Returning to School in Post-Pandemic Canada


With an increase in the number of vaccinations and a drop in the number of COVID-19 infections, many universities and colleges are opening back up for students. While some of them are following a hybrid model, many have resumed the traditional way of holding classes, and others offer students an option for choosing whether to attend physical or online classes. Each college/university has different requirements from its students. 

Canada has decided to let international students return for the 2021/2022 school year. The loss of tuition and fees incurred by institutions have been one of the reasons, along with the compassionate stance that the government has taken. While the number of cases of COVID-19 has been going up steadily and much of the teaching is online, allowing international students to return has been a big relief to the institutions. 

This summer, Canadian institutions showed a drop of 22% in government issued study permits for international students. This had risen more than 50% from 2016 to 2019 and the drop has been a cause of concern for schools. They have been pushing the government to bolster their institutional budgets which have been impacted due to the loss of international tuition fees. Tuition fees makes up the second largest income stream for Canadian institutions closely following taxpayer funding. 15% of the total enrolment at these schools are international students, or around approximately roughly 600,000 students.

Institutions are now allowed to have overseas students back following a 14 day quarantine plan. With around 2000 new coronavirus infections being added daily, it was not an easy decision for the government to reach. However, the government’s stance on helping those impacted significantly by COVID-19 related travel restrictions has been welcomed by students. This has cleared the way for all international students to be able to return to their school to pursue their education. 

Most Canadian universities are requiring that students be vaccinated with government approved COVID-19 vaccines to be allowed to attend in-person classes on campus. Those who have not received their vaccinations would have to agree to rapid testing. Those universities that do not mandate vaccines are encouraging students to do so. As most universities are setting their own regulations when it comes to vaccination requirements, students are urged to check with their respective institution before they set out for Canada.

Some leading universities and colleges require that students prove that they got their first dose of the vaccine by early or mid-September and their second dose by mid-October to be allowed to attend in person classes. As institutions and students are interested in returning to face-to-face instruction in their programs, keeping case numbers on the campus low is a main priority.  A majority of colleges require indoor masking.

Of all the students travelling to Canada to study, not all will have received both government approved vaccinations. Those who have completed the first dose will be allowed to move into residence in some universities in some provinces such as Ontario. These schools are also making an effort to help students get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Students who are not fully vaccinated must also self isolate for 14 days.

Some universities have also adopted the government’s new vaccine passport system called the restrictions exemption programme. Under this program, all members of the campus community will be asked for proof of vaccination. Those who do not submit proof of vaccination will have to undergo regular rapid testing.

As the number of cases rise in Alberta, a number of Alberta universities have closed campuses or have announced vaccine mandates. Among the universities to announce vaccine mandates are the University of Lethbridge, MacEwan University, Medicine Hat College,  Mount Royal University, NAIT, SAIT and NorQuest College.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many institutions may keep adjusting and changing their policies. With Aplicar, you’ll get the latest news and coverage of everything that can impact you and your business. This is the Aplicar Advantage.

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