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March 30, 2020 11:00 AM

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: International Students

As Conestoga continues to respond to COVID-19 updates, the International Office recognizes that this is an especially difficult time for international students. 

We know that you have many unique questions related to your studies, visa, health insurance and other aspects related to your studies at Conestoga. 

We will continue to add to this FAQ as more questions arise and more information is known. 

Need help understanding what’s changed on this page? For a list of additions, removals and updates to questions, visit International Student FAQs History.

Visit COVID-19 Updates for a snapshot of recent changes across all college resources and information in response to COVID-19.  

The International Office is here to support you. If you have questions that have not been addressed, please reach out to the contacts below:

Updated: September 2, 2020

Immigration

Is my Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) affected by moving to online studies?

Courses of study delivered in an online-only format because of COVID-19 will not affect PGWP program eligibility.

Please visit IRCC for up-to-date information.


Will there be any processing delays in my application for renewal of my Study or Work Permit during COVID-19? 

Conestoga is not aware of any processing delays for application renewals. Always plan and check the posted processing times and be sure to submit your application before your status expires.


Current and Future Studies

Will the start of the fall term be deferred?

Classes for most programs begin September 8, 2020, including those that are combined in- and out-of-country.

Level-1 programs that are solely out-of-country will be deferred to September 14, 2020, with no Student Success Week.

Please visit academic dates for a list of important term dates.  


I plan to travel to Canada for my studies at Conestoga. What do I need to know?

Students and co-arriving immediate family members who plan to enter Canada must meet essential travel requirements and have a quarantine plan in place for self-isolation for 14 days. Violating instructions provided to you upon entry to Canada could result in serious penalties.

Please use the plan and resources outlined through the college’s international office to support your safe arrival and transition to Conestoga.


Can I study online if I return home?

We recommend that you stay in Canada during this time to complete your studies. If you choose to return to your home country, remember that access to online materials may be a challenge as each country’s network infrastructure may be different. It is important to consider the risk of travel and challenges related to leaving and returning to Canada.

Please be aware of travel restrictions to Canada by checking the Canada.ca website.


What if I decide to go home to finish the semester?   

If you decide to go home, please contact an International Student Advisor at internationaladvisor@conestogac.on.ca to let them know you plan to leave Canada to complete your semester at home. 


Financial Assistance

Are there government supports for international students?

International students who meet the eligibility criteria laid out for either Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may qualify to receive these financial supports. International students who are currently in Canada, who have worked the minimum number of hours and who meet the minimum income threshold can apply.


Health and Wellness

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you think you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care.

Conestoga’s Medical Care Clinic acts as the primary care provider for all international students, except those attending the Brantford campus. Please email medicalcare@conestogac.on.ca from your Conestoga email account if you require medical support through a phone or video appointment.

Brantford campus students can contact the Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford Student Wellness Centre.

To find answers to related health insurance plan questions, please view the FAQs listed at the top of the Studentcare website.


Who can I contact if I have a question about COVID-19?  

If you have questions or concerns related to the current COVID-19 situation, please email covid19questions@conestogac.on.ca

If you need help from the International Office, please reach out to our Transition Coordinators at internationaltransition@conestogac.on.ca   


Who can I speak with if I am feeling anxious and unsure?

You may want to connect with friends and family online or over the phone more frequently. Currently, public health officials are recommending we take social distancing measures. They recommend that everyone stay home whenever possible.

Conestoga’s counselling and peer support services are available for remote appointments to help students take care of their mental health. Please email counselling@conestogac.on.ca through your Conestoga email account to book a phone appointment. You must be currently living in Ontario to access this service.

You can also access a variety of supports online and over the phone:

  • Good2Talk: Call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
  • Big White Wall: An online peer-to-peer support community

What does physical distancing mean?

Physical distancing means making changes in your everyday routine to minimize close contact with others, including

  • avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings,
  • avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes,
  • limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g., older adults and those in poor health), and
  • keeping a distance of at least two arm lengths (approximately two metres) from others as much as possible.

I live with roommates. How can I practice physical distancing? 

Have open communication with roommates about physical distancing: 

  • Do not invite friends or guests to visit your house/apartment 
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face 
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces with a disinfecting cleaning solution
  • Greet others with a wave instead of a handshake, hug or kiss 
  • Minimize outdoor trips and go to grocery stores at off-peak hours

Visit Canada.ca for more information on physical distancing.


Housing

I don’t have housing. What can I do?

If you don’t have a place to stay, please visit our housing databaseweb page and YouTube channel for housing search resources. Please reach out to our International Transition Coordinator team at internationaltransition@conestogac.on.ca for additional housing support and resources.


I am struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19. What should I do? 

Communicate your concerns to your landlord via email or phone. Inform them of your intention to pay rent and that your ability to pay has been affected by COVID-19 (i.e., lay off, job loss).       


I can’t pay rent due to COVID-19. Can my landlord ask me to leave right away? 

You may not need to leave your housing right away, as different rules apply depending on your situation. Please visit Steps to Justice for information on what you can do if your landlord asks you to leave. For further support, please email the International Transition Coordinator team at internationaltransition@conestogac.on.ca.


I am not able to pay my utility bills due to COVID-19. What can I do? 

If you pay for heat, electricity or water in addition to your rent and are struggling to pay due to COVID-19, call your utility company to ask if they offer assistance. 

Brantford

Cambridge

Guelph

Kitchener

Waterloo


Where can I get more information on housing laws? 

For further information on housing laws and COVID-19, access Steps to Justice COVID-19 Housing LawLandlord & Tenant BoardCommunity Legal Education Ontario - Housing Law or Legal Aid Ontario.

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