Articles by author: Brock University

  • Update on Brock’s COVID-19 outbreak

    Brock University continues to work closely with Niagara Region Public Health after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in on-campus student residences. 

    As of Monday, March 29, 31 residence students have tested positive and are in self-isolation on campus, while a number of additional students are isolating as contact tracing and COVID-19 testing continues.

    The University is supporting students with the delivery of food and other necessary supplies and Residence Life Staff are regularly checking on them. The residence service desk is available to them by phone 24/7.

    Those in isolation are being reminded that, under Public Health regulations intended to manage the spread of the virus, they are not allowed to leave these units except in the case of emergency or for the purpose of COVID testing. No guests are allowed in any of the residence units and students must not stand in doorways to converse with others. Incidents of students violating these COVID mitigation policies are being investigated under the student Code of Conduct.

    This is a very challenging time. Brock understands an outbreak causes anxiety and stress. The University appreciates the co-operation of the entire campus community as together, we work to overcome these challenges.

    Any students who are experiencing symptoms or have a medical concern are asked to contact Student Health Services immediately at covid19@brocku.ca

    Students in isolation are reminded they can contact their residence don or Residence Life staff for help. The service desk is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Further updates will be provided as they become available.

  • Additional positive cases in on-campus COVID-19 outbreak

    Brock University has seen a further increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the student residence outbreak declared by Niagara Region Public Health.

    As of Saturday, March 27 at noon, 22 individuals have tested positive and are in self-isolation in on-campus residence units that had been previously set aside as part of the University’s overall pandemic planning.

    Additional students are also in self-isolation while contact tracing and further testing continues.

    The University continues to work closely with Niagara Region Public Health.

    Any students who are experiencing symptoms or have a concern are asked to contact Student Health Services immediately at covid19@brocku.ca

    Further updates will be provided as they become available.

  • Brock working with Public Health as COVID-19 outbreak declared

    Brock University is continuing to take the steps necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19 within its on-campus student residences.

    Niagara Region Public Health on Friday, March 26 declared an outbreak in Brock’s self-contained residence units, where 12 positive cases of COVID-19 have now been identified.

    After learning the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 went from one on Wednesday, March 24 to 10 on Thursday, Brock University moved from Brock Stage 2 (Red/Control) back to Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown), a move supported by Public Health.

    “The University has taken swift and immediate action in consultation with Niagara Public Health to address the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff given these developments,” said Brock President Gervan Fearon. “We want to thank Niagara Region Public Health for their guidance and support as we all work together to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to support the recovery of the affected students who are now in isolation.”

    The move back to Stage 1 means the few classes that were being offered on campus have now moved online until at least Monday, April 5, when a further update will be provided. Additionally, on-campus common areas such as the James A. Gibson Library, Computer Commons and all athletic facilities, which had been operating under strict COVID protocols, have temporary closed while contact tracing and further investigation continues.

    The outbreak seems to be specifically centred around social activities of students over the previous week. The University and campus health services are working closely with Public Health to manage the outbreak investigation. Public Health is currently contact tracing and ensuring everyone who may have been exposed is notified and received proper guidance around testing and isolating. A number of students living in Brock residences are now isolating in on-campus, self-contained quarantine residence units, which had been set aside by the University as part of its pandemic planning.

    “Brock University has responded immediately to the outbreak on campus, and such swift action is key to controlling COVID-19 effectively,” said Acting Medical officer of Health, Mustafa Hirji. “With COVID-19 resurgent once again in Ontario and Niagara, we can expect more outbreaks. I urge everyone to limit interaction with persons outside of your household to just those that are truly essential. Only by immediately redoubling our vigilance to limiting social contact can we avoid a devastating third wave.”

    Public Health and Brock University want to assure everyone that there has been no exposure to the upcoming vaccination clinic site. The Region says it is confident that cases among students will have no impact on the safety or operation of clinics next week.

    The agreement between Brock and Public Health gives Public Health exclusive use of the areas of campus where the clinic is located, so the clinic site is completely separated from the rest of the University. Access is granted only by Public Health’s permission. All of the vaccination clinics are maintained with high standards of infection prevention given the vulnerable populations being vaccinated. The clinics also have screening and security at all times to ensure that only those who need to be present are permitted into the clinic area.

    The University is reminding students in isolation that they are not allowed to leave these units except in the case of emergency or for the purpose of COVID testing. No guests are allowed in any of the residence units and students must not stand in doorways to converse with others. Incidents of students violating these COVID mitigation policies are being investigated by the University.

    The University is supporting students with the delivery of food and other necessary supplies and Residence Life Staff are checking in on those in isolation to offer support in a challenging time.

    Any students who are experiencing symptoms or have a concern are asked to contact Student Health Services immediately at covid19@brocku.ca

  • Brock supporting students as positive COVID cases increase

    Brock University is taking immediate proactive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 after a number of positive cases have been identified in student residences.

    Brock reported one positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 24. Nine additional cases have been identified on Thursday, March 25. All cases are linked to students living in self-contained residence units.

    Brock is working closely with Niagara Region Public Health and is following all recommendations to deal with the situation including contact tracing and further investigation. Specifically, Brock has moved additional residence students into self-isolation in on-campus residence units that had been set aside as part of Brock’s precautionary pandemic measures.

    In addition, the University is taking immediate measures to limit the risk of further spread:

    • Brock had been operating in Stage 2 (Red/Control) of its Response/Response Framework. As of 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, it will move back into Brock Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown).
    • The few classes that were being offered on-campus will move online or be offered in an alternative format until Monday, April 5, when a further update will be provided.
    • Research that had been previously approved under Stage 2 continues under existing COVID-19 safety protocols.
    • Athletic facilities in the Walker Sports Complex including the Zone Fitness Centre, Brock pool, gymnasia and Brock Sport Performance Centre are temporarily closing.
    • Common areas such as the James A. Gibson Library and Computer Commons are temporarily closing.
    • In any additional operational areas of campus where the risk of transmission is high, mitigation measures are being taken immediately.
    • A full cleaning of the entire main Brock campus, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts downtown and Hamilton campus takes place each day and additional efforts to disinfect high-traffic areas is taking place.

    “Brock’s Emergency Management Group (EMG) has worked effectively and successfully in ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” said Brock President Gervan Fearon. “EMG has determined that steps are immediately needed to address recent cases of COVID-19. I fully support their decision and ask all students, faculty and staff to respect the directions issued Thursday by EMG.”

    It is important to remember that we all must take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19:

    • Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres
    • Wear face coverings in all common areas on campus and anytime physical distancing isn’t possible
    • Wash and sanitize your hands frequently
    • Stay home unless you must go out
    • Contact public health if you’re experiencing symptoms
  • Schedule released for Brock COVID-19 vaccination clinic

    The Government of Ontario has now opened its registration system and released a schedule for COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the province. 

    Brock University will host a mass vaccination clinic for St. Catharines and Thorold starting Friday, April 2 in Ian Beddis Gymnasium on the main level of the Walker Sports Complex.

    The clinic is being organized by Niagara Region Public Health. More information and a list of frequently asked questions can be found on the Region COVID-19 vaccination website at niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/vaccination.aspx

    Parking will be free and the Brock clinic will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All mass vaccination clinics are by appointment only and must be booked through the provincial registration system.

    Ontario has a three-phase vaccination plan prioritizing those greatest at risk of severe illness and people who take care of them.

    Under Phase 1, which began in December, vaccinations are limited to those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers, Indigenous populations, adult chronic care home care recipients and anyone over the age of 80.

    In Phase 2, which starts in April and runs until July, those eligible include adults between 60 and 79, high-risk congregate settings such as shelters or community living, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, those who can’t work from home and at-risk populations.

    The remainder of the population will start being eligible for vaccines starting in July.

    Residents can learn more about Niagara’s immunization plans at niagararegion.ca/covid-vaccine

    Appointments can only be booked for the current phase, and must be done through the government COVID-19 website at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine

  • Planning continues for Brock to host COVID-19 vaccination site

    Niagara’s mayors, in partnership with Regional Chair Jim Bradley, have announced the planned locations for the upcoming community COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics.

    Included on the list released Thursday, March 4 is Brock University, which is working with the Region and Public Health on plans to host a clinic for St. Catharines and Thorold in the Ian Beddis Gymnasium of its Walker Sports Complex. With accessible entrances and exits, and plenty of parking, which will be available at no charge to community members, the Beddis Gym will provide a bright, spacious and safe location for the clinic.

    An opening date for the clinics hasn’t been announced and the Region is reminding residents they’ll need to wait for the provincial booking system to go live before being able to make appointments.

    “Brock University is committed to supporting the health and vitality of the Niagara region and we are pleased to be playing a role in helping residents of St. Catharines and Thorold get the COVID-19 vaccination,” said Brock President Gervan Fearon. “We look forward to working with Niagara Region Public Health to plan for this clinic and we will provide the full range of support we can to facilitate the effective operation of the site in support of the health and well-being of St. Catharines and Thorold. Brock University is pleased to be a strong partner in support of the vitality of the region.”

    Niagara Region says the schedule for vaccines will be based on Ontario’s three-phased vaccine distribution plan. Public Health will be notifying residents when it is their turn to book an appointment through all local and social media channels.

    Once supply is made available, the first group to get vaccinated will be those who are 80 years of age and older, as well as Indigenous adults. Niagara Region Public Health will then follow the provincial prioritization criteria, moving through progressively younger age brackets until all persons 60 years of age or older have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

    At that point, essential workers throughout the region, as well as other high-risk residents will be eligible for a vaccine. The provincial government hopes to open vaccination up to all Ontario residents by early fall.

    “On behalf of Niagara’s mayors, I am pleased to share this list of immunization clinics with the public,” said Regional Chair Jim Bradley. “As Niagara moves into another crucial phase of this pandemic, we want residents to know that we are ready to safely deliver as many vaccines as possible once supply is made available. The mayors and I wish to thank Niagara’s residents for their ongoing patience as they wait their turn to receive a vaccine.”

    Niagara will be using the provincial booking system for appointments, which is expected to be available by mid-March.

    Residents can learn more about Niagara’s immunization plans at niagararegion.ca/covid-vaccine

  • Brock moving into Stage 2 (Red/Control) Monday, March 8

    With Niagara now in the Red (Control) category of the province’s COVID-19 response framework, Brock University will move into Stage 2 (Red/Control) of its own framework as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 8.

    Ontario uses a region’s COVID infection rate to set its classification, which dictates the level of restrictions to be imposed. Red is the most limiting category before a complete lockdown is ordered by the province under the Grey category.

    For nearly one year, Brock has been working under a modified operational plan with reduced on-campus activity and primarily online course delivery. Brock has been in the Stage 1 (Grey/Lockdown) classification since Dec. 24.

    Under Brock Stage 2 (Red/Control), classes will continue primarily online, with the exception of a small number of courses that have obtained special approval. Classes will continue mostly online, though Brock continues to plan for a return to on-campus instruction for the Fall Term.

    Under Brock Stage 2 (Red/Control):

    • Access to campus will be limited to those who need to be on campus. Three entrances will be available: Rankin Family Pavilion, the east doors of Cairns Complex and the Art and Val Fleming Commons (Hungry Badger) in Academic South.
    • Please use the COVID-19 pre-screening tool available through the Brock Safety App.
    • Social gatherings are limited to five people indoors and 25 people outdoors, where physical distancing can be maintained. Class sizes are excluded from these restrictions.
    • Meeting/event spaces (those that have been authorized) will have a maximum occupancy of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
    • Food service at Guernsey Market remains takeout only with indoor, sit-down dining suspended.
    • University residences will continue to operate as planned with current mitigation measures such as significantly reduced occupancy and no guest policy continuing.
    • James A. Gibson Library will have bookable study spaces for students, with a maximum occupancy of 10. Book pickup hours available during opening hours. Interlibrary loan for print books resumes.
    • The Campus Store will remain online-only.
    • The Computer Commons will reopen as appointment-only bookable space with a maximum occupancy of 10 students.
    • Graduate student study space in Plaza Building will reopen with a maximum occupancy of 10 students.
    • Some time-sensitive, in-person research will resume, but researchers must be prepared to pause should the public health situation change.
    • Parking remains free for the balance of Winter Term with enforcement continuing for laneways and accessible parking.
    • Public access to campus is not permitted.

    Impact on Brock Sports and Recreation:

    • Access to athletic and fitness facilities will be through the Art and Val Fleming Commons near the Hungry Badger in Academic South.
    • Approved team sport training may resume with a focus on skills and drills only while physical distancing is maintained. Games or scrimmages are not allowed and a capacity of 10 student-athletes is set per practice or training session.
    • The Zone Fitness Centre, basketball courts, aquatic centre and other facilities will reopen for Brock students only with capacity limits and physical distancing measures in place. Access will be by appointment only.
    • Public access to campus fitness facilities is not permitted.

    While Niagara has moved into the Red category, allowing Brock to do the same, the situation is fluid and may change. The Province of Ontario has an ‘emergency brake’ system in place, which allows it to move regions into lockdown on short notice should the local situation deteriorate. As a result, the University may need to quickly implement further restrictions and will provide timely updates to the community as needed. It is the responsibility of department heads and managers to ensure the activities taking place in their units are consistent with the Brock Stages document and provincial regulations.

    The Brock community is also reminded to continue physical distancing, mask use, hand hygiene and effective screening in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

  • Brock plans return to on-campus experience in Fall Term

    Brock is known across Canada for its scenic campus and unparalleled student experience. It’s what makes the University such a great place to learn, teach and work, and it’s part of the reason Brock is ranked so highly for student experience in the Maclean’s rankings of Canadian universities each year.

    As the region, province and country continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Brock is planning a return to campus for the Fall Term, with classes offered primarily on campus and residence, dining and campus life services returning to normal operations.

    “The University’s top priority remains ensuring a high-quality academic and student experience, with the knowledge that many students are eager to return to campus as soon as it is safe to do so,” says Brock University President Gervan Fearon. “Our students tell us the Brock experience and campus engagement are an important part of their education and personal development. We are doing everything to ready Brock to welcome students back on campus.”

    Brock is planning to offer as many courses on campus as possible, including labs and other experiential learning, graduate seminars and undergraduate classes. It will mean the much-anticipated return to on-campus learning, teaching and working. The University is preparing for the gradual return of community programs such as access to fitness facilities and events.

    The University also plans to have its eight residences fully operational, returning to near-full capacity and ready to receive students. These include a variety of options, such as traditional dormitory-style and semi-suite rooms, as well as townhouses and housing suitable for upper-year and graduate students. Dining services will return to normal and academic supports such as the James A. Gibson Library and on-campus computer labs will be available.

    “What incoming and returning students to Brock will see when they arrive back on campus is a truly enhanced and upgraded version of the University,” says Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President, Academic.

    Just before the global pandemic forced all classes to move online in March 2020, the University opened its striking new front entrance and collaborative space, the Rankin Family Pavilion.

    Over the past year, a number of significant construction projects and campus enhancements have continued. These include:

    • Residence 8, a brand new on-campus residence that increases Brock’s capacity to nearly 2,800 beds
    • DeCew Residence, a massive renewal project on Brock’s largest residence building
    • The Zone, the on-campus fitness centre, which has tripled in size and been updated with more than 15,000 square feet full of modern equipment
    • A new Starbucks in Guernsey Market
    • A new full-service Tim Hortons located in the Walker Complex
    • Two newly renovated dining halls in residences and the launch of an all-you-care-to-eat dining program.
    • The ongoing construction of Canada Games Park, a massive arena and recreation complex being built on Brock land ahead of the 2022 Canada Summer Games

    Brock will ensure a Fall Term that prioritizes on-campus experience and is respectful of public health guidelines. Brock will also strive to offer a portion 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.

    The University will continue to share additional information as it becomes available in the next months.

  • Brock community reminded to be safe as Reading Week approaches

    The Government of Ontario said Monday it would soon start to ease COVID-19 restrictions across the province, but students, faculty and staff are encouraged to be smart and stay safe during Reading Week Feb. 15 to 19.

    Brock University is closed Monday, Feb. 15 for the Family Day provincial holiday and Tuesday, Feb. 16 for the President’s Holiday. It’s also a week when many students typically head home or elsewhere for a break.

    The Government of Ontario has announced Niagara region will remain under a stay-at-home order until Tuesday, Feb. 16. Regardless of any changes to provincial or Niagara regulations the government announces in the coming days, Brock will remain in Stage 1 (Grey) of its own COVID-19 framework until at least Monday, Feb. 22. All previously announced restrictions and operational impacts as outlined below remain in effect. Updates to Brock’s framework will be provided as soon as they become available.

    Public health guidance recommends avoiding all travel except for essential reasons. Anyone leaving the region for travel of any kind during Reading Week or the Family Day long weekend must follow local public health guidelines and complete the pre-screening tool on the Brock Safety App prior to returning to Niagara. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact public health and self-isolate. If you do not register COVID-19 green on the Brock Safety App you will not be able to access campus.

    With Brock remaining in Stage 1, a number of areas across the University are impacted in order to abide by public health guidelines. This information includes schedule changes based on the University being closed for Family Day and the President’s Holiday:

    • Campus security is available 24-7 via phone at 905-688-5550 x4300/3200, email at security@brocku.ca and through the Brock Mobile Safety App.
    • Screening access to enter Brock’s main campus can be completed at the main entrance to the Rankin Family Pavilion from Monday, Feb. 15 to Friday, Feb. 19 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Screening access can also be gained through a checkpoint at the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex from Tuesday, Feb. 16 to Friday, Feb. 19 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.
    • Indoor social gatherings are not permitted, and outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people, provided physical distancing can be maintained.
    • All meeting and event spaces are closed.
    • Food service at Guernsey Market will be closed on Monday, Feb. 15. Guernsey market services will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Tuesday, Feb. 16 to Thursday, Feb. 18 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19. All food from Guernsey Market will be takeout only. Indoor dining remains suspended until further notice.
    • University residences will continue to operate as planned. Further information can be found on the Residences website.
    • Brock Central will be closed Monday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 16. Services will be available on the phone or via email Wednesday, Feb. 17 and Thursday, Feb. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Brock Central can be reached via its website, by calling 905-688-5550 x 3052, or by emailing central@brocku.ca
    • The James A. Gibson Library is only open for contactless book pickup. Study space is closed.
    • The Computer Commons is closed.
    • The Campus Store will be closed Monday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 16. Items purchased between Friday, Feb. 12 and Tuesday, Feb.16 will be shipped Wednesday, Feb. 17, when the campus store resumes online-only operations.
    • All sports and recreation facilities are closed.
    • Research access will continue throughout Reading Week. Usual hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. will be in effect from Wednesday, Feb. 17 to Friday, Feb. 19. Monday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 16 are holidays, so authorization is possible under extenuating circumstances only with the same policy applying for the weekends. Hours on holidays and weekends are limited to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Researchers are asked to consult the Associate Dean, Research in advance if extenuating circumstances necessitate access on the weekends or holidays.
    • For the latest guidance on research access, please visit the Brock Coronavirus FAQ for research.

    Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to monitor their email, brocku.ca and Brock social media accounts for further updates on Brock’s current COVID response level and any impact it may have on operations.

  • Updated policies available regarding mask requirements on campus

    As efforts continue in the fight against COVID-19, Brock University has updated its policies regarding the use of masks and personal protective equipment on campus.

    Physical distancing still remains one of the most effective measures to curb the spread of the virus and should be maintained when possible, even while wearing a mask.

    While access to Brock’s main campus buildings remains limited as the provincially mandated lockdown continues in Ontario, the University wants to remind those who require campus access of mitigation measures in place.

    Anyone entering campus buildings must wear a non-medical mask or face covering (over their mouth, nose and chin), while maintaining two metres of physical distance from others. Masks are also required outdoors when with others, while also maintaining two metres of distance.

    For work that requires employees to be within two metres of each other, whether indoors or outdoors, for more than 15 minutes, medical-grade masks and eye protection (goggles or a face shield) must be worn. This also applies to students in limited approved in-person academic sessions where there is no reasonable alternative to close contact and the nature of that contact is necessary.

    Brock’s Health, Safety and Wellness team has created a detailed outline of non-medical and medical mask requirements and information to aid with the safety measures. The bulletin is available on Sharepoint by clicking here.

    For more information on the lockdown and the measures being taken at Brock, please see this Brock News story.