Articles by author: Brock University

  • Brock to pause COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements effective July 4

    With COVID-19 cases trending downwards across the province and 93 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 years and older fully vaccinated, Brock University will pause its COVID-19 vaccination requirement effective Monday, July 4. All members of the Brock community are still strongly encouraged to become vaccinated against COVID-19 and to keep up to date on boosters.

    Brock’s decision is reflective of trends in the sector and the broader community, with the Government of Ontario having lifted its vaccine mandate in March 2022. Most colleges and universities in Ontario removed their vaccine requirements earlier this year.

    While masks will still be encouraged in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, the University will also lift its mask requirement.

    This pause also applies to residences, where vaccination and masks will not be required as of July 4.

    Masks and/or vaccines may continue to be required in specific research settings, especially for some types of in-person human participant research, as determined with the guidance of the Research Ethics Board.

    Brock will continue to take appropriate steps to maintain a safe work and learning environment on campus as the pandemic evolves, including maintaining upgrades to ventilation systems on campus that were first introduced in September 2021.

    For this reason, both the vaccine and mask requirements are subject to change on short notice should the public health situation require it.

  • Brock preparing for a full return to campus in September

    As Brock looks to the 2022 Fall Term, the University is preparing for a full return to campus.

    On-campus operations are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels and all activities placed on hold due to public health measures will resume as planned. At this time, the expectation is that almost all classes will be taught on campus.

    Residences will continue to be fully operational, planning for a robust residence life program. Applications are now open for students who want to live on-campus. Full-time undergraduate students are guaranteed a bed in residence as long as they apply by June 1. Residence tours are being offered throughout May through the campus visitors program. Those interested can book a tour on the Discover Brock web pages.

    Brock’s vaccine and mask requirements currently in place will remain for the Spring/Summer Term. Given the rapidly evolving public health situation, it remains to be determined whether these requirements will remain in place for the Fall Term. Further information will be provided as September approaches.

    Brock will continue to take all steps required by provincial and local public health authorities to ensure the safety of those on its campuses.

    Given that conditions can change quickly and with little notice, all members of the Brock community are encouraged to prepare should public health requirements persist by keeping up to date on their vaccines, including any booster doses, and by continuing to upload proof of vaccination to the portal.

  • Brock to maintain vaccine and mask mandates beyond Winter Term

    Given current evidence of increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Brock University will maintain its COVID-19 vaccination policy and will continue to require the use of masks while indoors on campus beyond the Winter Term.

    These requirements will be re-evaluated regularly in the coming months and a separate announcement regarding the Fall 2022 Term will be made over the summer.

    “Brock’s top priority remains the health and well-being of the campus community,” says Lynn Wells, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor. “Public health measures such as vaccine mandates and wearing a mask when indoors allowed for a successful and safe return to campus in the fall, and we’ll continue to rely on these measures beyond the Winter Term as we assess the public health situation in the region and across the province. I want to thank the Brock community for its continued patience and co-operation as we move into this new phase of the pandemic.”

    The decision to continue the vaccination and masking mandates was made in consultation with Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Acting Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner, Public Health, who fully supports the University’s ongoing efforts to keep its community as safe and healthy as possible.

    “I applaud Brock University for its leadership maintaining masking requirements and vaccination policies,” says Hirji. “These measures will continue to protect students, staff and visitors. Niagara and Ontario are now into the early parts of a sixth wave of COVID-19; locally, we have seen a two-and-a-half-fold increase in persons hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last couple of weeks, and unfortunately may see more hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks.

    “The actions Brock University is taking will allow the important activities on campus to continue unimpeded while maintaining a level of safety that everyone has enjoyed this past academic year. I continue to urge everyone to get up to date with three doses of COVID-19 vaccine and continue to wear masks in indoor spaces and when in crowded spaces outdoors so that we can protect ourselves, but more importantly, the vulnerable people around us. I hope Brock University can serve as a role model for other organizations in maintaining masking requirements and vaccination policies as we experience the current surge of infections.”

    Brock continues to monitor public health developments and will adapt its COVID-19 response as required.

    Over the Spring/Summer Term, Brock will make rapid antigen tests, medical masks and KN95 masks available to students, staff and faculty. Further information will follow.

    Please continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, do not come on campus.

  • Rapid antigen tests available for Brock students, faculty and staff

    Thousands of free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are now available to students and others at Brock University as part of ongoing efforts to keep the campus community safe.

    Starting Wednesday, March 16, students can pick up a rapid antigen test kit from one of the following locations on the main St. Catharines campus. Plans are also in the works to have them available at the Hamilton and Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts sites.

    • Rankin Family Pavilion Welcome Desk – 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.
    • Student Success Centre in Guernsey Market – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Walker Complex Welcome Desk – 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Student Wellness HUB (TH134) – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Rapid antigen test kits are also available at no charge to faculty and staff and are being distributed to departments through the Senior Administrative Council.

    The Brock community is encouraged to use the tests should they choose to take part in St. Patrick’s Day gatherings, as well as upon returning from March Break travel this week.

    Since early February, the Province of Ontario has been distributing 5.5 million rapid tests each week through pharmacies, grocery stores and community partners. Visit Ontario’s COVID-19 website for more information on where to access free tests in communities across the province.

  • Brock to continue with health measures until at least the end of the Winter Term

    As previously announced, Brock University will continue with the following health and safety measures until at least the end of the Winter Term:

    • A mandatory masking requirement (medical grade masks are highly recommended for students and required for faculty and staff).
    • COVID-19 vaccine mandate for anyone coming to campus.
    • A COVID-19 booster vaccine requirement for those living in on-campus residences.
    • Mandatory self-screening for anyone coming to a Brock campus.

    Those who have not yet received the third booster dose are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

    As always, members of the Brock community are asked to be vigilant and to self-monitor closely for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, please do not come to campus. The Brock community has been unified in its approach as everyone works together to ensure a healthy and safe campus. We will continue to prioritize the well-being of students, staff, faculty members and visitors by maintaining these prudent measures for at least the rest of the Winter Term.

  • Brock Sports, Recreation updating plans as province eases restrictions

    Brock Sports and Brock Recreation are preparing to adjust capacity limits throughout the Walker Sports Complex facilities following this week’s announcement by the Province of Ontario of easing pandemic-related restrictions.

    As of Thursday, Feb. 17, Brock is allowing spectators at its varsity home games with a 50 per cent capacity limit.

    The first game back with spectators will be on Sunday, Feb. 20, when the Brock women’s volleyball team hosts the Western Mustangs at Bob Davis Gymnasium at 2 p.m.

    Meanwhile, Brock Recreation is maintaining its 50 per cent capacity limit with masks required at all times.

    Capacity limits are expected to gradually increase throughout the Walker Sports Complex in the coming weeks, according to Karen McAllister-Kenny, Director, Brock Recreation.

    “We will steadily increase our capacity while maintaining our priority of keeping all participants and staff safe,” she said. “We continue to follow Ontario’s regulations and Niagara Region Public Health protocols.”

    This week’s update from the province does not impact Brock University’s existing protocols, including:

    Students, faculty and staff have access to the Zone Fitness Centre, gymnasia, pool, running track and other fitness and training areas. Access must be booked in advance.

  • Public health protocols to remain in effect at Brock

    Brock University has reviewed this week’s announcement by the Province of Ontario that outlines updated pandemic management timelines.

    For the past two years, the entire Brock community has played an important role in ensuring a safe and healthy campus for teaching, learning and research activities. The protocols established by Brock University have led to a successful Fall Term and a safe return to campus this winter. Our University is well-served by these effective and sensible protocols.

    This week’s update from the province will not impact or change Brock’s approach to its Winter Term. For the rest of this term, the University will continue its protocols, including:

    • COVID-19 vaccine mandate for anyone coming to campus.
    • A COVID-19 booster vaccine requirement for those living in on-campus residences.
    • Mandatory self-screening for anyone coming to a Brock campus.
    • A mandatory masking requirement (medical grade masks are highly recommended for students and required for faculty and staff).
    • Encouraging everyone on campus to receive a third booster dose.

    As always, members of the Brock community are asked to be vigilant and to self-monitor closely for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, please do not come to campus.

    The Brock community has been unified in its approach as everyone works together to ensure a healthy and safe campus. By continuing with these prudent measures during the rest of the Winter Term, the well-being of students, faculty, staff and visitors will continue to be prioritized.

    Further updates on protocols for Brock Sports, food services and other areas of campus operation will be shared shortly.

  • Message from the President: Brock to begin phased return to campus Jan. 31

    Dear Brock students, staff, faculty members and librarians,

    Throughout this pandemic, our top priority has been to support a safe learning and work environment for students, staff, faculty members and librarians, while maximizing the on-campus experience for students.

    Thanks to the flexibility and co-operation of the campus community, our return to campus in the Fall Term was successful, allowing students to have the on-campus experience they deserve.

    Prior to the holiday break, we shared our plan to begin the Winter Term online and return to on-campus learning on Monday, Jan. 31. Brock will begin a phased return to campus as planned on Jan. 31. This return will align with public health measures and guidelines provided by provincial and local authorities.

    This gradual approach is already underway, with students in the Nursing and Professional Kinesiology programs having returned to campus at the beginning of the term. Campus residences also reopened to students earlier this month.

    The phased return to campus will continue as follows:

    • Week of Jan. 31
      • All Year 1 and Year 4 (including 3Alpha90+) lectures, labs, seminars and tutorials
      • All academic activities held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
      • All master’s and PhD courses
      • Pre-service courses in the Faculty of Education, excluding courses in Duration 12, which remain online
    • Week of Feb. 7
      • All Year 2 and Year 3 lectures, labs, seminars and tutorials
    • Week of Feb. 28
      • A small number of approximately 25 very large lectures will return following Reading Week. Students in these courses will be contacted via Sakai and/or their Brock email address to be informed if they are enrolled in these courses.
    • Courses scheduled for online delivery in the Winter Term will continue online

    Brock takes its obligation to support a safe, meaningful, on-campus learning experience seriously and has put in place a range of public health measures. These include:

    • COVID-19 vaccine mandate for anyone coming to campus
    • A COVID-19 booster vaccine requirement for those living in residence
    • Mandatory self-screening each time anyone comes to campus
    • A masking requirement that follows public health guidelines

    Staff required to ensure a full student experience will return to working on campus Monday, Jan. 31. Supervisors will communicate plans shortly. A return to hybrid work plans for those continuing to work remotely will take place once provincial guidelines permit.

    While the province’s definition of “fully vaccinated” has not changed, I want to encourage anyone who has not yet done so to get their booster dose as soon as possible. The University will continue to facilitate vaccination in any way we can, including hosting the province’s GO-VAXX vaccine clinic bus on campus and running on-campus vaccine clinics for students through Student Health Services.

    Students, staff, faculty members and librarians are also reminded to monitor their health constantly and screen for COVID symptoms. If you are not feeling well, stay home and do not visit campus. The University will continue to work with the province to facilitate access to rapid antigen testing kits for members of the University community.

    In addition to the return of on-campus learning, we’re looking forward to providing a meaningful student sport and recreation experience that includes the reopening of the Walker Sports Complex when permitted by the province. More details will follow in the coming weeks.

    I know the return to campus is a time of great excitement for the community. I urge everyone to remain patient and respectful of each other as we make the transition back to campus, and to do everything possible — including following all public health guidance — to ensure a safe and productive Winter Term.

    As always, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates as new information becomes available. We are thankful for the community’s understanding and flexibility.

    Sincerely,

    Lynn Wells

    Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
    Provost and Vice-President, Academic

  • Winter Term update from Interim President Lynn Wells

    Dear Brock community,

    I’m writing to you today with an update on the Winter Term and Brock’s response to COVID-19.

    Our top priority continues to be providing a safe learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff, with the goal of getting students back on campus as soon as possible.

    We continue to monitor the rapidly changing environment surrounding the Omicron variant, and together with our colleagues across Ontario, we are doing everything possible to provide the meaningful, on-campus experience for which students have so strongly advocated.

    I want you to know that I share your frustration at the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I too want to see us return to a more normal situation, without further disruption to campus activities — especially the on-campus learning so many students desire.

    To that end, I encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as possible, and to continue following all public health guidance.

    As announced earlier, most classes will resume Monday, Jan. 10 through online delivery. On-campus delivery of classes is planned to resume on Monday, Jan. 31, giving students, staff and faculty time to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster, which will help ensure a safe return to campus.

    During the period of online course delivery, the campus will remain open. Anyone attending the campus must continue to follow all public health guidelines, including masking and physical distancing unless in an approved setting, and complete daily screening through Brock’s safety app.

    Additionally, the following measures will be in place on campus at least until the end of January (see full operating guidelines list):

    • Work-from-home arrangements are in place for any staff not required on campus due to nature of their role.
    • Only time-sensitive research is permitted (with a priority on student degree progression).
    • Main floor access and bookable space (subject to capacity limits) is available at the Brock University Library.
    • Recreational facilities are closed.
    • All dining service is take-out only.
    • The Computer Commons is open (subject to capacity limits).
    • The Campus Store is open online and in-store (subject to capacity limits).
    • Reduced occupancy will continue in residences.
    • No university business travel is permitted, with limited travel for research purposes.

    As we have throughout this pandemic, we’ll continue to provide regular updates to keep the community informed as new information becomes available.

    Thank you for your continued patience, support and resilience as we navigate this unprecedented situation together.

    Sincerely,

    Lynn Wells

    Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
    Provost and Vice-President, Academic

  • On-campus vaccination clinics available for Brock community

    Four vaccination clinics are scheduled at Brock University over the next week to help make it easier for students, faculty and staff to get their COVID-19 vaccination doses.

    The University previously announced that the Winter Term will start with online course delivery to allow time for the Brock community to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, which will help ensure a safe return to campus.

    Brock’s Student Health Services will host a booster shot clinic for students 29 years old and under at Harrison Hall (located across from the Walker Sports Complex) Thursday, Jan. 6 and Friday, Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are required and must be booked by phoning 905-688-5550 x3243.

    The University will also host the GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinic on Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan 10. Appointments are required and will be limited in number. They can be booked starting at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic and typically fill up in less than one hour. They can be booked through Ontario’s booking portal or by phoning the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 833-943-3900. Students, faculty, staff and anyone from the wider community are welcome.

    Other local vaccine bookings are available through the Government of Ontario website as well as through local pharmacies. Niagara Region Public Health has also launched a daily standby list for those looking to get a vaccine at its clinic at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. The list will be refreshed daily, so anyone interested must register each day they’re available to get to the clinic within 30 minutes of being contacted.

    All Ontario adults are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Proof of receiving the booster can now be uploaded to the my.brocku.ca portal. Further information about vaccine requirements will be provided in the near future.