International Students

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Updated as of January 26, 2021

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 COVID-19 and the effects on our 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 will be reopening for the 2020-21 school year.  What can I expect regarding school operations?

The Alberta government has announced that face-to-face classes will resume in September with health measures in place.

Students, staff and parents can expect a near-normal school experience and the CBE will strictly follow Alberta Health guidelines to minimize risk of disease transmission. To do this, we will need everyone’s cooperation to stay home when they are feeling unwell, and to follow all health protocols as they evolve over time. 

It is important to understand that, when entering school, it is in the midst of a pandemic.  Our excellent CBE schools and staff will continue to offer the very best programming they can but it will be important to have realistic expectations about the set-up of the learning environment that will be necessary to keep students and staff safe.

The pandemic situation may change throughout the year meaning school will need to respond accordingly.  It will be important to be adaptable, flexible, and understand that uncertainty and change may exist throughout the school year.

Once students have completed the quarantine requirement and start attending school, they may need to return to a quarantine situation if they come in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID.  If that happens, the school will continue to provide remote support.   Also, if COVID cases were to increase dramatically, it is always a possibility that schools will close and need to move to online learning. We don’t anticipate this will happen but it is important to be prepared for all possibilities.

**Please note that the CBE international student program is an in-person program and we are unable to offer an online learning option for international students as long as face-to-face studies are available.  Students are expected to attend classes in person unless directed otherwise by Alberta Health Services and/or the school.

Will international students be eligible to enter Canada for the 2020-2021 school year?

Latest from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as of October 6, 2020

Amended travel restrictions will take effect on October 20, allowing international students to enter Canada if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place.  This change to travel restrictions affects all international students, regardless of where they are travelling from or when their study permit was approved. Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all necessary authorizations.

Please note this applies only to students who have an approved study permit.  If you are planning to study for one semester with an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you don’t need a study permit but will not be able to gain entry into Canada without one.

To find out more, visit

What do I do when my study permit is approved and I have booked my flight?

E-mail Global Learning at with the completed Quarantine Readiness Agreement which was sent to you, your parents or agency (if applicable) in a previous e-mail.  This completed form must be submitted before you are able to attend school.

In addition, you must use ArriveCAN to submit your:

  • travel and contact information
  • quarantine plan
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessments

You must:

  • submit your information before you board your flight to Canada.
  • be ready to show your ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada.  A border services officer will verify that you have submitted your information digitally.

Requirements for all travellers after they've entered Canada:

As of November 21, 2020, all travellers, whether they travel by air, land or sea, must provide information after their entry into Canada.
You must use ArriveCAN or call 1-833-641-0343 to:

  • confirm that you've arrived at the address you provided for your quarantine or isolation location within 48 hours of your entry into Canada
  • complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments during your quarantine period

What documents do I need to bring with me when I re-enter Canada?

When entering Canada, you will want to have the following documents in your possession:

  • Your letter of acceptance from the Calgary Board of Education
  • Your essential travel letter (issued by Global Learning once Quarantine Readiness Agreement is received)
  • Current students:  a valid study permit
  • New students:  a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit, if you are coming from any other country
  • The Quarantine Protocols for Students in Self-Placement Accommodations document showing you understand the quarantine requirements
  • Name, address of host family and/or custodian
  • Copy of your notarized custodian documents
  • Contact information for person picking up at airport
  • StudyInsured health insurance card

This may not be a full list and students are responsible for ensuring they know everything required to present to a border services officer.

What are the health requirements for travellers to Canada?

To travel to Canada, you must

Retrieved from

If my living arrangements were made privately, what are the quarantine requirements upon arrival?

Please refer to Quarantine Protocols for Students in Self-Placement Accommodations (PDF).

If I will be living in a homestay arranged by Canada Homestay Network (CHN), what are the quarantine requirements upon arrival?

Please refer to CHN’s Safe Arrival Protocol (PDF).

What is the CBE international student refund policy for the 2020-2021 school year?

We have amended our standard refund policy for requests that relate to COVID-19 only.  All other requests will be subject to our standard refund policy:

  • If your study permit is denied or you are denied entrance to Canada for reasons that are out of your control:  You will receive a full tuition refund (less the application fee).
  • If the program is cancelled by Calgary Board of Education before the start date of your program: you will receive a full refund (less the application fee).
  • If you withdraw or are withdrawn from the Calgary Board of Education: Once your program has begun (and the student has been in attendance) as per the Duration of Program (study) dates on the letter of acceptance, no refund will be given.

Late Arrivals: When a student arrives late, there will be no refund for the time period missed.

What is Canada Homestay Network’s Refund Policy?

Please refer to CHN’s COVID Refund Policy.

Can I start late in the 2020-2021 school year?

This depends on the level of study. Elementary and junior high students can start up until February of the school year.  High schools students can start up to two weeks late from the start date of the semester and after that, they would need to consider deferring their program (age dependent).  There are no refunds for late arrivals at any level.

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 in-person service but we are virtually operational and can be reached via e-mail at

If you need to make a payment, you can do so using our money transfer service, Flywire:  Please do not use any other payment method as our office is closed.

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. 

How will I get updated information about anything related to my studies?

  • Continue to check this FAQ document from the home page of our website at
  • Visit our corporate website at and your school’s website for news and information as it is updated routinely.
  • For high school students, ensure you have the international student coordinator’s contact information (contact the school’s main office if you do not have this information) and that the coordinator knows how to reach the student via e-mail or text for all school updates. 
  • 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 does this 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 I am 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
  • [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 (1-800-784-2433)
  • Alberta Mental Health Crisis Line 1-877-303-2642
  • Mental Health Mobile Response Team  403-266-1605
  • Aspiria mental health app