Updates from President Alan Shepard

UC hill in summer

Extended July 1 Holiday for All Western Faculty and Staff

June 5, 2020 - 11 а.m.

Dear Western Colleagues,

I hope this note finds you and your family healthy and well despite the ongoing challenges of this pandemic.

I’m writing to update you on an important change to our phased return to campus timeline and a plan to give each of you a little extra and well-earned personal time.

As you’ve likely heard, the province announced it is extending the state of emergency for an additional four weeks until June 30. This means ‘Phase 2’ of our phased return to campus plan, originally set to start June 9, will now start July 2 (subject to government directives).

It’s important to note this decision did not change Western’s Phase 1B plan, allowing faculty members and principal investigators to have access to their offices and labs. As you’ve seen in previous communications, the return of researchers into their labs is subject to the approval of the deans or a designate (department chair or school director).

The latest extension of the Ontario emergency order is just one of many twists and turns we’ve seen throughout the pandemic. 

Over the last three months there have been extraordinary efforts to pivot quickly in finishing the winter term online and prepare for the summer term. We have more students than ever before taking online summer courses. Early indications suggest Western will have strong fall enrolment as well. And we’ve continued to compete aggressively for research grants and have had great success.

All of this is in no small part thanks to all of you! I continue to be so impressed with the outstanding efforts of our faculty and staff who continue to work collaboratively to carry out the important work of our university.

We know these have been very trying times. Your extra efforts are appreciated.

We also know many of you could use a break. Some additional personal time to step away from work to spend more time with a spouse or partner, kids, grandkids, and friends.

So I’m happy to let you know that the university will be closing at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 26 and reopening on Thursday, July 2. This decision was made based on advice from my leadership team and I want to thank them for the good idea.

Intersession and MBA exams, as well as Summer Academic Orientation, will proceed as planned during these days. Faculty and staff involved in these activities will be granted personal time to use at a later date. 

Thanks also to our Facilities Management, Campus Police, Housing, and Hospitality Services staff for continuing to provide essential services and ensuring the safety of our campus during this closure.

I hope this extended weekend will give you some personal time to rest, relax and re-charge.

Thank you again for all your great work.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones.


Alan Shepard

President and Vice-Chancellor

June 5, 2020: Update on return to campus timeline
President Shepard updates faculty and staff on the phased return to campus timeline.

May 29, 2020: Western's plan for the fall semester

An update from President Shepard on what students can expect in September.

May 13, 2020: Planning for the fall term, phased return to campus
President Shepard shares information about Western’s planning for the fall term and a phased return to campus.

April 21, 2020: President Shepard thanks staff and faculty for their extraordinary efforts to keep Western on course


April 14, 2020: Encouraging words for students from President Shepard

April 3, 2020: President Shepard delivers a video message of hope and thanks to the Western community

March 26, 2020: A letter to the Class of 2020
We have decided to postpone Western’s spring convocation as part of our larger response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes all scheduled ceremony dates from May 22 through June 19.

March 12, 2020: Statement on Western’s response to COVID-19
The health and safety of our campus community is always my top priority. I am writing to provide an important update regarding Western’s response to COVID-19.

March 11, 2020: Statement on COVID-19 efforts
Since mid-January, a cross-campus working group has been meeting regularly to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and has put measures in place to keep our campus community safe.