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Thompson Rivers University 50th Anniversary
Thompson Rivers University 50th Anniversary

COVID-19: Health & Safety FAQ


Should you have additional questions, you can connect with us through the following email:

Health and safety

 I feel overwhelmed. Where can I get help?

We encourage students experiencing stress to access the resources we have available. Counselling Services are available virtually, and you can schedule an appointment by calling 250-828-5023 or emailing You will be contacted by a counsellor via email about an appointment.

There are other resources you might find helpful if you have specific needs:

If your needs are less urgent and you’re looking for some friendly suggestions, TRU Student Life has some strategies and resources.

In the community, the Interior Health Authority offers a crisis line and numerous other mental health resources.

 What is TRU doing in response to COVID-19?

TRU remains open and operating, but in different and limited ways. Classrooms and some buildings are closed, classes are being delivered by alternate methods and the majority of faculty and staff are working remotely. Students can still access services by email or phone and we continue to provide updated information on our TRU website.

Our goal is to reduce close in-person contact among all people on campus, thereby helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We are monitoring what is happening with COVID-19 and taking our guidance from federal and provincial health officials, the Interior Health Authority and the provincial emergency management group.

To date, we have activated our Emergency Operations Centre, increased the number of hand sanitizer stations on campus, posted reminders about hand hygiene practices and increased cleaning frequency in high-traffic areas.

We have also followed directions from the provincial government regarding the promotion of physical or social distancing,, travel restrictions and the cancellation or postponement of large gatherings.

 With so many businesses and restaurants closed, why does TRU remain open?

As with all post-secondary institutions in British Columbia, TRU has been deemed a non-health essential service provider by the provincial government. We must adhere to the social distancing guidelines and other recommendations of the provincial health officer, but continue to operate to facilitate remote learning, provide housing and health services for students on campus, support the community and perform other essential functions.

 Should I wear a mask if I’m on campus or in a classroom or lab?

While it is a personal choice of students, faculty and staff to choose to wear a mask, masks are recommended by health officials for those who are sick to prevent transmission to other people. They are not seen as an effective way to prevent getting sick.

 I don’t feel sick, nor do my friends. Why can’t we get together in groups to hang out or study?

All Canadians are being asked to stay home to protect their health and the health of those around them. Part of the reason for social distancing and keeping away from others is there is a possibility you could carry the virus without showing any symptoms, and so could your friends. You or they might unknowingly spread it to others who could become seriously ill.

In any social gathering, it is difficult to keep an appropriate distance of two metres, or about two arms’ lengths. For now, health officials recommend everyone stays home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19. You and your friends can keep in touch by phone, email or online or find new, creative ways to connect from a distance.

When you stay home, you are protecting yourself and others. Find out more from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

 I’m feeling sick. What do I do?
  • The first thing is to self isolate to help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Watch your symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If you develop symptoms, go to the BC government’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. You will find a link to a support app and a self-assessment tool, and to the self-assessment website.
  • If you need to consult with the TRU Medical Clinic, please be aware the clinic is now offering Virtual Health only, so you will not go into the clinic but meet with the doctor via web camera by using this link at your scheduled appointment time. You will be contacted before your appointment and given directions to log in and use Virtual Health. Messages left on the office phone will be checked throughout the day.
  • You can also call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 to talk to a nurse, with translation into 130 languages. Please note this line has been extremely busy during the pandemic.
  • Seek urgent medical care if your health changes and you need immediate help.
  • If you are an employee still working at the university, let your supervisor know that you are feeling unwell.
 When and how do I self-monitor?

Self-monitoring means you are watching for the symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough or difficulty breathing. You should self-monitor if you are in close contact with older adults or people with medical conditions. If you have had any possible exposure to someone with COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms, you should self-monitor and self-isolate for 14 days.

If you are self-monitoring but are not required to self-isolate, you can continue with your typical daily activities but must keep a two-metre space from other people—including friends and family. If you develop symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact the public health authority as soon as possible.

If you aren’t sure whether you need to be checked, go to the COVID-19 self-assessment tool. There is also an app you can download.

 I think I may have been exposed to the virus. What should I do and how do I self-isolate?

Self-isolation means staying at home and watching for symptoms, even mild ones, for 14 days. Avoid contact with all other people—including friends and family—to help prevent spreading the virus.

You should self-isolate if you have travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, meaning you have been or could have been exposed to the virus. If you develop symptoms, even mild ones, stay home, stay away from other people and contact the public health authority as soon as possible.

If you aren’t sure whether you need to be checked, go to the COVID-19 self-assessment tool. There is also an app you can download.

 I’m sick and think I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do?

You should self-isolate at home immediately and contact the public health authority as soon as possible if you suspect you have COVID-19. Avoid all other people and take other steps to prevent spreading the disease. Get a friend or family member to check on you and do errands, and have supplies delivered to your home. If you have to go out, wear a mask or cover your nose and mouth with tissues and stay two metres away from others. If you go to a medical facility, call before going.

If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your doctor or the public health authority for instructions on what do to.

If you aren’t sure whether you need to be checked, go to the COVID-19 self-assessment tool. There is also an app you can download.

 I think I probably have COVID-19 (I have determined I am positive for the virus by using the self-assessment tool or I have been so advised by my local Health Authority). What do I do and whom do I tell?

Follow instructions of the Health Authority; you must self-isolate. If you are an employee, you must advise the university’s Manager, Community Safety and Emergency Management, Stacey Jyrkkanen at

If you are a student in residence you must advise Campus Living Centre’s Housing Administrator, Kaylee Butler ( who will then advise the university’s Manager, Community Safety and Emergency Management.

 What can individuals do to prevent the virus from spreading?

Health officials indicate the best measures against the virus are similar to those to prevent seasonal influenza:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. If a sink is not available, use alcohol-based hand rubs (hand sanitizer).
  • Avoid touching your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Dispose of tissues appropriately.
  • Stay at home when ill, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, social distancing is a way that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact with others. Even though we are not sick, we should still keep about two meters (six feet) or the length of a queen-sized bed from one another when we can when outside our homes. This includes limiting your interaction with others.

For additional information, visit HealthLinkBC.

 I have concerns about someone who is ill in my work area. What should I do?

Please follow the usual health precautions such as washing your hands often, don’t share food/beverages with others who are sick, stay home if you are sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette to prevent the spread of illness.

For faculty and staff: Employees who are ill should advise their supervisor, stay home and seek medical advice accordingly. If you are concerned about someone in the workplace who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, speak to your supervisor. Supervisors can contact the HR Office for further information as needed.

 Is the university requiring people to stay home if sick, whether they have a cold, the flu, or any other virus?

At this time, TRU is advising all members of the university community to follow the BCCDC guidelines. If you are an employee and have questions about being absent from work, please speak directly with your supervisor.

 Will TRU be cancelling events, conferences, or other large gatherings?

In light of the Public Health Officer's decision on March 16 to cancel gatherings of 50 or more people, TRU has cancelled or postponed such events.


 Are university-related trips to affected areas being cancelled?

The Public Health Officer has strongly advised that all British Columbians avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including the United States. As such, TRU is cancelling all university-sponsored travel outside of Canada. This includes activities such as attendance at conferences, meetings or participation in field schools. For individuals who do choose to travel, individuals are required to not return to work or school for 14 days upon return to the province to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Student travel

TRU is temporarily discontinuing all university-sponsored outbound international travel for students effective immediately.

University-sponsored travel typically means travel that is funded centrally using department/school or faculty budget, and includes professional development funds. Examples of university-sponsored international travel include: student or faculty exchanges; cooperative education work term placements; practica; internships; travel/study programs; travel to attend conferences and university business; activities that are part of a university course or program (credit or non-credit); and university-organized extracurricular or athletic activities.

Faculty and staff travel

Effective immediately, non-essential university-sponsored outbound international travel for staff and faculty is discontinued. While this decision does not limit the ability of faculty to travel internationally using external funding sources or for members of the campus community to vacation internationally, we strongly discourage international travel until further notice.

 I have recently travelled, am currently travelling or had planned on travelling soon on TRU-related business (e.g. conference, research, education fairs). What should I do?

At this time, British Columbians are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. For individuals who do choose to travel, individuals are required not return to work or school for 14 days upon return to the province to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Tri-Council granting agencies are aware that the rapidly changing situation involving COVID-19 may have an impact on researchers with plans to travel for research-related activities. Individuals may decide to cancel trips as a result of various considerations and factors such as cancelled conferences, travel advisories (including those from Health Canada and Global Affairs Canada), or personal choice due to health or other concerns.

Given the uncertainty of the situation with COVID-19, the agencies recommend those traveling for agency-funded research purchase tickets that are at least partially refundable.

 What is TRU doing when a student, faculty or staff member returns from travelling?

TRU is requesting individuals returning from travel to follow the recommendations made by health officials. Individuals returning from travel out of country, including the United States, have been required not to return to work or school for 14 days upon return to the province to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

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