COVID-19

YOU ARE HERE::Home/COVID-19
Tue April 21

Capilano Students’ Union commits $75,000 to emergency financial aid for domestic and international students

2020-04-21T16:10:04-07:00April 21st, 2020|Blog, COVID-19, Media Advisories|

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC — The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) is committing $75,000 to support students as they come under increasing financial pressure during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds will be used to increase access to low-barrier emergency financial assistance for both domestic and international students at Capilano University.

“One of the top concerns we’ve been hearing from students is financial uncertainty,” said CSU president Emily Bridge. “We are hopeful that this funding will provide some relief during what has been a very difficult time for many students.”

Capilano University’s financial aid department will administer distribution of the new funds, which will be used to ensure that emergency financial assistance can be provided to a greater number of both domestic and international students. 

“International students face unique challenges, and borders do not exist in the context of this public health emergency, so it’s important that the funding made available is accessible to everyone, regardless of where they come from,” continued Bridge. 

In addition to releasing emergency funding, the CSU has adapted many of its public-facing programs and services to be delivered online during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Facebook group Capilano Quarantine Corner was created to give students a platform to connect online during the current period of physical distancing. Community Cupboard, the organization’s food bank program, now offers free grocery store gift cards to those in need. Device Doctor, the personal electronics repair service that is free-to-use for students, now offers software support by phone and no-contact hardware drop-off and pick-up.

Mon March 30

CSU seeks academic accommodations from university, continues digital adaptation of services

2020-03-30T11:06:49-07:00March 30th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

A MESSAGE FROM CSU PRESIDENT EMILY BRIDGE


We’ve received a lot of communication from students expressing concern about not having heard much from the university as the end of the semester approaches. The CSU is governed by students, so your fears, concerns, and worries are ours as well. We are in continued communication with university and will be meeting with them this week, so we’ll be bringing your concerns to them and reporting back to you. On Friday, the CSU board of directors passed a strong statement in favour of academic accommodations for the spring and summer, which can be found here

We continue to liaise with all levels of government and will be conveying all pertinent information to students as we get it. To help keep you as informed as possible, we have compiled a summary of resources related to the COVID-19 public health crisis that are available from various levels of government, universities, and external organizations. We will be updating this page with newly announced resources being made available to students, in as timely manner as possible. Please continue to refer to official sources, for the most up-to-date, accurate information.

The CSU has continued to adapt its programming and services to be delivered online. Our board of directors and staff have shifted to meeting and working remotely in alignment with guidance from public health agencies and will continue to support and represent students at Capilano University. 

Services

The Community Cupboard service is presently being administered completely online, offering grocery store gift cards to those in need rather than its usual food bags. We aim to limit access to this service once per semester but will aim to work with students to provide as much support as we can. To access the Community Cupboard, please fill out the request form found here and someone will be in touch with you shortly.                                                                         

The Device Doctor personal electronics repair service is still available to students. Technical support is available via phone (call or text) at 778.360.2545 or by email. For hardware repairs, we are prepared to make arrangements for no-contact drop-off and pick-up. As usual, students only pay the price of parts — labour is free! 

The CSU Health and Dental Plan is operating for students as normal. You are welcome to reach out to us or Studentcare if you have questions about your plan. 

Advocacy & Campaigns 

The CSU led a team of 10 BC students groups in demanding a rent freeze and eviction ban during the COVID-19 public health emergency. While we were pleased to see the premier declare a suspension of evictions and rent increases less than 24 hours later, the announcement fell short of a full freeze on rent payments.

Volunteer opportunities for Cap International Tuition (Cap IT), the campaign to lobby Capilano University to officially adopt a policy capping international tuition at 2%, have moved online. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to sign the petition

The CSU, alongside other student societies and post-secondary institutions, is exploring the feasibility of lobbying TransLink to provide refunds for unused months of the U-Pass BC discount transit pass. We are currently in communication with TransLink and will provide updates as soon as we can. 

Events & Community

While CSU-organized in-person events are cancelled for the remainder of the semester, we are developing a variety of online methods of community-building for Capilano students. 

In addition to stepping up our online presence on our traditional social media, we’ve also created Capilano Quarantine Corner — a Facebook group for Capilano students to connect online during this period of social distancing. Online events like Netflix viewing parties, contests, and virtual trivia games aim to provide an opportunity for the Capilano student community to practice social solidarity. Please join in! 

We are developing a series of virtual workshops, such as nutrition and meal-planning, budgeting, meditation and well-being, and more. 

The CSU remains committed to advocating for and representing Capilano University students during this difficult time. Wherever and whenever possible, the CSU will be providing all of our regular programs and services, and adapting programming with students’ input. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are available to field questions via social media (include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) as well as email.

Emily Bridge
CSU President and Vice-President, Equity & Sustainability

Mon March 23

BC students demand a rent freeze and ban on evictions

2020-03-24T11:21:54-07:00March 23rd, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

Dear Premier Horgan, Minister James, and Minister Robinson, 

With today’s release of BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan, we were encouraged to see the government’s commitment to helping BC residents during this unprecedented health crisis. The rapid response from policymakers is admirable and we recognize that creating a comprehensive plan to support those who are most at-risk during this period of instability is an immense endeavour. We appreciate that there are significant investments to support those most vulnerable being made by the government, including those that are not eligible for Employment Insurance. We especially recognize that the pause on BC student loan repayments is a huge relief for students. 

However, we were disappointed that relief for renters was not also announced, as the due date for rent for so many British Columbians is just one week away. Students, who make up around one million of the country’s tenants, are under threat of being pushed out of their living situations with little to no notice, forced to find alternate accommodation. In addition to uncertain housing situations, many work in the service and hospitality industries where they are experiencing major layoffs across the board. While these students may be able to access some benefits from federal and provincial governments in the coming months, this will not come quickly enough to help them make their rent payments due April 1.

International students are particularly vulnerable to the current public health emergency and associated impacts in our province. Without Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, their path forward through this crisis remains unclear. Like domestic students, they also make up a large proportion of workers in the service and hospitality industries that are facing widespread layoffs. In addition, federally mandated working limits and tenuous immigration status leave them with limited options for finding other work — not to mention the general lack of jobs that can be worked safely during the public health emergency. The vast majority of international students are renters that are far from their homes and families, with limited funds and support to begin with. They have now found themselves in a very precarious position.

Time is running out for all students as well as other vulnerable populations who rent in British Columbia. Without immediate support for renters, we could see a considerable portion of our population suddenly looking for new places to live, likely ending up temporarily housed with new groups of people, undoing some of the critical work that social distancing is achieving to flatten the curve.

We were also concerned to hear this afternoon that any evictions currently in progress will be going ahead as planned. Nothing about this time is “business as usual”, and by taking this approach we risk leaving those most in need of assistance behind. This further contributes to community transmission, putting additional stress on our healthcare system and reducing our ability to contain the virus.

Other organizations in the province are currently advocating for rent freezes and other protections to support renters during this difficult and uncertain time. The Vancouver Tenants Union has put a call out for British Columbians to add their names to a steadily growing list of renters that are worried they cannot make rent on April 1, or are at risk of eviction. They have also asked people to share their stories on social media with the hashtag #bcrentcrisis

The hashtag #rentfreezenow is also gaining traction as people share their struggles, fears, and uncertainty with the end of the month quickly approaching and little communication from the government coming forward. The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has also published an urgent call for provincial action to protect the well-being of low-income and at-risk British Columbians.

On Wednesday, we hope that you will make the right decision for all renters in the province. We look forward to collaborating with you in the coming days to find solutions that work for students, both domestic and international.

For all of the reasons above, immediate support for renters across the province is necessary. 

We call on the BC Government to implement a freeze on rent payments effective immediately, and a ban on evictions for all renters.

Yours sincerely,

Alliance of BC Students
Camosun College Student Society
Capilano Students’ Union
Kwantlen Student Association
Langara Students’ Association
Simon Fraser Student Society
University of the Fraser Valley Student Union Society
University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society
University of Victoria Graduate Student Society
University of Victoria Student Society

Tue March 17

Statement on CSU’s move to digital delivery of services

2020-03-17T16:43:28-07:00March 17th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

March 17, 4:30pm — In consideration of the quick escalation of precautions being recommended by various levels of government, and to ensure the safety and health of members of our team and the university community, the CSU has decided to cancel all in-person programming and events for the remainder of the semester.

We are taking steps to transition key programs, services, and meetings online and are exploring different ways to foster community digitally while students are away from campus. We are working to ensure that students continue to be supported and represented as Capilano University continues its work to shift away from in-person learning.

While the information desk at the CSU Members Centre will be closed for the remainder of the semester, CSU staff will be working remotely, and are available to field students’ questions via social media (including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and email (info@csu.bc.ca).

For more about COVID-19, including information on prevention, symptoms, how it spreads, travel, and what to do if you are sick, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 page. We encourage students to follow the advice of public health agencies.

The latest information from Capilano University can be found at this link.

Sun March 15

Statement on shift from in-person learning at Capilano University

2020-03-17T16:42:34-07:00March 15th, 2020|Blog, COVID-19|

March 15, 11:30am — Capilano University has announced that classes for Monday and Tuesday have been paused; university campuses and services remain open. The university has stated that this “pause” is in order to allow faculty and staff to prepare for a shift away from in-person learning.

Consistent with our usual practice when classes are not in session, the information desk at the CSU Members Centre (located in Library 195) will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. CSU staff remain available to field students’ questions via social media (including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), email (info@csu.bc.ca), and in-person at our main office (located in Maple 121).

Given the reduced number of students on campus, the CSU has decided to cancel all in-person CSU events scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday. Since voting in the CSU general election takes place entirely online, the chief returning officer has determined that voting will take place as scheduled from 9:00am on Tuesday, March 17 to 5:00pm on Thursday, March 19.

The CSU has conducted thorough risk assessments of all other events and programming organized by the CSU and its subsidiary bodies. Some events are being adapted in order to minimize risk, while others are to be postponed or cancelled. Unfortunately, this includes our kálax-ay end-of-year social, Rock the Boat, and components of each of Pride Week, Accessibility Awareness Week, and De-Stress Week.

Following the guidance of public health agencies, our remaining events will re-evaluated and adapted as the situation evolves. We are evaluating how best to ensure that students continue to be supported and represented as the university shifts away from in-person learning.

For more about COVID-19, including information on prevention, symptoms, how it spreads, travel, and what to do if you are sick, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 page.

The latest information from Capilano University can be found at this link.