Articles by author: Brock University

  • Brock updates Stages of Recovery, will move to new stage Monday

    With the Province of Ontario moving into Step 1 of its new Roadmap to Reopen plan on Friday, June 11, Brock University has updated its own reopening procedures. The updated Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery document better aligns with the new provincial framework and follows all current regulations set by Niagara Region Public Health.

    The document also supports the University’s continued planning for a significant return to campus in September, with most classes offered in person and some offered online or in a hybrid format. Brock is also planning for the reopening of student residences, dining facilities and other amenities on campus.

    In the meantime, the University will move into Brock Stage 1 (Stringent) as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 14. Like the provincial framework, Brock’s plan sets out three specific stages of reopening.

    Under Stage 1 of the new Brock framework, which was approved this week after consultation from across the University, there will be some resumption of on-campus activity permitted.

    As the health and safety of the Brock community remains the top priority, existing measures such as accessing campus through the Rankin Family Pavilion or Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, as well as requiring face coverings to be worn while on campus, will remain in place. Faculty and staff who are able to work from home should continue to do so.

    In addition, the following measures will be in place as of Monday, June 14 when the University moves into Brock Stage 1 (Stringent) of the new three-stage plan:

    • Classes will be delivered primarily online with limited on-campus delivery.
    • All exams and testing will be delivered online.
    • Common areas such as the Computer Commons and Brock University Library are closed, though the library will offer expanded book pickup hours.
    • Time-sensitive research, including some in-person human research, can be authorized. See the Research FAQs for more information.
    • Athletic facilities inside the Walker Sports Complex, including the Zone Fitness Centre, Brock pool, gymnasia and Brock Sport Performance Centre, remain closed while outdoor training may resume with a maximum of 10 people.
    • The Campus Store remains available for online sales only.
    • Dining services remain closed.
    • Public access to campus is not permitted.

    For a complete listing of what is permitted under the various Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery, see the full chart here. The University will not transition to a less-restrictive stage of recovery until the public health situation allows for it and all required measures are in place.

    Similarly, Brock anticipates being beyond Stage 3 (Protect and Prevent) by the time the Fall Term begins. With Ontario expected to reach Step 3 of reopening as early as the end of July, Brock will await guidance from the province and public health officials about further stages of reopening before Fall Term begins.

  • SWAC supports remain steadfast through Spring, Summer Terms

    With Winter Term now over and Spring classes set to get underway next week, the health and well-being of Brock students remain the University’s top priority.

    Supports are available year-round, said Sarah Pennisi, Director of Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC), who urged students to reach out for help.

    “Call us. Reach out to us. There are no wrong questions,” she said. “Whatever it is you’re going through, we’ll walk with you. Whether you’re concerned about a relationship, worried about a roommate, or if you have a question about your identity or sexuality. We’re here, and we’ll figure it out together.”

    SWAC offers a wealth of programming for both undergraduate and graduate students, including Personal Counselling, Student Health Services (SHS), Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and Peer Health Education and Promotion.

    The supports have seen a significant uptick in usage over the past seven years, but the pandemic has sent demand into overdrive:

    • Student Health Services has tracked an 81 per cent increase in mental health visits by students.
    • Personal Counselling sessions are up 112 per cent.
    • Student Accessibility Services accommodations have risen 87 per cent.

    SWAC has been working hard to meet the growing need for support and make a difference in the lives of students through its pillars of service.

    Personal Counselling addresses students’ concerns about their well-being with 24-7 support via telephone or text chat with professional licensed counsellors.

    Student Health Services provides virtual health care and makes in-person visits when medically necessary.

    Student Accessibility Services is supporting students with accessibility needs with one-on-one case manager support, providing accommodations for a variety of conditions, including learning disabilities, mental health disorders, or physical, vision or hearing disabilities.

    Peer health education and promotion provides peer support and programming for both undergraduate and graduate students.

    “We are always looking to knock down barriers preventing students from using our services,” said Pennisi. “We want our students to access what we have to offer easily.”

    SWAC worked to overcome two major hurdles imposed by the pandemic: the need for appointments to be booked outside of business hours and for a high standard of support to be available through text.

    “Access 24-7 is vitally important for students,” said Pennisi. “We also recognize that because students were learning remotely from home that sometimes they weren’t able to speak freely, so the importance of text communication was paramount.”

    SWAC implemented a game-changing service with the My Student Support Program App (SSP), which offers real-time, 24-7 confidential telephone and text chat counselling support for students in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

    The app also offers resources, including articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, evidence-based screening self-assessments and free access to the virtual fitness app LIFT.

    Although other organizations provide text mental health supports, Brock’s services consist of a full suite of mental health assistance, including appointments and interventions by highly skilled mental health practitioners.

    “Having a live person pick up the phone or answer a text is integral, especially when students are in distress,” Pennisi said. “It takes a lot of courage to take that first step, and this service has been the difference in providing round-the-clock support. The SSP app has been effective in reaching students who wouldn’t otherwise seek assistance.”

    Counsellors from Morneau Sheppell were also integrated on campus alongside Student Wellness staff when the initiative was launched in December as a one-year pilot project.

    Pennisi said SWAC is grateful for the funding it has received from the Ontario governmentthe Niagara Community Foundation and Takeda Canada Inc., and for ongoing support from the Brock University Students’ Union.

    To reach SWAC’s services:

    Personal Counselling

    Personal Counselling crisis support is available 24-7 by calling 1-833-BROCK-33, or, if outside of North America, by calling 001-416-382-3257. Addiction support is also available Tuesday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

    Student Health Services

    Students can book telehealth or virtual appointments with SHS by calling 905-688-5550 x3243. Office hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Students can also connect with an SHS nurse if they’re feeling unwell or have questions regarding COVID-19 by calling 289-968-5273 or emailing covid19nurse@brocku.ca

    Student Accessibility Services

    Students who are currently registered for SAS services can book case manager, learning strategist, assistive technology and available drop-in appointments through the online booking portal.

    For new students who have questions or require accommodation, please visit the SAS website or call 905-688-5550 x3240 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for more information.

  • Positive case of COVID-19 at Brock

    A member of the Brock community has tested positive for COVID-19.

    The individual last visited campus on Monday, April 12 and, following the University protocols around positive cases, those areas have now been fully cleaned and disinfected. Contact tracing has now been completed.

    The community is reminded that pandemic guidelines and restrictions remain in effect as efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 continue.

  • Medical masks required during Brock Stage 1

    Starting Monday, April 26, all faculty, staff, students and visitors to Brock University will be required to wear a medical-grade mask while on campus, including inside buildings, outdoors on Brock property and while alone in University-owned vehicles.

    The requirement, which will be in effect while the University remains in Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown) of its pandemic response and recovery plan, is a further step in the effort to help reduce the spread and risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

    All Winter Term exams wrapped up Friday, April 23 and virtually all Spring/Summer courses are being offered online. Under Brock Stage 1 and the current provincewide lockdown, anyone who is able to work from home should, and only those who absolutely must be on campus are permitted to be there.

    Since the appearance of medical- and non-medical-grade disposable masks can be very similar, Health Canada-approved disposable medical-grade masks will be provided at the two entry checkpoints: the Rankin Family Pavilion and the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex. They may also be provided to departments working on campus by Brock supervisors.

    Brock departments will be able to order their own supply of medical-grade masks through the Workday system. It is recommended that these masks are replaced every 3.5 hours of use, or anytime they get dirty, wet or damaged.

    While this medical-grade mask requirement is currently in place during Brock Stage 1, measures for other stages will be announced in the future.

  • Positive case of COVID-19 on campus

    A member of the Brock community has tested positive for COVID-19.

    The individual last visited campus on Monday, April 12 and, following the University protocols around positive cases, those areas have now been fully cleaned and disinfected. Contact tracing has now been completed.

    The community is reminded that pandemic guidelines and restrictions remain in effect as efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 continue.

  • COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Brock University

    Niagara Region Public Health on Wednesday, April 21 declared the COVID-19 outbreak over in the student residences on campus at Brock University.

    The University has been working closely with Public Health after the outbreak of positive cases was first identified in late March.

    At that time, Brock took quick action and shut down virtually all on-campus areas as it moved back down to Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown) in its own pandemic recovery plan. The University and the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre staff worked with Public Health to manage the outbreak investigation.

    Wednesday marked 14 days since the last risk for exposure on Brock’s campus associated with the outbreak, allowing Niagara Region Public Health to officially declare the outbreak over.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated support staff and the entire Brock community that came together to address this outbreak and support our students at a time of need,” said Scott Johnstone, Senior Associate Vice-President, Infrastructure and Operations, and Chair of Brock’s Emergency Management Group. “We also want to thank Niagara Region Public Health for their guidance and work supporting us during this outbreak and throughout the past year.”

    Brock remains vigilant in the steps being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff are a top priority.

    The University will remain in Brock Stage 1 as long as the provincewide lockdown continues, and the vast majority of courses are currently being delivered in an online format. All athletic facilities, computer labs, the library and other areas on campus remain closed.

    All Brock employees who are able to work remotely are doing so and for those who must be on campus, face coverings are required on all areas of campus. Access to campus is limited to two checkpoints — through the Rankin Family Pavilion and the east entrance of the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex.

  • Brock community reminded to stay vigilant as pandemic measures continue

    The Government of Ontario announced significant additional measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, April 16 and Brock University is reminding its community about its own pandemic response measures.

    The University has been operating in Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown) of its own COVID-19 response framework since late March in response to an outbreak in its on-campus student residences.

    Although that outbreak has stabilized and only one student remains in isolation on campus, Brock will remain in Stage 1 of its response until at least May 5, when the provincewide lockdown has been extended until.

    Under Brock Stage 1, all Winter Term final exams, which run until Friday, April 23, are being held in a virtual format and multiple areas on campus are closed (see full list of measures below).

    The Spring Term starts on Monday, May 3 and the vast majority of courses will begin the term in an online format.

    Brock faculty and staff are reminded that all existing measures put in place early in the pandemic remain in effect until further notice, such as a ban on all business travel, the need for face coverings to be worn in all areas on campus, and that anyone who is able to be working from home must be doing so.

    In addition, the following measures are in place as long as the University remains in Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown):

    • The majority of Spring Term classes will start the term in an online format.
    • Athletic facilities in the Walker Sports Complex including the Zone Fitness Centre, Brock pool, gymnasia and Brock Sport Performance Centre are temporarily closed.
    • Common areas such as the James A. Gibson Library and Computer Commons are temporarily closed.
    • Beginning April 27, the Library’s Archives and Special Collections will be open by appointment to Brock faculty and student researchers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At least 24 hours notice is required to make an appointment. For more information, visit the Archives and Special Collections website.
    • Time-sensitive research, including some in-person human research can be authorized. See the Research FAQs for more information.
    • In any additional operational areas of campus where the risk of transmission is high, mitigation measures are being taken.
  • Brock University COVID-19 update for April 16

    As of Friday, April 16, 65 of the cases involving Brock University residence students who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have been resolved. Two students remain in isolation on campus in relation to the outbreak.

    Brock continues to work closely with Niagara Region Public Health after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in student residences on Friday, March 26. The University is currently operating in Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown), with all classes being held online and common areas on campus closed until further notice.

    Separate from the cases arising from the outbreak, a member of the Brock community tested positive for COVID-19. They were last on campus Friday, April 9 and the areas the person had visited are receiving additional cleaning. Contact tracing is currently underway.

    The University reminds all members of the Brock community, students, faculty and staff, to respect and adhere to public health guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    Any students who are experiencing symptoms or have a medical concern are asked to contact Student Health Services immediately at Covid19Nurse@Brocku.ca

    Further updates will be provided as they become available.

  • Brock University COVID-19 update for April 14

    As of Wednesday, April 14, 65 of the cases involving Brock University residence students who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have been resolved. Two cases in the Brock community remain active. Three students remain in isolation on campus in relation to the outbreak.

    Brock continues to work closely with Niagara Region Public Health after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in student residences on Friday, March 26. The University is currently operating in Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown), with all classes being held online and common areas on campus closed until further notice.

    The University reminds all members of the Brock community, students, faculty and staff, to respect and adhere to public health guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    Any students who are experiencing symptoms or have a medical concern are asked to contact Student Health Services immediately at Covid19Nurse@Brocku.ca

    Further updates will be provided as they become available.

  • Brock University COVID-19 update for April 9

    As of Friday, April 9, 54 of the cases involving Brock University residence students who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have been resolved and five cases remain active among students living in on-campus residences.

    Brock continues to work closely with Niagara Region Public Health after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in student residences on Friday, March 26. The University is currently operating in Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown), with all classes being held online and common areas on campus closed until further notice.

    Including those students who have tested positive for COVID-19, there are a total of 18 students currently isolating in self-contained units in relation to the declared outbreak.

    The change in numbers represents a number of cases which have been cleared through recovery and additional testing and others who are recovering off-campus.

    The University reminds all members of the Brock community, students, faculty and staff, to respect and adhere to public health guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    Any students who are experiencing symptoms or have a medical concern are asked to contact Student Health Services immediately at Covid19Nurse@Brocku.ca

    Further updates will be provided as they become available.