Vancouver Film School’s classes are on-campus, with added & enhanced safety measures.
Updated: September 7, 2022
We want to ensure a safe and healthy return to all VFS campuses with some added and enhanced safety measures. VFS has compiled a series of FAQ’s to support students, faculty, and staff.
List of protocols that change and/or will remain in place:
- On March 10, 2022, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, announced that effective March 11, 2022, the mandatory mask mandate will be lifted for indoor spaces in BC. As of June 27, 2022, masks will be recommended, but not required on VFS campuses.
- VFS will be closing a number of common spaces across all campuses and encourages all students, staff, and faculty to maintain a respectful distance.
- Students will be required to take the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment every day before entering any VFS campus (see below for full details).
- VFS will continue to focus on high-touch surface sanitization and actively promote personal hand sanitization.
- Staff and students will be required to stay home if they’re feeling any kind of communicable illness. Supports will be provided to accommodate absences in the event staff or students need to stay home due to illness.
Are all classes currently on campus?
VFS returned to campus on Jan. 4, 2022 from which time we have been prioritizing and delivering all experiential activities and productions for on-campus delivery. As we returned to campus during the peak of Omicron and based on the health of our students & faculty, there may be certain instances where classes will be delivered online. This might include situations where instructors or large numbers of students have been impacted by COVID as well as situations in which classes work well for delivery online and VFS is looking to mitigate the risk of infection and closures.
For further details please reach out directly to your program’s administration staff for class schedules and further information on how we aim to balance safety along with supporting educational delivery.
What will back-to-campus look like?
All classes have returned to in-person instruction, with measures in place to ensure the health and safety of staff & students. As of June 27, 2022, masks are recommended but not required while on campus, and sanitization stations are readily available.
Will any programs remain online?
No. Our goal is to restore all programs to in-person instruction as soon as it’s appropriate. Our short-track workshops, certificate courses, and seasonal programming – known as VFS CONNECT – will feature both online and in-person programming. A full overview of VFS CONNECT is available here.
VFS will have in place Hyflex online learning setups wherever possible so that if a student is sick and needs to study from home, there will be the opportunity to do so. Additionally certain activities may be scheduled to be delivered online wherever they have been found to work as effectively or more effectively online than in person.
Have there been any confirmed COVID-19 cases on VFS campuses?
There have been zero on-campus COVID transmissions since the beginning of the pandemic. Our Return to Campus safety plan was one of the first among all private post-secondary schools in the region to be approved by Education Quality Assurance, and we also passed our health & safety audit from WorkSafeBC with great praise from auditors. All VFS safety measures are in accordance with all requirements and recommendations by the Provincial Health Officer, the BCCDC, the regional health authorities, the Go-Forward Guidelines and WorkSafeBC.
Does VFS have contingency plans if there is a sudden spike in cases?
With the ever-changing conditions of the pandemic, VFS is monitoring the requirements and recommendations from health authorities and will be adaptable so as to maintain campus safety while attending to operational needs. We encourage employees and students to remain flexible and be prepared to change formats if required to maintain community safety.
If someone has tested positive for COVID, when can they return to classes?
If you are managing your illness at home, you can end isolation once the following criteria is met:
- At least five days have passed since your symptoms started, or from the test date if you did not have symptoms (10 days for those who are not fully-vaccinated). Continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days.
- Fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
- Symptoms have improved.
Most people with COVID-19 recover within two weeks. Some people with more severe symptoms can take up to twelve weeks or more to feel entirely better. Connect with your health care provider, 8-1-1, or Urgent and Primary Care Centre to be assessed.
At VFS, you will be required to have a conversation with your program admin before you are able to return to campus even if your 5 or 10-day isolation period has ended. Point 3 above (“Symptoms have improved”) does require an assessment on level of risk that you will need to make before you can be cleared to return to the campus environment where you will be indoors with other staff and students. Your program admin can help ensure that you have made this assessment at the end of your isolation period.
Can a rapid antigen test result be used to determine if someone can come to campus?
Rapid antigen tests are quite unreliable when it comes to false negative test results (i.e. nearly 60% of the time people who do have COVID will test negative with the rapid tests). However, the rapid tests have proven to be considerably more reliable when they provide a positive test result.
Per the advice of health authorities, if you test positive with a rapid test then you do have COVID and should stay at home and follow the recommendations of health authorities. If you test negative, it is more important that you listen to your body and if you have any of the symptoms of COVID / Omicron, you should not come to campus. In such cases, please advise your program administration that you will be staying at home.
If a student needs to stay at home for a period of time, how will they be able to keep up with activities and assignments?
If students are sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay home and notify their program administration. You will then be provided with details on how to keep up with all educational requirements. Be advised that:
- Wherever possible, activities will be held online so that students staying at home will be able to attend and participate.
- Students will not be marked as ‘Absent’ from class(es) for which they need to stay at home due to illness or symptoms of illness and will instead be marked as ‘Excused Absent’.
- Where assignments or experiential activities may be affected, program administration will make any necessary accommodations based on the specifics of the situation and so as to ensure proper course completion by the student(s).
What if I am not comfortable going back in person full-time?
If current students are not comfortable returning to campus, we will work with them individually on a case-by-case basis to determine how to proceed.
How will COVID variants impact on-campus learning in 2022?
VFS wants to ensure a safe and healthy return to all VFS campuses, with some added & enhanced safety measures to begin on January 4, 2022, including:
On March 10, 2022, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, announced that effective March 11, 2022, the mandatory mask mandate will be lifted for indoor spaces in BC. As of June 27, 2022, masks will be recommended, but not required on VFS campuses.
Common Spaces and Remaining in Cohorts/Bubbles:
We will be closing a number of common spaces across our campuses. These will include lunchrooms and common seating areas. We ask that you remain in your classroom spaces with your cohorts during your breaks and lunch times, and that all eating/drinking be limited to your classroom spaces. We want to avoid unnecessary congregating of students and staff in common areas and campus entrances, and we thank you for your cooperation in proceeding to your classroom and workspaces as quickly and efficiently as possible.
For some programs there may be scheduling changes made for certain activities in order to restrict student interactions and maintain activities within cohorts/bubbles. This will be program specific and these changes will be communicated to you by your program administrators.
Daily COVID-19 Assessment:
Please remember to take the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment every day before entering any VFS campus to determine whether you need to be tested for COVID-19 and should remain off campus: https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en. The expectation is that you have completed the self-assessment on any day that you are on campus, and you may be asked to provide your COVID-19 Self-Assessment results by Guest Services staff members at any time.
If you are remaining off campus due to COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 exposure, and/or have a confirmed case of COVID-19, please report this to your program administration or department supervisors right away.
Please note the determining symptoms have changed to reflect the Omicron variant. The BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool lists the following symptoms:
- Severe chest pain
- Having a hard time waking up
- Feeling confused
- Losing consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to lie down because of difficulty breathing
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Extreme fatigue or tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Body Aches
If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, we request that you get tested as soon as possible. (Note: “close contact” means you were near a person for 15 minutes or more when health and safety measures were not in place or were insufficient).
Where can I find VFS’s updated communicable disease safety planning resources?
Students with specific questions or concerns not covered in the VFS Advisory should reach out to the VFS Safety & Facilities Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are masks mandatory?
As of June 27, 2022, masks will be recommended, but not required on VFS campuses.
I’m an international student who has been fully vaccinated. Will I need to be tested or quarantine upon arriving in Canada?
As of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada will no longer be required to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test or quarantine. You will still be required to use the ArriveCAN app.
Upon your entry to Canada by air or at a land border crossing, the border services officer may notify you that you’ve been randomly selected for a mandatory arrival test. As a fully vaccinated traveller, you can travel to your destination, including on connecting flights, without waiting for your arrival test results (if selected for testing). Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from any country aren’t required to quarantine while awaiting their test results.
If a fully vaccinated traveller tests positive, they must isolate for 10 days and report test results and/or symptoms to PHAC by calling 1-833-641-0343.
EXEMPTIONS FOR FULLY VACCINATED TRAVELLERS
If you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you are:
- Required to use ArriveCAN.
- Required to take an arrival test, if selected.
- Exempt from Quarantine.
- Exempt from Day-8 Testing.
Who is considered fully vaccinated?
A fully vaccinated traveller means you must have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 accepted vaccine or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You are also considered fully vaccinated if you have had a mix of two accepted COVID-19 vaccines.
You must have had the second dose at least 14 days before entering Canada. While you no longer need a COVID-19 test, anyone exhibiting symptoms will still not be allowed to cross into Canada.
Accepted COVID-19 vaccines in Canada
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
- Moderna (mRNA-1273)
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
- Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
- Sinopharm (Beijing) BBIBP-CorV (Vero Cells)
- Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
If you received your Government of Canada-accepted vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English. More details about the translation of documents here.
At this time, there are no exemptions from testing or quarantine for travellers who haven’t received the full series of a vaccine or a combination of vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada.
Do I need to get vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes at VFS?
Beginning November 30, 2021, all international travellers must be fully vaccinated to fly within Canada. Additionally, starting January 15, 2022, all international students must be fully vaccinated to enter Canada.
What are the benefits of getting a vaccine booster shot? When can I get one?
Vaccinations remain the greatest defence against COVID. To be fully-vaccinated, you will require 2 separate shots, but they do wane over time. Currently, a 3rd shot or a booster shot is being offered to people who are already fully vaccinated. According to studies, 2 doses of Pfizer/Moderna are waning heavily by 6 months post-second dose with as low as 15% protection from disease from Omicron. However, with a booster shot, people are about 75% protected against symptomatic disease from Omicron.
If you received your previous 2 shots in BC, you can expect a text message notifying you when you are eligible for your booster shot based on timeframes outlined here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/booster.
BCCDC information about the bivalent vaccine and Monkeypox
There are ongoing discussions about the bivalent vaccine, and more information will be available on the BCCDC website.
Information on Monkeypox is available on the BCCDC website linked here.
For more specific information please contact your program Head of Department or Program Manager, Educational Administration at email@example.com, or the VFS Safety & Facilities Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org