Updated: COVID-19 Resources for Students

By Logan Bright Modified on April 20, 2020

Federal and provincial resources to keep yourself and others safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

A colourful laboratory with a chalkboard reading Attention! Coronavirus COVID-19.

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So you're home from school for weeks or months. COVID-19 dominates the news, and you're probably wondering what's going to happen next. We've compiled a list of resources at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels to help you find the information you need.

The most important piece of advice: wash your hands often with soap and water. Doing so breaks down the virus' protective shell. Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.

French study shows success in treating COVID-19 patients

First, some good news: a study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents suggests that a combo of an anti-malarial and antibiotic is effective in treating the COVID-19 disease. More research is needed, of course, but this is a great step. It's comforting to see public health officials acting so quickly to treat people hurt by this crisis.

Western University researchers working on vaccine

A team of experts at Western University has gathered to begin work on developing a coronavirus vaccine. You can read more about their work here.

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Cases in Canada and around the world

As of April 20, there are over 2 million confirmed cases around the world, resulting in over 150,000 deaths. Canada has seen about 34,000 cases and 1,500 deaths related to COVID-19.

Coronavirus / COVID-19 facts

How coronavirus spreads

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

Social distancing

Even if you're not in a risk group, you owe it to others to protect their health too. Practice social distancing by:

  • avoiding non-essential gatherings
  • avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
  • avoiding crowded places such as concerts, arenas, conferences and festivals
  • limiting contact with people at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health
  • keeping a distance of at least 2 arms-length (approximately 2 metres) from others


Symptoms vary widely. Some who are infected will show few symptoms, or even none at all. Many symptoms are similar to a cold or flu, so they can be tough to discern.

Symptoms can take up to two weeks to show up after exposure. If you're not showing symptoms, experts believe you can still pass on the disease, though it's less common.

Typical symptoms include:

  • cough
  • fever
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

The Public Health website offers a self-assessment tool online if you fear you may have symptoms.

There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • aged 65 and over
  • with compromised immune systems
  • with underlying medical conditions, like diabetes, cardiopulmonary disease, and cancer

If you're sick

Reduce contact with others by:

  • staying at home and self-isolating (unless directed to seek medical care)
    • if you must leave your home, wear a mask or cover your mouth and nose with tissues, and maintain a 2-metre distance from others
  • avoiding individuals in hospitals and long-term care centres, especially older adults and those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems
  • avoiding having visitors to your home
  • covering your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing and sneezing
  • having supplies delivered to your home instead of running errands
    • supplies should be dropped off outside to ensure a 2-metre distance

It is important to know how you can prepare in case you or a family member become ill.

If you've travelled recently

It's important for all travellers to:

  • self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel outside of Canada
  • monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after returning to Canada
  • wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand

If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call the public health authority in the province or territory you are in to inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do.

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Federal resources

A federal government website totals confirmed and presumed cases across the country, offers info on how the virus spreads, and gives advice on symptoms and treatment. See the official website for the latest.

Economic relief: student loans

The federal government has announced nearly $100 billion in spending to help people and businesses cope with COVID-19. Of particular interest to students: a six-month moratorium on Canada Student Loan repayments, interest free. More details will be available in April.

Economic relief: employment insurance

If your work has been impacted by the pandemic, you may qualify for emergency benefits. The economic aid package is currently before Parliament, but here's what to expect.

If you've lost your job, apply for employment insurance (EI) on the website. If you've been told to self-isolate or quarantine, call 1-833-381-2725 to skip the one-week waiting period and start receiving benefits immediately.

If you're quarantined or sick but don't qualify for EI, and have no paid sick leave, you will likely qualify for the Emergency Care Benefit through the CRA.

In April, the federal government announced changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which will allow students whose summer employment is interrupted to apply for financial relief. More details on the program are still to come.

Provincial and territorial resources

British Columbia

BC has launched a new mental health hotline and referral service for post-secondary students. You can reach out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via phone, app, or online chat. Learn more at Here2Talk.ca

The Minister of Public Safety in BC has approved fines of up to $2,000 for price gouging and the reselling of medical supplies. Those who choose not to self-quarantine after travelling can also be fined.

BC declared a state of emergency on March 18 for 14 days — this may change depending on events. Currently, in-class learning in K-12 schools is suspended.

HealthLinkBC offers COVID-19 resources in nine languages, including Punjabi and Chinese. There is a COVID-19 self-assessment tool available. HealthLinkBC also runs 8-1-1, a telephone service that can connect you to a registered nurse, pharmacist, and other health professionals.

BC has also created a hotline for non-medical info about COVID-19 specifically, available in over 100 languages. Call 1-888-COVID19 between the hours of 7:30 am and 8 pm, Pacific Standard Time, or text 604-630-0300.

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Edmonton's public school system is laying off nearly 1,900 staff as a result of budgetary adjustments for the fight against COVID-19.

Alberta Health Services is creating a focus group around personal protective equipment (PPE) to discuss their new masks' quality.

Alberta declared a public health emergency on March 17. Mass gatherings must be limited to 50 or fewer attendees, with a few essential services like grocery stores excepted.

811 Health Link offers health advice, 24/7, on the phone or online. Just dial 8-1-1 or visit their website. There's an online self-assessment tool for COVID-19 available.

The government has made changes to the Employment Standards Code, allowing employees 14 days of paid, protected leave if they must self-isolate, or are caring for a loved one with COVID-19.

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Students in the Saskatoon region will soon be receiving internet-ready phones to support online learning. Many students lacked reliable internet access, which meant e-learning was nearly impossible.

On March 18, Saskatchewan declared a provincial state of emergency, ending public gatherings of more than 50 people. K-12 classes are suspended indefinitely. The government is also exploring enhancing job-protected sick leave.

Check out the official site for the latest, or try the COVID-19 self-assessment tool online.

You can get health advice on the web with Healthline 811, or by dialling 1-888-315-9257 It operates in over 100 languages!

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Manitoba's government has asked universities to cut budgets by up to 30% in an effort to control ballooning costs related to the pandemic across the province. Universities will prepare plans for cuts of 10, 20 and 30 percent over the coming months.

Manitoba declared a state of emergency on March 20. New testing centres are being opened to track the disease's spread. Those travelling into Manitoba, whether from another province or another country, must self-isolate for 14 days.

If you fear you might have symptoms, there is an online self-assessment tool to help. You can also call Health Links-Info Santé at 1-888-315-9257 for advice.

Public health officials recommend social distancing for all Manitobans, including avoiding public gatherings and frequent disinfection of surfaces.

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With cases rising above 10,000 in Ontario, Toronto is implementing fines of up to $5,000 for those who fail to observe physical distancing measures. Many of these cases, though, have been found in long-term care homes across the province.

Ontario has ordered all non-essential businesses closed, beginning March 25.

Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17, closing schools, libraries, restaurants, and other gathering places.

Public Health Ontario maintains a website with fact sheets and advice, along with an online self-assessment tool.

If you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit to get info on next steps.

On March 20, Ontario released its new Learn at Home website, with resources for elementary and secondary students.

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On March 13, Québec was the first province to declare a health emergency. Schools and daycare centres will be closed until at least March 27, alongside many other gathering places.

Québec has a comprehensive website with COVID-19 info and advice available in both English and French.

The government has established a new COVID-19 phone line at 1-877-644-4545 specifically to handle questions and concerns about the virus.

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New Brunswick

New Brunswick has not declared a state of emergency, but schools, libraries, museums, and other gathering places are closed for at least another week. Early learning and childcare facilities are exempted, though.

Check out the official New Brunswick Public Health page for the latest updates.

If you feel you may have symptoms, isolate yourself and call Tele-Care 811 by dialling 8-1-1, any time, 24/7. Service is available in boh French and English.

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Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has cancelled all gatherings of more than 50 people, and requires all businesses and organizations to practise social distancing. Public schools will be closed at least until the end of March.

The Nova Scotia website on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 has the latest info and advice. An online screening tool is available if you have symptoms.

You can also call 8-1-1 for assessment over the phone. If you need to be seen in-person, a public health official will refer you to a designated COVID-19 assessment centre.

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Prince Edward Island

PEI declared a public health emergency on March 16. Public schools and child care centres are closed until at least April 3.

The official COVID-19 site has the latest info and advice. Help is available over the phone by dialling 8-1-1, or via the new info line at 1-800-958-6400. Leave a message 24/7 and the Chief Public Health Office will contact you.

A list of essential and non-essential services is available, as well as a comprehensive list of government changes and closures.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador declared a public health emergency on March 18, putting an end to gatherings of over 50 people. K-12 schools are closed, though college and university placements will continue.

The official site on COVID-19 has the latest details, as well as a self-assessment tool online.

You can get help over the phone by calling the NL Heathline at 8-1-1, anytime, day or night.

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The government has restricted gatherings of more than 50 people, though no state of emergency has been declared. Still, public schools are closed until April 15, along with libraries and other gathering places.

The Yukon COVID-19 website has the latest facts and figures. As of March 24, there are two confirmed cases in Yukon. There is an online self-assessment tool available.

If you need help, contact your health provider, or phone 8-1-1 for more information.

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Northwest Territories

The government announced a state of public health emergency (pdf) on March 18. K-12 classes are cancelled until April 14, and all public libraries are closed.

Health and Social Services has the latest info on COVID-19 in NWT. So far, there is a single confirmed case in the territory.

If you have symptoms, contact your health care provider for next steps. Be sure to call ahead before visiting a care site.

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On March 18, Nunavut declared a public health emergency. Schools and daycares will close until early April.

The Department of Health runs a COVID-19 website with the latest facts and advice. Nunavut currently has no confirmed cases of the disease.

If you need help, contact your local health centre. You can reach the Nunavut Public Health Centre by phone at 1-867-975-4800.

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Bonus: Khan Academy

If you've had enough of Netflix and want to keep learning, check out the Khan Academy. They've got a full learning schedule for students, from kindergarten to grade 12. Khan Academy is a great way to keep your mind sharp while school's out.

Moving forward together

It's important we all band together in these trying times. Look out for one another, support your loved ones, practise social distancing, and please wash your hands!

We'll get through this one day at a time.

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