Studying during COVID-19

As we welcome students from all over the world, we are excited to offer this guide to assist you in preparing students to travel safely to Alberta, Canada. We have worked with Directors throughout Canada and our National Organization – Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CAPS-I), and Canada Homestay Network (CHN) and together, have produced this document. It is our hope that once students join us in Alberta, they will flourish and enjoy the ‘Canadian’ education and experience that we provide.

Protocols for Pre-Departure, Travel & Arrival into Canada – Fall 2020

The current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements have resulted in new pre-departure, travel and arrival protocols for international students (new and returning) destined for Canada.  

These procedures outline expectations and requirements to:

  • Alleviate any fear and concerns of students, host families, schools and communities
  • Support the safe travel/transit, health/well-being of international students
  • Ensure students and host families manage this period safely and smoothly 

Our first priority remains the health and safety of our students, host families and school communities. It is important to note that Canadian educational institutions must follow the regulations and recommendations of various authorities, including the government of Canada, provincial and local public health authorities.

Definitions:

The Public Health Agency of Canada draws a distinction between the need to quarantine (self-isolate) and isolate. 

  • Quarantine (self-isolate): Quarantining is necessary for 14 days if you have no symptoms and any of the following apply: you are returning from travel outside of Canada (mandatory quarantine); you had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19; or you have been told by the public health authority that you may have been exposed and need to quarantine.
  • Isolate: You must isolate if any of the following apply: you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting to hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19; you have symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild; you have been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19; you have been told by public health that you may have been exposed to COVID-19; or you have returned from travel outside Canada with symptoms of COVID-19 (mandatory). 

Pre-Departure Protocol

1. Communication and Relationship Building 

  • Speak to your homestay family (by video) about expectations
  • Consider whether there is anything you want to bring to help keep you busy, entertained during the mandatory 14 day quarantine period
  • Make sure you are clear about who and where you will be meeting after arriving at the airport, as drivers or host families will not be entering the building
  • Carry your host’s cell phone number(s) – this is important for all arrivals

2. Household Isolation and Physical Distancing 

  • We have attached the Government of Canada guidelines for self-isolation.
  • Download COVID-19 App and Daily Symptom Tracker: https://ca.thrive.health/

3. Medical Check / Testing (Where Possible)

  • Students who are able to obtain a medical clearance letter/certificate, COVID-19 or antibody test are asked to bring this documentation/test results with them when they travel to Canada. 
  • Negative COVID-19 tests will not change the requirement to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days upon arrival. This is mandatory for all travellers arriving into Canada.  

4. Completing Arrival Plan(s)

  • All travellers must download and complete the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN application for approval prior to their arrival on a paper form, web-based form or using an electronic App. 
  • In addition, the student must complete, send and print the Mandatory Self-Isolation Plan for the province in advance. See Alberta: https://cfr.forms.gov.ab.ca/Form/OCMO12443.xdp

5. Packing

Students must also bring in their carry-on luggage, at least two masks, a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

Students must also ensure they have the following documents ready in their carry-on luggage for when they arrive in Canada:

  • Passport
  • Study permit or approval letter (if studying for 6 months or longer)
  • Custodianship documents
  • Letter of Acceptance from school
  • Homestay profile and contact information
  • Contact information sheet for International Student Program / Homestay staff, including 24/7 emergency phone number
  • Copy of this document, signed by student and parent(s)
  • Print out of Self-Isolation Plan for Alberta: https://cfr.forms.gov.ab.ca/Form/OCMO12443.xdp

In addition to regular packing requirements, students should also bring:

  • 60 disposable face masks OR 30 disposable and 1 cloth face mask
  • One large bottle of quality hand sanitizer
  • Box of Nitrile gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Change of clothes for upon arrival to homestay

Travel Protocol

While travelling to their destination in Canada, students must:

  • Wear a mask 
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Use hand sanitizer regularly and as necessary
  • Sanitize their personal space and high-touch areas such as seat belts and tray tables
  • Minimize trips to the washroom (flush the toilet with the seat cover down)
  • Touch as few surfaces as possible
  • Keep their cell phone charged
  • Bring some food as restaurants or stores may be closed
  • Bring a refillable water bottle

Arrival in Canada Protocol

Upon arrival in Canada the student should proceed through the airport while maintaining physical distancing.

The student must have the documents outlined under ‘Packing’ ready to provide to Canada Border Services.  The student will also be required to undergo a screening by a border services or quarantine officer to assess travellers for symptoms.

At the final destination airport, the student will need to:

  • Text the driver/host to advise the flight has arrived.
  • Wear a fresh mask.  
  • Pick up baggage while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Exit the baggage area and go directly to the location previously agreed upon to meet the driver or host family.
  • Load his/her own luggage into the car and sit as far away from the driver as possible.

Arrive CAN App

The ArriveCAN App is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. This app must be set up before you arrive at immigration in Canada. The immigration officer will provide you with a TOKEN NUMBER, which you will need to enter in your profile. Here are the steps to setup the app, once you start the download:

Quarantine Protocol

As ordered, under the Government of Canada’s Quarantine Act, all travellers to Canada are required to quarantine for 14 days. This means that students will have to stay in their own room for 14 days and avoid contact with (keep a 2 metre distance from) others. 

These instructions and protocols may seem overwhelming for students. Students are encouraged to ask their host family or Homestay Coordinator for assistance. 

Students are reminded that quarantine (self-isolation) is not optional.  

The homestay family will provide the student with food, clean linens every couple of days, a comfortable room, use a separate bathroom during the 14 day quarantine period where possible and access to them via text message, LINE or WhatsApp, FaceTime and other remote communication.

After arriving in Canada, Government of Canada officials will call the student to monitor compliance with the mandatory quarantine. The student must be prepared to answer calls from 1-855-906-5585 or 613-221-3100.

Quarantine Arrangements 

Red Deer Catholic International is making arrangements for students’ quarantine upon arrival with our homestay families. We are following the comprehensive COVID-19 quarantine protocols that comply with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s quarantine guidelines and provide for the appropriate supervision of the students. 

We are committed to creating an exceptional student experience, including ensuring that all international students’ 14-day quarantine period is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, while adhering to the strict requirements. 

All quarantine arrangements will provide for: 

  • delivery of three meals per day to the student; 
  • a room prepared with adequate toiletries, linens and other supplies for 14 days; 
  • student, host family and supervisory staff adherence to rigorous hygiene, sanitization and physical distancing practices; 
  • students self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis;
  • supervision to ensure students adhere to quarantine requirements for the duration of the 14 days; 
  • regular telephone check-ins on students to inquire about their mental and physical health; and
  • virtual orientation, social, wellness and entertainment activities – will vary by program. 

If an international student experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 during the quarantine period, he/she must follow the directives of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and immediately notify their host family/quarantine supervisor. 

It is important to note that our primary health insurance provider for Kindergarten - Grade 12 international students, StudyInsured offered remote access to physicians as well as mental health support services.

Any student who has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to remain at their homestay/quarantine site until a medical practitioner has confirmed they are clear of these symptoms and/or the student has tested negative for COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Testing

As we progress through this school year, if your international student has any symptoms of COVID-19 they qualify for free testing from Alberta Health Services. 

The best way to get testing is to go to the website; https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics, COVID-19 Testing / Online Booking. You will go to do the screening questions but instead of submitting online for your student as they do not have an Alberta Health Number, request a callback at the bottom of the screen. Alberta Health Services will call you back and book your appointment for you and give you a temporary ID number. You may also phone 811 to book. 

Please let our office know if your student has symptoms or is getting tested. Study Insured, the students medical coverage will cover any medical costs associated with a confirmed case if your student seeks medical attention due to COVID-19. 

If you need any assistance with this, please contact our office directly at 403-341-4423 ext 331410.

Student Responsibilities and Expectations during 14-Day Quarantine

1. Stay in the bedroom or outside as much as possible and away from others. Find some time to go outside each day; you can stay in a private place like the yard. Do not go to school or into other public areas.

2. Keep your room well-ventilated and clean – open your window to let the air circulate.

3. Practice good hygiene: 

  • wash your hands frequently with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • use a separate towel which is kept away from others.
  • cover your mouth and nose with your elbow (or use a tissue) when coughing or sneezing - avoid coughing into either your hands or into the air. Dispose of used tissues right away into a trash bin and immediately wash your hands.
  • Use a separate bathroom if possible:
  • Clean the bathroom regularly with household cleaning products.
    Flush the toilet with the lid down.

4. Keep the bathroom and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, dressers, and other surfaces clean and disinfected at least once a day.

5. Keep personal items (toothbrush, cups, cell phone, tablets, laptops, etc.) separate from those belonging to others.

6. Package up your garbage – empty garbage frequently and wash your hands immediately.

7. Stay connected – text, email, FaceTime with your friends and family.

8. Monitor your physical and mental well-being 

  • if you are not feeling well, ask your host to help you complete an online self-assessment to determine if you need further assessment or testing.
  • Visit: https://ca.thrive.health/– if you cannot use the online tool, call 8-1-1

9. Take care with laundry:

  • all clothes worn during the flight should be washed immediately 
  • all student clothes should be washed separately from other host family laundry
  • student will need to wash and fold his/her own laundry

10. Eat in the bedroom. The host family will bring meals to the bedroom. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or eating utensils.

11. Ask for help!

Students are reminded that while these instructions and protocols may seem overwhelming, they are here to remind them to be careful of their contact with others during the 14-day quarantine.  Canada Homestay will be here to help. Students will be encouraged to reach out to their host family, their Relationship Manager at Canada Homestay or the Director for assistance.

Host Responsibilities and Expectations during 14-Day Quarantine

  1. Host families must follow all public health guidelines for their area for 14 days prior to the student’s arrival and everyone in the home must be free of all COVID-19 symptoms.

  2. Only one healthy person should provide care to the student during the 14 day period.

  3. Do not share personal items with the student, (such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils and electronic devices.

  4. Use a separate bathroom from the student if possible and make sure everyone puts the toilet lid down before flushing.

  5. Some people may transmit COVID-19 even though they do not show any symptoms. Wearing a mask, including a non-medical mask or face covering (i.e. constructed to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping, and secured to the head by ties or ear loops) can help protect others around you.

  6. Avoid reusing medical masks or gloves.

  7. Clean your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with the student and after removing any gloves, face masks and eye protection.

  8. Dry your hands with disposable paper towels. If not available, use a reusable towel and replace it when it becomes wet.

  9. You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  10. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  11. Prevent contact with animals, as there have been several reports of people transmitting COVID-19 to their pets.

  12. If possible, people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should not care for someone with COVID-19. These people include elderly persons, those with chronic medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, diabetes) or compromised immune systems. If you need to be within 2 metres of the student, wear personal protective equipment: a medical mask; disposable gloves; and eye protection.

Recommended Host Family Supplies: 

  • Disposable paper towels & regular household cleaning products
  • Appropriate cleaning products for high-touch electronics
  • Hand soap 
  • Alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Regular laundry soap
  • Thermometer
  • Hard-surface disinfectant that has a Drug Identification Number (DIN), or if not available, concentrated (5%) liquid bleach and a separate container for dilution

Post-Quarantine Expectations of Student & Families

  • Continue to practice proper, recommended hygiene
  • Use proper coughing and sneezing etiquette 
  • Practice physical distancing when outside of the home, avoid malls, crowded spaces and sports 
  • Get & stay connected!

If a Student or Host Family Member Develops Symptoms or is Diagnosed with COVID-19

Use the self-assessment tool at: https://ca.thrive.health/ and seek medical attention as necessary.

To avoid spreading COVID-19, the following may occur: 

  • Student will remain in the home, in accordance with Public Health direction or
  • If they would like to, natural parents may travel to Canada to care for the student
  • In the unlikely event that a host is also ill and unable to care for the student, a respite or alternate arrangement will be made. 

Canada Homestay Network (CHN)

Red Deer Catholic International is in partnership with Canada Homestay Network (CHN). We have worked together to provide the following information:

In addition to being heavily supportive in the care of students when they arrive in Alberta, CHN proposes to reimburse hosts an additional $25 per night for the 14-day quarantine period ($350), in addition to the standard nightly rates for that period. If a student arrives before August 20, the student will be invoiced the regular homestay fees for that period, plus $350. If a student arrives on time, the student will be invoiced an additional $350 only. The costs for the quarantine period will be invoiced to the agent/student.

If a student develops symptoms while in quarantine, CHN will follow public health guidelines. In some cases, we may need to place a student with a respite host for the quarantine period only. If they develop symptoms while living with a respite quarantine host, the student must stay with their respite quarantine host until they are considered “fit” to move with their regular host family. The cost for the extra time in the quarantine homestay will remain the same, at an additional $25 per night. 

Resources

For further reading on preparation for contact with and care for individuals exposed to COVID-19, please refer to the following: