International students



COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Updated as of May 19, 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 during the 2019-2020 school year?

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 more and more 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 for the 2020-2021 school year?

Latest from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as of May 12:

If you’re an international student who has a valid study permit, or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you’re exempt from the travel restrictions.
Find out what you need before you travel to Canada.

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check conducted by an airline before you’ll be allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms.

If you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t travel to Canada.

Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/visitors-foreign-workers-students.html#restrictions-students

Will the CBE be offering online or distance learning in place of face-to-face classes during the 2019-2020 school year?

Yes.  All schools have put plans in place to continue teaching and learning.  Students have been contacted by their schools for set-up and direction moving forward.  For more information, students can contact their international student coordinator (high school) or the school directly (elementary, middle/junior high). 

Can students access the online learning platform outside of Canada during the 2019-2020 school year?

Students should be able to access BrightSpace by D2L outside of Canada.   However, if assistance is required, please send the following information to the international student coordinator at the high school:

  • Student’s name
  • Student’s UserName/CBE Student I.D.
  • Country the student is in while trying to access
  • What error message is the student seeing
  • Take a screen shot of the page where the error message is showing (this is the most important information to include)

Your coordinator will then send to our IT department for troubleshooting assistance, which may take time so patience is required.

What if students cannot access the online platform outside of Canada?

Students should work with the international student coordinator at the school as well as individual teachers to discuss alternate ways to receive course documentation.

Will students receive a final grade for the current semester (2019-2020 school year)?

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 the period of time that the school building is closed during the 2019-2020 school year?

Even though the school building is closed, teaching and learning continues.  Our schools have worked hard to transition to teaching in alternate ways for the remainder of the school year and our schools are still fully operational to ensure students can complete the school year. As such, refunds will not be considered.  If there are questions about course material or getting access to online content, please contact  the international student coordinator (high school) or school office (elementary and junior high) for assistance.

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:  cbe.flywire.com  

Calgary Board of Education has partnered with Flywire to streamline the payment process.  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 for the 2019-2020 school year, 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.