COVID-19 Response Information
As the situation related to COVID-19 develops, we will update this page with the most recent and relevant information. We will continue to provide FAQs, links to additional resources (including an online self-assessment tool) and a form for TWU community members to submit questions below.
Key updates from March 24, 2020:
There is one confirmed case of COVID-19 at Trinity Western University. The individual who tested positive is a TWU employee and the relevant health authorities are guiding our next steps according to their protocols. Health authorities have already contacted anyone who may require additional measures, such as self-monitoring. We continue to recommend that all members of the TWU community continue observing measures such as physical distancing, hand-hygiene and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.
The employee has had no direct contact with students, as the potential exposure occurred with a limited number of employees after TWU had already suspended face-to-face classes at all campuses, including the Langley campus where this employee visited one-day last week. Anyone who this individual may have had contact with has already been notified by Fraser Health, and there is no further action required. Fraser Health has also indicated that there is no additional risk to the TWU community, including students, at this time.
Please join us in praying for the person who is ill, that the Lord will sustain and heal them, and for their family and loved ones supporting them through this time. We also pray for all those who are working in the health care system, including the Public Health Nurse assigned to support this person as well as to help TWU to manage this situation well.
Dear Trinity Western University Community -
For the last number of weeks, TWU leadership has been planning for a variety of contingencies related to COVID-19. We have been prayerfully guided in our decisions and in close collaboration with local and provincial health authorities, with the goal of ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of every member of the TWU community.
Acts of kindness and compassion that are characteristic of our community have been multiplied over recent weeks, as we traced the impact of our students and alumnae in China, Europe, Washington State, and now BC. The flood of positive responses from parents and students has reiterated for us the value of a Christian university, which takes seriously our call to be invested in the service of others. This is a historic event and an uncertain time. And it shall pass. When we all stand on the other side of this pandemic, we believe that the stories from TWU will make our province and nation proud as well.
In light of the fast-evolving situation surrounding COVID-19, and in response to recent developments jointly announced by the BC Minister of Health and Provincial Health Officer, classes have moved online for the duration of the Spring semester. We are committed to completing the semester well. We also anticipate that Summer courses will be provided online.
Based on increasingly restrictive measures announced by the government, we have advised any student remaining on campus able to travel home to have done so by Sunday, March 22. Any students within driving distance of campus should have already departed unless other arrangements have been approved. Resident Directors and Assistants are on hand to support and answer questions. We have made this and the following decisions out of serious care and concern for the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, and the broader community, and in response to provincial and federal recommendations and directives to reduce the spread of the virus:
- Traditional face-to-face classes are suspended.
- All classes are provided online.
- Chapel services are provided online. TWU Chapel Podcasts are also available.
- Students living in on-campus housing who are able to travel home to have done so by Sunday, March 22. Student Life has been working with students to support the process of moving out and making plans to travel back home. Student Life is communicating directly with resident students with additional information.
- Students who must remain on campus will continue to be supported. This includes students from countries with travel restrictions or with other circumstances limiting travel home. These students will continue with room and board and will continue to be supported and cared for through on-campus and remote services.
- TWU operations are continuing. TWU-Langley campus remains open, with essential services on-site. TWU-Bellingham and TWU-Richmond physical sites are closed. The Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa is closed to the public, and continues to provide support for students online. At all campuses, all services that can be provided virtually have moved online. Staff and faculty continue to work, mostly remotely from home. Human Resources will continue to communicate directly with staff with any additional information.
- Library and Registration Office services are now offered virtually.
- Faculty and staff will continue to work from home. As of March 17, all but “campus-specific employees” were asked to work from home for a two week period to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Any changes to this plan will be communicated before the end of the two week period.
- Spring 2020 graduation ceremony has been rescheduled. It will take place in combination with Fall 2020 graduation on Saturday, November 7.
- Travel studies have been cancelled. This includes all travel studies scheduled in May. Studies scheduled for July or August will be re-evaluated in May.
- Summer courses will continue. We plan to offer Summer courses online.
We have received an outpouring of positive responses to these decisions, and are grateful to TWU faculty, staff, and students for helping to navigate the changes so seamlessly.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is encouraging preparedness in the likelihood that we will see further COVID-19 spread. Because provincial health authorities are anticipating the possibility of an increased number of COVID-19 cases in the community, and because testing will be increasingly reserved for those who are most at risk, TWU is preparing for the possibility that some students might require self-isolation in the dorms. The number of students remaining on campus is low. We have rooms set aside for this purpose.
The university is committed to continued vigilance related to COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat, achy muscles and difficulty breathing. Most individuals who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms that can be managed at home. Those who are most at risk of becoming more seriously ill are the elderly and those with other medical conditions.
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not available)
- Not sharing food or utensils with others
- Using proper coughing or sneezing etiquette (cough/sneeze into elbow or tissue, not hand)
- Isolating yourself when sick (even with a mild cold)
- physical distancing: Avoiding large groups; staying 2 metres apart from others when sharing a closed space; avoiding handshakes or other greetings involving touch.
- Spend time outdoors
The BC Ministry of Health has developed an online self-assessment tool that will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself or on behalf of someone else if they are unable to. Please follow this link to access the tool.
Report of Self-Isolation
For students living in residence on the Langley campus who are choosing to self-isolate. Please use the following link to complete a Report of Self-Isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is the campus open?
The Langley and LLC campuses are open in a limited capacity to students remaining in residence and to personnel who have been identified as having “campus-specific responsibilities.” TWU campuses at Richmond and Bellingham have temporarily suspended all on-site activities and have moved all operations online. Spring courses will all be completed online. Summer courses will continue as scheduled, most likely in an online format.
Are there any cases of CoVID-19 on campus?
There is one confirmed case of COVID-19 at Trinity Western University. The individual is an employee within the TWU community and the relevant health authorities are guiding our next steps according to their protocols. Those who may require additional measures such as self-monitoring have been contact by health authorities. There is no additional risk to the TWU community. We recommend that all members of the TWU comunity continue observing measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and self-monitoring as outlined below.
I live on campus and have decided to move back home. What do I do next?
Your Resident Assistant and Resident Director will work closely with you to ensure you have the support you need to make packing, moving, and travel arrangements.
I am an international student and am not sure whether I should go home or not. What do you recommend?
You may go home if you are able, but must recognize that given the current and potential travel restrictions, you might not be able to get back easily, or at all. If you do go back home, we cannot guarantee that you will have good access to zoom or other online tools that we will be using from here to complete your coursework online. In either case our aim is to continue to provide supports to help you finish the semester well, and to enroll and successfully complete your online summer courses.
I have a study permit for Canada. What do the travel restrictions mean for me?
As of March 20, 2020, the Government of Canada has provided some exemptions to travel restrictions to foreign nationals who have committed to working, studying, or making Canada their home, and will be considered essential travel with regards to land border restrictions. This includes international students who held a valid study permit or had been approved for a study permit when the travel restrictions took place on March 18.
What areas have COVID-19 travel advisories?
As of this writing, the Government of Canada has issued an official global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. More information may be found on the Government of Canada COVID-19 travel advice site. In addition, the BC Provincial Health Officer has announced that Canadians should avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Anyone arriving in BC from outside of Canada will be asked to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival. This is a voluntary measure, but it is the expectation of the BCCDC that people will follow this direction.
What do the new BC and Canadian travel restrictions mean for me?
TWU has canceled all travel studies outside of Canada for the next two months and all university-related travel outside of Canada until further notice. Faculty, staff, and students entering Canada from any other country including the United States will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days.
I am a TWU employee and wish to work from home. What are my options?
People’s health and safety is a top priority for TWU. Beginning Tuesday March 17, people were asked to work from home for the next two weeks. Individuals who have been designated “campus-specific employees” whose work is essential to maintaining the safety and delivery of services on campus will continue to carry out their regular duties on campus. All other employees are strongly encouraged to work from home.
In order to work from home, please speak with your manager to determine what specific resources you will need to successfully carry out your role remotely (i.e., laptop, monitor, etc). It is crucial to maintain all secure information on TWU servers. If you need assistance connecting remotely, reach out to IT via the TWIT Service Desk. For all other work-related questions, please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at email@example.com
I need to access the library. What do I do?
We’re fully available online!
Virtual library services are available. For the latest up-to-date library information visit Library COVID-19 Response webpage.
What will change at TWU if BC calls for a lockdown?
The measures we have taken to date have prepared TWU well for the possibility of a lockdown. University leadership has been preparing contingency plans, including plans to provide essential services on-site.
COVID-19 Health Questions:
The following questions relate directly to COVID-19 and are updated regularly for the TWU community. However, we recommend that you refer to healthlinkbc.ca as your most up-to-date source of health-related COVID-19 information. Information for health professionals is available here.
I think I have COVID-19, Can I go to the Emergency Room to be tested?
At this time patients are asked to avoid going to the emergency department for novel coronavirus testing.
If you feel that you might have COVID-19, please call ahead to your primary care provider's office or 8-1-1 to assess whether you need testing. Calling ahead to the clinic before you go ensures that the clinic is prepared to test you and keeps the clinic’s staff and other visitors safe.
If you do not have a primary care provider, please call 8-1-1 for assessment. The nurses at 8-1-1 can give you more information regarding where you can go for assessment and testing, for example, an urgent primary care centre or a walk-in clinic.
Nurses at 8-1-1 have been instructed to complete an exposure risk assessment of callers with compatible symptoms, such as cough or influenza-like symptoms. In some cases, the 8-1-1 nurses may suggest a caller go see a healthcare provider for assessment and testing, and recommend that the caller call ahead to tell the clinicians that they are coming.
Can I be tested for COVID-19?
Testing is available for all who need it but not everyone requires a test. If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms or you are a returning traveler self-isolating at home, you do not require a test.
Those who have severe illness, require hospitalization, are residents of long-term care facilities or are healthcare workers will continue to be tested. We will also test anyone part of an active investigation or outbreak cluster.
If symptoms appear, call your health care provider or 811 for guidance.
What happens if I have been tested for COVID-19?
The BCCDC COVID-19 Negative Results line is staffed from 8:30AM to 4:30PM, seven days a week. People who have tested are asked to wait 72 hours before calling the Negative Results line. Most people who have been tested are calling before the 72 hours and, as a result, the line is experiencing an extremely high call and voicemail volume. We ask for your patience and to try calling back if it has been more than 72 hours since your test.
If someone tests positive, public health will contact them. However, while you wait for your test result, you should follow the advice of your doctor or testing provider to self-isolate.
I have been in contact with someone who is being tested for COVID-19. Should I self-isolate?
Yes, if you have been in close contact. Students, faculty, or staff who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing, should self-isolate for 14 days after their last encounter. They should also follow any directions provided by the local health authority, and self-monitor daily for symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing). If symptoms occur, they should call 8-1-1 for advice.
No, if you have not been in close contact. Instead, self-monitor. If you have not been in close contact, you should self-monitor daily for symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you have no symptoms you may attend work and school and take part in regular activities.
What does “close contact” entail?
This means you have been close enough to the person to be exposed to respiratory droplets or other bodily fluids. In general, this means you have spent 15 minutes or longer in a space that is closer than 2 metres from the other person.
What is the difference between self-isolate and self-monitor?
“Self-isolate” means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This can help prevent the spread of infections. Self-isolation lowers the chance of spreading the illness to other people. More information on self-isolation is available from the BCCDC.
“Self-monitor” means you should be monitoring your health and the health of your children for symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Individuals who are self-monitoring can attend and work in school and take part in regular activities. If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate. Individuals who are self-monitoring may attend and work in school and take part in regular activities.
I have been recommended to self-isolate. What do I do?
While self-isolating you should:
- Stay in a well-ventilated room, including an open window, if possible. Do not have other people come into the room.
- Limit going in shared spaces. Try to keep a two-meter distance between yourself and others whenever possible.
- Practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygeine as described above.
- If possible, have supplies dropped off outside your door to help avoid direct contact, and limit the number of people helping to care for you.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Regular household cleaning products are effective against most viruses, and you can also use 1 part bleach to 9 parts water as an effective disinfectant.
- Use dedicated linen and utensils, which can be washed with soap and water and re-used, and do not need to be disposed of.
- Dispose of any tissues, wipes, masks, or gloves in a waste container lined with a plastic bag before disposing with other household waste.
- Wash your clothes in hot water (between 60-90 degrees C) and then thoroughly dry them.
Further information is available at the BC Centre for Diseases Control (BCCDC) and website.
TWU community members with additional questions or concerns relating to such topics as illness prevention, physical or mental health, class absences, and online learning options are encouraged to submit questions using the link below to direct them to the appropriate area.
For all other inquiries, please contact us by email or phone (888) 468-6898.
For additional information from local and federal health authorities, please visit the following websites: