January 8, 2021. President's Update

January 08, 2021 7:30 PM

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