Important COVID-19 Update

January 11, 2022 9:00 AM

Dear Western Employees and Students, 

Further to our January 3 update, Western is taking several new steps to continue to protect the campus community. Today, we are providing important information on changes to our daily self-assessment and absence notification tools, new masking requirements, studying/working in shared spaces, ordering textbooks, vaccination and testing.  

New daily self-assessment tool 

Moving forward, we will be aligning our daily return-to-campus questionnaire with the provincial self-assessment. Those who need to come to campus are required to complete the  province's COVID-19 self-assessment tool  daily. 

Employees and students started receiving a daily email with a link on Monday, January 10. 

Employee notification of absence (including self-isolation):

In order to support the ongoing continuity of operations of the university, it is important that employees complete the absence notification tool, including self-isolation, each day of their illness or isolation.  

 If you are unwell or required to self-isolate due to illness or being a close contact, please complete the absence notification tool, including self-isolation, in MyHR daily and notify your supervisor as soon as you are able. When reporting self-isolation, employees will indicate if they are able to fulfill their work duties. 

Recording your absence or self-isolation is an important way for Western to understand and plan for staffing needs across campus. 

Student notification of absence:

It is important for us to understand when you are ill or in self-isolation in order to support your academic success.  If you cannot complete your remote learning or attend campus for a required in-person assessment due to illness or self-isolation, you will need to either submit a Self-Reported Absence or seek Academic Considerations through your Faculty Academic Counselling Office and/or Dean's Office, as appropriate.

Enhancing medical-grade mask level 

Effective today and out of an abundance of caution, Western is upgrading to medical grade (ASTM level 3) masks that must be worn by students and employees who are required to be on campus. These masks must always be worn while indoors, as well as outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. There are some exceptions for those working or learning in designated clinical or research areas where an N-95 mask is required. If you have been notified an N-95 mask is required in your area, please note that this direction remains in place. For employees who are working on campus, new masks will be available through your supervisor or can be picked up at Western library locations.

For students who are attending classes online, please do not come to campus to pick up masks. Students who must be on campus at this time can pick up masks at Western libraries using their Western ONECard.  

Working in a shared space 

If you work in a shared space with open cubicles, you are now required to wear a mask at all times. We understand this may cause frustration and inconvenience for some, however, with the highly transmissible nature of Omicron, this is being implemented to help stop the spread of the variant.  

All meetings should be conducted via Zoom where possible. We ask that employees please dine alone when masks are removed to eat and drink.  

Studying in a shared space 

If you study in a shared space with open cubicles, you are now required to wear a mask at all times. We understand this may cause frustration and inconvenience for some, however, with the highly transmissible nature of Omicron, this is being implemented to help stop the spread of the variant.

We ask that students please dine alone when masks are removed to eat and drink.

Book Store at Western ready to fill textbook orders 

With classes resuming online yesterday, we encourage students to place textbook orders as soon as possible using the online portal. There is limited capacity for in-store shopping at the Book Store as a result of provincial restrictions, and limited store hours. You can order your textbooks to be shipped to you or for in-store pickup.  

For more information and Book Store hours, visit: www.bookstore.uwo.ca/ 

COVID-19 vaccination and testing 

As a final note, the Ministry of Health recently 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 transmission in the community.   

Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre is open and vaccinations and boosters continue to be available. Testing will only be available to eligible individuals according to public health guidelines, or as identified by Workplace Health or Health and Wellness to confirm continued self-isolation requirements. Centre hours of operation are updated weekly.   

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we continue to work through new public health requirements to safeguard our campus community. 

Sincerely, 

Jane O’Brien, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources)    

Lynn Logan, Vice-President (Operations and Finance)  

John Doerksen, Acting Provost (Academic)

Jeff Hutter, Acting Vice-Provost (Academic)

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 .