COVID-19 Update

June 17, 2020

At GEC, the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community is our utmost priority. Since March, we began implementing new policies under the guidance of Health Canada, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and Vancouver Coastal Health. These policies included requiring self-isolation for international arrivals, suspending our housekeeping in individual units, and temporarily closing our fitness centres. These changes were difficult to make, but we knew they were necessary to keep our community safe during these unprecedented times, and we would like to thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding.

As the Province of BC begins to roll out the next phase of its reopening plan, we would like to provide our residents with an update:

Social/Physical Distancing

BC is lifting many restrictions, but the pandemic is not yet over. We continue to ask all our residents to follow the guidance of public health authorities and take appropriate precautions to practice frequent handwashing and maintain a distance of at least 1-2 metres from people outside your household. Our no visitors policy will still be in effect at all locations, so please meet your friends online or outdoors.

Whenever possible, residents should try to resolve concerns through email or over the phone. When visiting our offices, please maintain your distance when speaking to our staff members and wear a face mask if possible. You may also be asked to wait outside to limit the number of occupants in a space.

We will also be accepting in-person rent payments through cash and cheque, but residents are still encouraged to pay through RentMoola when possible:

Self-Isolation

We continue to require new and current residents who have travelled internationally to self-isolate for 14 days before moving into any GEC shared accommodation. Incoming residents must have a self-isolation plan in place if they are coming to GEC from outside of Canada, as required by the Province of BC and the Quarantine Act. We have designated a number of private suites to be used for self-isolation, so please contact your GEC representative for more information.

Upon check-in, residents may be required to declare their recent travel history and symptoms. This declaration must be signed and completed on the day of your check-in and may not be completed in advance.

Housekeeping

Housekeeping in individual units continues to be suspended to adhere to social and physical distancing guidelines. Our housekeeping team has shifted their focus to the hourly sanitization and disinfection of our common areas and high-touch surfaces. For new residents, your unit will be deep cleaned before your arrival.

Residents continue to be responsible for the cleanliness of their own units, as well as the disposal of their garbage into the facilities on P1. If you require additional cleaning supplies for your unit, please contact any staff member.

Fitness Centres

Our fitness centres at all locations continue to be closed. Our team is working on a detailed plan to ensure that all residents can adhere to the social and physical distancing guidelines within the space, as well as ensure that the spaces can be appropriately sanitized between use. We understand that many residents are eager to resume activities in our fitness centres and we hope to reopen our fitness centres as soon as possible.

Maintenance

Any maintenance requests, including housekeeping and internet concerns, can be made through our new ticketing system. The links for each building are as followed:

This system allows us to keep a record of your request, identify any outstanding or continuing issues, and follow up if we have any questions.

We are committed to the health and safety of our residents, staff, and community. We would like to thank all our residents for their cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

GEC Management

Previous Updates

Temporary Housekeeping Suspension
Beginning April 1, 2020, we are temporarily suspending our housekeeping service at all. The City has recommended physical distancing and we do not want to put our residents at risk when our cleaning staff move from apartment to apartment, so our housekeepers will be focused on increased sanitization of all common areas. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Garbage Disposal and Recycling
Residents are responsible for their own garbage disposal and recycling. Garbage and recycling can be disposed of in P1 (underground parking). Please do not flush disinfectant wipes down the toilet. Any fines from the City for improper garbage disposal will be passed on to the resident. See the image below for information on proper disposal:

Increased Theft in Vancouver
We would also like to remind all residents to keep their apartments and balconies locked, as we have seen increased theft across Vancouver with less people are out in public. Please do not let anybody into the building unless they have a key fob.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact 8-1-1 to speak to a nurse or use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool at https://covid19.thrive.health.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

GEC Management

Following the rise of COVID-19 cases globally, many events have been cancelled, businesses have been temporarily closed, and people have been told to stay home to slow the spread of the virus. For the residents of GEC, we are your home and we need to do the best we can to protect our community. Starting today, we are implementing the following precautionary measures in efforts to “flatten the curve”:

We are asking our residents to take precautions and practice social distancing.
You may get the virus and easily recover, but our friends and family with weakened immune systems (e.g. elderly people, people with diabetes, asthma, cancer, etc.) may not. The virus becomes most deadly when the number of cases overwhelm our hospitals and medical clinics and our doctors and nurses are forced to prioritize some patients over others. We do not want this to be the case and urge our residents to take the following precautions:

  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Limit your contact with other people and avoid places with large groups of people—shopping malls, bars, clubs, etc.
  • Do not bring visitors or guests into your apartment and avoid going to other apartments.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1-2 metres from other people.

Our offices will also be practicing social distancing.
While we are not closing our offices, we are asking residents keep a distance of at least 1-2 metres when speaking to any staff member, and wherever possible, residents should call or email us with their concern instead. In addition, we are asking residents to pay rent through RentMoola or wire transfer if possible.

We are temporarily not permitting guests in our buildings. 
Following efforts to practice social distancing, we are temporarily not permitting any non-essential guests in any of our buildings. Essential guests include mail carriers, contractors, and maintenance workers. Please do not bring your visitors or guests to GEC as they will be turned away at the door. We ask that our residents consider meeting with guests outside in open areas with fresh air, moving the meeting online, or rescheduling the meeting altogether. We all have a responsibility to practice social distancing and protect our community during this time.

We are increasing our housekeeping service in high traffic areas. 
Cleanliness is now more important than ever and we are ensuring that our common areas are thoroughly sanitized multiple times a day. This includes the lobbies, hallways, elevators, stairwells, countertops, and all doors and door handles. We will also be providing additional cleaning supplies for residents who would like to take initiative of cleaning their own apartment and temporarily opt-out of our housekeeping service. Please contact us for additional supplies.

We are temporarily closing our fitness centres at all locations.
To practice social distancing and minimize the spread of the virus from resident to resident in an enclosed space, we encourage our residents to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go outside. Our residences are located within walking distance of many parks, beaches, and trails, so take this time to explore the great outdoors.

We are working with our internet providers to provide faster internet so students attend classes at home. 
Many schools have already moved to online classes and our students rely on our internet to attend online lectures, hand in assignments, and take exams. We are working with our internet provider to ensure that internet is fast and stable despite the increase in volume of users. We ask that residents limit their streams and downloads to allow other students to complete their classes.

We are requiring new and current residents who have travelled internationally to self-quarantine for 14 days before moving into any shared accommodations at GEC.
Some of these new residents may be staying in private apartments at GEC. These new residents may not have confirmed cases of COVID-19 but are self-quarantining themselves as a precaution to protect our community. Please be kind to your neighbours and consider joining the Facebook group COVID-19 Coming Together if you are able to help.

We are reviewing our cancellation policy on a case-by-case basis. 
We understand that many of our residents need to go back to their home country and we want to be as accommodating as possible. Please call or email us for the updated cancellation policy. Due to the high volume of inquiries we have received, please only inquire if your cancellation is for March or April.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact 8-1-1 to speak to a nurse or use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool at https://covid19.thrive.health
Please immediately contact our staff if you require self-isolation and tell your roommates to monitor their symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches

For non-medical questions about COVID-19, residents are encouraged to call 1-888-268-4319 to learn more about travel recommendations and social distancing.

The health and well-being of our residents, staff, and community is our top priority, so please act responsibly and help keep our community safe. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

GEC Management

At GEC, our mission is to provide safe, clean, and accessible accommodations for students in Vancouver. Amid the growing concerns around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we are taking additional steps to exercise caution and keep our students, staff, and community safe.

Following the guidance from Health Canada and BC Centre for Disease Control, we are advising students who are arriving from China, Iran, and Italy to monitor their symptoms and self-quarantine for 14 days before moving into any shared accommodations at GEC. We are also heightening our housekeeping procedures and increasing the availability of cleaning supplies throughout all our residences.

Please exercise caution and minimize your risk of infection by:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Not touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Regularly wiping down and disinfecting high contact surfaces and areas, including door handles, light switches, desks, and cell phones
  • Reducing the number of visitors you have
  • Avoiding crowded places
  • Avoiding others who are unwell

If you or your roommates are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact 8-1-1 to speak to a nurse. Please immediately contact our staff if you require self-isolation. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches

Call 8-1-1 anytime to talk to a nurse at HealthLinkBC about your symptoms. More information about COVID-19 can be found on our website.

We are committed to creating a healthy and welcoming experience at GEC, so please act responsibly and help keep our community safe.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

GEC Management

FAQ

Those with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Symptoms have included:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches

Follow the same advice that public health officials recommend for the cold and flu season: wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid others who are unwell, and stay home when you are sick.

The most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.

As of March 25, 2020 it is mandatory under the Quarantine Act that anyone arriving in British Columbia from outside of Canada self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival and complete/register a self-isolation plan and complete the federal ArriveCAN application.

Self-isolation means that you stay in your apartment and do not have visitors. Do not go to school, work, or any public areas, including places of worship, stores, shopping malls, and restaurants. If you leave your home for medical care, do not take buses, taxis, or ride-sharing where you would be in contact with others. You can use delivery/pick up services for groceries or other needs, but avoid face to face contact or being within 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) of another person.

While you are self-isolating, you will be required to monitor for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc.

  • Take and record temperature daily and avoid the use of fever reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) as much possible.
  • These medications could mask an early symptoms of COVID-19; if these medications must be taken, clients should advise their healthcare provider.
  • Average normal body temperature taken orally is about 37°C. For more on normal body temperature and fevers, see HealthLinkBC’s information for children age 11 and younger and for people age 12 and older.

It is better if those you live with can stay somewhere else, especially if they have a weak immune system or chronic health conditions. If you need to share a home, stay and sleep in a room with good airflow that is away from others. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Wear a face mask (surgical/procedure mask) if you are in the same room with anyone. Avoid face to face contact; friends or family can drop off food outside your room or home.

Residents who are self-isolating may not leave their apartment, except for essential trips for medical care or basic necessities. We encourage residents to use delivery services instead, which you can arrange for pick up in the lobby or at the entrance of the building.

We have rounded up a few delivery services for your convenience.

Food delivery services

Grocery delivery services:

Pharmacy delivery services:

Symptoms of COVID-19 are like other respiratory illnesses. Commonly, these are fever/chills, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. Shortness of breath and chest pain can be signs of severe illness.

If you develop symptoms, you should be tested for COVID-19. If you are unsure, you can use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you 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.  Find a location to get tested.

After doing the self-assessment tool, if you still have questions, contact your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1 for guidance.

If the symptoms are severe such as shortness of breath (e.g. struggling to breathe or speak in single words) or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

As a precaution, Public Health asks that if you have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, please self-isolate until the following criteria are met:
  • At least 10 days have passed since the start of your symptoms, AND
  • Your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil), AND
  • You are feeling better (e.g. improvement in runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue).

Coughing may persist for several weeks, so coughing alone does not require you to continue to isolate.

Sometimes people with COVID have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days. If your symptoms worsen or you become short of breath, call your family physician or nurse practitioner for immediate medical attention. If you are unable to reach your regular care provider, seek care in an Urgent & Primary Care Centre (UPCC) or Emergency Department.

For more information, please visit the BC CDC’s If you are Sick page.

Wear a face mask. When you are sick, wearing a face mask (surgical or procedure mask) helps to stop the spread of germs from you to others. Wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you get medical care. If your mask gets wet or dirty, change it and wash your hands right away. You and those you live with do not need to buy and wear other types of masks, such as an N-95 respirator mask.

Cover your coughs and sneezes. When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Don’t have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash your hands right away after you sneeze, cough or touch used tissues or masks. Throw used tissues into a lined trash can in your room and tie up that trash bag before adding it with other household waste.

Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is best to dry your hands with a paper towel and throw it away after use. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Do not share household items. Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other shared belongings. After using these items, wash them with soap and water.

Flush the toilet with the lid down. COVID-19 virus may also be present in poop (stool or feces). Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.

General cleaning. Water and detergent (e.g., liquid dishwashing soap) or common household cleaning wipes should be used. Apply firm pressure while cleaning. Surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day. Clean surfaces that are touched often (e.g., counters, table tops, doorknobs, toilets, sinks, taps, etc.) at least twice a day.

Additional resources