COVID-19 Action Plan: Brock curtails travel and cancels events, drafts online and exam contingencies

(Posted on March 12, 2020) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, Brock University is working to protect the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, and also to ensure that the academic semester is not at risk.

To this end, Brock is enacting a series of measures to safeguard student, faculty and staff wellbeing.

Among these steps:

  • Prohibiting all student, faculty and staff travel outside Canada that is not vital to the academic mission
    • Travel considered vital to the academic mission includes things such as work placements and exchanges.
    • Travel not considered vital includes things such as attending or presenting at academic conferences, meeting colleagues and collaborators, and attending professional development events and classes.
    • The University is also updating and clarifying its travel cancellation policies.
    • Where travel is allowed, Brock will continue to adhere to the travel advisories as issued by Global Affairs Canada.
  • Cancelling all discretionary events not required for academic courses or credit through June 1
    • Events including March Break tours and Spring Open House are cancelled. Online replacement options will be explored.
    • Events cancelled include those organized or hosted by Brock on our campus or in other locations.
    • Events cancelled include those organized or hosted on our campus by third parties.
  • The University is working to assure students the academic term is not at risk.
    • We are exploring alternate forms of delivery and may take other steps as needed.
    • A full contingency plan for exams is being considered.

Brock is also evaluating the impact on students, staff and faculty of the provincial government’s decision to close elementary and high schools until April 5.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Niagara region.

University officials are closely monitoring the situation in North America and globally, but with a particular focus on our own region of Niagara and Hamilton. Brock staff are in contact with public health experts to ensure that we have current information about any risk levels in this community.

To help inform our responses and actions in this rapidly changing environment, Brock takes direction from health officials at the Public Health Agency of Canada and Niagara Region Public Health.

We are in touch with our students overseas to assure they are well and continuing their studies. They have access to a full suite of student services and supports.

Student work placements

The Province of Ontario today announced that all publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools will remain closed for an additional two weeks following March break, effectively closing schools from March 14 through April 5.

This will likely impact numerous students from Brock’s Faculty of Education who are scheduled to be in classrooms in practicum during the weeks of March 23 and March 30. The situation is developing, but Faculty officials will contact school boards to determine if teachers are required to be in the schools during the closure and will then follow up with students.

Also today, the Niagara Region increased precautionary measures for students who are gaining work experience in long-term care homes. This includes Nursing and Therapeutic Recreation students from Brock. These students are being directed to self-screen before going to the long-term care homes. Anyone with symptoms such as a cough, fever or difficulty breathing are to stay away from the homes for 14 days to ensure that they are past the contagious stage.

In general, experiential learning initiatives including co-op work terms and exchanges remain operational. However, all students who are in a work placement situation should take specific direction from the supervisor in their workplace. The University has notified employers that it will be completing the remainder of its worksite check-ins this term in an online format as a precautionary measure.