Department of Residences staff continues providing essential services to Brock

Note: This is the sixth in a series of stories about how some of the department and units at Brock University are operating during the COVID-19 pandemic measures. If you would like to tell your department’s story, please email

While the University community remotely prepares to transition to the Spring and Summer Terms virtually, the Department of Residences staff continues to work on-site to provide essential services.

When Brock announced the suspension of face-to-face classes and an alternate operational model on March 13, Residences staff began the planning and execution of moving students out of the residences, which was phase one of the department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase two was the execution of consolidation of students who would remain in residence, while phase three was accommodating students past the end of exams.

The department was also focused on preparing self-isolation units, completing personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory, doing inspections on some of the residence buildings and providing daily (and gradually weekly) updates to Brock’s Emergency Management Group. Also, some are packing up their offices as they prepare to relocate for the next phase of construction for the DeCew renewal project.

“To keep our workspace as safe as possible, we have done a number of things,” said Jamie Fleming, Director of Residences. “The South Service Desk has a plexiglass shield and taped floor to mark off physical distancing space, and the 24/7 Service Desk is still operating as usual, which requires a full shift rotation. As always, there is thorough disinfecting between shifts, and staff that provide residence life response have rotated on-site shifts. Other staff who are on-site work in separate offices, and several have been set up with a remote desk top and/or VPN to work from home.”

Everyday, there are between one and five staff members working on-site, with almost every member of the department is working on campus at some point throughout the week.

Recently, the department’s focus shifted to concentrate on the plans regarding accommodating the Niagara Region frontline health-care workers.  

Staff are also doing all of the usual behind-the-scenes work to prepare for the 2020-21 academic year, like the residence application and admissions cycle, which has been underway for months. The added twist for this year is that the staff have been developing scenarios with different occupancy levels and ratios of shared spaces. For example, limiting the number of students per townhouse or number of students per washroom.

“The Department of Residences staff is an extremely dedicated group of people,” said Fleming. “They understand the 24/7 nature of our work and that we’re an essential service. They rise to meet whatever challenges need to be faced, including the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Residences has pulled together as a team, as we always do.”

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