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Coronavirus Information

News

Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine now available for all adults

September 21, 2022

Manitoba Health has announced that all Manitobans 18 years of age and older are now eligible for the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Sept. 22 at 9:00 a.m., newly eligible people can book appointments using the online booking tool, by contacting the vaccine call centre at 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or by contacting medical clinics and pharmacies directly.

It is recommended that people wait six months from their last dose to get their bivalent booster vaccine, as this provides the best immune response. However, the minimum interval between a person’s last dose and their booster is three months.

For more information, please visit ProtectMB.ca.

Fall health update

August 23, 2022

As we prepare to return to campus – many of us for the first time in more than two years – we understand you may feel a range of emotions. RRC Polytech remains flexible in our response to keep our community safe, and our Incident Management team is continuing to monitor the development of COVID-19 and its variants. RRC Polytech has taken many precautions to keep you safe while on-campus:

  • All RRC Polytech staff and students are required to self-screen before arriving on campus.
  • Staff and students must stay home when sick, even if symptoms are mild.
  • Should you test positive for COVID-19, please follow current Public Health recommendations which include self-isolation for 5 days after symptoms start, and wearing a mask for 10 days when in contact with other people. 
  • Sanitizer is available throughout our campuses. Regular handwashing and sanitizing, especially after using high touch areas, helps to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • There is no change in our mask policy.  Masks remain optional and we support individual choice on use of masks on-campus.
  • All staff and students, who are able, are encouraged to receive their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. RRC Polytech allows staff up to three hours of medical leave to receive their vaccines or booster shots, or to accompany a family member to receive their vaccines and boosters.

RRC Polytech currently operates under the Green: Limited Risk level of our COVID-19 operational response, meaning the spread of COVID-19 is mostly contained and/or vaccines and effective treatments are widely available. This also means that:

  • Programs are delivered in class, online, or via blended learning (a combination of online and on-campus/face-to-face delivery within a program).
  • The College’s Interim Remote Work Policy is now in effect, and many departments are resuming on-campus operations.
  • Physical distancing is not required on-campus.
  • As operations evolve, some remote work and virtual learning may continue.

Monkeypox

We understand there may also be questions surrounding the emergence of Monkeypox. RRC Polytech is actively monitoring the state of Monkeypox in Manitoba, and we remain committed to keeping our community informed of new developments – such as vaccine eligibility – as they emerge.

While Monkeypox is usually a mild illness with symptoms that resolve within a few weeks, it is important to take precautionary measures at preventing transmission. These measures include:

  • Handwashing
  • Staying home when sick
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces and objects
  • Avoiding skin-to-skin contact such as handshakes

Like COVID-19, Monkeypox spreads via the “contact/droplet” route, and similar personal protective equipment (PPE) and precautionary measures like the ones listed above are effective at preventing transmission.

The most up-to-date information on Monkeypox can be found via Manitoba Public Health.

Thank you for your continued commitment in helping keep RRC Polytech campuses safe places to study and work. We will continue to provide updates regarding and changes to health measures at RRC Polytech as needed.

If you have any questions, please contact safety@rrc.ca.

Mask Policy Update

June 20, 2022

As previously announced, the College has updated the mask policy, effective June 17, 2022. Masks are now optional on all campuses.

We have intentionally made this gradual transition, starting mid-March with the updates to mask usage outdoors and when physically distanced in workspaces and classrooms.

As per public health guidance, personal risk assessments are the best course of action to approach mask usage indoors. We encourage members of the College community to make the decision that is best for them, and we will continue to support the use of masks on campus.

We recognize that individuals will have different comfort levels with this change. We want to remind our community that questioning others’ choices, or disrespectful comments and/or actions go against our Respectful College Policy.

We will continue to provide medical-grade masks free of charge at campus entrances.

For any questions or concerns about the latest updates to on-campus COVID-19 health and safety measures, please reach out to Healthy, Safety and Security Services at safety@rrc.ca.  

On-Campus Mask Requirement and Reporting Update

May 27, 2022

Throughout the pandemic RRC Polytech has continued to monitor the COVID-19 response in the community and follow guidance from public health, adjusting our approach to best balance the needs of students and employees with on-campus program delivery and campus operations.

The following update outlines changes that will be in effect as of May 31 and June 17, 2022, across RRC Polytech campuses.

Mask Requirement Optional as of June 17

RRC Polytech’s mask requirement is being extended to Friday, June 17, 2022. After this date wearing a mask will be optional. 

The change in the College’s mask policy from required to optional is part of a gradual transition that started mid-March with the updates to mask usage outdoors and when physically distanced in workspaces and classrooms. 

Current public health guidance now states personal risk assessments are the best course of action to approach mask usage indoors. The decision to extend the mask requirement to June 17 was made to allow additional time to ensure all employees and students are informed of the upcoming changes.

While we are making this transition to allow members of the College community to make the decision that is best for them, we will continue to support the use of masks on campus. We recognize that individuals will have different comfort levels with the change in masking requirement.  We want to remind our community that questioning others’ choices, or disrespectful comments and/or actions go against our Respectful College Policy. 

Note that RRC Polytech will continue to provide medical-grade masks free of charge to students, employees and visitors at campus entrances.

Self-Screen When Coming to Campus and Stay Home When Sick

All RRC Polytech students and employees are still required to self-screen before arriving on campus, and are also required to stay home when sick, even if symptoms are mild. In addition to these health and safety measures, it is important to practice handwashing and sanitizing regularly, especially after using high touch areas.

Onsite Check-ins and Reporting Cases of COVID-19

A reminder that employees are no longer required to provide an onsite check-in through HUB when working from campus. 

Because the number of COVID-19 cases reported to the Health Centre has decreased and on-campus transmission remains low, we are phasing out the requirement to report positive results or symptoms as of May 31, 2022.

As always, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 response in the community as well as public health directives, and reassess our approach at the beginning of the Fall 2022 Term.

For any questions or concerns about the latest updates to on-campus COVID-19 health and safety measures, please reach out to Healthy, Safety and Security Services at safety@rrc.ca

For questions pertaining to your individual work situation, we encourage you to have a conversation with the Chair or Manager of your area.

Thank you for continuing to support our students and one another.

Mask Extension and Reporting Update

April 19, 2022

As we have done throughout the pandemic, RRC Polytech is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 response in the community and follow all public health guidance and advice.  We have and will continue to adjust our response as appropriate.

Therefore, RRC Polytech has made the decision to extend the current on-campus mask policy and re-introduce the reporting policy beginning today.

With the uncertainties surrounding new variants of COVID-19, keeping the mask policy in place and re-introducing Health Centre reporting will help to keep our community safe and reduce the opportunity for on-campus transmission.

The mask policy, which was set to end of April 29 will now be extended to May 31, 2022.

Proper mask usage has been proven to be an effective approach to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The College will continue to ensure access to medical-grade masks for anyone on campus.

Re-introducing the reporting policy will help ensure we keep transmission low on campus and will also provide information on operational planning and students on practicums.

Beginning today, all students and employees, whether on campus or not, must now contact RRC Polytech’s Health Centre by using the Reporting Form in the following scenarios:

  • when testing positive for COVID-19,
  • or if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

RRC Polytech is regularly assessing and updating our strategies as we move through the changing situation in our province to ensure we keep our campuses safe for our community.

We will maintain physical distancing policies and the current program delivery method for the remainder of Spring and Intersession 2022 to limit disruptions for students and faculty and to prioritize essential hands-on learning.

The College will continue to move through our current re-entry plans where appropriate, including increased events and activity on campus, with the goal of a full return to on-campus for Fall 2022 term. As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve we will adjust these plans accordingly.

Thank you for continued support as we navigate the changes and challenges in keeping RRC Polytech safe.

Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resources Officer, RRC Polytech

Please note that future communications will be coming from RRC Polytech Advisory.

MASK REQUIREMENT

RRC Polytech will maintain the requirement for wearing masks on campus.

Experiential (hands-on) training requires students and instructors to work and learn in close proximity. For this reason, and the safety and comfort of our staff and students, we are continuing the use of masks and physical distancing in these spaces.

Masks are still required, with the following exceptions:

  • No longer required to wear outdoors
  • No longer required while seated in class, where physical distancing can be maintained.
  • No longer required to be worn while seated in an open office environment where physical distancing can be maintained
  • No longer required when attending meetings in offices and boardrooms where physical distancing can be maintained
  • No longer required while exercising at NDC and EDC fitness facilities
  • Level 3 Medical Grade Masks continue to be required – College issued masks only

REPORTING REQUIREMENT

All students and employees must contact RRC Polytech’s Health Centre when:

  • testing positive for COVID-19,
  • or if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Note that a positive case of COVID-19 includes a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a designated provincial testing site or a positive self-administered rapid-antigen test. For those who test positive for COVID-19, contact Health Services by using the Reporting Form regarding next steps. Individuals are responsible for contacting their instructor or supervisor to advise of their leave. Additionally, Health Services will follow up with the program/department to confirm that the individual has been directed to remain off campus for a health-related matter.

Campus Re-Entry and Fall 2022 Webinar

April 1, 2022

Recently, RRC Polytech leaders hosted an all-staff webinar about the College’s updated COVID-19 health and safety measures, gradual re-entry to campus, and the Fall 2022 Term.

Presenters:

  • Dr. Jeanine Webber, Executive Director, Academic
  • Jodi Pluchinski, Director, Safety, Health and Security Services
  • Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer

As of April 1, 2022 physical distancing will be phased out in common areas but will remain in effect in classrooms and labs until April 29, 2022. RRC Polytech’s current mask policy remains in effect, and will become optional as of April 29, 2022.

Additionally, as our work transitions back to campus, we recognize the many different feelings that may arise for staff and leaders.  Our Campus Well-Being team in partnership with other areas of the College are providing mental health resources and positive on-campus activities to support the return to campus. Stay tuned to the Campus Well-Being blog for upcoming activities in April.

For any questions about re-entry and Fall 2022 Term not covered in the webinar, via the COVID-19 blog or Staff Forum, please contact safety@rrc.ca.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures Update

February 25, 2022

In preparation for the anticipated Public Health changes scheduled for March 1 and March 15, we are sharing an outline of our initial response. 

Implementation of this approach will mean iterative updates to RRC Polytech Policy E14. The Policy can be found here.

Vaccine Requirement

To align with the Province of Manitoba’s decision to remove the vaccine requirement, RRC Polytech will end the vaccine requirement as of March 1 for all campuses

That means that staff, faculty, students, and visitors will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination. In addition, we will no longer be offering a rapid antigen test program. 

Designated entry points will be removed effective March 1 and all entrances will be open in accordance with College operating hours.

It has been a point of pride that more than 90% of RRC Polytech staff and students are fully vaccinated, and that many of our community members have received their booster shot. Our collective high vaccination rate is a primary reason we remain confident that our campuses are safe places to learn and work.

Vaccine clinics for first, second, and third doses will continue to be offered at the Health Centre. 

Mask Requirement 

RRC Polytech will maintain the requirement for wearing masks on campus up to the end of the Winter Term (April 29).

Experiential (hands-on) training requires students and instructors to work and learn in close proximity. For this reason, and the safety and comfort of our staff and students, we are continuing the use of masks and physical distancing in these spaces until the end of Winter Term. 

The following mask wearing changes are effective March 15:

  •        No longer required to wear outdoors
  •        No longer required while seated in class, where physical distancing can be maintained.
  •        No longer required to be worn while seated in an open office environment where physical distancing can be maintained
  •        No longer required when attending meetings in offices and boardrooms where physical distancing can be maintained
  •        No longer required while exercising at NDC and EDC fitness facilities 
  •        Level 3 Medical Grade Masks continue to be required – College issued masks only

After April 29, 2022 mask use will be optional at all RRC Polytech campuses. 

Physical Distancing

Physical Distancing requirements will remain in classrooms, labs, and work spaces until April 29, 2022.  

At this time, occupancy restrictions have been lifted from dining and common areas and fitness facilities, in accordance with industry specific public health measures.  

Stanchions, barriers and physical distancing markers will remain in place. 

Safety Measures that Will Not Change:

  •        Staff and Students will continue to stay home when sick
  •        Staff and Students will self-monitor and screen for symptoms daily
  •        Hand sanitizer will be available at entrances and spaces throughout all campuses
  •        Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of all spaces will remain an essential part of our campus operations

RRC Polytech will maintain the current program delivery method for the remainder of Winter 2022 and into Spring and Intersession 2022 for all programs. This decision has been made to reduce the disruptions for students and faculty who have already committed to the blended, online and experiential (hands-on) training delivery methods for the upcoming term.

While program delivery remains unchanged for the time being, we will begin to plan for increased events and activities on campus, and encourage all staff to begin working with their leaders and managers on their personal work plans through the remote-work policy.

Phased Re-entry

As was highlighted in Wednesday’s message – the College is working towards a phased approach to re-entry which will allow us to operate on-campus without restrictions for the Fall 2022 term. 

We look forward to further discussion on the details of our phased re-entry plan in the coming weeks, including the opportunity for you to attend a Fall 2022 Webinar with Q&A session.

We understand that these changes may produce anxiety and stress from some staff and students. Please remember to be kind and supportive of your peers and that everyone will return to campus at a different pace depending on comfort level. The College is currently developing additional mental health resources specific to re-entry, and you are encouraged and empowered to use this resources as you need. Additional information will be shared in the coming weeks. 

If you have any questions, please email safety@rrc.ca

Thank you again for your commitment and support in keeping RRC Polytech’s community safe. 

Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer

Fall 2022 Planning – Update

February 23, 2022

As Public Health recommendations change in our province, RRC Polytech is working to create a safe, gradual approach to increased on-campus activity.

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have all worked together to keep our community safe – thank you for your continued commitment and support. Moving forward, the phased return to on-campus activities, learning, working and events will allow each of us the time to re-adjust at an individual pace as we shift our routines.

Please note: We will be sending an additional update within the next few days outlining our approach for the remainder of the Winter term related to recently announced changes to provincial vaccine, mask, and social distancing mandates.

Fall 2022 – Return to On-Campus Delivery

Over the last two years, we’ve successfully incorporated a balanced blend of online and in-person learning to create more flexibility for our learners as they pursue their studies. As we move forward, on-campus experiences and in-person learning are ideal to the success of our programs.

We anticipate that for the Fall 2022 Term, RRC Polytech will operate on-campus program delivery, work, and events with no public health restrictions in place.

Planning is in early stages, and is being guided by the following considerations:

  • The requirement to stay home when sick remains unchanged.
  • Many programs will be delivered through our Flexible Delivery Model, ensuring that they offer experiential (hands-on) and in-person learning.
  • No public health restrictions will be in place.
  • Anyone coming onto any of the RRC Polytech campuses will be required to self-screen
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection will remain an essential part of our campus operations.

Spring and Intersession 2022

RRC Polytech will maintain the current delivery method for the remainder of Winter 2022 and into Spring and Intersession 2022 for all programs. This decision has been made to reduce the disruptions for students and faculty who have already committed to the blended, online and essential experiential (hands-on) training delivery methods for the upcoming term.

Phased Campus Re-Entry of Faculty, Staff and Students

The re-entry plan will be a balanced, informed, and aware approach to help guide our return to campus, making the best sense for our organization.

That means it may look different compared to other post-secondary institutions or businesses. Still, it will ensure that as we prepare for the Fall Term, we’re in the right place to deliver our programs while maintaining the flexibility that we need to adjust to demands of the pandemic or future requirements from Public Health.

Our community has faced incredible challenges over the course of the pandemic, including the stress from our lives outside of work. We recognize the stress and anxiety that may be felt around these upcoming changes and want you to feel supported along the way. Please know that you are not alone in these feelings. The College is currently developing a mental health strategy specific to the phased re-entry plan, which will include tools and resources to help each individual move through this transition.

We look forward to sharing more about the re-entry plan and additional supports in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your commitment and support.

Jeanine Webber, Ph.D., RSW (AB), Executive Director, Academic

Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer

Spring Term 2022 Update

February 8, 2022

In preparation for Intersession and the upcoming Spring Term, the College will continue with online and essential hands-on learning. Providing clarity and certainty around program delivery is essential as we continue to navigate the pandemic and adapt to our community’s evolving health orders and needs.

Online and essential hands-on learning has been our consistent approach for the safe delivery of programs throughout the pandemic. This approach has ensured our students have access to critical hands-on learning and on-campus experiences essential for their ongoing academic success.

Program areas are finalizing their plans for Intersession and Spring Term. Information related to how the College will deliver programs will be communicated with students directly by their program area.

SAFETY MEASURES

The following COVID-19 safety measures will remain in place to support the safe delivery of our programs during Intersession and the upcoming Spring Term. Those measures include: 

  • On-campus masking requirements
  • Physical Distancing
  • Vaccine requirement – all students are required to be fully immunized or have an approved exemption prior to the start of Intersession and the Spring Term.
  • In-person rapid-antigen testing program for individuals with an approved exemption — please note that the College reserves the right to review and discontinue the rapid-antigen testing program should circumstances require.

To request an exemption, download and complete the applicable form:

Please complete your exemption form and email it to vaccinerecords@rrc.ca before March 31, 2022. Any exemption requests received after this date may not receive a response before the upcoming term commences, resulting in suspension from attending campus.

Note: Those who have an existing approved exemption do not need to re-apply for the upcoming term.

FALL 2022 ACADEMIC TERM PLANNING

Planning and discussions are underway to determine the delivery method for our programs and services for Fall 2022. We know that blended and flexible learning will continue to be part of how we deliver our programs beyond the pandemic. As always, the pressures of the pandemic will influence which health and safety measures may need to be in place, and to what degree.

Our goals in the coming weeks are to:

  • Provide enough clarity to ensure that both prospective and continuing students can make informed decisions about their studies;
  • Provide enough early clarity to our staff and faculty to begin preparation for fall. 

In all instances, our approach will remain flexible to adapt based on the needs of the pandemic. As conditions improve, we will expand and adapt our services to meet the activity taking place across our campuses.

More information on our planning for the Fall term will be shared later this month in advance of Open House on Feb.23.

Update: Accommodations and COVID-19

January 28, 2022

RRC Polytech’s Winter 2022 Term includes blended learning within each program, offering online, essential, and enriched learning experiences. Limited on-campus activity will take place, with a focus on hands-on learning and industry training activities.

Student Accessibility Services is committed to providing reasonable academic accommodations to students with disabilities for all RRC Polytech classes, including those delivered in an online format.

During the Winter 2022 Term, Student Accessibility Services is providing services remotely via video conferencing (MS Teams or WebEx) with consideration for in-person appointment requests on a case-by-case basis.

Students New to RRC Polytech Student Accessibility Services

If you are not yet registered with Student Accessibility Services, and would like to request accommodations, please make an appointment with an Accessibility Specialist.

Please see below regarding our medical documentation requirements.

Current Students

If you are already registered with Student Accessibility Services and would like to request a telephone or online meeting with your Accessibility Specialist, please email your Accessibility Specialist directly.

DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING SERVICES

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services will continue to provide ASL-English interpreting and computerized note taking for courses offered on-campus as well as through online delivery. To book an interpreter, please complete the booking form.

For more information, please contact Jill Patterson via email jpatterson@rrc.ca or call 204-795-2331.

EXAM ACCOMMODATIONS

Students currently eligible for exam accommodations are encouraged to review the Assessment Centre webpage for detailed information on how exam accommodations are being delivered for online/alternate delivery of courses.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND ALTERNATE FORMAT MATERIAL

For assistance with assistive technology and alternate format material, please contact altformat@rrc.ca.

Medical Documentation and COVID-19

Students requesting academic accommodations are required to submit current medical documentation supporting their request. Please see the Disability Documentation Guide for detailed information.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the government has generally requested that organizations in the Province not stretch our health care system by requesting medical notes. As a result, on a temporary basis students may not need to provide new or updated medical documentation from their healthcare provider(s) for the sole purpose of supporting an accommodation request. Student Accessibility Services reserves the right to require documentation in some cases (e.g., when extraordinary accommodations are requested).

During this time, students should provide any medical documentation that may be available (medical report, high school IEP, letter from previous college/university). Additional documentation can be supplied at a later time. The approval of accommodations not based on current medical information may be granted on a temporary basis only.

Students should note the following:

When restrictions are lifted, the College reserves the right to:

  1. Request that students provide updated medical information;
  2. Review any new information and determine what accommodations are supported; and
  3. Offer appropriate accommodations based on the medical information, even if they are different than the temporary accommodations a student received during the pandemic.

Keep up to date with the latest RRC Polytech information on rrc.ca/coronavirus