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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. 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:

Immigration

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

No, online classes taken in Canada during this special circumstance will not affect your PGWP.

IRCC confirmed the following on Friday, March 13, 2020:
International students in Canada, take note: courses of study being delivered online on an exceptional basis due to #COVID-19 will not affect Post-Graduation Work Permit Program eligibility for a post-graduation work permit.


Can I work more hours now that in-person classes are cancelled?

No, the number of hours you can work does not change. As a current full-time student, your study permit allows you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.


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 I be able to finish the winter 2020 semester?

Yes. Beginning March 23 all courses will be delivered online. Conestoga is committed to helping you complete the semester.


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. 


What if I want to withdraw from the winter 2020 semester?

We encourage all students to wait for further information regarding the Winter 2020 program completion plan before making the decision to withdraw. Every effort is being made to provide you with a plan and flexibility to complete your semester. Should you wish to withdraw, complete the withdrawal form found on the student portal. 


Will the start date and/or length of the spring 2020 term change? 

Yes. The spring term will begin on Tuesday, May 19 and end on Saturday, August 22. 

Currently, the spring student success week is scheduled for June 29 to July 3. Given the logistical considerations for the spring semester as a result of COVID-19, the dates for student success week will be reviewed and confirmed as we get closer to spring semester start-up.


Health and Wellness

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you think you have 2019 Novel Coronavirus (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.

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.

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

  • Good2Talk: Call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
  • Mental Health and Crisis Services: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE247) 

What does Social Distancing mean?

This means making changes in your everyday routines 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)
  • keeping a distance of at least 2 arm lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others as much as possible

How can I practice Social Distancing?

  • greet people with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
  • stay home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment
  • shop or take public transportation during off-peak hours
  • use technology to keep in touch with friends and family
  • use food delivery services or online shopping when possible
  • exercise at home or outside

Visit Canada.ca for more information on social distancing.


Housing

Do I have to move out of the Conestoga Residence?

No, international students do not have to move out of the Conestoga Residence. If you have questions about housing or related concerns, contact the International Transition Coordinators at internationaltransition@conestogac.on.ca

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