In-person classes delayed to February 21: COVID-19 update

January 8, 2021

Dear Western Community Members,

I hope you had a restful and healthy break.

While 2020 is now behind us, unfortunately COVID-19 is not. Cases in our region and across the province are rising, and increasingly strict measures are in place to stop the spread.

We had anticipated resuming in-person instruction in courses already designated as such on January 25. We said we may need to adjust this date, and that is why I’m writing to you today. 

After consultation with numerous campus leaders, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to delay in-person instruction to February 21, following Reading Week.

Virtual classes are going ahead as planned, starting Monday, January 11. Some clinical learning in health sciences and medicine and in a small number of approved non-health related programs will begin in person on Monday as well, but these are very limited. Additional information will be forthcoming from your Faculties.

We will also be staggering the return of students to our residences. A small number of students have already received permission for an early return because of pre-arranged travel and other personal circumstances. All other students living in residence will receive information in the next few days about re-scheduling their return to a later date in February. Please know we are here and ready to support your return to campus. 

At this time and throughout the duration of the province-wide shutdown, research activities, access to campus for employees and campus services will continue, with restrictions in place as outlined in our December 22 update.

The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility. These next few weeks and months are absolutely critical.

Health officials are asking us all to limit travel as much as possible. If you can stay where you are for now, we encourage that.

For those returning to campus and to London, limit your contacts – find a buddy or roommate and stick with them only. Physically distance and wear a mask whenever possible, download the COVID Alert mobile app, and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

We know this is hard right now. We also know the pandemic will end. Vaccines are starting to roll out. Please stay hopeful.

And thank you for continuing to do the right thing – prioritizing the health and safety of each other and our community.   

Be safe and be well.


Alan Shepard
President and Vice-Chancellor

Nov. 24, 2020
A time to double down on self-care

Oct 27, 2020
Taking care during fall reading week

Oct 7, 2020
Thanksgiving precautions, winter term update

Sept 24, 2020
You're making a difference. But, we must remain vigilant

Sept 17, 2020
Critical Update for students on COVID-19

Sept 3, 2020: 
Working together for a safe and successful fall semester

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.