VFS monitoring & response
Updated: Jan. 8, 2021
B.C. PHO order on province-wide restrictions
By order and direction of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all events and social gatherings are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel.
The order is in effect until February 5, 2021 at midnight.
Social gatherings and events
No social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your household or core bubble. For example:
- Do not invite friends or extended family to your household.
- Do not gather outdoors.
- Do not gather in your backyard.
For most people, their core bubble is their immediate household. For others, their core bubble may contain a partner, relative, friend or co-parent who lives in a different household. This should be a maximum of two people outside of those living in your immediate household.
An immediate household is: A group of people who live in the same dwelling. For example:
- If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate household.
- If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household.
People who live alone
People who live alone cannot host gatherings. They can continue to see the same one or two people of their core bubble at each other’s homes.
Welcoming your child home from university is okay. This is not a social gathering.
These activities are not considered a social gathering:
Going for a walk. You must make sure a walk does not turn into a group of people meeting outside.
Restaurants and bars
You must wear a mask when not at a table. Events are no longer allowed. Restaurants and bars can continue to operate as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place.
You should only visit a restaurant with people in your household or core bubble. Remember, a maximum of six people at a table and no moving between tables.
Mask requirements in public indoor settings
Masks are now required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces.
A customer can be refused entry or service if they do not wear a mask.
You are subject to a $230 fine if you:
- Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt.
- Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space.
- Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour.
At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. For example:
- Do not travel for a vacation.
- Do not travel to visit friends or family outside of your household or core bubble.
Coming from outside of B.C.
At this time, people travelling to B.C. from another province or territory within Canada should only come for essential reasons. If you do travel, you are expected to follow the same travel guidelines as everyone else in B.C.
The restriction of all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border remains in effect.
Travellers to and from the United States going to and from Alaska must proceed directly to their destination and self-isolate during any necessary overnight stops.
International travellers returning to B.C. are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days and complete the federal ArriveCAN application. As of January 7, 2021, travellers entering Canada will also require a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival.
During a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, the PHO can make orders as needed. You must follow the orders.
Under the Government’s Emergency Program Act, some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow these orders could be fined.
For more information, click here.
VFS online & phased campus re-opening
Since the province of B.C.’s mid-May announcement of a strategy for safe re-openings, we have been working on necessary planning towards VFS being able to deliver limited activities on campus, and to do so as safely as possible.
Our key objectives and considerations are as follows:
- Ensure safety in what we do and how we do it. This is presently the key consideration in all decisions being made.
- Resume certain activities in a phased approach to avoid risks that are increased by overcrowding of spaces.
Phase 1 – A very limited number of students in certain departments are being invited to come back to VFS, on an opt-in basis, to resume some specific hands-on activities. All classes and activities that can continue to be delivered online will remain online during this phase.
Phase 2 – Some classes, although deliverable online, will start to be delivered in our campus classrooms. Physical distancing will still be a safety requirement and so a hybrid model may require that students are split between being in class or online at certain times. Therefore, these classes, will also be made available online for students who are not able or willing to attend in person.
Phase 3 – A vaccine has been developed or community immunity in the region has been declared by the provincial and federal health authorities, resulting in VFS being able to fully open all campuses.
On June 11, 2020, VFS implemented Phase 1 of its resumption of activities.
First, we began with on-campus delivery of select hands-on activities that could be carried out with proper physical distancing in accordance with WorkSafe BC & Provincial Health Officer protocols that had been undeliverable otherwise over the previous two and a half months.
As each program, each stream, and each term had different levels of hands-on activities, students heard directly from their program administrators regarding the Phase 1 steps.
Consideration was also given to students who were not residing in Vancouver. Program administrators communicated directly with these students to recommend the best way to stay engaged from a distance or, for some programs, advised on when it would be appropriate to return to Vancouver. Any return to Vancouver was done, and will continue to be done, in full consultation with program administrators and with respect to all provincial and federal government restrictions.
As of August 31, 2020, VFS actively implemented certain Phase 2 actions, and some programs have resumed limited on-campus classes and activities. We are closely following the announcements and recommendations of health authorities and responding accordingly. If any program identifies specific on-campus activities currently underway that could/should be moved online or rescheduled for any reason, they will directly reach out to students with the relevant message(s).
For complete details about resumption of activities at VFS, please consult the administration staff for a given program, as well as the VFS COVID-19 Safety Plan.
As COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to spread around the world, Vancouver Film School is actively monitoring the situation and supporting a global response.
What VFS is doing
To all prospective and enrolled students, as well as parents and guardians, we have increased our response to COVID-19 and we’re empowering everyone at VFS to make decisions that are best for their health.
VFS has established a COVID-19 Safety & Facilities Committee consisting of key stakeholders in all departments and we are communicating on a daily basis to review the latest updates from the Provincial, Federal and World Health Organizations, and to make the appropriate changes to our procedures, best practices, and communication within the VFS community.
What you need to know
COVID-19 is a serious disease, but outbreaks can be managed and contained. At this time, Canada’s Public Health Agency and B.C.’s Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) have assessed the risk associated with the virus as “low,” and the vast majority of infected people are expected to recover.
However, at this time, the province of British Columbia and Canada’s Public Health Office advise against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including the United States.
If you are returning from abroad, you will need to quarantine for 14 days. Should any symptoms of COVID-19 arise during the 14-day monitoring period, immediately call 8-1-1.
If you are travelling abroad for Vancouver Film School business or study, please contact Andrew Tsang.
If you are concerned you may have COVID-19 symptoms and want to do a self-assessment, please visit:
To find a testing location near you, please visit:
Prevention & daily check-in
VFS has stepped up its facilities and janitorial services by frequently wiping down high-touch, and high-traffic areas. Most importantly, VFS will continue to promote the following best practices to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as noted by the BC Provincial Health Authorities, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Canadian Centre for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.
In order to prevent the spread of the virus, VFS staff and students must:
- Complete a daily self-assessment before coming to VFS (see link above).
- Wear a mask (masks are mandatory on the VFS campus).
- Wash hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching face with unwashed hands.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- If you must sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
- If a tissue was used, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
Most importantly, if you have any kind of illness or symptom, please stay home, get rest, and take the time to recover.
Offshore requests to visit VFS
On March 18, 2020, the federal government announced the closure of Canada’s borders to non-essential travel due to COVID-19 measures.
Until further notice, international visitors (including those from the U.S.) are not allowed in Canada.
Visitors who had arrived from the U.S. prior to the closure must observe a 14-day isolation period before visiting VFS, as established by the provincial and federal governments.
All visitor requests (i.e. agents, school representatives, visiting scholars, third-party vendors, etc.) are to be reported to the relevant Department Supervisor for approval.
Travellers to Canada will need a negative COVID-19 test 3 days before travel
Canada will require arriving travellers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test three days before arriving. The test must be a PCR test, which is currently considered the most effective coronavirus test. This policy will go into effect on January 7, 2021.
In addition, there will be more border officials at Canada’s ports of entry to ensure those arriving understand the new rules.
This does not replace the 14-day quarantine requirement.
Checklist for travellers to Canada
- Travellers must have a negative PCR test for COVID-19 obtained up to three days prior to travel.
- Travellers must have a 14-day quarantine plan. They must know how they intend to reach their place of quarantine and how they intend to obtain essential items such as food, groceries or medicine. It is required by law that all those arriving in Canada must quarantine for 14 days. This means that they must stay indoors at all times and have a plan on how they will obtain groceries, food and medicine. Those who break quarantine rules may face up to six months in prison or up to CAD $750,000 in fines.
- Travellers must install the ArriveCAN mobile application prior to travelling to Canada. They must provide personal information as well as their flight details. They are also required to complete a daily self-assessment on the application.
Self-isolation for international students
Unless exempt, all international travellers returning to B.C. are required to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan.
You must be able to show how you can safely obey the law by self-isolating. That means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others for 14 days.
Your self-isolation plan must consider:
- The location of your 14-day self isolation
- How you will travel to your isolation location
- Arranging the necessary supports:
- Child care
- Cleaning supplies
- Pet care
- Social or family support
For complete details and a list of VFS-recommended options, please consult the VFS Self-Isolation FAQ for International Students.
While the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the risk associated with coronavirus as low thus far, we continue to monitor developments very closely.
The B.C. government has restricted events and gatherings of 50 people or more. Consequently, VFS is currently evaluating all event commitments for the sake of everyone involved.
Guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information website.
If you require advice regarding a potential COVID-19 case, please contact your local Medical Health Officer.
For more information on COVID-19
Public Health Agency of Canada — https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
BC Centre for Disease Control — http://www.bccdc.ca/about/news-stories/stories/2020/information-on-novel-coronavirus
World Health Organization — https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – Canada.ca:
How COVID-19 is affecting applications to visit, work or study in Canada
International students can travel to Canada only if they are exempt from the travel restrictions and are coming for an essential purpose.
If you are an international student, meet the criteria for the travel exemptions, and you want to apply to come to Canada, there are changes to the application process. Learn more on the IRCC website.
If you have questions about COVID-19, please visit: