COVID19 Updates and FAQs

Updates by date of release

Update on March 20, 2020

Dear Students:

The global pandemic of the COVID-19 Coronavirus has quickly changed the landscape of higher education. On Wednesday, March 18th, the University of Manitoba announced that they were suspending their Summer Term registration until further notice and would be exploring options for course delivery.

ICM is also exploring different ways to provide you access to your summer courses while keeping in mind the health and safety of all community members in this time where we have to be extra careful with our well-being. On Thursday, March 19th, we launched a survey to you and your fellow students to gauge your interest in course options for summer term. I am pleased to have already heard from over 600 students.

What I heard was a variety of messages. Some students were quite clear that they would prefer taking the summer term away from studies so they could be with family during this difficult time. Others are feeling the financial pressure of the virus’ impact on family income and would prefer delaying the start of the term. The majority of students want to continue with studies over the summer, whether it be to distract themselves from the events going on around the world, to fulfill course requirements to continue with their desired second year program in September, or simply to continue on with initial plans.

We’ve also consulted with your teachers and they too are interested in continuing on with the summer term in a safe and healthy way, minimizing the disruption to your program plans.

In response to this feedback, I’m pleased to confirm the following:

  • ICM will continue to offer a Summer 2020 term. This term will take place online.
  • Registration will take place online the week of May 4th. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • The start of the term will be delayed, commencing Tuesday, May 19th. This delayed start date will provide you time to discuss your plans with your family and focus on your well-being prior to the start of the term in this virtual environment. This will also provide more time for your instructors to develop and launch their course in this digital environment.
  • The term will run through to August 8th. Exams will take place between August 10th and 21st.
  • ICM will offer a variety of programming to support your learning. This will include online sessions focused on academics, as well as some social events to keep you connected with your classmates. Once circumstances change and it is safe for us to proceed with in-person events, we will resume this type of programming for those who remain in Winnipeg.
  • Additional program options, including a condensed short-term in-person program later in summer will continue to be explored, as will in-person Supplementary Instruction sessions for those who are learning online.
  • As a result of this delayed summer term start/end, the Fall term will commence in early-September (dates to be determined).

We thank you for your patience and feedback as we work towards supporting you with your learning and welfare in this period of uncertainty. I hope today’s announcement brings you some peace of mind for the months ahead.

Sincerely,

Robert Daudet
College Director & Principal

 

Update on March 18, 2020

Dear students,

The UM has announced this evening that final exams will take place online this term. In following their decision, ICM will be doing the same for April 2020 exams. If your course is scheduled to have a final exam, it will run at the same time as it was previously scheduled, unless other arrangements have been made by your instructor. Please refer to your course Moodle for more information about your course assessments. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that ICM has extended the Voluntary Withdrawal (VW) deadline to April 5th at 11:59pm.

The UM also announced that is will be suspending their summer term registration until further notice and expect courses to resume on June 1st via online delivery. We at ICM are exploring different ways to provide you access to your summer courses while keeping in mind your health and safety in this time where we have to be extra careful with our well-being. We will continue to offer a summer term, though the start date may be delayed and courses may be delivered online and/or in blended format (meaning both online and in-person). We will communicate our plans as they are finalized and thank you for your patience as we work on identifying a structure that addresses both your academic and personal needs.

What does this mean about options for returning home? We understand that it can feel lonely when you have loved ones around the world. While this is a challenging time around the world, the best thing we can do to stop the spread of the virus and keep everyone we care about safe, is to stop travelling. We want you to know that ICM will be here for you through the semester, the semester break, and the coming years of your studies in Canada. There is a lot of uncertainty now, but you are not alone in Canada and we are going to be here with you every step of the way. We continue to recommend that students stay locally and follow public health guidelines for social distancing. However, it is your family’s decision to make with you about what actions you will take during the coming weeks. Please be sure to follow government advisories both in MB and abroad. The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that travellers avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/221). The MB government has strongly advised those wanting to travel internationally to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel (https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/travellers.html).

I know all of this information can bring up many uncertainties and questions. We are here to help answer questions as best we can, with the information we have at hand, as the landscape is ever changing. To help during this time, the UM has also rolled out the following services, which we are also extending to ICM students:

  • Medical notes are not required for illnesses. Medical notes are not required if you are feeling ill and are unable to meet a course requirement on time. Please email your instructor to self-declare your illness in advance of the requirement, deadline or assessment and they will help address your situation. 
  • Limited Access will not be applied if you VW. When registering for courses in a future term, Limited Access will not apply to courses you VWd from in Winter 2020. If you VW from a course, you may register without the Limited Access restriction.

Stay safe and let us know how we can help in any way.

Melissa Mushikori
Associate Director (Students)

 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • What is COVID-19

    • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
  • What are the symptoms?
    • Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19 and include:

      • fever
      • cough
      • difficulty breathing
      • pneumonia in both lungs
  • How is it spread?
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 2 metres/6.5 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or in saliva when speaking in close proximity.

      According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Touching an object that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, eyes before washing your hands. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

  • Identifying COVID-19 symptoms can be difficult as they are like those of a common cold or flu:

    Allergies Cold Flu Coronavirus

    Sneezing

    Cough

    Fever

    Fever

    Headaches

    Sneezing

    Cough

    Cough

    Itchy, runny, stuffy nose

    Headaches

    Headaches

    Shortness of breath

    Itchy, red, watering eyes

    Sore throat

    Sore throat

    Symptoms appearing 2-14 days after exposure

     

    Watery eyes

    Fatigue (tiredness)

     
     

    Muscle or body aches

    Muscle or body aches

     
     

    Runny or stuffy nose

    Runny or stuffy nose

     
  • How can I prevent to get sick
    • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds.
    • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Practice social distancing.
  • What should I do if I am sick?
    • If you are sick, you should take the following CDC’s Recommendations for Prevention to protect yourself and the community:
      • Stay home except to get medical care.
      • Contact your instructors and advisor@learning.icmanitoba.ca to let us know you are unwell.
      • Avoid public areas and public transportation.
      • Separate yourself from others in your home.
      • Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should first call Health Links–Info Sante at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) to ensure they receive medical advice appropriate to their specific health concerns.
      • Use Mobile Doctor or call ahead before visiting your doctor in person.
      • Cover coughs and sneezes with elbow.
      • Wear a face mask if you are sick.
      • Clean your hands often for 20+ seconds.
      • Avoid sharing personal items.
      • Clean all surfaces that you touch.
      • Monitor your symptoms and stay at home until you are instructed to leave
  • When do I have to self-isolate/quarantine?
    • Manitobans are strongly advised to cancel or postpone any non-essential international travel. Self-isolation is recommended for the following individuals or groups for a 14-day period after departing the area they were visiting, or since their last known contact or exposure to someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19:
      • all travellers returning to Manitoba, does not include:
        • workers involved with the commercial transportation of goods and services;
        • workers who live in a neighbouring jurisdiction and travel to Manitoba for work;
        • health care workers who travel to work from outside the province;
        • normal personal travel in border communities, including visits to a cottage.
      • contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
      • laboratory workers exposed during work.
    • If symptoms develop during the 14-day self-isolation or self-monitoring period, contact Health Links - Info Santé to determine if testing for COVID-19 should be considered. In cases where testing is not recommended, stay home (self-isolate) until well 
    • More information can be found at https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/index.html 
  • What is Social Distancing?
    • According to the CDC, social distancing involves “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance” whenever possible to limit the ability of the virus to spread.
    • This means avoiding concerts, restaurants, bars or clubs, malls, conferences, and any non-essential locations where there are large groups of people who may not know they are sick yet.
  • How will Social Distancing save lives?
    • While the same number of people will still get the virus, social distancing slows down the rate at which people get sick.
    • This gives hospitals and the health care system a chance to help the most severe cases to recover
    • This also protects doctors, nurses, and health care workers as well as other patients in hospitals from spreading the virus.
    • This concept is called “Flattening the Curve”. If you want to understand more about how viruses spread and how social distancing can help save lives click here.
  • Should I wear a face mask?
    • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection.
    • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
    • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
    • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
  • For more information please see the World Health Organization (WHO) guide for how and when to use face masks.

    It is also important to recognize the cultural practice of wearing face masks across the world. In several countries across Asia, wearing face masks is often seen as an act of solidarity and collective responsibility to minimize the transmission of diseases. It is also believed that wearing a mask prompts people to not touch their face or eyes.

    This understanding is crucial to reducing the social stigma and discrimination that can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone is specifically at risk for the disease.
  • Am I allowed to leave during the term break?
    • Starting Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 all classes will be delivered online for the remainder of the semester. We understand that it can feel lonely when you have loved ones around the world. While this is a challenging time around the world, the best thing we can do to stop the spread of the virus and keep everyone we care about safe, is to stop travelling. 

    • We want you to know that ICM will be here for you through the semester, the semester break, and the coming years of your studies in Canada. There is a lot of uncertainty now, but you are not alone in Canada and we are going to be here with you every step of the way.

    • The UM has announced that final exams will take place online this term. In following their decision, ICM will be doing the same for April 2020 exams. If your course is scheduled to have a final exam, it will run at the same time as it was previously scheduled, unless other arrangements have been made by your instructor. Please refer to your course Moodle for more information about your course assessments. We are still recommending that students stay locally until the end of the exam period and follow public health guidelines for social distancing. However, it is your family’s decision to make with you about what actions you will take during the coming weeks. Please be sure to follow government advisories both in MB and abroad. The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that travellers avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/221). The MB government has strongly advised those wanting to travel internationally to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel (https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/travellers.html).
  • Can I return to my home country and study online?
    • Starting Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 all classes will be delivered online for the remainder of the semester. All ICM final exams will take online this term, as such, if you wish to travel home you should have the capabilities to write your exams from your home country. If your course is scheduled to have a final exam, it will run at the same time as it was previously scheduled, unless other arrangements have been made by your instructor. Please refer to your course Moodle for more information about your course assessments. We are still recommending that students stay locally until the end of the exam period and follow public health guidelines for social distancing. However, it is your family’s decision to make with you about what actions you will take during the coming weeks. Please be sure to follow government advisories both in MB and abroad. The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that travellers avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/221). The MB government has strongly advised those wanting to travel internationally to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel (https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/travellers.html).
  • How can I stay connected while practicing social distancing?
    • During these times it is important to take care of ourselves. If you are feeling disconnected you can also try to video chat with your friends and family, call them on the phone, or send them messages and chat online. Make sure you are eating well and stay healthy and hydrated. We recommend you take a break from reading the news, watch some funny videos, try to relax a little bit and get a good night’s sleep.

    • If you would like to speak with someone about how you are feeling we would also encourage you to connect with MySSP which is a 24/7 online counselling service available in over 60 different languages, where you can call, text, and video chat depending on your preference.  

    • Advising is also available by phone, email, and online chat if you would like to connect with a Student Success Advisor to discuss any concerns that you have.
  • How can we support each other through this difficult time?
    • Express empathy to each other - it’s normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during an outbreak.

    • Help each other to make connections with friends, family, and others to talk about how they feel.

      If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed, help them seek support from a healthcare professional.

    • Talk to people about how it is important, in general, but especially now, to keep the body as healthy as possible by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

    • Discuss how often you’re checking social media. In order to limit worry, one can limit their media exposure to a few trusted sources and try to access it less frequently. Help people understand that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

  • Will there be impacts to Residence and Housing?
    • To protect the health and safety of all students, the UM residences are now requiring all Canadian residents to move out of residence no later than 12:00 pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. If you are an international student that cannot safely return home or are a Canadian resident that has special circumstances that may warrant an exception, UM residences will continue to provide you with accommodations and meals (if applicable) in residence up to and including April 30, 2020. If your academic commitments are completed earlier, UM residences would expect those students to move out no later than 48 hours after their last exam.
    • All international students who cannot safely return home are required to complete the online move-out form which can be found at the “Move-Out” tab once you have logged on to the portal: https://starrez-app.cc.umanitoba.ca/StarRezPortal.
    • The UM residences will close for the Summer 2020 term
  • Will my health insurance be valid if I get COVID-19 Coronavirus?
    • Students diagnosed with an illness when they are in Canada, including COVID-19, are eligible for medically necessary treatment as per the normal terms and conditions of their policy.

    • If, for any reason, a student returns to their home country they are subject to the “home country exclusion” and will not be eligible for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the policy. COVID-19 will be treated like any other illness in this situation.

  • What are the travel air restrictions into Canada?
    • (From IRCC’s website) Canada is currently denying boarding to all foreign nationals, unless they are exempt, on flights to Canada coming from all countries.

    • With some exemptions, only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, as well as some foreign nationals travelling from the United States (US) who have been in the US for at least 14 days and are asymptomatic, will be able to enter Canada by air.

    • Canada will also deny boarding to any foreign national coming from the US who has resided outside Canada or the US in the last 14 days, unless that foreign national is exempt.

    • If a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act, protected person or exempt person is exhibiting symptoms, they will not be allowed to travel to Canada by air. They will, however, be able to enter Canada at a land border, but must isolate for 14 days.

  • How will we support current international Covid-19 infected students who are studying at our colleges?
    • Academic: We have quickly moved to remote delivery of instruction in tandem with our university partners to minimize disruption to studies.  Our instructors are available for online meetings with students and we are working to move our peer-led programming (e.g. peer tutoring) to online platforms.

    • Student Support: While we cannot continue in-person group activities, we are offering programming and student services online to ensure students remain engaged, connected, and supported (online chat/activities, games, peer support, etc.).  We will also continue our proactive support to students, reaching out to them electronically to ensure they are safe and secure.

    • Health and well-being: We will be conducting health checks with students to ensure they have the supports they require to be healthy in mind and body.  Our university partners have committed to continue providing essential services to students including on-campus dining (for those living on campus).  Our staff stand ready to assist and support students during urgent circumstances.

  • What aspect of Covid-19 diagnoses and treatments are covered by the students’ health insurance?
    • Students are covered by health insurance.  Note that tests are available based on screening measures (i.e. you must have symptoms or demonstrated risk of exposure), but there is no charge for testing or treatment. Students diagnosed with an illness when they are in Canada, including COVID-19, are eligible for medically necessary treatment as per the normal terms and conditions of their policy. If, for any reason, a student returns to their home country they are subject to the “home country exclusion” and will not be eligible for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the policy. COVID-19 will be treated like any other illness in this situation.
  • How do we support newly arrived students during the 14 days of isolation regarding finding accommodation, food, and other necessities?
    • We are prepared to help identify temporary accommodation which will support their immediate shelter and dietary needs during isolation.  In addition, we will design virtual orientation activities to help student engage with peers and adjust – as best as possible – to university life in Canada.  This is in addition to the measure noted above.
  • How will we support students who want to stay on-campus during closures/Easter holidays?
    • We have worked with our university partner to ensure that our students currently in residence may remain through to the close of the current term and be provided essential services including food, security, and the like.  While it will be a quiet time as there will be no formal on-campus programming, we will ensure they are able to reach out online to peer networks and supports. Additional housing support during the summer can be coordinated through our student services teams.
  • What do we do with students who want to return home during the closure? What happens if they then cancel/defer?
    • Students will be allowed to defer their study for a term with no academic penalty and may return for the next term when travel restrictions are lifted.  We are offering remote study options for students who wish to remain engaged in their studies, including for those who are away from Canada.  Students wishing to withdraw from the program completely will be handled through our refund policy.
  • Can we provide deadlines around visas and enrolment extensions for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021?
    • We have revised our deadline based on current information as outlined below.  Any further changes would be subject to change in government policy regarding travel restrictions.

    • The start of the Summer 2020 (May-August) term has been pushed back to commence on Tuesday, May 19th and will take place remotely. The Fall 2020 (September-December) term will start in early-September, while the Winter 2021 (January-April) term will continue as scheduled in early January. Students must be present for the first week of classes. Students who do not receive their visas in time to join the start of the term will have their application deferred to the following term at no penalty.

    • We understand that due to high school closures around the world, final results may not be received in time for the start of the term. In these cases, we will accept official transcripts through to the end of the second week of classes.

  • Should I still apply to ICM?
    • We continue to encourage students to apply to our Canadian colleges. We are hopeful that the travel bans will be lifted shortly. If students are unable to travel, we will have alternative instruction methods available so students can start or continue with their studies uninterrupted.
    • Please note:
      • On March 18 the Government of Canada announced major travel restrictions until June 30th, 2020, allowing only citizens and permanent residents to enter. 

      • The Canadian government has indicated that prospective students who were granted a visa/Study Permit to come to Canada prior to March 18 will still be allowed to come to Canada.

      • Courses will still be fully remote regardless of student location. We ask that students reconfirm their accommodations prior to your travel as some accommodation providers will be closed for the summer.  Students will also need to follow Canada’s self-isolation regulations at the time of entry into Canada.

    • We encourage students to apply for permission to come to Canada through regular channels for visas/study permits. When these offices re-open and international travel is permitted, students may avoid further delays by having paperwork submitted in order to start classes.
  • What will happen to my deposit if my semester is cancelled because of COVID-19?
    • Students’ deposits are completely safe. In the unlikely event that we will have to cancel a semester because of COVID-19, students will have the option to either defer to a later semester or receive a refund.

    • Please note that the likelihood of this happening is extremely low. We have options available to ensure students still get the education and support they require.

  • What happens if I decide to withdraw?
    • As a first option, we encourage students to remain in the College.  If they wish to defer their studies to a later term, they may do so with no academic penalty.

    • We recognize that this is an uncertain time and that students and their families may make alternate decisions.  Should a student wish to voluntarily withdraw from the College, we will honour the refund policy, which can be found here:

      https://www.icmanitoba.ca/conditions-of-enrolment

    • If any student has specific questions about how the policy applies to them and their personal circumstances, we would be happy to assist them.
  • What happens if a student wants to join online but is handicapped by connectivity issues etc?
    • Instructors are working on developing assessments that are conducive to the remote delivery environment and not simply replicating what is being done during in-person classes. These assessments may include longer periods of time to complete and submit assignments/exams to accommodate challenges like slower internet connections.

    • ICM will be offering extended Voluntary Withdrawal periods so that students who are unable to fulfill their course obligations will be able to withdraw from courses with no academic penalty. ICM continues to offer a withdrawal period with no financial penalty in the first three weeks of the term.

  • Can student services staff stay in touch with students when they have gone back home?
    • Yes, definitely. Whether we run a term fully remote or both remote and in-person, we will regularly organize interactive events to keep students engaged and part of the community. For example:
      • Counselling and advising services remain available no matter the location of the students;

      • Advisors will continue to practice proactive advising for all students;

        Instructors are continuing to take attendance for live sessions, as well as through engagement with offline course activities. We are following up on all students; and

      • Our peer programs have moved online as well as activities and they can be found with links to their online location here https://learning.icmanitoba.ca/

  • What are some resources for more information?

May Term FAQs

  • Do I need a visa to enrol?

    • Students do not need to have a confirmed visa in order to enrol or start their studies in the May term; however, they will need a confirmed visa in-hand to enter Canada for the September term. The September term is currently planned to take place in person.
  • What happens to my fees if I enrol and my visa is later refused?
    • If you do not currently have an approved visa, choose to enrol in courses, and your visa is later refused, your refund request would be based on the refund policy for current students – meaning you would likely be charged for the courses that you are enrolled in, even if your visa is refused and you no longer decide to come to Canada. Please see https://www.icmanitoba.ca/conditions-of-enrolment#refund for our Fee Refund Policy.
    • Students must voluntarily withdrawal, or VW, from their courses before the end of their third week of the term (as per the deadline in the Academic Calendar published in your Student Portal) if they do not want to be charged for the courses they are studying. If your visa is refused after that time period, students could still complete the courses they have enrolled in. If you are worried about a visa refusal and you don’t want to risk paying for courses at ICM if you cannot join ICM, then you may wish to defer to our September intake
  • I don’t want to take on-line classes. Can I defer my start date to the next intake?
    • Yes, please request an Intake Change Request form to defer your studies to our next intake. There is no fee to change your semester. Students can request to defer any time before the start of the May intake.
  • Will my classes be presented live or will I be watching pre-recorded videos?
    • Classes will all be presented live in ‘synchronous delivery’ meaning that you will need to be online at your specific class times to participate in the class. This will give you the opportunity to interact with your fellow classmates and ask questions of your instructors in real-time. Each class will also be recorded so if you have connectivity issues or wish to re-watch the lecture, you’ll be able to download it and watch again for future reference.
  • How will I get textbooks for my classes?
    • The official textbook list will be distributed closer to the start of the term. ICM is exploring textbooks that have online options to ensure all students will be able to access their textbooks regardless of where they are located in the world.
  • Is there any discount for studying online?
    • Tuition fees will remain the same. While the courses will take place online, we will continue to maintain our commitment to offering you small class sizes. Student services fees are being reviewed and will be communicated prior to the start of the term.
  • What kind of academic support will you be offering?
    • ICM will offer a variety of programming to support student learning. This will include online sessions focused on academics, as well as some social events to keep students connected with their classmates. In addition to this regular advising will be available to students through zoom. Once circumstances change and it is safe for us to proceed with in-person events, we will resume this type of programming for those who remain in Winnipeg.
  • If the travel ban is lifted and my visa is approved, when should I travel to Canada?
    • We recommend that students follow the travel advisories issued by their home country, as well as Canada’s policies for foreign nationals entering Canada. Since the May intake will be completely online, we do not recommend that you plan to travel until closer to the September intake as you do not need to be in-person at ICM for your May intake.
  • I’m not sure if studying online is right for me – what should I do to decide?
    • This is something every student will need to consider – will you be able to participate in courses online and be successful from home, or would you feel more comfortable deferring your intake and starting in-person in the September term? There is also the option to try the online courses for one or two weeks, and then choose to voluntarily withdrawal (VW) before the end of the third week of the May term. If you voluntarily withdrawal before the Withdrawal Date deadline (no financial penalty) as per the Academic Calendar, you would not be charged for the courses and you would not receive any academic penalties (ex. you would not receive F grades on your transcript).
  • If my ability to travel changes during the term can I come to Winnipeg to do my online classes?
    • All classes and support services will be offered online for Summer term. Currently, the University campus is closed to students. If the campus does re-open during the summer, support services will continue to be offered online, while others will also be offered in-person. While it is up to each student and their family to decide when to travel, please follow government advisories both in MB and abroad before making travel arrangements. Currently, the MB government has strongly advised those wanting to travel internationally to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel (https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/travellers.html).
  • Will there be a Summer Orientation for new students?
    • Yes, an online orientation will take place (date and time to be confirmed).