Brock plans recovery from COVID-19 with progressive return to campus

The past few months have been challenging for Brock University students, staff and faculty. The evolution of the pandemic has required everyone to adjust to ever-changing circumstances, shifting plans on short notice to respect public health guidelines.

The University recognizes the toll the current environment is taking on all members of its community and would like to thank all students, staff and faculty for their hard work and dedication.

Brock has continued to plan for each coming term to ensure that all members of its community receive accurate and transparent information as soon as possible. The University’s top priority remains ensuring a high-quality academic and student experience, with the knowledge that many are eager to return to campus as soon as it is safe to do so.

Given the current evolution of the pandemic, Brock is planning to offer as many courses as possible on campus in Fall 2021, while the Winter, Spring and Summer 2021 terms will take place primarily online. 

Winter 2021 Term will continue primarily online

With the exception of a small number of courses with 10 students or fewer for which on-campus instruction may be required, the majority of courses will complete the Winter 2021 Term online. Most of the courses that had been approved for on-campus instruction before the lockdown was announced will instead proceed online. While the lockdown may be lifted at some point this term, a shift from online to on-campus instruction in the middle of the term would cause significant disruption to both students and faculty.

Since the first lockdown last winter, students have told Brock they wanted to end the semester in the same mode of learning as they began. The experience of moving online on short notice in March 2020 taught everyone the challenges of this process. This term, given the continued uncertainty about the duration of the current lockdown and the possibility of future lockdowns, the lessons learned last winter can be applied by choosing to remain online. 

Spring/Summer Term primarily online with increased on-campus offerings

While the Spring and Summer Terms will take place primarily online, Brock expects to be in a position to offer an increased number of on-campus courses, including labs and courses with experiential components. In doing so, Brock will continue to respect all public health guidelines in order to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of its community.

The course schedule for the Spring and Summer Terms will be available in mid-February. Registration opens on Wednesday, March 3. 

Return to campus planned for Fall 2021

Brock is planning a significant return to campus for the 2021 Fall Term, including offering as many courses on campus as possible within public health guidelines. This would include labs and other courses with experiential components, but also other types of courses, such as graduate seminars and smaller classes.

The University also expects residences to be fully operational, returning to near-full capacity and ready to receive students.

Some of the existing public health restrictions may remain in place, including mandatory mask orders and physical distancing requirements. These may limit Brock’s ability to offer certain kinds of courses, especially very large ones, on campus. COVID will remain part of our lives, and precautions will still be necessary. However, as vaccination plans progress and the most vulnerable are protected, Brock’s campus will slowly come back to life.

Brock will also strive to offer a significant number of online and hybrid courses. These will appeal not only to students who may not yet feel safe returning to campus, but also to those who have come to appreciate the flexibility and other benefits of online instruction.

“Over the past several months, we have been listening closely to all members of our community,” said Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “Some students have told us how much they enjoy the online experience and the ability to plan their lives around their courses. They enjoy not having to commute. And they feel that they can remain motivated and learn effectively in this environment.”

But Wells also recognized that most students are eager to return to campus.

“Some of their reasons are academic — the online experience has not always been an easy one — but many are social,” Wells said. “The learning experience benefits significantly when students can interact on campus. For Fall 2021, we are looking to combine the best of both of these worlds.”

Brock will continue to share additional information as it becomes available in the coming months.