COVID-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Co-op Questions about COVID-19

last updated: April 3, 2020

uLethbridge Co-op Students:

We understand that this is a difficult time to navigate and that managing all the recent change is challenging. We commend you on your resilience and ability to adapt! We are all in this together and we are here for you! The entire Co-op Team is working remotely, so if you need anything at all, we encourage you to reach out. We are available for telephone or Zoom meetings, which can still be booked through the MyExperience portal.

U of L COVID-19 Response

General Inquiries

For more information on the Alberta Government’s official COVID-19 response and for the latest updates, resources, symptom tracking, and self-assessment on the following and more:

  • Support for people facing job loss or reduced hours and people who are sick, quarantined or must stay home to care for children 
  • Support for renters, homeowners and people experiencing homelessness 
  • Support for people with student loans 
  • Support for people unable to pay monthly bills 
  • People in Alberta needing assistance can also benefit from Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Please visit the following pages: 

https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

Alberta Health Services Public FAQ's

Co-op Students Currently on a Spring 2020 Work Term:

Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; practice physical distancing (e.g. no handshaking); when coughing cover your mouth and nose with tissue and throw the tissue into the trash immediately; cough or sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand.

Your health is our priority, please take precautions to minimize your exposure and the exposure of others who may not be as resilient.

If you feel sick, you must stay home and advise your supervisor and Co-op Coordinator that you are ill. Complete this self-reporting form.

If you feel uncomfortable in your work environment, please contact your Co-op Coordinator immediately. We have communicated to all co-op supervisors that appropriate precautions need to be in place and that students must feel that it is safe to continue.

We recommend you have a conversation with your Co-op Coordinator to see what options exist.

No, you will not be penalized as your health and safety is the number one priority. There will be no penalties from the Co-op Program if you cannot complete your work term due to COVID-19. 

If you are unable to work due to illness, please inform your employer and your Co-op Coordinator immediately. If your work term ends early due to COVID-19 there will be no penalties from the Co-op Program.

The Canadian federal government announced on March 18, 2020 and March 27, 2020 a number of financial aid packages to support workers across Canada if they are unable to work due to COVID-19.

We are currently checking to determine how these federal measures impact Co-op students. As we obtain information, we will update this section.

If you are experiencing extreme financial challenges related to COVID-19 please reach out to your Co-op Coordinator for additional resources including emergency funding options.

Please contact your Co-op Coordinator before you elect to end your work term early. We understand your concerns and want to work with you and your employer. Students will not be penalized for work terms that are ended early as your health and safety is the number one priority. There will be no penalties from the co-op program due to COVID-19 or other health concerns.

Ultimately if you are feeling uncomfortable in your workplace, the decision to end your work term is yours, but please consult with your Co-op Coordinator and with your employer before making a final decision. There will be no penalties from the Co-op Program due to the impact of COVID-19.

Contact your Co-op Coordinator immediately and provide them with the details. We recommend that all co-op students have a ‘back-up’ plan for Summer 2020 (e.g. register for Summer courses) in the case that our current COVID-19 circumstances last longer than anyone would like.

There are lots of resources available but you can always contact your Co-op Coordinator for assistance.

Co-op Students Who Have Secured A Summer 2020 Work Term:

Contact your Co-op Coordinator immediately and provide them with the details. We recommend that all co-op students have a ‘back-up’ plan for Summer 2020 (e.g. register for Summer courses).

Not all co-op positions can be completed remotely as it will depend on the nature of the work and the employer's ability to accommodate remote work.

However, the Co-op program has information and tips for employers to explore remote work and remote onboarding options with their Co-op students.

It is also important to understand that students will not be penalized for work terms that are ended early due to COVID-19 as your health and safety is the number one priority. 

For now, we recommend that you: 

  • Reach out to your Co-op Coordinator to discuss options and concerns
  • Discuss remote work options or delaying the start date with your employer
  • Check with the airline policy in respect to flight changes or cancellations, also consider delaying booking any flights
  • Do not sign a lease for an apartment if you haven’t yet
  • Make a back-up plan in the case that you aren’t able to relocate – such as registering for Summer courses. 

If you have already booked flights, check with the airline to determine what options are available for flight changes or cancellations.

If you have already signed a lease, ask your landlord what your options are to make changes. If you are experiencing difficulties, please contact your Co-op Coordinator.

No. Your health and safety is our number one priority. There will be no penalties from the Co-op Program for COVID-19 related situations.

Yes, if the cancellation is related to COVID-19, but please contact your Co-op Coordinator first. The Co-op office will connect with your employer, as there may be other options (later start date, working remotely, postponing to the Fall term).

Yes, we recommend you consider a back-up plan, and register for Summer 2020 courses, if needed.

There are lots of resources available, but you can always contact your Co-op Coordinator for assistance.

Co-op Students Who Are Still Seeking A Summer 2020 Work Term:

While it is difficult to know what the situation will be like in May, at this time we recommend that you continue to apply for Summer 2020 positions and you have a back-up plan (e.g., register in Summer 2020 courses).

If you have already received a summer 2020 co-op position, we anticipate that they will be revised to accommodate later start dates or remote working arrangements. However, the COVID-19 situation is fluid and changing rapidly so we are prepared to remain flexible in order to support our students and employer stakeholders.

We have reached out to all employers that have posted Summer 2020 Co-op jobs with the University of Lethbridge. We are encouraging employers to consider flexible start dates into early June 2020 with an aim of reaching close to the minimum of 420 placement hours, as well as accommodating remote work arrangements.

If the employer has contacted you directly, please connect with them to arrange for remote interviews. Employers may suggest Zoom/Skype/phone instead of an in-person interview, or they may prefer to reschedule. We currently are not recommending in-person interviews. If you require assistance with remote technology interview options, please contact the Co-op office.

Before you decline the interview, please contact the Co-op office so we can discuss options. 

If you’ve been short-listed for an interview through the Co-op office let us know if you are unable to attend the interview as scheduled. We will contact the employer on your behalf.

At this time, we are only recommending remote interview options. If you need assistance with remote technology interview options, please reach out to the Co-op office.

Yes, we recommend you consider a back-up plan, and register for Summer 2020 courses, if needed.

There are lots of resources available, but you can always contact your Co-op Coordinator for assistance.

Health Resources:

The most important thing is to maintain your health and the health of those around you. If you feel unwell self-isolate. That means staying home, and not having guests. 

The University of Lethbridge Health Centre is not currently taking walk-ins.

All visits will be by appointment. Please do not come to the clinic to make an appointment. To make an appointment, please call the Health Centre at 403-329-2484 or email at health.centre@uleth.ca. If you are unable to reach a receptionist please leave a voicemail and you will receive a call back. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms complete the self-assessment (https://myhealth.alberta.ca/journey/covid-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx), and if needed, call the Health Link at 811.

For emergencies, please call 911 or visit the Emergency Department of the Chinook Regional Hospital.

If you are feeling fear, anxiety, isolation and/or confusion, all of which are completely normal, there are excellent resources available for you - don't hesitate to connect if you need support - see resources for students here: 

Counselling Services remain available. All counselling sessions will be conducted via telephone or Zoom. To book an appointment call 403-317-2845 or email counselling.services@uleth.ca. Please do not come to the office to make an appointment.

Other mental health support you can access include:

  • TAO (Therapy Assist Online) - self-help modules and interactive resources
  • 211 Alberta - post-secondary students across Alberta can text STUDENT to 211 or visit www.ab.211.ca and click “live chat” anytime 24/7 to reach a live person – a community resource specialist – who will listen and connect them with the most appropriate on-campus and community resources
  • 7 Cups of Tea - support program that offers free, anonymous and confidential online text chats with peers who are trained listeners
Employer Questions:

We understand that these are tumultuous times but wanted you to know that given the current COVID-19 situation here at the University of Lethbridge we are proceeding with planning for Summer 2020 co-op work terms cautiously but with the hope that this situation may be resolved before too late in Summer. We encourage you to continue advertising your opportunities and consider flexible start dates into early June 2020 with an aim of reaching close to the minimum of 420 placement hours, as well as accommodating remote work arrangements.

For those that might be considering remote work arrangements, please see the following guidelines for:

  1. Tips for Onboarding Students Remotely
  2. Tips for Supervising Students Remotely

All Co-op staff have moved to alternate remote work arrangements starting Wednesday March 18, 2020. We will continue to support our student and employer partners without any reduction in services.

The health and safety of our co-op students and employers is of great concern to us. Our students are placed across the globe and in various workplace environments. We have advised our students that if they feel ill that they should:

  1. Not go to work
  2. Contact their immediate supervisor & Co-op Coordinator
  3. Follow the local health authority guidelines
  4. Complete this self-reporting form.

We have advised students that they need to inform their employer if they are ill. Many students are concerned about the financial repercussions of staying home, and if your organization offers sick pay, we encourage that communication.

The federal government announced on March 18, 2020 and March 27, 2020 several financial aid measures, to support workers across Canada if they are unable to work due to COVID-19.

The Co-op office is checking to determine how or if these measures impact co-op students for both the Spring and Summer 2020 work term semesters. As we obtain more information, we will forward it to students and employers and will update our online resources.

We’ve heard from several of our students and employers that they have moved to a remote work environment. If this is an option for you/for co-op students, we are happy to support this. If you are unable to offer a remote environment, we ask that you provide as much support as possible to any students who are feeling uncomfortable in the workplace.

Additional resources are available here:

  1. Tips for Onboarding Students Remotely
  2. Tips for Supervising Students Remotely

In the case that a student is uncomfortable working in-person, or if your business is unable to continue to operate, ending a work term early is an option. We understand that these are difficult decisions and we ask that if you need to end a work term early, to please contact the Co-op office to discuss the logistics and see how we can best support you and our student(s). For our students in this situation, there will be no academic penalties or negative impact on their co-op work term grade.

Whether you have already hired a co-op student for Summer 2020, plan to extend a current student to work during the summer, or are in the midst of hiring, you are welcome to decide how you would like to proceed. We are proceeding with planning for Summer 2020 co-op work terms cautiously but with the hope that this situation may be resolved before too late in the Summer. We would like to work with you to mitigate potential cancellation of work terms. Instead we encourage you to consider flexible start dates into early June 2020 with an aim of reaching close to the minimum of 420 placement hours, as well as accommodating remote work arrangements. If you are still in the process of interviews, we are happy to assist by providing remote interview options.

We encourage you to consider flexible start dates into early June or consider accommodating remote work arrangements.

We are also advising students to make a ‘back-up’ plan for Summer 2020 (e.g., registering for Summer 2020 courses), in the case that our current circumstances last longer than anyone would like. 

If you are experiencing financial challenges, please be aware that there are several wage subsidies available that can support you with hiring a Co-op student and we are happy to assist you with this. Please visit:

https://www.uleth.ca/career-bridge/employers/employer-funding

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/work-integrated-learning.html

Please know we are here as a support and resource to you and your organization as we move through this challenging time together. Please contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help.

You can reach us at coop@uleth.ca