COVID–19 Information for Employees

Last updated 12:30 p.m., Monday, April 6

Be sure to read our college e-newsletter @GBC to stay up to date on all COVID-19-related news and updates.

Registration now open for Virtual Town Halls

President Anne Sado will be hosting two Virtual Town Hall meetings this week to address employee concerns and questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our learning community. These will take place on Blackboard Collaborate Thursday, April 9 at 8 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. Please take a moment to register on Cornerstone for your preferred session.

The Student Association and George Brown College COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Student Association and George Brown College COVID-19 Relief Fund, currently set at $850,000, aims to assist domestic and international students facing financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund will provide relief to George Brown full-time students experiencing food and/or housing insecurity; loss of income due to unemployment; and unexpected education and personal expenses.

The George Brown College Foundation is aiming to increase this fund to $1 million and is encouraging online donations.

Alternative course delivery for spring semester

Given that physical distancing measures will continue for several weeks, George Brown’s spring semester courses will be delivered in alternative format only. This format may impact which courses will be offered during this semester. Please expect to hear from your Chair with updates. The spring term starts May 19.

Grading options for students

We understand that students are concerned about their studies and final grades. Recognizing the additional challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the college is offering an option for final grades in eligible courses for the winter 2020 semester. Students will be provided the option of keeping their assigned letter grade or choosing to replace their letter grade with a Pass (P) or Not Pass (NP). A full list of eligible courses and programs will be available on April 17 on STU-VIEW.

Self-care tips from George Brown counsellors

FAQs for employees and faculty 

We know you have many questions and we’re working to provide answers as fast as we can. We appreciate your patience. Please check our FAQs for employees and faculty below. If your question isn’t addressed, please reach out to your manager. 

What can I expect for the spring term?

The spring 2020 term is now starting May 19. Our programs will be running for current and returning students.

We are not accepting new full-time first-semester students for the 2020 spring term.

We will be reaching out to all impacted applicants individually as soon as possible to offer deferral options so that we can welcome them to George Brown either in September 2020 or in January 2021, where possible.

What supports are available to me?

Employees needing support can access our Employee Assistance Plan provider, Shepell FGI, at 1-866-833-7690 or www.workhealthlife.com. Under these exceptional circumstances, we are making our EAP available to all employees.

I'm an employee who recently returned from an affected area. What should I do?

Employees who have recently returned from any international travel must alert their manager and contact their Safety and Wellness Consultant: 

 Safety and Wellness Consultants

HSW@georgebrown.ca 

Kaley Keefe (Casa Loma) x3607   

Catherine Bergeron (St. James) x3499   

Jacqueline Abel (Waterfront) x4799  

The Government of Canada is warning against any non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In addition, anyone who has travelled outside Canada is now required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. Please note that details related to travel are rapidly evolving. 

  • As a reminder, all college-related travel outside of Canada has been cancelled.
  • Given this advisory, we also strongly discourage employees from any personal travel outside of Canada. If you decide to travel outside Canada or if you are or have returned from recent travel outside Canada, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Please discuss work-related arrangements with your manager for the self-isolation period.
  • Please monitor the Government of Canada website for updates and changes.
  • Should symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing arise within 14 days of travelling, call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.

If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to speak with your manager. 

Can I work remotely?

Working remotely will be considered wherever possible. Please contact your manager for details and direction.

Please see the following guidelines to assist you when working remotely - georgebrown.ca/working-remotely/.

If I’m assigned to work remotely by my manager, how do I set up my remote computer access?

  • Office 365 - georgebrown.ca/current-students/websites-apps-technical-support/office-365/ - Find clear information concerning all Microsoft Office 365 applications used at the college.
  • Online support help for common tools – Collaboration continues even when we work remotely, and the college uses Microsoft tools to connect for calls, conferencing, sharing files and chatting. Microsoft Teams is a one-stop solution and is enabled for all employees. Easy online training for all Microsoft tools can be accessed at: https://support.office.com/
  • One Drive – Files saved in One Drive can be accessed from any device and any location. We encourage you to move your files to One Drive for this easy and secure access.
  • Apps Anywhere – Common academic software is available through Apps Anywhere. Information on this tool is available at: georgebrown.ca/appsanywhere/. To access the login page, visit: https://appsanywhere.georgebrown.ca/login
  • VPN – a VPN allows a secure connection to the network from outside of the college. VPN is primarily used for connecting to Banner. Most of our other applications (e.g. Office 365, Stu-View, etc) can be accessed directly through the cloud or Apps Anywhere. For detailed VPN instruction, go to: georgebrown.ca/connecting-remotely/

What if I'm having a computer challenge while working remotely?

Please contact George Brown’s IT Help Desk: helpdesk@georgebrown.ca. Please also note that teams from ITS, ITAC, and eLTI are available for your technology needs.

Can I get into college buildings?

During the closure we ask everyone to stay away from the college. Access to college buildings will be provided only to individuals who are authorized by their respective vice-president. Interim provisions for mail delivery/receiving and distribution are currently under review.

What's the payroll status for non-full-time employees? UPDATED - APRIL 2

To confirm payroll for the balance of this semester, Temporary, Student and Casual support staff with scheduled hours through the end of April will continue to be paid for their scheduled hours for the duration of this period. Contracts continuing beyond April will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Casual support staff and students who do not have scheduled hours will be paid for any hours worked for the duration of their contracts. Regular Part-Time (RPT) support staff will continue to be paid their regular hours unless notified otherwise.   

What about vacation time I booked before the COVID-19 college closure?

Many of us might be thinking ahead to the summer months and feeling unsure about planning vacation time. Despite the unusual circumstances, we all do need to take a break from work, so we have a chance to recharge. We will be looking to all employees to continue to book vacation time throughout the year and to take their scheduled vacation time if already booked. Please speak with your manager if you have any questions about vacation planning.

For faculty

What can I expect for the spring term?

The spring 2020 term is now starting May 19. Our programs will be running for current and returning students.

We are not accepting new full-time first-semester students for the 2020 spring term.

We will be reaching out to all impacted applicants individually as soon as possible to offer deferral options so that we can welcome them to George Brown either in September 2020 or in January 2021, where possible.

You can see all of our revised important dates for students at georgebrown.ca/current-students/important-dates/.

How can I redesign my courses for off-campus alternate delivery?

Please see the resources and tips available at Teaching During a Disruption.

Who can I contact if I need curriculum or technical support?

E-learning specialists, instructional designers, librarians, accessible learning consultants, and technology specialists are among the many people available to support you. Details can be found at georgebrown.ca/academic-continuity/contact-faqs/.

How do I ensure all students are supported through this change in academic delivery?

Suggestions for inclusive design and delivery can be found at georgebrown.ca/academic-continuity/teaching-during-disruption/. For tailored support, please consult one of the professionals listed at georgebrown.ca/academic-continuity/contact-faqs/.

Where can I get support with Blackboard?

A dedicated 24/7 phone line has been set up to provide you with Blackboard support.

How can I get support in moving my courses online?

Find key contacts, information and supports for moving classes online at georgebrown.ca/academic-continuity/contact-faqs/.

Are there tips for using Blackboard Collaborate? 

  • Minimize the use of video (web cams) as much as possible
  • Try to limit people talking to one person at a time. Using chat is preferred as you can queue up the questions 
  • When using PowerPoint or an alternative document upload the document before the session and share directly within the application
  • When screen sharing beyond a document, share the application only versus the full screen
  • Consult eLTI or TLx for guidance on the best method to record and post your lecture
  • Use the native app or most stable browser for your collaboration tool. Collaborate recommends Chrome or Firefox 
  • When using break out groups during a session, students can get lost switching and can get locked out. Send the guest link and warn them if they get locked out to can get back in via the guest link
  • Recorded sessions or videos need to be captioned. Please contact Anne Villahermosa at avillahe@georgebrown.ca for captioning services. Please note there is a fee.

Please note: Cloud conference solutions are temporarily suspending non-essential features to protect consistent reliable service, e.g. collaborate dial-in ability has been disabled, timer, non-essential notifications, etc. 

Visit help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Support/Network_Connection for more information. 

For any technical issues contact our 24/7 Blackboard support service. Find details at georgebrown.ca/academic-continuity/ 

How can I best support students who are struggling with anxiety?

Remind students that increased anxiety is normal in uncertain times. Increase flexibility around course expectations and communicate general messages of support, such as “We’re all in this together” or “Let’s take some time to get used to this new learning environment.”

Encourage students to:

  • Monitor their news consumption, so that they’re using reliable sources to stay informed but not consuming so much that they become overwhelmed.
  • Use technology to stay connected to supportive friends and family members.
  • Get outside every day, as fresh air and exercise can help with anxiety.

Learn a few deep breathing strategies like triangle breathing or box breathing and teach them to your students. Some faculty are now routinely using these techniques to start each session.

Provide information on how to reach Counselling & Student Wellbeing if needed:

What's the payroll status for part-time, partial load and sessional faculty? UPDATED - APRIL 2

As previously confirmed, all Part-Time, Partial Load and Sessional faculty (including instructors) who have academic contracts for the current (Winter) semester will continue to be paid in full for the rest of the semester in accordance with these contracts.