Here’s a look at some of the updates to Brock University’s COVID-19 response for Thursday, May 14:
On a day when the Government of Ontario took further steps to ease the restrictions around outdoor recreation and retail businesses, Brock University has further laid out its plan for a Fall Term that balances the health and well-being of its students with their pursuit of academic success.
The University is planning for a term that is primarily delivered online, supported by some limited in-person, on-campus opportunities for students.
Students and recent grads can apply for federal funds Friday
The federal government said the portal for post-secondary students and recent graduates to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will open Friday.
Eligible students will receive $1,250 per month for four months through the CESB, with an extra $750 for students with disabilities or dependants.
Supporting high-quality online teaching and learning at Brock
The Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) has been working closely with faculty, sessional instructors, teaching assistants (TAs) and lab demonstrators during this time of transition to prepare for blended and fully online teaching and learning.
Virtual Teaching Interest Groups have been developed that will allow for participation in sessions related to online teaching in large classes, graduate classes, lab-based courses, fourth-year seminar courses and language learning — with more to be developed.
As instructors prepare new online courses or revise existing courses, please consult the CPI’s Flexible Teaching and Learning webpage, which contains continually-updated resources. The CPI is also focused on training for TAs through an Online TA Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education.
Research at Brock update
Last week, the Vice-President, Research announced two modifications to Brock University’s criteria for exemption from the general suspension of access to research facilities.
The criteria for authorizing life science field research in local sites have broadened. Also expanded are the criteria for accessing research facilities to conduct analytical and diagnostic testing services in support of partner organizations designated essential under provincial orders. In both cases, requests for authorization are to specify operational protocols that respect public health guidelines and orders, as well as the University’s prioritization of student, staff and faculty safety.
Details on these modifications are reflected in the materials available under the Research tab on the Brock Coronavirus FAQ webpage.
Words of thanks and encouragement from Board Chair
Brock University Board of Trustees Chair Gary Comerford wrote an open letter this week congratulating faculty, staff and students on their hard work and resilience.
“It has been even more fulfilling these past few months as we have seen how the entire community at Brock is working together under exceptionally challenging circumstances. From the early work of Brock staff in January and February preparing for the virus’s growing threat; to our faculty and researchers who worked to quickly change course plans, lessons and lab activities with very short notice; to our students, who have quickly transitioned to online learning and exams, while moving out of residence and away from Niagara under new deadlines.”
Early research results show impacts of pandemic on children and youth
Brock researchers are starting to see results as they examine the experiences of children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When she started her study at the end of March, Child and Youth Studies Professor Rebecca Raby was concerned — and curious — about how young people are coping with the pandemic.
She and her six-member student team have been conducting bi-weekly, online interviews with 25 children and youth from ages eight to 16 from a wide range of backgrounds and living arrangements. In between the structured, formalized interviews are informal check-ins via text or other messaging.
The research team is compiling some interesting stories.
In an age of cyber attacks, Brock embraces MFA to beef up cyber security
Brock is joining scores of institutions around the world in adapting Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
MFA is probably the single most effective way to protect an organization against remote attacks and prevent criminals from seizing control of sensitive files or personal information. It follows the same high-security principle as a bank card at an ATM, which requires a user to have a PIN number to use it.
When Brock users get access to MFA, they receive notifications through their mobile device or smartphone asking them to confirm they have just tried to log into Office 365 or Workday.
Brock has begun a phase-in campaign that will eventually require all faculty, staff and students to use a mobile device to confirm their identity.
Mental health app for employees
Employees can 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.
The free My EAP app offers interactive support tools and easy access to health and wellness information directly on a mobile device. Users can also access an instant chat with a counsellor or book an EFAP support service. Visit workhealthlife.com/myeap to locate and install the app on your mobile device.
Mental health resources — update for students
Brock is dedicated to supporting students with mental health resources.
Face-to-face counselling is currently not available, however same-day drop-in counselling is still accessible. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be contacted via Microsoft Teams with an appointment time and a counsellor’s name.
For 24/7 personal counselling phone 833-276-2533 (833-BROCK33).
From Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., students can access Student Health Services (SHS) by phoning 905-688-5550 x3243 to leave a message and contact number, or by emailing email@example.com
Student Accessibility Services remains available for students and contact information can be found on SAS website.
If you have questions about COVID-19 symptoms and need to speak to a Student Health Services nurse, please email COVID19@brocku.ca
For medical emergencies, students should phone 911.