Important COVID-19 community update

January 03, 2022 3:00 PM

To the Western, Brescia, Huron and King’s Communities, 

We hope the holiday break provided you with an opportunity to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends.  

We are starting the winter term amidst a quickly changing landscape due to the Omicron variant. With that in mind, we want to provide more information on Western, Brescia, Huron and King’s academic and campus operations.  

As we re-open Tuesday, January 4, and we prepare for the restart of classes and make-up exams on January 10, the health and safety of our campus community remains our top priority. 

Virtual classes 

As we announced on December 17, 2021, we have delayed the start of the winter term to January 10, 2022. Most classes, with a few limited exceptions, will be virtual until January 31, 2022.   

If the delivery of virtual classes is extended beyond January 31, we will notify our campus community the week of January 10.  

Flexible arrangements for families 

Some of you have children who will have a delayed return to elementary and secondary schools, with the potential for further changes to learning scenarios. We want you to know Western and our affiliated university colleges will support flexible work schedules through this period. 

Limiting contacts 

As anticipated, the Omicron variant has proven highly transmissible with more of us now knowing someone who has become infected or who has been a close contact of someone who has been impacted.  

It is important that our campus community limits personal contacts where possible and follows guidelines set out by the province for testing, proper isolation and notification of close contacts. If you are required to self-isolate due to illness or being a close contact, please notify your supervisor as soon as you are able using the absence notification tool 

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 

If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and follow guidance set out by the province. 

As much as possible, students are encouraged to do their learning and studying remotely. 

Employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Leaders will be in contact with their teams to provide direction.  

Some employees working in health, safety, well-being and core services for students, staff and faculty will be required to complete daily or twice-weekly rapid testing. These individuals will be notified by their leaders.  

We continue to adjust our operations to reduce the number of individuals on campus, including restricting visitors. 

More information specific to affiliated university colleges is forthcoming. 

Access to libraries and recreation 

Western Libraries will be available to members of the university community with reduced hours. Holds pickup and all current digital and remote services continue. Again, we encourage students to study off-campus whenever possible. 

In alignment with new provincial measures, the Western Student Recreation Centre will be closed for in-person programming until January 26. Campus Recreation digital programming starts today and will continue through January. Visit Campus Recreation for more information. In-person student athlete training is also paused until further notice.   

Dining on campus and in residence 

All dining seating areas, including those in Western’s residences, will be closed.  

Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Subway in the UCC will be open with limited hours for take-out only.   

International travel and exchange programs 

Effective December 15, Western has suspended all outbound international university-sanctioned travel until further notice. All employees and students are encouraged to follow Canadian travel advisories. Western International continues to provide support to incoming international and exchange students.  

Research activity 

Research continues with existing protocols in place. Effective December 18, capacity in research spaces has been reduced to 50 per cent. Human face-to-face research involving non-campus personnel requires verification of full vaccination status. Researchers are encouraged to conduct research off-site where possible. More information can be found at Western Research COVID-19 updates 

Parking 

Western’s campus parking fees will be deferred for the month of January and on-campus parking will be free until January 31. 

COVID-19 vaccination and testing 

Recently, the Ministry of Health provided updated guidance on testing, and case, contact and outbreak management. At this time, individuals with symptoms indicative of COVID-19 are presumed to be infected and should self-isolate immediately for a minimum of five days to prevent transmissions in the community.  

Testing will only be available to those individuals identified by Workplace Health or Health and Wellness as requiring specific testing in addition to, or to confirm self-isolation requirements.  

Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre re-opened Monday, January 3 for pre-booked vaccination appointments only. Vaccinations and boosters continue to be available and centre hours of operation are updated weekly.  

As a community, we have supported each other and our students through these challenging times. Together we will continue to navigate the changes that come our way. 

Stay safe and stay well. 

Sincerely, 

Sarah Prichard, Acting President & Vice Chancellor 

Lauretta Frederking, President, Brescia University College  

Barry Craig, President, Huron University College  

David Malloy, President, King’s University College  

Supporting your well-being

For students:  

For employees:  

Additional COVID-19 resources for the campus community can be found on Western’s COVID-19 website and on the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s website.  

AFFILIATED UNIVERSITY COLLEGES  

For information about operations at the affiliated university colleges, please visit their respective websites: Brescia, Huron and King’s .