Some Canadian Schools Reopen For In-Person Studies

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There is good news for most international students who were stranded in their home countries because of Corona Virus related travel restrictions imposed by Canada. As of October 20, some designated learning institutions (DLIs) are allowed to accept international students, irrespective of the date the student received a study permit, in their campus.

To be eligible for this, the DLIs should have put together a Coronavirus readiness plan that is approved by their province or the territory. This means that students who received study permits after March 18, 2020, can now come in. March 18, 2020, was the day Canada imposed travel restrictions as part of its COVID-19 management plan.

Designated learning institutions (DLIs) are colleges, universities, and other educational institutions approved by the government to welcome international students. Right now, not all DLIs are approved to welcome international students. More DLIs are being added based on their readiness. Please check the IRCC webpage here for a complete list of approved DLIs.

What does the COVID-19 Readiness Plan include?

  • Health and safety:First and foremost the DLIs should have a plan to protect the health and safety of all students and the community around them.
  • Help students manage quarantine: Like all others coming into Canada now, international students also have to quarantine for 14 days. The DLIs should include in their plan how they will manage the students’ quarantine. They should provide information to students about how to manage the mandatory quarantine and how to remain safe and healthy in Canada.
  • Transportation: Make arrangements for students’ transportation from the students’ point of arrival to their location of quarantine.
  • Provide information: On how, and from where to get essential items such as food, medicine etc.
  • Inform: About how to obtain health insurance and other essential things set up.

Those DLIs who fail to continue to meet their provincial or territorial public health requirements will be removed from the list.

As a general rule, only students who have all the required documents are allowed to enter. Students should have a valid study permit or proof that they are approved for a study permit and their school should be on the COVID-19 readiness list.

Conversely, if a student’s study program has been suspended or even cancelled, and if he or she is entering Canada for a reason other than to study, they will not be allowed to travel to Canada.

While the current action provides huge relief to thousands of students, there are many others who are likely to face a long wait. For one, those who were waiting for proof of being accepted for a study permit, will continue to wait until the visa issuing centers reopen. Second, not all DLIs have been put on the list in one go. They are added (And removed if they fail to meet the plan) to the list as and when their plans are approved by their provinces and territories. There is likely to be a backlog of COVID19 readiness plans to be reviewed, causing delays.

Canada closed its borders on March 18, 2020, as part of its COVID-19 management plan. Then, international students who had received a study permit prior to March 18, 2020, were allowed to travel to Canada. Those without a valid study permit on hand were not allowed to enter Canada.