Information for all Employees

This page will be updated as more information become available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Safety on Campus

  1. Stay Home
  2. Call 811 or your primary care provider for advice
  3. Visit bc.thrive.health and use the self-assessment tool to determine if you require testing
  4. If you do require testing, call 1-844-901-8442 between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. to book a test
  5. Advise your instructor or supervisor if you will be absent
  1. Island Health’s Public Health team undertakes contact tracing for all lab confirmed cases of COVID-19. If their investigation determines you are a close contact at high risk of exposure, you will be contacted directly by Public Health with advice on next steps.
  2. If you are not contacted by Public Health it is because you are not considered a high risk close contact. Continue your normal activities and, as ever, monitor yourself for symptoms.
  1. Follow their direction and advice diligently
  2. Advise your instructor or supervisor if you will be absent
  1. Continue with your normal activities
  2. Check islandhealth.ca/covid19 for information on public exposure warnings
  3. As we should be doing at all times, monitor yourself closely for symptoms. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate and reach out for advice or testing
  4. Advise your instructor or supervisor if you will be absent

Review the COVID-19 Safety Plan, created to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Your supervisor or dean will also review specific program, cohort and campus safety plans with you.

Tell the student or employee to:

  1. Stay Home
  2. Call 811 or your primary care provider for advice
  3. Visit bc.thrive.health and use the self-assessment tool to determine if you require testing
  4. If you do require testing, call 1-844-901-8442 between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. to book a test
  5. Advise your instructor or supervisor if you will be absent

Please do not share personal health information, such as testing or positive test results. Email Colin Fowler (colin.fowler@nic.bc.ca), who will distribute it on a need-to-know basis to ensure campus safety measures are in place.

If an employee or student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to follow public health directions for testing and self-isolation.  Health authorities will contact any individuals at risk directly and NIC will provide assistance, when asked.

Public health does not expect NIC to trace contacts and supervisors should not disclose health information of employees. An employee with symptoms, or those who feel they have been exposed to someone with a known case, should inform their supervisor, call 8-1-1 and follow public health advice.

Yes. The Provincial Health Officer has ordered that “employers in all regions ensure that every worker conducts a daily health check before entering the workplace.”

At NIC, this means that all employees who are working onsite must conduct a daily health check before coming to work. Employees are required to confirm you have completed your daily health check for COVID-19 symptoms and do not meet any Public Health requirements to self-isolate. For privacy purposes, only confirmation is provided and not responses to the health questions.

The following steps are provided below to complete the daily health check:

  1. Go to the nic.bc.ca home page and click on “COVID-19 Safety Information” in the orange bar near the top of the page.
  2. Under the “Keep our workplace safe from COVID-19,” click on the “Entry Check for Workers” button. Employees may need to sign in using your NIC username and password. 
  3. Read the information. If you can confirm all the health and self-isolation requirement questions, click “Confirm.”

Using this type of confirmation process ensures the College is not collecting any personal health-related information.

Employees who do not have access to a cell phone or a computer at home, should print a copy of the attached health check form, take it home and make arrangements to call their supervisor and leave a message on their voicemail before the start of their shift confirming they have completed the health check.

We understand that this process represents a change in daily routine and may feel like an extra step before employees come to work. However, it is a simple and effective way to ensure we all continue to monitor our health, take care of each other, and not come to campus when sick.

Yes, masks are required in all NIC buildings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Learn more about how to safely and effectively wear a mask.

NIC’s COVID 19 Safety Plan also has more information on administrative controls and a table showing various risk situations and responses, including the use of PPE (pg. 8-9).

Physical distancing is an important way we can all help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The recommendation for physical distancing is that people stay at least two metres apart and avoid prolonged close personal contact. COVID-19 is transmitted by an infected person coughing or sneezing droplets and someone breathes them in. Typically, droplets travel less than two metres. The droplet can also land on hard surfaces that we touch and then we touch our faces.

Ways to practice physical distancing in the workplace include:

  • Following the workplace capacities and posted protocols.
  • Avoid shaking hands, wash your hands thoroughly, and stay home if you are sick.
  • If you’re having a conversation with someone in their office or workspace, stay at the door to increase the distance.
  • Use virtual meeting tools rather than face-to-face conversations.
  • If meeting with a group, use the largest room available and physically distance two metres from each other. Observe the posted maximum COVID-19 occupancy for the room.
  • Sit at least two metres apart in shared workspaces.
  • Use automatic door openers to avoid touching door handles.
  • Wipe down shared surfaces in workspaces, meeting rooms and common areas.
  • When working with the public, where possible keep the two-metre distance.
  • Don’t share food, plates or cutlery in staff rooms.

Yes. NIC has increased cleaning frequency as well as the strength of cleaning products they are using. Our cleaning team frequently cleans touched surfaces twice per day, including washrooms, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, etc. In addition, chairs, tables, floors, hallways and other areas are cleaned daily.  Cleaning materials and instructions are provided near copiers and other shared electronic equipment.

You will know if an office, classroom or other workspace has been cleaned by use of a card system located on room entry doors. The last user in a space will turn the card to “needs cleaning” and the cleaners will turn the card to “cleaned” after cleaning the space.

Cleaning standards are available with each safety plan and through a Facilities page, being developed on myNIC.

Please see the NIC COVID 19 Safety Plan for more information on cleaning surfaces and frequency.

Deans, directors and managers have been asked to work with the Health and Safety team to develop and communicate safety and staffing plans for every NIC program, service and operational area. This includes work spaces, classrooms, shops, labs, shared common areas and public spaces.

If you are a faculty member concerned about safe office, lab, studio, or workspace, please refer to the Classroom and Work Space Questions on the Information for Teaching Faculty page.

These plans and safety protocols will be communicated directly by your direct supervisor. General safety protocols may also be shared through various communication channels, including the NIC website or portal, as well as through standardized signage at each location.  If you have any specific concerns, please talk to your supervisor.

Physical access to NIC facilities has been restricted in order to mitigate risks of COVID-19 transmission.  The following measures have been put in place:

  • NIC buildings are closed to the general public. Visitors to campus should be on college business only. Employees should not bring guests onsite at this time;
  • While a few buildings are open to provide access to services, most buildings are locked.
  • In the first few weeks of fall, each campus will have an NIC ambassador available near key entrance points to direct and assist students;
  • Employees can access buildings through key fobs and physical office keys.
  • In all other cases, Facilities and the Health and Safety Office will determine how best to manage student access, on a case by case basis. These specific access controls are included in the safety plans, as needed.

All washrooms are open with signs limiting the number of occupants. The air does not need to be replaced.

During the first few weeks of fall, NIC will have ambassadors available near key building entrances at campuses in Campbell River, Comox Valley and Port Alberni to assist students.

Wherever possible, food services will be available with a limited menu and takeout only.

Please see the full list of campus services and spaces for hours and delivery methods.

Wherever possible, all NIC HVAC systems are programmed to circulate 100% outdoor air. All incoming air is taken from outside and all return air is vented out. There is little or no indoor air circulation.

Public health authorities manage COVID-19 case notifications within our community, lead contact tracing and alert individuals that may have been exposed to the illness. NIC does not notify community members unless public health authorities ask us to do so.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the College is closed to the general public, while remaining open to students. Students are following program-specific safety plans, as well as campus-wide safety protocols.

Employees welcoming visitors to campus will need to ensure they are following NIC’s COVID-19 general safety protocols. The following procedure summarizes how those key protocols can be adhered to when inviting visitors to campus.

  1. All visitors should be by appointment only to limit the uncertainty of drop-in visitors. The College has limited entry points during the pandemic. Visitors are restricted to those coming to campus for College business.
  2. A staff member will meet the visitor outside and bring them into the building. Ensure the visitor has reviewed the COVID-19 screening questions and can answer “no” to all the questions.
  3. Ensure the visitor has a mask when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained.
  4. The visitor will be asked to sanitize hands using the foot pump station.
  5. Once the appointment is complete the visitor will be asked to leave the space through the entrance door.

The Provincial Health Officer has ordered that “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 and do not travel to visit friends or family outside of your household or core bubble.” Essential travel within B.C. includes regular travel for work within your region as well as travel for medical appointments and hospital visits.

At NIC this means:

  • Meetings should be held digitally and face-to-face meetings should be avoided, whenever possible.
  • Inter-campus travel will be discouraged unless operationally necessary.
  • We are not able to support professional development opportunities outside the region while the restrictions are in place.
  • If you travel during the holidays and expect to isolate on your return, we cannot support new work from home or worksite change requests for employees with onsite work requirements. You may request vacation or other leave; however, these requests will be considered within NIC’s operational requirements.

BC’s public post-secondary institutions, have been declared a non-health essential service by the Province for the purposes of facilitating remote learning or performing essential functions. At NIC, many courses are being delivered digitally or through blended delivery, with safe distancing protocols in place.

Through consultation and discussion your manager/supervisor, the Health and Safety Office, Occupational Health and Safety Committees, Human Resources and unions where applicable.

Employees are not expected to return to work without NIC ensuring appropriate safety measures/plans are provided.  Any requested absences or leaves must be reviewed and have manager approval. Not attending work without permission may be determined as being absent without approval of leave.

If an employee has concerns regarding safe workplace there are appropriate steps that must be followed prior to refusing to attend work. Steps provided by WorksafeBC for refusal of unsafe work are provided below:

WorksafeBC Steps to follow when work might be unsafe:

  1. Report the unsafe condition or procedure.
    1. As a worker, you must immediately report the unsafe condition to a supervisor or employer.
    2. As a supervisor or employer, you must investigate the matter and fix it if possible. If you decide the worker's concern is not valid, report back to the worker.
  2. If a worker still views work as unsafe after a supervisor or employer has said it is safe to perform a job or task
    1. As a supervisor or employer, you must investigate the problem and ensure any unsafe condition is fixed.
    2. This investigation must take place in the presence of the worker and a worker representative of the joint health and safety committee or a worker chosen by the worker's trade union. If there is no safety committee or representing trade union at the workplace, the worker who first reported the unsafe condition can choose to have another worker present at the investigation.
  3. If a worker still views work as unsafe, notify WorkSafeBC
    1. If the matter is not resolved, the worker and the supervisor or employer must contact WorkSafeBC. A prevention officer will then investigate and take steps to find a workable solution.

Working from Home

The Provincial Health Officer has ordered that “employers must make every effort to provide work from home options.”

On November 19, the Provincial Health Officer announced increased measures to address the continued growth in COVID-19 cases in B.C. These included direction for employers to make every effort to provide work from home options. The Provincial Health Officer’s order also requires daily health checks for all employees attending a workplace anywhere in the province. The order also emphasized that employees should minimize social interactions with co-workers before, during and after work in keeping with the direction to reduce social interactions in our communities.

What does this mean at NIC
• If employees want to work from home and can successfully complete the scheduled work remotely, employees may make a request to respective supervisors to do so. Supervisors will determine the department’s operational needs and the availability of equipment.
• If approved to work from home, deans and supervisors will ask employees to complete a work from home checklist and return it to them. This is required for all employees working off site.
• Employees who have an onsite component to their work may need to continue to be on campus to support students, programs, operations and services in place.
• Some supervisors may also be able to implement a rotating work from home and campus schedule to meet the department’s operational requirements while reducing the number of people on campus.
• Accommodation requests will not be required during the Provincial Health Order unless the employee’s position is required onsite.
• These new measures will stay in place until we receive further updates on working from home from the Provincial Health Officer.


Remote work checklist
Where employees are approved to work from home, they are required to complete the required safety checklists, forms and documentation provided by the dean or supervisor. Where employees had prior approval to work from home for various reasons and the safety checklist were not previously completed, this will now need to be completed and submitted to the respective supervisors.

The BCCDC advises that people with certain chronic health conditions may consider protective self separation. People with chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing more severe illness from COVID-19. These conditions include heart disease, high blood pressure, lung disease, diabetes and cancer. Also included are people with weakened immune systems from a medical condition (e.g. HIV, chronic liver or organ transplant) or treatment, such as chemotherapy or immunosuppressive medications.

NIC has a legal obligation of a duty to accommodation to employees. Workplace accommodation guidelines (including medical/family status) information are available to all employees regarding the accommodation process on the Human Resources portal page.

The BC Human Rights Commissioner provides detailed information with respect to COVID-19 and the impacts on individuals.

Sickness and Isolation

All staff, faculty and administrators are required to stay home if they are ill, employees must complete the daily screening for symptoms and if any symptoms are present are not to attend the workplace. If you are absent from work for more than five days due to illness (COVID-19 related or otherwise) or medically-recommended self-isolation, you will be asked by your supervisor to complete a medical certificate form and submit it to Human Resources in order to make sure your absence is appropriately managed and supported.

Anyone who is concerned they, or someone they have been exposed to, may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health-care provider or call public health at 8-1-1.

If you are an employee that does not have paid sick leave due to your employment status or have insufficient sick leave to cover the anticipated duration of your absence, please advise your supervisor/manager, who will consult with Human Resources in this circumstance.

You should not attend work if you are sick as this increases the risk of exposure for others. Recent changes to Employment Insurance rules by the federal government may be available to employees without paid sick leave to mitigate wage loss and Human Resources staff can assist with this process and/or identify other alternatives on a case-by-case basis.

If you are advised by a medical professional to self-isolate or required to self-isolate, please notify your immediate manager by phone. You will be provided with a Medical Certificate Form to complete and submit to Human Resources (for absences greater than five days). This will ensure your absence from work is appropriately managed and supported.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has clear instructions for self-isolation.

The Province has issued a travel advisory recommending all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of BC and between regions of the province. International travellers returning to BC are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days and complete the federal ArriveCan application. 

If you have chosen to travel outside Canada, we can provide you no assurance that your period of self-quarantine will be paid unless you are in an approved work from home situation.

Please review the protocols laid out on the BC Centre for Disease Control website, which are kept updated as direction evolves, and if you have additional questions, call 8-1-1. If you are advised by a medical practitioner or public health official to self-isolate, you should advise your supervisor immediately (via phone or email). Your supervisor will provide you with a Medical Certificate Form to complete and submit to Human Resources (for absences greater than five days). This will ensure your absence from work is appropriately managed and supported.

Guidelines related to travel are evolving, so we recommend that you call your health care provider or 8-1-1- to obtain medical advice for your specific situation.

Generally, in such circumstances you can report to work as normal. However, since your family member will be in self-isolation, we recommend you review the following BCCDC self-isolation protocols. Of course, if you or your family display moderate to severe symptoms (fever, cough, and respiratory problems) you should immediately contact your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1. Additionally, please do not come to work if you become ill.

Yes, Manulife recognizes COVID-19 as an illness and claims will be handled in accordance with the plan. Please visit the Manulife site for specific information.

If you experience illness during the 14-day self-isolation period, you should contact your health care provider or call the Provincial Health Line 8-1-1. The relevant health care professional will make a determination as to whether or not you should be tested for COVID-19.

As you are now ill, you should also contact your supervisor/manager as you would now be considered sick rather than just in self-isolation and this may impact how your further absence from work is treated. Since you are sick, you may be eligible for sick leave benefits depending on your employment status.

At this time self-isolation has not been recommended for those that have travelled within Canada only and self-isolation is not otherwise required unless you have been directed to do so by a Public Health Official due to possible exposure from a confirmed or suspected case. In this circumstance you are expected to report for work. You may request leave (e.g. vacation) and such request will be considered taking into consideration operational requirements.

All COVID-19 cases in BC are being medically followed by Public Health and are self-isolated from others. Once individuals recovering from COVID-19 infection have demonstrated they no longer require self-isolation (two negative test samples), Public Health will advise these individuals they can return to their usual routines and should provide the individual with a letter indicating the employee is medically cleared to return to work. You should provide a copy of this letter to your supervisor/manager in advance of returning to work.

Support

Yes, all employees and their dependents have access to confidential counselling services. Our employee and family assistance provider is Homewood Health and can be accessed 24/7 by calling 1-800-663-1142 or by visiting homeweb.ca.

Please also be aware that we have received communication from Homewood that they are transitioning to telephone-based counselling services only over the coming weeks to mitigate the health risk to service providers and clients. Please read Homewood’s communication regarding telephone-based counselling services.

Also provided is information regarding creating and accessing Homewood Health’s Homeweb services for employees. This is an innovative online platform that offers members access to personalized health and wellness tools, resources and support when you want it, anytime anywhere.

More Questions

If you have any questions with respect to NIC’s COVID-19 Safety Plan or the creation of individual safety plans for your area, contact HealthandSafety@nic.bc.ca.

Additional resources: