COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Health and wellness

What rules must I follow if I am travelling to Nova Scotia to study at NSCAD?

Students arriving in Nova Scotia on or after August 20, 2020 from outside Atlantic Canada (or who have travelled outside the region within 14 days) to attend university or NSCC must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in. These students will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and three COVID-19 tests will be administered by public health during their self-isolation.

Students who came to Nova Scotia before August 20, 2020 from outside Atlantic Canada and are currently self-isolating on campus will need to get tested at least once. If you’re a university student who has already arrived in Nova Scotia and started your 14-day self-isolation, but have not received COVID-19 testing appointments, click here.

All students, faculty and staff who self-isolate must complete a daily digital check in with NS Public Health to confirm their self-isolation status, and also the NSCAD self-isolation plan form. All aspects of the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in for students are also requirements within the NSCAD Campus Response Plan.

How do I prepare for self-isolation?

Everyone in Nova Scotia must follow NS Public health directives to help contain the spread of COVID-19.   All students, faculty and staff who self-isolate must complete a daily digital check in with NS Public Health to confirm their self-isolation status, and also the NSCAD self-isolation plan form.

The Student Union of NSCAD (SUNSCAD) can prepare food packages for those self-isolating. Please contact equity@sunscad.org.

Other resources and contacts can be found in this video from Community Health Teams.

Can I come to NSCAD's campuses?

Until further notice, no one (including students, faculty and staff)  will be allowed to enter NSCAD campuses for any reason unless authorization is granted through the Campus Access Authorization form at https://forms.nscad.ca/.

What rules must I follow if I am authorized to be on campus?

NSCAD created a COVID-19 addendum for the university’s Code of Conduct to address the current circumstances of the pandemic. Every individual on campus is personally responsible and accountable to all other members of our community, and this expectation is enforced through the Code’s provisions for addressing breaches including escalating discipline.

The Addendum to the Code includes specific NS Public Health directives and university operational requirements with which the NSCAD community must comply, including:

  • social distancing (2 m/6 ft) from others
  • wearing a non-medical (cloth) mask or face covering in any indoor common areas, public spaces and passageways
  • washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water  or a 60-90% alcohol-based hand hand sanitizer
  • following directions on all signage for safe behaviors, interactions, and ways of moving through common areas
  • avoiding gatherings
  • monitoring your health – stay home and away from others if you feel unwell

These requirements are applicable not only on campus but throughout everyone’s daily experience.

NSCAD developed and is implementing detailed plans for each program, office or facility (unit plans) and an overarching plan (the NSCAD Campus Response Plan) to allow the university to operate safely through all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. These plans apply to everyone in the NSCAD community – the senior leadership team, faculty, staff, volunteers, alumni, board members, and, of course, students.

Do I need to wear a non-medical face covering on campus?

Following the new Province of Nova Scotia directive effective July 31, everyone must wear a non-medical (cloth) mask or face covering in any indoor common areas, public spaces and passageways on all NSCAD campuses. Masks are already mandatory on all public transportation and will continue to be so.

Physical distancing to a minimum of two (2) metres is still required at all times, and although masks are not required in physically separated offices, studios, or workshops (or outdoors), we encourage everyone to wear one when possible to look out for the health a safety of each other. Within the new directive, children under 2 are exempt, as well as children 2 to 4 when their caregiver can’t get them to wear a mask. People with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask are also exempt.

Where can I get a mask?

As part of its Campus Response Plan, NSCAD adopted standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) use while on campus and will continue to provide appropriate PPE to personnel identified as needing it to do their work.

We will continue to provide disposable, non-medical masks to anyone visiting any of our campuses until mid-September, after which we’ll advise the NSCAD community to source and bring their own masks, and use them as required.

How do I safely use a mask or face covering?

NSCAD has developed safe work practice guidelines for members of the NSCAD community who use a non-medical mask. Please refer to this PDF.

Other resources for guidance on the selection, usage and care/washing of non-medical masks and face coverings: 

Government of Nova Scotia: Wearing a non-medical mask 

Government of Canada: How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering 

How will mask use compliance be enforced?

All NSCAD community members are expected to follow the COVID-19 Code of Conduct, ‘the Code’. The Code is a protocol that explains expected rules of behaviour, states values, provides guidance and recommends action so that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.

We will initially focus on education and training to ensure that mask protocols are known and practiced always, and to promote the collective benefits of wearing a mask. We’re all part of a rich and diverse community that has survived for over 130 years, through hurricanes, explosions, pandemics and more because of people who care. Now more than ever, we need to look out for each other by wearing a mask. The Code provides more information on how to report breaches and the consequences for the same, including escalating disciplinary measures.

Can I work remotely to limit my exposure to others in the community and to avoid infecting those with higher risk factors?

NSCAD has moved all of its courses to remote and alternative learning, and faculty and staff have been instructed by their managers and supervisors to work from home during the notice of restriction period. This is in line with social distancing procedures. The university is working to establish and support remote work for as many positions as possible while preserving operations. However, at this time there is a need for some staff in essential service areas to remain on campus while practicing social distancing.

I am feeling anxious and stressed. What do I do?

We recognize that this is a fast moving and confusing situation. It is normal to feel stress. We are here to help. You can access about the many services available to you at: www.nscad.ca/wellness.

NSCAD University also offers an Employee Assistance program through Shepell fgi. Visit www.workhealthlife.com or call 1-844-880-9142.

We would like to encourage anyone who is need of extra support during this time to access the following resources for assistance:

  • The Department of Health and Wellness recently launched two provincial online programs called ICAN and MindwellU. 

Additional resources that may be available and helpful to you or your loved ones:

  • EFAP Employee Assistant Program (for Civil Servants & Health Care workers) 1-800-461-5558
  • Mental Health & Addictions Intake Services – Call toll-free 1-855-922-1122
  • Mental Health Crisis Line 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free, available 24 hours, seven days a week)
  • Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free, available 24 hours, seven days a week)
  • 211 Nova Scotia is a free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area. It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages.
  • Every Woman’s Centre (Sydney) – (902) 567-1212
  • Transition House – (902) 429-7287

Here is a list of resources available in the Northern, Western and Central regions in the province: https://nsgeu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/merged-community-supports.pdf

Since COVID-19 I have experienced discrimination. How can NSCAD help?

NSCAD acknowledges that students from some communities have been targeted. NSCAD does not tolerate discrimination, see our Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment policy. We encourage anyone experiencing discrimination to please contact the Office of Student Experience. Your concerns will be investigated immediately. You may also contact the Human Rights Commission. We encourage anyone witnessing discrimination to act on your obligation to provide a duty of care. Do not be a bystander.

Fall 2020/Winter 2021 semesters

What impact does COVID-19 have on the delivery of classes and future start dates at NSCAD?

In May, we advised the NSCAD community that we will continue to deliver dynamic online learning, using both synchronous and asynchronous (pre-recorded) learning experiences designed for digital platforms. Face-to-face instruction will happen only once it is absolutely safe for everyone’s well-being to do so, and in accordance with provincial guidelines.

Registration for the Fall 2020 semester opened on July 15 to allow students to register and study from anywhere in the world. Providing the highest quality academic experience in a safe environment remains our focus in every aspect of planning for the fall semester, which features more than 140 highly engaging courses across all of NSCAD’s divisions, as well as training and orientation on how to excel in the online classroom.

At this time, it’s uncertain when we’ll know what potential impacts the pandemic and social distancing may present to our 2021 course schedule.  We commit to providing you with the public health authority’s recommendation as soon as we have it.

Classes, grades and workshops

Has NSCAD cancelled classes?

No courses are currently suspended or cancelled. On March 17, NSCAD determined that, in order to safely complete the term, all courses will move to online delivery. This will help the university continue classes without in-class instruction. Under the  Notice of Restriction and Curriculum Completion Policy, students will not be on any NSCAD campus during the notice of restriction period unless authorization is granted through the Campus Access Authorization form at https://forms.nscad.ca/.

What resources are available to help me with remote learning or staying connected to the community?

NSCAD Learning Commons technicians are still available to support students in their course work in an online capacity, and there are a number of new resources created to support students, staff and faculty optimize their connections with each other and to technical support.

The NSCAD Learning Commons staff has produced a guide to review your internet set-up at home with some advice on how to maximize your connectivity. The Learning Commons has also added a new layer of tech support — try connecting with technical staff directly through Teams! Simple instructions for installing the Teams App and joining a Teams Meeting have been provided by NSCAD staff at https://services.nscad.ca/teams.html and https://services.nscad.ca/create-meeting.html.

You can also contact Learning Commons techs at multimedia@nscad.ca still for technical requests.

Click on any of the links below to access the latest Learning Commons online tech help documents:

Reviewing your Class Progress in Brightspace

Submitting Assignments

Using Adobe Spark to showcase images.

My instructor says my course work can be completed remotely. What if I can’t complete a project that is due by the last day of classes?

NSCAD has completed the transition to remote instruction which allowed us to avoid suspending or canceling any courses. The 2020 winter semester is continuing, and we have put in place contingencies to enable students to complete this term.

Should your course work require a project that cannot be completed by the last day of classes on April 22, 2020, your instructor can award an INC (incomplete) grade, instead of a final letter grade. You would then have up to six months to complete your projects and change the INC to a final letter grade.  Recognizing that we cannot anticipate the date of the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, this six-month grace period is expected to provide sufficient time for students to complete class projects and assignments that require access to NSCAD facilities and equipment on campus.

What if I missed some studio and workshop time that can’t be replicated with remote instruction? Can I return to NSCAD to complete this?

We understand that not every course can be practically and completely replicated through remote instruction, and we appreciate the value of your academic experience at NSCAD. We are now working with students, faculty and staff to identify and examine courses in the remote instruction environment to identify options that might address the need for studio access. We appreciate your patience as we work through these new realities and processes and we will share an update as soon as it is available.

With remote instruction, I’m not getting what I paid for. Why isn’t NSCAD offering any tuition refunds? Why aren’t you freezing grades?

Like all universities, NSCAD is adapting to the chaotic and unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. The university’s faculty and staff are using new strategies to help students complete the few remaining weeks of the Winter 2020 semester in the best way possible under the circumstances.

Managing change can be difficult for people at the best of times, and much more so in dire circumstances.

While moving classes to remote delivery obviously involves a different learning experience, faculty members are working hard to revise courses and engage students in different ways to help them demonstrate their learning.

Faculty and staff are fully committed to providing you with the best education possible in the Winter 2020 semester, no matter how it is delivered.  They can only succeed  if NSCAD students are also committed to attend classes, participate fully, and complete projects and assignments to the best of their ability, regardless of the setting.

This mutual commitment to students’ success relies on working together even as we stay apart to stay safe. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to continue our courses remotely and make it as meaningful as possible for students while working to improve their experience.

Could Covid-19 have an impact my grades?

Grades will not be impacted. The university has put in place contingencies to enable students to complete this term.

This is a rapidly evolving situation the university is committed responding fairly and supporting students to be successful.

How do I reach/contact my instructors during this time?

Students are encouraged to first contact a faculty member via email, as online communication is preferred. You can request a follow-up phone conversation, however please keep in mind some faculty may be hesitant to provide numbers that are also used by other members of their families.

Will courses offered through NSCAD Extended Studies continue?

Due to growing concern over COVID-19, public health recommendations and as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, Extended Studies have cancelled all remaining Winter and Summer 2020 classes.

Are all the courses that were available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic still available online?

The majority of courses that were available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will also be available online. The exceptions are those that are primarily studio based that cannot be effectively replicated in an online environmentWe have also created new courses that maximize the benefits of digital and distributed technologies.

How will I acquire all of the materials I need for the online courses?

Supplies can be purchased and picked up, by appointment, at the NSCAD supply store. We are currently examining mailing options for students who cannot travel to the NSCAD supply store and would like to order supplies online.  

Student finances and services

Is NSCAD raising tuition?

On June 30, the NSCAD University Board of Governors approved the 2020-2021 budget, committing to hold tuition fees to current levels for the upcoming year. The budget reflects what the university has been hearing from students about the importance of keeping tuition at its current level.

With courses online, will there be a reduction in tuition?

There will not be a reduction in tuition because courses have moved online. NSCAD has invested substantially in making its online courses as creative, imaginative, meaningful and diverse as our in-person programs. This includes investments in effective online learning and teaching, next-generation digital production, and upgrades to our learning management system technology. These investments help to ensure the online programming we offer is of the highest quality for our students.  

 Although classes are not currently taking place in a face-to-face environment at NSCAD, the university’s expenses continue. This includes employee salaries, building maintenance and security, and mortgage payments on facilities.  

What steps has NSCAD taken to cut costs?

NSCAD’s current year budget was adjusted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the university’s operations. NSCAD is using approximately $679,000 of its reserves to cover the budget deficit while holding tuition at current levels for 2020-2021.

The university mitigated impacts to its modest reserves through a hold on hiring for new positions and for most vacant positions, voluntary furloughs to employees, and voluntary wage reductions for senior management on a five to 20 per cent sliding scale, which resulted in compensation savings of $758,000.  A further $830,000 reduction in operating expenses came from reductions in work-related travel and discretionary expenses, deferred significant capital expenses and facility repairs, and savings on utility costs in empty buildings

What is NSCAD doing to help students financially during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We are taking steps to help NSCAD students during this time, such as creating the NSCAD Student Emergency Fund, which is providing emergency bursaries to our students who need extra financial support. Thanks to the amazing donor response for assistance, we were able to increase the number of students eligible for the grant. 

What financial resources and aid are available to me during the COVID-19 pandemic?

There are a number of assistance programs available to students during this time, both internally at NSCAD and externally through the provincial and federal governments.

On April 22, 2020, the Government of Canada announced funding of almost $9 billion to support post-secondary students through initiatives including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Student Service Grant, which gives students the opportunity to earn money for the cost of education in the fall.

The federal government also announced it will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

Clink on any of the links below for more information on how these programs can be accessed.

NSCAD’s Emergency Bursary Program

Employment Insurance information

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) information

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) information

Canada Student Service Grant information

Suspending repayment and interest on student and apprentice loans

Canada summer jobs program

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) member companies are offering deferred payments or substantial consumer relief measures for consumers whose driving habits have changed significantly.

Telecoms companies such as TelusShaw and Rogers are offering flexible payment options.

Non-profit credit counselling agency Credit Canada has produced a COVID-19 resource centre to help people manage their money through the pandemic.

CBC launched a COVID-19 hub of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus.

Do I have to start, or continue, paying my student loan during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To support borrowers, both the Government Canada and the Government of Nova Scotia will temporarily pause payment for all student loans. Effective March 30, 2020, student loan borrowers will have their payments suspended for six months. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue. Students will not need to apply, it will be done automatically.

All Canadian provincial and territorial loan providers are working to support students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access the most recent information from your provincial or territorial office at the links provided:

International students

Can international students commence their studies online abroad without a study permit before transitioning to in-person study in Canada (when travel restrictions lift)?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has indicated that international students who are unable to travel to Canada in the Fall are permitted to enroll in a designated learning institution as a full-time student and take online courses outside of Canada. A study permit is not required to start and complete programs of study outside of Canada, however, this time would not be counted towards Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) eligibility or the length of the PGWP issued.

A study permit isn’t necessary if a student wants to do a program online — already now if a program is offered 100% remotely a student is free to enroll and get the credential. They need a study permit however if they will want/need to enter Canada at one point to complete program requirements or to be eligible for the PGWP.

Universities Canada has provided additional information for international students in relation to beginning and/or completing their studies in Canada. Read that document here.

How will the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for international students be impacted?

IRCC has announced new measures for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for international students who are currently studying online from abroad:

IRCC Web notice: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/pgwp-eligibility-measures.html

Backgrounder: https://canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/08/facilitative-measures-to-support-international-students-affected-by-the-covid-19-pandemic.html

The announcement includes the following three new measures:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.
Are the procedures for renewing my student visa still in place during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Whenever an international student’s visa expires, they have to renew it. To learn more about renewing your visa, please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website. You can also follow all of IRCC’s updates and notices at https://twitter.com/citimmcanada.

What do I do if I’m on a student visa but cannot return to my home country because of travel restrictions?

Information about extending your stay in Canada is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/extend-stay.html.  You can also call the Nova Scotia branch of citizenship and immigration at 1-888-242-2100.

Where can I find updated information about my healthcare coverage, health care services, opt-out information, and other forms?

We recently made available a new FAQ document outlining all the latest details related to international students’ healthcare coverage, opt-out options, and other services. Read that document in full here.

You’ll also find information about new initiatives such as a student Virtual Health Hub and the Remote Study Health Program.

What other resources are available to me to help address questions about my healthcare plan and options?

We’ve recently begun weekly Zoom information sessions for students, as a way for you to ask questions about your health coverage and services. The schedule for these information sessions is available here.

Employees/working at NSCAD

What should I do if students are asking for advice and information I do not have?

Please direct students to the NSCAD website. This is where accurate, up-to-date information can be found. It is important that everyone accesses information from the same source so we avoid the distribution of misinformation. Students who seem to be in emotional distress should be referred to www.nscad.ca/wellness where they can access information about the many services available.

Where can I get advice and support?

NSCAD University offers an Employee Assistance program through Shepell fgi.

Visit www.workhealthlife.com or call 1-844-880-9142. There is also a mobile app that members can download as well.

Events

Will convocation ceremonies be postponed?

We have postponed the graduation ceremony scheduled for May 11, as well as any and all special events until further notice, including the Student Awards Gala and end of term Fashion Show.

Are the Student Art Awards and Fashion Show going ahead?

NSCAD is postponing any and all events to comply with health authority directives and provincial state of emergency orders.

On April 21, NSCAD announced the 10 artists who have been shortlisted for its Student Art Awards.

When will alumni events resume?

NSCAD is looking forward to engaging with its alumni community in Nova Scotia and around the world! The long-term impacts of COVID-19 are still unknown, but we are working to provide new ways for alumni to connect with NSCAD and one another.

Will the 2020 NSCAD graduation exhibition go ahead?

The NSCAD 2020 Graduation Exhibition, curated by Erin Riehl, is being hosted online @annaleonowensgallery on Instagram and Facebook.

From April 13 to May 15, 2020, join us to celebrate NSCAD’s graduating students with artist features ‪at 10 a.m. and ‪3 p.m. AST daily!

Applying to NSCAD

What happens if I can’t access my artwork/portfolio to use in my application?

If you can’t access your artwork because it’s at school and your school is closed, let us know and we will assist in coming up with a solution.

I can’t send or provide official transcripts or language tests at this time. Does this mean I won’t be able to apply to, and attend, NSCAD?

We are aware that there are restrictions being imposed due to COVID-19. As a result, you may experience challenges when trying to complete the application process, including difficulty sending documents through the mail, traveling to take tests or requesting documents from your school. We understand your frustrations and are here to help.

To assist you in meeting the application deadline of April 1 for undergraduate and graduate certificate programs, please note:

–              We will accept unofficial or student copies of transcripts and test scores by email.

–              You may take language tests and submit test scores after the application deadline.

–              We will review applications with unofficial documents without delay.

Please email documents that you cannot upload and any questions to admissions@nscad.ca.

How does this situation impact Advanced Standing transfer credits assessment?

Please note that if you are applying for Advanced Standing, we will not be able to assess transcripts for transfer credit until we receive official transcripts. We understand that COVID-19 has resulted in many school closures, but we will be unable to process credits for transfer until those have been completed.

What happens if I am unable pay my commitment fee by the deadline due to impact COVID-19 is having on the labour market?

We acknowledge that COVID-19 may be impacting your ability to pay your commitment fee by the deadline, due to unexpected changes in your employment, provisional expenses and self-isolation. Due to this ongoing, unprecedented situation we will extend, if needed, the commitment fee deadline to June 25, 2020, with possible reassessment at that point.

NSCAD operations and facilities

Will the NSCAD School Supply Store remain open?

The NSCAD Supply Store recently re-opened for in-person shopping from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday. Please be patient as staffing and store capacity are limited and there are new procedures in place for everyone’s safety.

The only access is via the Hollis Street door, and customers must remain in the waiting area until permitted to enter the store. Everyone must wear a non-medical face covering or mask while inside the building.

Will the NSCAD Library remain open?

The NSCAD Library is closed to comply with health authority directives and provincial state of emergency orders. Library staff are working remotely, and are supporting faculty and students as they move to remote teaching. Further details at http://guides.nscad.ca.

Will the Anna Leonowens Gallery remain open?

To comply with health authority directives and provincial state of emergency orders, the Anna will be no longer be accessible until further notice. We will continue gallery operations remotely and look forward to staying connected in this challenging moment.

Is the NSCAD Service Centre still open?

The Service Centre has moved to reduced hours, effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The University is now in remote/alternative learning delivery; how do I get access to the three campuses?

All NSCAD facilities (including studios and workshops) are restricted to essential personnel and authorized people only to maintain social distancing and support the health and wellness of the community. If you are a student, faculty, staff, or technicians and require access, complete the Campus Access Authorization form at https://forms.nscad.ca/ and we will evaluate.

Should my research at NSCAD continue?

Only research directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic will be permitted to continue on campus.

Donating to NSCAD

How can I make a donation to support NSCAD and its students?

Please visit www.nscad.ca/donate to make a donation. You may choose direct your gift to scholarships and bursaries, or another priority on the donation page. The COVID-19 epidemic is putting additional pressures on students returning to NSCAD or considering NSCAD. We want to make sure that economics are not a barrier for bright, talented and motivated people.

I need a copy of my 2019 tax receipt, how can I get one?

If you made your donation online through www.Canadahelps.org, simply log into your account to access your receipts. If you donated by mail or on the phone, please contact universityrelations@nscad.ca. We will reissue your receipt when remote work is no longer needed. Please note, the date to file your income tax has been extended to June 1, 2020.

I made a donation to NSCAD, will it be used for its intended purpose?

Yes. Donations will continue to support the designated purpose outlined by our donors.

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