A new semester has begun for international students at Selkirk College, and once again they are all attending virtually as in-person classes are not set to resume until fall.
Selkirk College spokesperson Bob Hall says there are only 49 international students this semester and many of them have remained in their home countries for the semester. Others have come to Canada, but not necessarily to the Kootenays.
Hall says those students that have arrived in Canada, have done so by following the federal government’s student approval process and COVID-19 protocols.
“At Selkirk College, we want everyone to feel confident in the fact we go beyond federal and provincial expectations as far as regulations and protocols and that goes for our international program as well,” said Hall.
In addition, there are a number of international students that have remained in the area throughout the pandemic, some having been here for several years.
In September 2020, prior to the current travel restrictions, about 50 international students arrived in the West Kootenay to attend the school. A typical September would see an influx of 150 to 200 international students arriving across the region.
Kekuli House residence in Castlegar has run at about 70 per cent capacity over the last two semesters with some domestic and international students choosing to live on campus even though in-person classes were not happening.
“The community should feel safe in that Selkirk College is doing everything within its power to both keep the community safe and to make this journey that the students are taking the best it can be under the circumstances,” said Hall.