(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect food costs will not be covered for students as part of this plan. The Chronicle was given incorrect information from a Durham College source.)
Durham College is one of only four Ontario colleges to receive the province’s approval for its COVID-19 readiness plan.
The plan allows the college’s registered international students to travel to Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recently updated the travel restriction exemptions and permitted international students with a valid study permit to enter Canada from Oct. 20 onwards if the COVID-19 readiness plan of their designated learning institution has been approved by the province.
The COVID-19 readiness plan is meant to protect the health and safety of all students, employees, and the community, says Marianne Marando, Durham’s associate vice-president of enrolment and international education.
“The COVID readiness plan is a very large document where we had to outline for the public health authorities, the Ministry of Health and for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities how we are ready to receive international students safely to protect them and to protect our community.”
The travel exemption amendment is a boon for the large number of international students who wish to come to Canada to begin or continue studies.
“We have about 450 students currently out of the country studying remotely in semester one and I expect many of those would like to come to Canada,” says Marando.
Upon arrival, students must quarantine for 14 days as per the government regulations. DC is offering a quarantine plan for its students.
Describing the plan, Marando says, “We have a quarantine coordinator who contacts and reaches out to every student arriving to ensure they understand quarantine requirements and then we check in with them every day while they’re in quarantine to ensure they have no symptoms and to ensure they have everything they need, they have all the support they need.”
In case of a medical emergency, the quarantine coordinator will assist the student and make sure they get the medical attention they need.
The college-supported plan includes pickup from the airport, drop at the hotel where quarantine arrangements have been made, checkup with the students everyday and an arrangement for a COVID test after 14 days.
The quarantine plan costs about $70 to $80 per night and also includes internet.
Internet will be especially useful for students in quarantine.
Marando says, “our expectation is that they (students) attend online classes during quarantine.”
Students do not necessarily need to avail the college supported quarantine plan. They can choose to make their own quarantine arrangements.
“[Students] can give us details of where they’re going to quarantine and we have to make sure that it’s a single room and they’re not sharing a bathroom,” says Marando.
“Some students may choose to quarantine with family, but they have to really make it clear to us that they’re quarantining properly.” If anyone chooses to make their own quarantine arrangements, they must submit the plan for it in advance.