The College has sent a letter to all students with recommendations about coronavirus. (File photo)

The College has sent a letter to all students with recommendations about coronavirus. (File photo)

Coronavirus spread prompts Selkirk College letter to students

‘We can’t stop COVID-19, all we can do is plan to deal with it.’

Students at Selkirk College are being told to stay at home if they are experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

The advice comes in a letter sent out to students Thursday morning by the vice-president of college services in the wake of the spread of coronavirus.

“It is understandable that this is a time of heightened anxiety for everyone. We cannot change what happens with COVID-19, we can only prepare to deal with it,” the letter from Kerry Clarke says. “The most effective way to deal with this virus is to take personal responsibility towards recommended steps that will help lessen the spread.”

The letter comes after a day of rapid global response to the spreading virus, with the U.S. planning to ban air flights from Europe and the cancellation of major public events around the world.

“We formed a COVID-19 task force … and we’re meeting twice a week or so, and discussing what’s coming around with the guidance from the provincial health officer, and that’s what we are following,” Clarke told the Castlegar News.

There were 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in British Columbia as of March 11. There have been no cases of confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection in the student body, Clarke says.

About 2,700 students attend the college full-time. For the most part, academic classes end in early April.

SEE: Trudeau goes into self-isolation over COVID-19

Besides the standard measures — like washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and covering your mouth when coughing — the college wants students who begin to feel cold or flu-like symptoms to take measures to stop spreading the infection.

“We understand that this is a very busy time in the winter semester where students need to be on the top of their workload,” the letter continues. “That said, one way to stop the spread of this virus is to not come to class or common areas if you have associated symptoms that include fever, cough or having a hard time breathing.”

The letter continues that college instructors “are aware of potential disruption to a student’s semester should they take these precautions and will work with you to ensure missed class time does not result in missed assignments/tests.”

Abundance of caution

The college has added an extra custodial shift during the day to maintain sanitary measures on door knobs, counter-tops, computer keyboards and other “areas of common touch,” Clarke says.

“We can’t stop COVID-19, all we can do is plan to deal with it,” he says. “And it is such a fluid situation. And what I told members of the planning committee was, ‘what I tell you today for advice could be very different tomorrow.’”

The college encourages students to do their part as well.

“With notable transmission of the virus still minimal in our region, we are taking a cautious approach to social distancing as we maintain our daily routines at Selkirk College,” says the letter.

Among those measures are encouraging staff to avoid unnecessary physical contact, like handshaking; promoting hand washing and staying at home if you have symptoms.

SEE: Health Canada: Coronavirus symptoms and treatment

However, there are no plans at the moment to cancel classes or gatherings like field trips, says Clarke, though the idea has been considered.

“It’s a question that comes up as part of a worse-case scenario, we’d be idiots not to think about it,” he says. “But it would be a worst-case scenario. But I would at this point consider it very unlikely, as many of our courses are lab-based. You can’t run a carpentry course remotely, it doesn’t makes sense.

“So those are some of the challenges we’re looking at and what we call the ‘what-if’ scenario planning.”

Planned field trips will continue as scheduled, according to the letter.

Community, institution and group gatherings are being cancelled around the world, including suspension of classes in Washington State, south of the border.



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Jasper after he was reunited with his owners Mary and Brent Hummel. Photo: Steve Smith
New children’s book features lost Castlegar dog who swam the Columbia multiple times

Brent and Mary Hummel and Jasper tell their dramatic story

Coby Reid helped rescue this bobcat from where it had frozen to the train tracks. Photo: Coby Reid
Bobcat deliverer shares details from Kootenay train track rescue

Coby Reid helped rescue a bobcat that was frozen to train tracks near Waneta bridge

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read