Covid-19 Information for English Schools in Canada & USA
To ensure a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritizing the health and safety of both students and staff at all of our schools. Our team is committed to upholding the highest standards of cleanliness throughout our facilities and in light of the dramatic changes to public health guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have updated or enhanced many of our hygiene and safety protocols to help ensure the safety and security of everyone who walks through our doors.
We have also implemented robust COVID-19 related policy through close analysis of the various provincial/state and federal government and health authority guidelines, including WorkSafe BC, BC COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines, and the Government of Canada’s Guidance for Post-Secondary Institutions During the COIVD-19 Pandemic, as well as the order of the provincial health officer of British Columbia, and the governments of Ontario, British Columbia, and California.
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Canada’s Covid Update
Information on Travelling to Canada and the US
Information for Students
Information for Staff
Information for Agents
Frequently Asked Questions
US COVID-19 Travel Update – November 12, 2021
It was announced last week that from November 8th 2021, travellers that can show proof of being fully vaccinated will again be able to enter the US. Travellers aged 18+ must be vaccinated with a vaccine approved by either the FDA or the WHO, and still provide a pre-arrival negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19. Although students under-18 are not required to be vaccinated, we strongly advise them to be vaccinated prior to arrival if possible. The new rules will apply to all countries, and we are very excited to be able to welcome students internationally to our New York City and San Diego schools again from next month onwards! Further information can be found on the CDC website.
Canada COVID-19 Travel Update – November 12, 2021
Since 7th September 2021, non-essential travel has been open to fully-vaccinated travellers (Govt. of Canada-approved vaccines only), meaning students can come and study with us for short-term courses (less than 6 months) without needing a study visa.
From October 30th, travellers leaving Canada by air or rail, will be required to be fully vaccinated to travel. This requirement also applies to inter-provincial travel within Canada. To allow travellers time to become fully vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel as an alternative to providing proof of full vaccination. This means that any students currently studying in Canada that are unvaccinated risk not being able to leave the country beyond 30th November. Any such students can speak to our staff at our Vancouver or Toronto schools, who can help students make their vaccination appointment. Further information can be found on the Government of Canada website.
For our Toronto school, the exciting news moving into November is that capacity limits, for both classes and social settings (restaurants, museums, stadia, etc), have now been lifted! This now means that capacity limits in both educational and social settings have now been removed in all four of our NA adults school locations, meaning that our students can return to a more “normal” experience both in their learning setting and on our social program activities.
CANADA; COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Eased for Fully Vaccinated Students from July 5th 2021
We are very pleased to announce that earlier this week, the Government of Canada announced that boarder and quarantine restrictions will be eased for international students as of July 5th 2021. From this date onwards, those that are currently authorized to enter Canada, including international students (study permit holders), and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, will no longer be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine upon arrival or take a COVID-19 test on day eight. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel.
Travellers that are consider fully vaccinated are those that have received a full or combined series of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Canadian government at least 14 days prior to their date of travel. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). All students holding study permits that are only partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will still have to adhere to the 14-day quarantine and testing requirements, including the 3-day stay in a government-approved hotel. Further information can be found on the Government of Canada website.
CANADA UPDATE: New Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing Requirement - 5th January 2021
The Government of Canada has announced that effective January 7, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. EST, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country into Canada.
Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.
Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine. Further information on the new requirements can be found here.
Arriving students must continue to have their quarantine plans completed and ready to present when arriving in Canada, and must use the ArriveCAN App or website, as well as provide accurate contact information for during the quarantine period. The government has stated that stricter surveillance of these requirements will be implemented moving forward, and so we will, of course, continue to support future students through the pre-arrival preparation and requirements, as well as through the quarantine period itself. If you have any questions regarding the new requirements above, please speak to your Oxford International North America contact person, or contact Vancouver school Acting Director, Alex Dolata – firstname.lastname@example.org
Oxford International Toronto; Classes move online as state of emergency keeps city in lockdown – 13th January 2021
The Government of Ontario yesterday declared a state of emergency and implemented a “stay at home” order for the entire province, including the city of Toronto, starting 14th January 2021. This means Toronto will remain in Lockdown for at least a further 28 days, in an attempt to halt the rise of COVID-19 cases being reported in the province. As a result, following provincial guidelines and protocol, all lessons will continue to be delivered online until we are informed that it has been deemed safe enough to return to face-to-face classes by the local authorities.
The Lockdown announcement does not affect the arrival of international students for private post-secondary Designated Learning Institutions that have been identified on the federal government’s Designated Learning Institution list. As such, we encourage any future students hoping to travel to Canada to study at our Toronto school to continue with their visa application, as again, we understand this to be a temporary measure to hopefully return to in-person classes in the near future.
Students can continue to enjoy the same high-quality lessons and student support as they normally would at our Toronto school, with lessons still delivered by our excellent local teaching team, and current students will receive further details of our virtual program delivery shortly, if they have not done so already. We will continue to follow the COVID-19 operating requirements set out by the provincial and federal government, as well as our own COVID-19 Health & Safety plan, and encourage all staff, students, and partners to do so, to ensure all members of the Oxford International Toronto community, and in turn the wider Toronto community, stay safe and healthy during this testing period.
As soon as these new measures are amended or relaxed, we will provide an update accordingly. If you have any questions regarding these changes to program delivery, please contact our Toronto school director, Kelly Rooney (email@example.com) or Alex Dolata (firstname.lastname@example.org), our Oxford International Vancouver COVID-19 compliance contacts.
CANADA UPDATE; BC Government Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out Plans – 22nd January 2021
On January 22, 2021, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) provided an update on the province’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. The plan has four phases and is focused first on protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness. Immunization for the general population is scheduled to take place from April to September 2021.
Approval of additional COVID-19 vaccines currently under review in Canada may mean greater volume of vaccinations becoming available, and bringing this timeline forward. For the time being, the provincial government have asked that all those living in the province continue to follow COVID-19 public health guidelines, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Further information can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
This announcement does not affect the arrival of international students, who are considered “essential travellers” by the Canadian federal government. As such, we encourage any future students hoping to travel to the Canada to study at our Vancouver school to continue with their plans to do so.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact Alex Dolata (email@example.com), our Oxford International Vancouver COVID-19 compliance contact.
Oxford International Vancouver; PHO Order on Limiting Social Interactions
The Government of British Columbia last week announced the introduction of a number of temporary additional measures and requirements in an attempt to halt the rise of COVID-19 cases being reported in the province. As such, we want to ensure everyone is aware of these new temporary requirements, and how these may apply to members of the Oxford International Vancouver community.
On Saturday, 7th November, Dr Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, issued a joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia. In this, the provincial government announced a new order is now in place until further notice, with all individuals, places of work and businesses within the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions required to adhere to the following new protocol:
- No person may have, either inside or outside, a person who does not live with them present at a private residence or vacation accommodation.
- No person may be present at another person’s private residence or vacation accommodation, either inside or outside.
- a person who lives on their own (the “resident”) may have up to two other persons present at their private residence or vacation accommodation if the other persons are individuals with whom the resident regularly interacts. If the other two persons regularly interact with one another, as well as with the resident, they may be present in residence at the same time.
- No indoor social gatherings are allowed.
- From November 7, 2020, at 10:00 pm until further notice travel into and out of the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley should be limited to essential travel only.
Additional requirements announced by Dr Henry in the last two weeks include:
- Social distancing enforced in all public indoor spaces.
- Masks are a mandatory requirement in all indoor public settings and workplaces
- Indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained, and any other group indoor activity that increases the respiratory rate are suspended
Staff and students may still travel to and from school/work, and attend in-person classes, in which masks and social distancing measures will be employed. Students can still enjoy the best of Vancouver, just not in the group environment in which they normally would.
Again, the above measures are only temporary and have been introduced to better protect everyone within the communities in which we operate, and our staff, students, and partners reside. Additionally, the new order states that active inspections of businesses are being increased to ensure COVID-19 measures are being properly implemented and observed. As such, we kindly request that all members of the Oxford International Vancouver community (staff, students, partners) observe these new measures, as well as additional standard protocol already outlined in the Oxford International COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan, and those of the provincial and federal governments.
For questions, please contact Alex Dolata (firstname.lastname@example.org), our Oxford International Vancouver COVID-19 compliance contact.
Canada COVID Update
The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces, territories and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to actively monitor the situation, while global efforts are focused on containment of the outbreak and the prevention of further spread. Current COVID-19 information can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website here.
COVID-19 is a serious health threat, and the situation is evolving daily. The risk varies between and within communities, but given the number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high. Current COVID-19 case numbers can be found on The Government of Canada’s website here.
For more information, please visit the provincial resources page for British Columbia, Ontario, and San Diego:
Information on Travelling to Canada and the US
We are excited to confirm that following the Government’s approval of our COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan, both our Toronto and Vancouver school are on the Government of Canada’s list of approved designated learning institutions (DLI). This means that we are once again able to welcome new international students.
According to the Government of Canada, you can travel to and enter Canada if you’re a:
- Canadian citizen
- dual Canadian citizen with a
- valid Canadian passport or
- special authorization
- permanent resident of Canada
- person registered under Canada’s Indian Act
- protected person
- International student who is eligible
Some international students may travel to Canada if they are eligible. To be able to enter Canada, you must meet two requirements:
- You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
- You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.
Short-Term International Student Visas
Until recently, students were not able to come to Canada on temporary resident visas (TRVs) or electronic travel authorizations (eTAs), as part of the Federal Government’s announcement regarding international student travel in early October. While this is still true, it is, however, now possible for short-term international students pursuing a course of study of 6 months or less to apply for a study permit. Guidance and eligibility information surrounding these short-term visas is being updated on the relevant government webpages, and students wishing to study in Canada for less than a 6-month period are encouraged to consult the operational instructions and guidelines of IRCC on Study permits: Who needs a study permit. Further information on eligibility to travel and study in Canada can be found on the following IRCC webpage:
Visa Application Centres (VACs) are now starting to open up around the world, and so information on which centres are open and where can be found here.
New Requirements for International Students Travelling to Canada
The Government of Canada has provided further information to share with prospective international students wishing to study in Canada, detailing the ways in which they should prepare before travel. Before and during their travel to Canada, the federal government requires students to:
- avoid spending time in large crowds or crowded areas
- avoid contact with sick people, especially if those persons have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
- be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice
- be sure to monitor their health and if they become sick before or during their trip, avoid contact with others except to see a health-care professional
Students will need to pass a health check before they’re allowed to board their flight – anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel to Canada.
Furthermore, the Government of Canada has announced new mandatory requirements for travellers to Canada:
- As of November 21, 2020, air travellers whose final destination is Canada will be required to submit their information electronically through the ArriveCAN app before they board their flight. This includes travel and contact information, quarantine plan, and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
- Travellers must 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.
- Travellers who do not submit the required information digitally before boarding their flight could be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to $1,000 fine.
Further information on these latest requirements can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
When you travel to Canada
When the border services officer greets you, they will look at several factors, including
- your reason for travelling to Canada
- your ability to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as you arrive at your final destination if you either
- have time to complete your quarantine before you physically attend classes, or
- can study online during your quarantine
You must also bring
- a valid study permit or a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
- a valid letter of acceptance from a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory
- proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
- proof of a COVID-19 negative test taken within 72 hours prior to the time of travel to Canada
Before you travel, you can contact the Border Information Service for more information. A border services officer will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.
Health requirements for travellers to Canada
To travel to Canada, you must
- follow all public health measures for travellers
- have a plan to quarantine for 14 days, including mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine arrangements
- have a COVID-19 negative test taken within 72 hours prior to the time of travel to Canada
Last updated: May 4, 2021
Information for travelling to the US
While there are still restrictions on travellers from certain countries entering the USA, there is no mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for those able to travel to California or New York, and there are currently no restrictions for entering either state for anyone coming from another state in the U.S. All travellers entering the US must have a COVID-19 negative test taken within 72 hours prior to the time of travel to the country. Further information, including details of the countries able to travel to the US, California, and New York, can be found on the CDC website.
USA; Students with F1 visas can travel and study in the USA from August 1st 2021
We are excited to share news about a travel update for international students traveling to the USA from China, Europe or Brazil! While leisure travel is still restricted, the US government has announced that students with an F-1 visa who will begin a programme commencing August 1st 2021 or later can enter the USA as normal. This means F-1 students do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel, which was an extra step introduced in 2020. Students travelling on an F-1 visa can enter the country up to 30 days prior to their course start date. US Embassies are still expected to have extended processing times so students are encouraged to start their F-1 visa applications early. Further information can be found on the US government website.
Information for Students
We prioritize the health and safety of our students so we have implemented the following policies to ensure safe arrival, accommodation and learning environment in addition to the school’s Health & Safety Precautions:
Pre-Arrival, Arrival & Accommodation
Prior to arrival In Canada, students and accompanying family members will be provided with clear instructions and documentation to students on the required protocol for safe travel, quarantine, and behavioural expectations upon arrival in Canada.
In addition, air travellers will be required to submit their information electronically through the ArriveCAN app before they board their flight. This includes travel and contact information, quarantine plan, and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. Travellers must 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. Travellers who do not submit the required information digitally before boarding their flight could be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to $1,000 fine.
Further information on these latest requirements can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
Students will be provided with details of a designated quarantine site that is equipped to follow necessary procedures to provide a safe, comfortable, full-service two-week COVID-19 quarantine period. Students will be required to be tested for COVID-19, or be examined by a medical professional, before the end of the quarantine period, following the specific requirements of provincial government requirements. If a student or staff member needs to be tested for COVID-19, OI will provide transport (following the strict transport protocol outlined in this section) to and from one of the assessment centres.
Currently, new students to Canada will have to self-isolate upon arrival for 14 days and during this time can attend classes virtually and will require computer/laptop/ and high-speed internet to attend classes. For the quarantine period, students will be required to stay at one of the accommodation options provided by OI. For hotel accommodation options, students will be directed to those hotels approved and listed in Language Canada’s Study Safe Corridor plan, all of which have implemented rigorous COVID-19 operating procedures as per the Hotel Association of Canada’s Best Practices, Operating Procedures and Considerations for Hotel Guests in Self-Isolation (Canada only).
For both the quarantine period and beyond, all host families, student residences, and accommodation partners will be provided new hygiene and services guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all parties. Students will be required to submit a daily health declaration to their OI contact staff member and will receive a daily phone call from local government authorities. These phone calls must be answered every day.
- Student Support
This is a challenging time for an international student, and we are here to help. An OI staff member will look after your wellness needs and provide counseling.
Lesson/break times will be staggered, and the usual timetable reworked and expanded outside of normal hours to ensure social distancing measures can be observed effectively. All students will attend remote online welcome orientation/guideline meetings and training before returning to, or commencing, lessons at school facilities. This will include training on how to deal with suspected contraction of COVID-19, of themselves or others.
- Social Program
Social programme activities will remain online for the immediate future until guidelines provided by provincial, state, and federal governments deem these to be safe to do in person.
Students must provide evidence of having appropriate medical insurance, effective as of the date of the students’ arrival, which includes coverage for COVID-19. Students can purchase Guard.me insurance through the Client Services & Accommodations Coordinator.
Information for Staff
We prioritize the health and safety of our staff members so we have implemented the following policies to ensure a safe working environment:
- To reduce the number of staff members in the workplace, an assessment will be made of all staff members, the nature of their roles, and where possible, an extension to remote work options will be made available to those employees who are deemed able to successfully fulfil their role in a remote capacity. Virtual team meetings will also be prioritized wherever possible.
- Assessment of overall office dynamics, and the spaces staff would normally occupy, will be conducted, and staff will adapt accordingly. Working hours/the work day will be extended when appropriate, again to avoid over-use of shared work spaces.
- When travelling to work, staff should follow health and safety guidelines provided by local public transport providers. If possible, staff should use alternative transport options, avoiding public transport where possible.
- All staff members will attend remote online training sessions, led by members of management, to ensure that all members of the workforce feel prepared and comfortable with the measures taken by the OI NA team to restart in a safe and thorough manner. This will include communicating all points covered in this document to also ensure expectations of staff.
- A revised staff travel policy will be made available to staff members whose roles involves either national or international travel, to ensure they comply with provisional/state safety guidelines when doing so. All staff will continually enforce all measures outlined in the Student Guidelines document when communicating and observing students, reporting any health or guideline violations to their respective manager or school director.
- All staff members are expected to adhere to all Health & Safety Precautions
Information for Agents
We are happy to announce that we are in full operation and have implemented a blended learning program for our students. Students have the option to join classes virtually or in-person. We ensure the delivery of the same high-quality education to our current students, as well as newly-arriving students from abroad. This will be done via a revised blended learning curriculum, and close management of student enrolment numbers, to ensure OI continues to operate within the capacity guidelines of the province/state.
Please click below to view our official Health & Safety Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the schools still open?
Yes, we are in full operation! We are conducting classes and IELTS testing regularly.
How can I protect myself?
According to the Government of Canada, Covid-19 is spread through the following:
- Close contact: Breathing in someone’s respiratory droplets after they cough, sneeze, laugh or sing.
- Contaminated surfaces: Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
- Common greetings: Handshakes, hugs or kisses.
In order to prevent the spread, the government is advising individuals to:
- Physical distance
- Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Wear non-medical masks or face coverings
- Clean and disinfect contact points regularly
How are classes being taught – online or face-to-face?
Classes are being taught online and face-to-face. We ensure the delivery of the same high-quality education through a revised curriculum. Students have the option of joining classes virtually or in-person.
I’m feeling unwell. What should I do?
If you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, report this to an OI staff member immediately. If you are not at school, contact the following:
British Columbia: Oxford International Vancouver
Business Hours: 604-688-7942
Non-Business Hours: 604-290-3142
Ontario: Oxford International Toronto
Business Hours: 416-542-1626
Non-Business Hours: 647-227-1209
California: Oxford International San Diego
Business Hours: 619-233-0355
Non-Business Hours: 619-770-8853
You will be given instructions on what to do next. If you cannot contact a staff member, call:
British Columbia: 811
San Diego: 211
I want to study with Oxford International. Who do I get in touch with?