International students



COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Updated as of March 23, 2020

Hello from the Global Learning department at the Calgary Board of Education.

We understand this is a very stressful time for everyone and that there are many questions around the closure of CBE schools.  The following are frequently asked questions we have been receiving.  You will see there are some areas where we do not have definitive answers at this time and we will update you regularly when we receive new information.

Alberta schools are now closed.  When will they reopen?

The government of Alberta made the difficult decision to close all Alberta schools indefinitely in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.  At this time, we do not know when they will reopen.

Is the CBE asking students to return to their home country?

The decision for a student to stay in Calgary or return home is up to the parents based on what is right for the student and family as well as the availability at the student’s current living accommodations.  Some current factors to consider:

  • The City of Calgary has declared a state of emergency.  The number of COVID-19 cases in the city are very low and the risk level to Calgarians continues to be at a low level.  This decision was made by our municipal government in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.  Other Canadian cities/provinces have also made this decision.
  • International flights are being restricted as time goes on.
  • Citizens of Calgary are being asked to stay home in self-isolation.  What that means is that we are being asked to avoid all public gathering places.  In addition, most non-essential services are closed.

If students return to their home country, will they be able to get back into Canada?

Latest from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as of March 20:
Exemptions to the air travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to studying in Canada and travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel for land border restrictions.

The exemptions include:

  • international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020

In addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada. 

Those affected by these exemptions should not try to travel to Canada immediately. IRCC will announce when the exemptions are in place, which they anticipate will be early next week. 
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/03/canada-provides-update-on-exemptions-to-travel-restrictions-to-protect-canadians-and-support-the-economy.html 

Will the CBE be offering online learning in place of face-to-face classes?

For the latest information from the Government of Alberta, please visit the following link:  https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=69874B5C32DE7-C7B9-FAFF-518A0FF91DCFD41D

A detailed plan will be announced after Spring Break, which ends on March 30, 2020.

If online learning is available, will students be able to access it outside of Canada?

This will be dependent on the source country and students would need to check what is possible with family members or friends in their home country or once they have returned home.

Will students receive a final grade for the current semester?

For the latest information from the Government of Alberta, please visit the following link:  https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=69874B5C32DE7-C7B9-FAFF-518A0FF91DCFD41D

Will the CBE provide refunds for tuition for the period of time that the schools are closed?

We will provide an update on this when a decision has been made.

Is the Global Learning office open for in-person inquiries such as paying fees for the next school year?

The Global Learning office is now closed for service in-person until further notice.  However, we continue to operate virtually.  We can be reached via e-mail at internationalstudents@cbe.ab.ca.
Payment should be made online using our money transfer service, Flywire: https://www.flywire.com/pay/cbe/

This allows you to pay securely from any country (including Canada) and any bank, typically in your home currency. By making your payment with Flywire you can:

  • Track your payments from start to finish 
  • Save on bank fees and exchange rates 
  • Contact their multilingual customer support team with any questions, day or night 

 To get started, click or go to cbe.flywire.com to begin the payment process.

Please do not pay by any other method (e.g., money order) as there is no guarantee we will receive it in a timely manner if we are directed to work away from the office.

How will students get updated information such as if schools reopen and anything else related to their studies?

  • Visit our website at cbe.ab.ca and your school’s website for news and information as it is updated routinely.
  • Ensure students have the international student coordinator’s contact information (page 2) and that the coordinator knows how to reach the student via e-mail or text for all school updates. 
  • Understand that coordinators may not be available at all times.  If students have questions and are not able to connect with the coordinator, they should contact the general e-mail address of the school.
  • Have the custodian regularly check e-mail (the one the school has on file) for updates.

International students have health insurance through StudyInsured.  What coverage do they provide for COVID-19?

From StudyInsured:  Below are a few some general points that we are telling clients are important regarding inbound international student plans:

  • Our plans would cover unforeseen emergency expenses related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the same as any other illness, if it is contracted in Canada after the effective date of the policy.
  • Any pre-existing medical condition, including COVID-19 illness, would not be covered if it has not been stable for the required amount of time (90 days) before the effective policy date. This is something that the doctor in Canada would ask the student when they started experiencing their symptoms, to determine if it was before arrival to Canada. We also will contact their medical records from the student’s home country to determine if it was pre-existing or not.
  • Expenses incurred in an insured person's home country are not covered, unless they are travelling on a school trip.
  • Further expenses in Canada related to an illness that originated in the home country would also be excluded.

This is a very stressful situation.  Are there local resources in Calgary if students are finding they are struggling to cope?

  • StudyInsured phone line 1.877.234.5327 (mental health, crisis, counselors)
  • [24/7] 403-264-teen (8336)  with interpreter (Youth crisis line- Distress Center)
  • [24/7] Distress Center 403-266-4357
  • [24/7] Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 kidshelpphone.ca
  • [24/7] Wood’s Home Community Resource Team (psychology, social work): 403-299-9699 or 1-800-563-6106
  • [24/7] Distress and Suicide Prevention Line of Southwestern Alberta (mental distress or feeling suicidal): (403) 327-7905 or 1-888-787-2880.
  • Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • Alberta Mental Health Crisis Line 1-877-303-2642
  • Mental Health Mobile Response Team  403-266-1605
  • Aspiria mental health app

Now that schools are closed, where can students get a copy of their transcript for the study permit extension application?
Please visit MyPass at https://public.education.alberta.ca/PASI/myPass/welcome where transcripts can be ordered.  If assistance is required with setting up an account, contact the international student coordinator at the school or the school office.