Here’s a look at some of the updates to Brock University’s COVID-19 response for Friday, April 3:
In anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 activity in Niagara in the coming weeks, Niagara Region and Niagara’s 12 municipalities jointly declared a state of emergency Friday.
The number of cases in the region increased to 99 confirmed as of Friday, with four deaths. The state of emergency provides Niagara with all options available to protect the health and safety of residents. More information on Niagara’s response to the COVID-19 situation can be found at niagararegion.ca/covid19, or by calling Public Health’s COVID-19 InfoLine at 905-688-8248.
Additionally, the Ontario government further reduced the list of businesses classified as essential and ordered more workplaces to close on Friday. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.
Brock further limits access to University buildings
Effective at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 3, access points to Brock University buildings will be reduced as the institution moves to further discourage non-essential visits and reduce the frequency of people leaving their homes and travelling through the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new protocols apply to all Brock academic facilities at the main campus and at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines. (Brock’s Hamilton Campus remains closed and is not accessible.)
Swipe-card access through exterior entrances is being suspended. All visitors will need to check in and check out with Campus Security at designated entrances.
Brock provides students with new options for final grades
To help students navigate these uncertain times, Brock is implementing new measures to alleviate stress about final grades. The Brock University Senate approved new options to give students greater choice on how grades will be presented on transcripts for any course affected by the COVID-19 disruption. Students will have three different options to choose from regarding their final grades.
Computer Commons changes
Following the Province of Ontario’s directives to limit gatherings to five people, limits are being placed on the number of users in the Computer Commons (Fish Bowl) at any one time.
Access is now limited to five people on the upper level of the Computer Commons and five on the lower level. Students using the space are asked to physically distance themselves and not work in groups. Floor markings have been installed outside the space so that any students waiting to access the computer lab will be practising appropriate physical distancing. A time limit will be used if there are students waiting.
Earlier this week, the University provided information on other ways students can access Brock’s internet service including the ‘drive-in’ service in the East Academic. Click here to read the story in The Brock News.
For students who do not have internet access but do have a laptop/tablet and phone with a data plan, you can use your phone as a hot spot. Please contact the Help Desk if you require assistance and contact your cell phone provider for information on data overage costs. Some internet providers currently waiving these costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accessing Microsoft Teams by telephone
Brock IT is reminding faculty and staff that Microsoft Teams and Lifesize are both available for video conferencing.
Logging into meetings using the Teams and Lifesize apps is the best way to access the services, but anyone calling into Microsoft Teams meetings from a landline or cell phone is asked to use the toll-free number 888-862-4985, which is significantly more cost-effective than the local number.
For those who may be using Zoom as their communication and collaboration tool, please be aware of the latest critical privacy and security issues with the FBI issuing a warning Friday. Microsoft Teams is Brock’s enterprise communication and collaboration tool. If you need assistance, please contact the Help Desk or visit the ITS SharePoint site to learn more about Teams and how to adopt it.
IT Help Desk
The IT Help Desk located in the Computer Commons is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed on weekends. Remote support is available from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, and has now been expanded to weekends, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Remote support is available to faculty, staff, students and the rest of the Brock community.
Please note, remote support will be extended to 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 to support the Brock community during the only weekend day when online exams are being be held.
Questions can be directed to email@example.com
COVID-19 phishing scam warning
Brock is warning students, faculty and staff about a COVID-19 phishing scam currently circulating.
Please exercise caution opening, answering or clicking on links outside of the brocku.ca domain related to the COVID-19 virus.
If you receive an email related to COVID-19 you’re suspicious of, please phone the Help Desk at x4357 and forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental health supports available for students and employees
With students transitioning to online learning and many employees working from home, mental health support resources for members of the University community remain available.
Students can access mental health support over the phone by calling Student Health Services at 905-688-5550 x3243, Community Addictions Services of Niagara at 905-684-1183, Good 2 Talk at 866-925-5454 or Morneau Shepell at 833-276-2533.
Employees can also access immediate support for mental health and other challenges through the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which has been made available to all current Brock employees as part of the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.