for EI Benefits

Note that EI is waiving its one week wait period, they are updating guidelines for employees impacted by the pandemic to ensure funds are available.

If you need more info please feel free to reach out to Scott Robertson, Manager of Finance: srobertson@oultoncollege.com

As of April 3rd, the NB provincial government has released the “Emergency Bridging Fund for Vulnerable Post Secondary Students” which will provide emergency support to students enrolled in post-secondary, including international students, who demonstrate a financial gap in meeting their basic needs.

The details of this fund are still emerging and as we learn more about who qualifies and how to apply, more information will be sent to our student population.

I was scheduled to do volunteering, practicum, clinical or OJT, do I still go?

In light of the declaration that New Brunswick is now in a state of emergency, all volunteering, practicum, clinical and OJT placements have been suspended. If you are unsure about the status of your placement you are encouraged to contact communications@oultoncollege.com

Career Services have been sending out communication to students with upcoming placements in the months of April and May 2020 that you are encouraged to review. Please note:

” Currently we are mandated by the province to only conduct ONLINE learning. Meaning that all preceptorships/OJT’s scheduled to start in the months of March and April are suspended until further notice. This is due to the State of Emergency regulations that deems only essential services are to continue working and reserve resources for emergency measures. Career Services is working diligently with Instructors and Directors to create program-specific plans to move forward. We will be in touch with your program-specific plans moving forward.

For programs with placements in later months (June, July) no changes are currently in effect. We will continue to assess the ongoing situation and make appropriate plans as needed. Stay tuned for further updates in the weeks to come. “

I am an international student, how does this impact my student status and study permit?

Your study permits are not impacted at this time and your access to NB medicare ensures you can obtain to medical services if needed.

For specific questions related to your status as an international student please connect with April Jay, Student Success Coordinator: ajay@oultoncollege.com for support.

How is attendance being marked for the week of March 16-20 when classes were suspended?

We will be adjusting our attendance tracking system to ensure that time missed this week is reflected as a break in studies rather than a period of absence.

I am experiencing anxiety over concerns related to COVID-19. What should I do?

We recognize the anxiety that can be triggered by an outbreak of this kind and encourage you to follow only credible news sources to prevent panic over misinformation. Limit your exposure to social media to prevent increased fear from rumors and unsubstantiated information. Please remember that you also have 24/7 access to our confidential “inConfidence” support line should you be experiencing uncontrolled fear or anxiety. To access this service please call: 1-877-418-2181

I need to see a doctor for non-emergent issues (ex; prescription refill). Where do I go?

Visit https://www.evisitnb.ca/ to be able to connect with a doctor virtually for minor medical issues.

I am currently renting an apartment. What are my rights as a tenant during a state of emergency?

The right of landlords under section 19 of the Residential Tenancies Act to require tenants to vacate for non-payment of rent, and the authority of residential tenancies officers under section 22 of that act to evict tenants for the same reason, are suspended, until May 31, 2020.

Now that we’ve moved to online learning, are there any specific rules I need to follow?

We ask that when participating in “live” classes that you leave your microphone on mute unless you’re being given the floor to speak. This is to prevent significant noise and feedback. Please keep all commentary live and through chat channels professional and appropriate at all times. Keep in mind that some students are learning with young children close by so watching language is essential. Finally, we ask that you please demonstrate respect to your instructors and fellow students recognizing that this change in modality may require some patience as we all get used to how things work. Those who are found to be disrespectful will be addressed by management.

Will Oulton Day still be honored?

Yes. Thursday, April 9th Oulton College operations will be closed for staff and students to celebrate Oulton Day.

My question wasn’t answered here, who do I contact?

Oulton College is monitoring questions about college-specific impacts and will update this the Student FAQ page as new information is available. Please direct any additional questions or concerns to communications@oultoncollege.com

The New Brunswick Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health has set up a dedicated site providing resources, information on COVID-19 including daily updates: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/cdc/content/respiratory_diseases/coronavirus.html