As Brock University continues to prepare for a significant return to on-campus instruction and activity this September, a Fall 2021 website has launched that includes information for current and prospective students.
The website will be updated regularly to reflect the changing conditions of the pandemic in the months ahead, as well as the evolution of public health measures.
The University is actively planning for three potential scenarios:
- Course delivery with a significant return to on-campus instruction, complemented with online and hybrid delivery elements to support students who may wish to study online.
- Course delivery with some return to on-campus instruction, with significant online and hybrid delivery elements.
- Course delivery almost entirely online, as has been the case, for example, during lockdowns.
Option A currently represents Brock’s most likely scenario for September and the one which the University is most intently planning for. When Brock’s Fall Term course calendar is released on Tuesday, May 25, it will feature a significant return to on-campus instruction with a majority of classes being offered in person while still offering many classes in a hybrid online format. The timetable will allow most students to return to campus for at least part of their courses, while continuing to accommodate students who prefer to study online as well.
Brock’s approach to Fall Term planning is flexible and the University will be ready to adapt to any of the three scenarios in the months ahead as the situation changes.
The University is approaching Fall Term planning with cautious optimism and with the knowledge all adults in Ontario who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are now eligible to receive their first shot.
The more people who get vaccinated and the earlier it happens, the better the prospects of returning to campus in September.
“It may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel given the current third wave and stay-at-home order, but the increasing pace of vaccine rollout and the growing supply gives us hope for the weeks and months ahead,” said Lynn Wells, Brock University Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “Overall, our objective is to resume as many of our on-campus teaching, research and student experience activities as possible at the beginning of the Fall Term.”
Brock University remains committed to the health and safety of all members of its community now and into the Fall Term. It’s expected that a range of health measures may still be in place in September:
- Non-medical masks may still be required indoors.
- The University will continue to promote the importance of handwashing and hygiene protocols.
- Enhanced cleaning will continue daily across campus.
- Those coming onto campus will be asked to complete a daily self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms and to stay home if they feel unwell.
A new look to Brock’s campus
A lot has changed since students were last on campus. While students continued their studies and many employees worked from home, the University’s main campus in St. Catharines was buzzing with activity. There’s a new Zone Fitness Centre that is triple the size of the previous facility, a new Starbucks in Guernsey Market, a new full-service Tim Hortons located in the Walker Sports Complex, two newly renovated dining halls in residences, a massively renovated DeCew Residence, as well as the new Residence 8, which is expected to open this fall. There’s also the ongoing construction of Canada Games Park, the arena and recreation complex being built on Brock land ahead of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
Courses and academic experience
In the 2021-22 Fall and Winter Terms, Brock will offer a mix of on-campus and online courses. The University recognizes some students and faculty members will be more comfortable learning and teaching online, and some may have come to enjoy the flexibility that online instruction offers. Some international students, who may not want or be able to come to Canada, will need to continue to study online. For these reasons, it will be important for Brock to continue to offer a significant number of online courses in the 2021-22 academic year. Some large courses with more than one section may be taught with both on-campus and online sections to maximize student choice.
Laboratory teaching and research experiences will take place on campus. Graduate-level teaching and research activities will also return to campus. On-campus research activities, including research involving human subjects, will proceed as per the levels of permission established in the Brock Stages document.
Off-campus experiential education, such as co-op and practicum opportunities, will be available within the conditions agreed upon with the partners offering the experiences. In some cases, such as in some health fields, partial or full vaccination may be a prerequisite for participation.
Student experience and student services
Brock is planning to offer a number of co-curricular and extracurricular activities, with safety guidelines in place as needed. Online options will also be offered for some activities.
Student services such as health, wellness and accessibility will be offered on campus in the fall, while continuing to also be offered online for students.
Similarly, orientation experiences such as Brock’s Welcome Week will also be offered both online and on campus. Orientation begins this summer and will support students throughout the 2021-22 year. The University realizes many students entering second year in September may not have attended campus before and may be looking for opportunities to connect and be supported, so they will be offered orientation programming as well.
When on-campus classes resume, so too will access to important spaces on campus such as the Brock University Library, computer labs and study space, with appropriate safety guidelines in place that will align with the stage of the pandemic response.
On-campus library services will resume, with the library space open and access to collections materials. Interlibrary loan services will be available as usual.
Residences and dining
On-campus residences will be available, with Brock planning for at least 75 per cent occupancy. To ensure the health and safety of all students living in residence, some additional rules may be in place. More than 70 per cent of the Brock residences are single rooms and, in most cases, only two students will share one washroom. Brock will facilitate isolation for residence students in the event of infection.
On-campus food outlets will be open and following all public health protocols. Residence dining facilities will be open and operational with some additional safety measures in place including limiting use of dining halls to residence students only.
Campus Store operations will be open, with both in-person and online delivery options available.
Sports and Recreation
Brock hopes to have all athletics and recreation facilities in the Walker Sports Complex, including the Zone Fitness Centre and the aquatic centre open to students, staff and faculty. Student programming such as intramurals and fitness classes will resume in person with some virtual options available.
Brock Sports will follow Ontario University Athletics and provincial sport guidelines. While no announcement has been made yet, planning is underway and details should be available soon.
Campus access and screening
Given the volume of people on campus, individual screening and check-in points would not be feasible or practical. Instead, self-screening, potentially through the Brock Safety App, will be implemented. Members of the Brock community will be asked to watch for symptoms and stay home if feeling unwell.
Facilities cleaning and ventilation
Keeping Brock University’s campuses safe for all remains the top priority. Classrooms, seminar rooms, labs and all other public spaces and high-touch areas will be cleaned routinely and at least daily.
Facilities Management has implemented a thorough approach to ventilation operation and maintenance that is aligned with industry best practices and with public health guidelines such as adjusting ventilation rates to increase outside air coming into buildings while also using high-quality filtration systems.