Frequently Asked Questions

For the latest update on closures and restrictions currently in effect, please see this page.

Updated May 13, 2022

General

All students, faculty and staff are asked to get their booster as soon as possible. Brock’s vaccine requirement is in effect and requires proof of full vaccination.

New students beginning their studies at Brock in the Winter Term may apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement on medical or human rights grounds.

Students who have approved exemptions in the Fall Term will not need to apply for an exemption again unless their exemption was time-limited. They will also continue to complete the Brock Rapid Antigen Screening Program (RASP) in the Winter Term.

Students who have previously applied for an exemption which has not been approved will not be permitted to apply for an exemption again in the Winter Term unless there has been a material change in their circumstances.

Unvaccinated international students who are arriving in Canada and who are beginning their studies at Brock in the Winter Term will be able to get vaccinated following their arrival. They will complete the Brock Rapid Antigen Screening Program (RASP) until they are fully vaccinated.

As in the Fall Term, international students who are fully immunized with a vaccine that is not approved by Health Canada will be required to get a booster shot of a Health Canada-approved vaccine before they can be considered fully immunized, except where public health guidance recommends otherwise.

Given the prevalence of the virus right now, there’s a real possibility that you have COVID-19 if you are showing one or more of these symptoms. As only priority groups can currently access PCR testing, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should either use a rapid antigen screen (where available) or stay home as a precaution.

Brock community members who test positive, who live with someone who has tested positive, or who have COVID symptoms should follow the guidance provided by Niagara Region Public Health, which can be found here.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, it is important that you do not visit campus.

If you test positive for COVID-19 with a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test, you must stay home and self-isolate. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have access to testing, you are to assume that you have COVID-19 and also must stay home and self-isolate.  Please visit the Niagara Region Public Health website (or if outside Niagara, the appropriate Public Health Unit with jurisdiction) for the most up to date instructions. Students should contact Student Health Services (covid19@brocku.ca) for support. Staff and faculty should contact Human Resources (employeehealth@brocku.ca).

If you test positive for COVID-19 with a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test, you must stay home and self-isolate. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have access to testing, you are to assume that you have COVID-19 and also must stay home and self-isolate.  Please visit the Niagara Region Public Health website (or if outside Niagara, the appropriate Public Health Unit with jurisdiction) for the most up to date instructions. Students should contact Student Health Services (covid19@brocku.ca) for support. Staff and faculty should contact Human Resources (employeehealth@brocku.ca).

Niagara Region Public Health are asking individuals who have a confirmed PCR, Rapid Antigen Test or are symptomatic to identify contacts. A contact is anyone who was less than two metres away even for shorter periods of time in the 48 hours before you developed symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, consider yourself infectious for 48 hours before your test. Please reach out to your contacts and let them know about your situation.

When possible, you may receive an email to Brock University account notifying you of a possible contact.

Of the over 15,000 students on Brock’s campus this Winter, the vast majority are fully vaccinated. This means that, even should there be a positive case in a large class, most students will be able to continue coming to class on campus as asymptomatic and fully vaccinated individuals.

With the safety of students, staff and faculty a top priority, Brock has introduced a number of measures related to the ventilation system to help mitigate concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to all building ventilation systems undergoing regular maintenance to ensure air is clean and flowing into and out of buildings properly, overrides have been implemented in various areas and systems, such as air intakes, to increased fresh air volumes to indoor spaces.

Everyone visiting campus is strongly encouraged to complete screening online and to stay home if they are feeling unwell. This helps reduce the likelihood that a positive case will come to campus.

Masks on campus

Brock University requires all faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear a face covering that covers the mouth, nose and chin when indoors in any campus buildings. Effective Monday, Jan. 31, Brock employees are required to wear a medical grade mask any time they’re in any indoor area on campus.

Departments can obtain medical grade masks for employees through Workday. See the Sharepoint bulletin COVID-19 Materials and How to Obtain Bulletin-1.pdf.

Masks must continue be worn by all students and visitors to Brock in all indoor spaces on campus, and it is recommended that those masks be medical grade or high quality three-layer non-medical masks which optimize fit and filtration, and can be worn correctly and comfortably. Fabric face coverings such as buffs, gaiters and bandanas are not permitted at Brock.

Physical Distancing: Physical distancing (i.e. keeping 2 metres away from others) has been a mitigation measure from the outset of the pandemic. Although capacity limits have been lifted, physical distancing remains encouraged where possible.

For more information on medical/non-medical masks, including specifics related to the required personal protective equipment, please refer to the Health, Safety & Wellness bulletin titled COVID-19: Use of medical/non-medical masks and physical distancing found on their COVID-19 SharePoint site. Further information on non-medical/facing coverings and medical masks can also be found on the Government of Canada Website.

Faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus are exempt from wearing a mask if:

  • The person is under the age of two;
  • The person has trouble breathing while wearing a mask for medical reasons;
  • The person cannot safely wear a mask for reasons such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties, sensory processing disorder, learning difficulties, neurodiverse conditions, or difficulties in hearing or processing information;
  • If the person has communication difficulties such as, but not limited to, a speech impairment or is non-verbal and where wearing a mask will impact the individual’s ability to communicate;
  • The person has a medical condition where the use of a mask will negatively impact their health and safety;
  • The person cannot safely put on, or remove, their mask without assistance;
  • For religious reasons, the person cannot wear a mask in a manner which would properly control the source.

If you are not able to wear a mask, please inform Campus Security staff upon entry that you are unable to wear one.

For individuals who are unable to wear a mask, we ask that you be mindful of interactions with individuals on campus who are wearing masks and to maintain physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette at all times.

If you see someone on campus who is not wearing a mask, there is likely a reason for this. Please maintain physical distancing and be kind. Brock University values and respects the health, safety and abilities of all who are on campus.

Should a student have reasonable grounds to not wear a non-medical mask or face covering, they are asked to contact Darryl Veld, Associate Director, Student Affairs to apply for an exemption. Those that receive permission to modify PPE on campus may choose to wear an identifier to make the community aware of the exemption. More information can be found on the Failure to Comply with COVID-19 Guidelines page.

Masks may be temporarily removed where necessary to accommodate those for whom masks prevent or hinder communication. Bimodal processing is a growing communications-based accommodation and face masks can pose a significant barrier. If you are asked to temporarily remove your mask, be kind. Assume that the individual making the request is doing so for valid purposes. Maintain proper social distancing while communicating without a mask and avoid touching your face.

Vaccine mandate

The health and well-being of the Brock community has been and continues to be the University’s top priority. Vaccination against COVID-19 is by far the best way to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the development of serious illness for those who are infected. These requirements, along with the many other health and well-being protocols Brock has implemented, are critical to ensuring the return to campus this fall is as safe as it can be. These requirements have also been mandated by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health which issued instructions in August 2021 requiring all universities and colleges to implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy.

This mandate is complemented by previous announcements that requires vaccinations for students living in on-campus residences and for Brock Badgers student-athletes.

The University’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy can be found here.

All vaccines approved by Health Canada. The list can be found on the Government of Canada website.

In Ontario, you can download your vaccination receipt at covid19.ontariohealth.ca or scan/photograph the receipt provided at the time of your second vaccination.

How do I get my vaccination receipt if I have received my vaccine outside of Ontario, including in the rest of Canada or internationally?

Niagara Region Public Health now has a form for those immunized outside of Ontario. You must click here to fill it outOnce completed, log onto Ontario Health to print your vaccine receipt, which you can then upload to Brock’s Vaccination Declaration Form.

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine listed by the World Health Organization will be able to attend campus pending their booster shots with a Health Canada approved vaccine. They will be required to upload proof of vaccinations for both vaccination series, including the Ontario Ministry of Health dose administration receipt when available.

If individuals have questions about receiving booster shots, they should consult a physician or Student Health Services.

In Ontario, an individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:

  • The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines,
  • One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or
  • Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and
  • They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.

Yes. While the vaccination requirement is one measure the University is taking as part of its ongoing commitment to the health and safety of the community, other measures, such as face coverings being required, will continue. Some exemptions apply.

Students, staff and faculty must fill out a vaccination declaration. You can find Brock’s vaccination declaration tool, and detailed instructions on its use, here.

Anyone who cannot be vaccinated based on medical or other protected grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code can request an accommodation. In both cases, supporting documentation will be requested as part of the accommodation process.

Individuals who are granted an accommodation will be required to complete antigen screening twice a week, as well as complete enhanced screening measures when accessing campus.

Those wishing to apply for an accommodation can find the necessary forms on DB Brock. Once completed, the forms can be uploaded to DB Brock for review.

Students with questions about the process should contact Student Affairs at studentaffairs@brocku.ca. Faculty members, librarians and staff with questions about the process should contact HR at humanresources@brocku.ca.

The Human Rights & Equity Office also offers support for any member of the Brock community who wishes to discuss the equity impact of public health measures.

As stated in the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy Statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccination certificates, personal preferences or singular beliefs against vaccination do not amount to a creed under the Ontario Human Rights Code. This means that a person who chooses not to be vaccinated based on personal preference does not have a right to accommodation under the Code. Secular, socially based, or conscientiously held beliefs are not protected under the Code and will not be approved as an exemption to the university’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario have each released guidance which indicates that there are very few actual contraindications to available COVID-19 vaccines that would qualify as medical exemptions and most individuals can safely receive COVID-19 vaccines. In order to determine whether an individual is unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for medical or disability-related reasons, the University requires the individual to provide a written declaration, signed by a physician or nurse practitioner stating the medical reason that prevents them from being fully vaccinated and how long this will apply. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has recognized that requiring this information is consistent with the duty to accommodate. Individuals who have experienced serious adverse events following COVID-19 immunization or those with medical conditions that may affect their response to immunization may be asked to consult with an allergist/immunologist or specialist based on their adverse event/medical condition for further assessment. The Ontario Ministry of Health guidance notes that in many instances, safe administration of subsequent doses of COVID-19 vaccine is possible under the management of an allergist/immunologist.

Academic advisors can help provide students who don’t plan on being vaccinated with their options for the fall. Approximately 60 per cent of Brock courses in the Fall Term have at least one on-campus component. We do not expect this proportion to change as a result of the vaccine requirement.

Students and staff who were already required to be vaccinated as a result of their involvement with residences and/or Brock Sports are still required to get vaccinated. Brock Sports and the Department of Residences have their own protocols and processes already in place which should be followed.  All student requests for exemption will be vetted through one process. Students who have already submitted a request through the Residences or Sports process will receive further instruction on their next steps.

No. SAS supports students with disabilities through academic accommodations, which make learning accessible. Students who seek accommodations from the mandatory vaccine policy will be required to follow the specific process related to vaccine exemptions. This process is being developed and more details will be shared in the near future.

Updates will be provided at brocku.ca/coronavirus and on The Brock News as they become available. Information is also shared on the University’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages and also via email to your brocku.ca email address.

Employees of third-party organizations, including contractors and delivery personnel, should contact their Brock University liaison.

Faculty and staff should consult the Niagara Region Public Health website for the latest information and updates on where to be vaccinated in Niagara.

Those studying or working at the Hamilton campus should consult Hamilton Public Health’s website.

Brock University’s Health, Safety and Wellness office has released an educational video meant to address some of the common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Watch it here:

Niagara Region Public Health has an extensive series of FAQs on all aspects of COVID-19 vaccination.

Health Canada has put together the following library of videos answering important questions about the vaccine. Click the title to view the videos on the Health Canada website.

More Health Canada vaccine education videos can be found here.

Yes, all staff and faculty members must fill out the vaccine declaration form. If information is not submitted by Sept. 7, this may have an impact on your ability to work. Those who have not submitted information or who do not have a valid exemption by Sept. 7 will not be permitted on campus.

Rapid Antigen Screening

Participation in the Rapid Antigen Screening Program (RASP) is required before Brock University community members that are not fully vaccinated are permitted on campus.

Information about the screening kits is available at: brocku.ca/coronavirus/rapid-antigen-screening

Students who are required to participate do not pick up a kit and do not submit results twice weekly as required will have a fine of $300 charged to their student account effective Monday, October 4th at 4pm.

If not compliant by Wednesday, October 6th at 4pm, student access to the Student Information System ( Brock DB) will be limited and use of SAKAI will be restricted.

For students who remain non-compliant beyond October 6th, escalating outcomes will include additional fines and/or a hearing under the Student Code of Conduct that may result in outcomes including suspension from Brock University.

Brock will be offering a mandatory Rapid Antigen COVID-19 screening program for faculty, students and staff who have received their first vaccination dose by Wednesday, Sept. 1 and are scheduled to receive their second dose by Sept. 28, or who have received an approved exemption on medical or other Human Rights-related grounds. Individuals who have received their first dose and are awaiting their second dose will be required to take part in the screening program until they are fully vaccinated (14 days after receiving their second vaccine dose).

Brock University is a member of the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Rapid Screening Consortium, which is a private sector led, not-for-profit initiative formed in August 2020.

Anyone taking part in the program will undergo twice-weekly, at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen screening and results will be provided within 15 minutes of sample collection. Results will be de-identified and uploaded to Health Canada through a dedicated computer or mobile application.

A secure smartphone app customized for Brock University is being developed and will be used to guide the screening process with embedded videos and instructions to simplify the process of collecting the sample and uploading the results.

Brock University will be distributing the Abbott Panbio Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Nasal Test for at-home, self-administered screening with results uploaded to a customized smart phone app.

Brock University has received a significant quantity of the rapid antigen screening kits. They will be available for pickup at the main St. Catharines campus. Those who are required to be part of the screening program will be contacted to schedule a pickup time.

Those unable to collect their kits in person should contact rapidantigen@brocku.ca to request a shipping option through the Brock Campus Store.

Each kit contains 25 screens and instructions for how to self-administer them. Anyone needing additional kits may request more through the Brock antigen screening email address at rapidantigen@brocku.ca.

No. The only individuals permitted on campus are:

  • Those who are fully vaccinated
  • Those who are partially vaccinated and participate in the antigen screening until two weeks after their second dose
  • Those who have an approved exemption and continue to participate in the rapid antigen screening program on an ongoing basis

No. The full cost of the program will be covered by Brock University.

Brock has set up access to free rapid antigen kits to support the implementation of the mandatory vaccine policy. People who need access to campus and are not vaccinated must participate in the screening as part of the policy. Anyone who is fully vaccinated is not currently eligible to receive a free kit at Brock.

Rapid antigen screen kits are available from most pharmacies, including DrugSmart in Heritage Plaza across the street from Brock’s main campus.

The rapid antigen project leader will monitor compliance to ensure individuals who are required to conduct rapid antigen screening are uploading their results on schedule. A representative from Student Affairs or Human Resources will follow up with students and employees as needed.

In earlier stages of the pandemic, a positive result on a rapid antigen screening test would require confirmation by PCR testing. On December 31, 2021, the Ontario government introduced changes to testing protocols to address the high demand associated with the highly transmissible Omicron variant. At this time, a positive result on a rapid antigen test no longer requires further confirmation. Should an individual test positive on a rapid antigen test, they are to consider themselves positive and take appropriate action, including self-isolation and notification of close contacts. If you have any questions, please contact covid19nurse@brocku.ca for students or your immediate supervisor for Brock employees.

Results will be de-identified and uploaded to Health Canada through a dedicated computer or mobile power application.

If your smart phone is outdated and doesn’t support the mobile app, you can access it directly on a web browser using a PC here. (Camera is required)

If you are unable to download the app to your mobile and are having difficulty using the desktop application, please contact the Brock IT Help Desk.

If you are feeling unwell, you should not come to campus.

You need to self-isolate and contact Student Health Services (student), Human Resources (staff) and your health care provider, public health unit, or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) to get advice or an assessment, including if you need a COVID-19 test, if eligible.

Protecting your privacy

The University will be collecting the minimal amount of information necessary to ensure compliance with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. For individuals who are vaccinated, the University will collect the personal information located on your governmental vaccination receipt. For example, Ontario’s receipt includes name, date of birth, vaccination status, dosage, and last 4 digits of your health card number. For those who are unvaccinated and are seeking an exemption on medical or other human rights grounds, the University will collect the information provided by those individuals to establish their eligibility for an exemption.

The University will use this information only for the purposes of implementing the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program (including the rapid antigen screening program) and monitoring compliance, handling any accommodation requests, outbreak management, meeting the requirements of placement providers and other contractual obligations and, in the aggregate, for informing university policies and procedures relating to health and safety. The information that you provide will be managed in compliance with privacy legislation.

The University will not disclose your information to external third parties unless required to do so by placement providers or other contractual obligations, by law, or with your written consent.

Access to vaccination information is being tightly limited within the university on a strict need-to-know basis. For example, only employees who are responsible for verifying proof of vaccination or administering the vaccination requirements will have access to the general vaccination records.

Data on your vaccination status will only be retained as long as needed to validate the University’s compliance with the public health instructions of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, which require proof of vaccination. Subject to public health recommendations and any legislative requirements, and in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the information will be disposed of after 1 year past last date of use.

The University adheres to the obligations set out by the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), implementing controls on how we collect, use, retain, disclose, and dispose the information submitted through the vaccination declaration tool.

The University has other controls and systems that ensure the privacy of this information by having:

  • Role based access control for the systems and databases processing this data
  • Communication encryption
  • Monitoring information security events for the environments hosting the data
  • Network security controls for the environments hosting the data

Please contact privacy@brocku.ca if you have any further questions regarding the privacy of your vaccination information.

Guests, visitors, suppliers and contractors

Yes, full vaccination against COVID-19 be required for all individuals involved in any in-person activities on campus. This includes visitors and guests.

Yes, all visitors and guests will be required to attend the Visitor/Guest COVID-19 Screening desk and issue proof of vaccination. Screening desks are located by the Cairns east entrance and by the Brock Schmon Tower entrance.

Yes, full vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all individuals involved in any in-person activities on campus. This includes students, staff, faculty, visitors, guests and contractors.

The University has developed a process for suppliers and contractors with frequent visits to campus to be pre-approved for access to campus. Please work with your main contact at the University to receive more information about this process or contact procurement@brocku.ca for more details. Pre-approved suppliers and contractors need to complete the Brock Safety app screening tool daily before arrival, but do not need to go to the screening desk.

If in compliance with the Brock Vaccination policy, a supplier or contractor that has not gone through the pre-approval process can access the campus using the same process as a guest or visitor.

Research

Under the Office of the Vice-President Research, a plan to provide guidance for a broad range of research activities on- and off-campus was developed in June 2020 and revised at critical points over the following months. The current plan builds from the same set of guiding principles and research priority timelines that have been in effect throughout the pandemic. Table 1: Chart of Brock Research Activities Across the Stages of Pandemic and Recovery (September 2021) provides an overview of the Brock research activities that have been authorized at each stage of the pandemic and recovery.

This plan was developed by the Research Access Task Force, whose membership includes the Associate Deans Research and Graduate Studies (six academic Faculties and the Faculty of Graduate Studies), the Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate University Librarian, Graduate Student Association, Health Safety and Wellness, Facilities Management, and Faculty and Staff Relations. Representatives from the Research Ethics Boards contributed to all discussions related to research with human participants. The development and implementation of these plans continues to be informed through coordination of safety, resourcing, and wider access to campus facilities.

Prior to accessing research facilities and sites on- or off-campus, researchers must:

  1. Read and understand the guidance documents from Brock University Health, Safety, and Wellness:
  2. Complete COVID-19 Safety Considerations on Campus and COVID-19 Safety Considerations for Laboratory Spaces training on Sakai (for employees or students as relevant), as well as any applicable required department-specific training.
  3. Agree to abide by regulatory, public health, and safety guidance and to implement appropriate risk-mitigation strategies.

Principal Investigators (Faculty Supervisors) are responsible for establishing and enforcing capacity limits and risk-mitigation strategies for the shared research spaces under their authority and for maintaining all applicable regulatory clearances (e.g., animal care, Research Ethics Board, biosafety) for their research. The Associate Dean Research and the Health, Safety, and Wellness team besafe@brocku.ca are available for consultation.

Established capacity limits must respect any provincial, municipal, or institutional requirements and must never exceed standards established pre-COVID. A regulatory amendment to Ontario Regulation 364/20 on August 31, 2021, lifted capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for indoor instructional spaces, including research laboratories. The previously implemented 18 m2 per person is no longer a requirement. Recognizing that movement patterns are not always predictable in shared research spaces where attention is focused on the research activity and not necessarily the location of others in the shared space, 2 m physical distancing should be maintained whenever possible.

A rotational schedule for all lab group members may be needed to ensure equitable access to shared research spaces (e.g., labs). Ensure the schedule is visible to the Associate Dean Research. Campus access hours will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days per week, including weekends and holidays.

Possible Future Restrictions: All planning and research activity under the terms of this plan must be conducted in light of the prospect that provincial orders and public health guidelines may call for greater restrictions in the future. Researchers are expected to create the conditions to reduce or cease activities on short notice in case COVID-19 conditions worsen.

If at any point, the University or the research site moves toward a more restrictive stage, then the research authorization process through the Associate Deans Research will be reactivated immediately.

  1. Each previously approved Research Facility Access and Prioritization Request Form and the associated Researcher COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy and (if relevant) In-Person Research with Human Participants Risk Checklist will remain on file and will be reactivated immediately if the authorization process is reintroduced. These activities may continue if they were authorized at a point with a comparable level of restrictions.
  2. Activities that have not been authorized through the Associate Dean Research must stop until authorization is secured. The Associate Deans Research; the Academic Safety Committee; and Health, Safety, and Wellness will begin reviewing requests again using the forms and processes introduced prior to September 7, 2021, and still in use for in-person human participant research.

Consult your Associate Dean Research if you are uncertain.

Campus access hours for shared research spaces (e.g., labs) will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days per week, including weekends and holidays.

Many researchers work in shared laboratories or use shared equipment, which necessitates consideration for rotational schedules to accommodate the collective needs. Principal Investigators (Faculty Supervisors) are expected to establish schedules that are visible to the Associate Dean Research.

The requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) depend upon the specifics of your research setting.

MINIMUM STANDARD

In shared research spaces (e.g., labs), medical masks and eye protection (goggle or face shield) must be worn whenever others are present due to the difficulty of maintaining a physical distance of 2m.

  • Medical Masks: ASTM protection rating of ASTM Level I or II.
  • Eye Protection—Goggles: Wear snug-fitting indirectly-vented or non-vented goggles rated CSA class 2 for infection control.
  • Eye Protection—Face Shield: As an infection control alternative to goggles, use a CSA class 6 face shield with crown and chin protection that wraps around the face to the point of the ear to provide protection from splashes and sprays.

WORKING WITH HAZARDS

Disposable (medical grade not required) masks are required for any research activity involving RG2 or RG3 pathogens or other hazardous substances (e.g., hazardous chemicals or radioisotopes) that could contaminate the mask (through spillage, splattering, or otherwise). Principal Investigators (Faculty Supervisors) must lead their teams in conducting risk assessments to identify activities that could lead to contamination of the masks with other hazardous substances. In such cases, laboratory users must wear disposable masks during the activity and change them for a clean disposable mask or face covering before leaving the laboratory. In addition, a supply of disposable masks must be available in laboratories in case contamination of a mask occurs or is suspected, whether it is was anticipated or not.

Other Requirements

Depending upon the nature of your research activities, other PPE may be required (e.g., gloves, lab coat, N95 or KN95 respirator). Consult with Health Safety and Wellness, the Academic Safety Committee, and/or the Research Ethics Board for guidance.

AVAILABLE GUIDANCE

See the following guidance documents from Health, Safety, and Wellness:

Need more information about this topic? Contact besafe@brocku.ca.

HOW TO ORDER PPE

Request sufficient supplies of the necessary PPE by contacting Science Stores. Send email requests to sciencestores@brocku.ca.

For the foreseeable future, the costs for the following items will be covered by the Office of Research Services if ordered through Science Stores:

  • Non-medical Disposable Masks
  • Medical Masks
  • N95 or KN95 respirator if required by research activity
  • Gloves if required by research activity

Purchase (using non-Tri-Agency funds) is also possible through Workday catalogues as explained on this video.

Researchers continue to be responsible for purchasing the following items (with non-Tri-Agency funds):

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lab Coats

Field research may proceed as outlined in Table 1: Chart of Brock Research Activities Across the Stages of Pandemic and Recovery.

Field research must:

  • follow strict physical distancing and hygiene protocols as informed by location-specific public health guidance while on site, and during travel to and from the site;
  • respect the prohibitions around gathering sizes;
  • have been approved by any relevant local authorities (e.g., parks or conservation authority, First Nations band council); and
  • attend to the research travel restrictions in effect at the current pandemic stage (see Can I travel for research?).

Research travel is subject to location-specific public health guidance, Global Affairs travel advisories, and any funding restrictions.

All expenses must comply with the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expense Policy, including the need for prior written approval from the Associate Vice-President Research when the combined cost of travel exceeds $4,000.

Risk-mitigation processes are in place in the Brock Archives & Special Collections to support health and safety for researchers, staff members, and external users. Consult the Archives & Special Collections website for details about available time slots and the appointment booking process.

Faculty and student researchers may work in their campus office spaces if needed so long as they abide by 2 m physical distancing requirements. Rotational schedules should be adopted to promote equitable access to shared campus offices.

The Office of Research Services continues to provide full services for researchers. Most team members are working remotely. In-person meetings can be arranged if needed. We encourage the use of telephone and web-conferencing for meetings with larger research teams.

Signatures for a researcher’s Department Chair (or Centre Director), Dean, and Vice-President Research continue to be required before an external grant application can be submitted. Electronic signatures are accepted.

An automatic, one-year (time-only) extension for projects that were funded under our various internal Research Enterprise grants and awards in 2020 was implemented.

Recipients of 2021 internal Research Enterprise grants (e.g., Explore Grant, Exchange Grant, Match of Minds, Research Initiative Award (RIA), VPR Canada Summer Games Grants, etc.) who would like to request an extension due to restrictions related to COVID-19 or other reasons, are now asked to fill out this form and submit it to Monika Ovsonka at movsonka@brocku.ca. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Funding extensions do NOT affect Research Ethics and Animal Care certifications, which are subject to the regular annual renewal processes.

Research sponsors, including the Tri-Agencies, have been actively developing processes for submitting and granting extension requests. Allowances vary by funder and program. Any researcher with questions about the possibility of extending a funded project (in-time only or with funding) should contact their Research Officer for assistance.

The REB and ORE are functioning at full capacity and are not experiencing any significant delays in processing new (delegated review) applications or renewals, although face-to-face meetings of the REBs have been suspended. For files requiring full-board review, procedures will be determined on a case-to-case basis in consultation with researchers.

Not all staff are working on campus. In-person meetings can be arranged in advance so a suitable meeting space can be booked. We encourage the use of telephone and web-conferencing for meetings with larger research teams.

Research Ethics Board clearance must include assessment of the risks to participants based upon the risk-mitigation strategies implemented with respect to current pandemic conditions. See the COVID-19 Guidelines and Considerations for Completing REB Applications for In-Person Research for guidance in completing REB applications for research involving in-person interaction with human participants.

If you are considering revisions to a protocol that already has REB clearance, submit a Revision or Modification to an Ongoing Application form to the Office of Research Ethics. See the COVID-19 Guidelines and Considerations for Completing REB Applications for In-Person Research for guidance if your research involves in-person interaction with human participants.

In the course of your research, if you determine that changes in procedures are required immediately in order to protect participants or members of the research team, you may implement them, without prior notice to or approval from the REB. You will need to ensure that you are not introducing other risks, and you may need to ask participants to reaffirm informed consent to reflect the resulting changes. All such changes must be reported to the REB as soon as possible, along with copies of any new or revised participant materials.

Research involving human participants is subject to continuing ethics clearance. Research Ethics Board clearance must include assessment of the risks to participants based upon the risk-mitigation strategies implemented with respect to current pandemic conditions. See the COVID-19 Guidelines and Considerations for Completing REB Applications for In-Person Research for guidance if you wish to start or relaunch research involving in-person interaction with human participants.

In accordance with Canadian guidelines and Brock policy, the REB may require modifications to research or suspend research where participant or researcher welfare is at stake.

Researchers are responsible for submitting all annual and final reports on time in order to maintain current research ethics certificates even if they have not sought clearance to proceed with the research during the pandemic.

Research involving human participants should be conducted online where possible. Where in-person interaction is required, researchers are expected to use appropriate measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission, including physical distancing, enhanced sanitation protocols, and (at least) non-medical facial coverings. Where physical distancing is not possible, other suitable procedures such as the use of personal protective equipment and physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass dividers) are required. Minimize time together whenever possible, including completing remotely any tasks possible (e.g., reviewing consent materials, completing questionnaires, etc.). Consult Health, Safety, and Wellness Guidance for In-Person Research with Human Participants under COVID-19 Pandemic Conditions for recommendations.

Research Ethics Board clearance must include assessment of the risks to participants based upon the risk-mitigation strategies implemented with respect to current pandemic conditions. See the COVID-19 Guidelines and Considerations for Completing REB Applications for In-Person Research for guidance if your research involves in-person interaction with human participants.

Researchers, participants, and caregivers (if present) are expected to self-screen for symptoms each day prior to in-person interaction on- or off-campus.

Participants (and caregivers or support people, if required) must complete an online COVID-19 risk acknowledgement form prior to their first research study visit.

Brock University has a vaccination mandate. As of September 7, 2021, everyone who attends campus, with the exception of those individuals who cannot be vaccinated due to medical grounds or other protected grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code, are required to be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine.

This requirement does not apply to children who are ineligible to receive a vaccine due to age restrictions. As the pediatric vaccination program continues to roll out, children from 5 to 11 years of age will be admitted to campus even if they are not yet fully vaccinated.

Campus visitors (including human research participants, caregivers, or support people) must check in at one of the Visitor/Guest Health Screening desks to show evidence of vaccination or a previously approved exemption. Individuals who are granted an exemption must also present evidence of a negative result from antigen screening performed within the past 72 hours.

EXEMPTIONS

The University will consider requests for exemptions where an individual is unable to be vaccinated due to medical grounds or other protected grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Any exemption must be approved prior to arrival on campus.

Request an exemption in advance of your intended campus visit by contacting guestexemptions@brocku.ca.

Exemption requests will require individuals to provide sufficient supporting information in order to assess the request:

  • For requests on the basis of medical ground, this will include written proof of a medical reason from a physician or nurse practitioner that includes the effective time period for the medical reason.
  • For requests on the basis of religion/creed, this will include a written explanation, including background on the religious belief and connection of the religious belief/creed to the vaccination requirements. The explanation must be sworn or affirmed before a commissioner of oaths.

Indicate in your exemption request that your intended purpose for visiting campus is related to participation in a research study. Please also specify the number of on-campus visits required.

ANTIGEN SCREENING

Campus visitors who receive an exemption from the vaccination mandate must present evidence of a negative result from antigen screening performed within the past 72 hours.

For human research participants (and caregivers or support people, if required) who are granted an exemption, the University will cover the cost of one antigen screening performed at a designated pharmacy prior to each study visit. To qualify for this option and to receive instructions, please indicate in your exemption request that your intended purpose for visiting campus is related to participation in an on-campus research study.

If the study requires more than one on-campus visit separated by more than 72 hours, further antigen screening will be required. Please specify in your exemption request the number of on-campus research study visits.

Where research staff are feeling unwell, care should be taken to stay home to prevent transmission of any illness. If COVID-19 is known or suspected, Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines should be followed.

No researcher can be granted access to a shared research site while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Researchers, participants, and caregivers (if present) are expected to self-screen for symptoms each day prior to in-person interaction on- or off-campus.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, tell your close contacts that they have been exposed. A close contact is anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first.

Informing your contact will help stop the spread of the virus. Give them the link to this webpage, ontario.ca/exposed, so they can protect themselves and their contacts. Your close contacts should follow the advice for being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Communicate with your supervisor, team members, and research participants if activities need to be rescheduled. Ensure all laboratory contact information is up to date.

The Brock Animal Care and Use Program has a crisis management plan, which includes strategies to address the conditions we are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Animal Care Services are ready to assist with any necessary measures to support authorized research access to the facility. We are following the guidelines set out by Health, Safety, and Wellness and will continue to make necessary adjustments for ongoing support.

The Animal Care Committee (ACC) continues to review applications, make decisions, and exercise required oversight functions.

Researchers planning to undertake animal-based research must:

  • Follow Brock University COVID-19 health and safety protocols in line with the animal facility procedures;
  • Ensure that animal care is comprehensive and not compromised by staffing or other COVID-19 restrictions (under the advisement of the Manager of Animal Care and ACC approvals).

Please contact the Animal Care Manager, sbukovac@brocku.ca or Clinical Veterinarian, spetrik@brocku.ca if you have any questions or need assistance.

Reach out if you have questions or concerns:

Travel

Throughout the pandemic, Brock’s travel guidance has always been based on Government of Canada recommendations. As a result of recent advice from the federal government, members of the Brock community can resume non-essential travel. SAC member approval will no longer be required to travel. Instead, the ‘usual’ approval procedures will apply. Those who choose to travel outside Canada are still encouraged to check current travel restrictions and entry/exit requirement for both Canada and the country they are visiting. Restrictions are still changing and may be imposed with little warning. Please consult the Government of Canada’s travel advisories website for details.

The Government of Canada has recommended:

  • If you are still considering travelling or are already outside of Canada:
  • Check your destination’s Safety and security, Entry/exit requirements and Health sections.
  • Get the Government of Canada’s latest updates on COVID-19.
  • Check the Pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice.
  • Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited.
  • Ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted.
  • Check with your travel insurance provider to know more about their policies related to COVID-19. Find out if you are covered for medical treatment if you become infected with COVID-19 as well as for extended stays outside of Canada.

Tri-Council travel expenses  

The three federal granting agencies confirm that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable, considering the impacts of COVID-19. This applies to the travel of both principal investigators and research personnel, when cancellation occurs. More information is available at https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/ProgramNewsDetails-NouvellesDesProgrammesDetails_eng.asp?ID=1133

University-funded travel expenses

For travel booked prior to this communication (March 12, 2020), Brock faculty and staff can submit for reimbursement for any non-refundable travel fees, considering the impacts of COVID-19. Reimbursement must be allocated from the funding source (ie. PER, internal research grants, department budgets) originally intended and approved to cover the cost of travel.

Note:  Non-refundable travel fees for travel booked after the date of this communication will not be reimbursed. For this reason, the University encourages faculty and staff to purchase additional travel cancelation insurance, as well as additional travel health insurance. The costs for purchasing additional insurance will be considered eligible for reimbursement from the funding source intended to cover the cost of the travel (ie. PER, internal research grants, department budgets).

If reimbursement is provided for travel costs where a service provider issues a credit to the claimant, the claimant is responsible for ensuring the credit is used for future University activities and not for personal use. The claimant must refund the University for the cost of the credit if they decide to repurpose the credit for personal use.

All other Travel, Meals, and Hospitality Policy and Professional Expense Reimbursement Policy requirements and approval protocols remain in place.

OUT OF COUNTRY TRAVEL BENEFITS

Employees with Green Shield coverage should visit the Green Shield Canada (GSC) Support Centre for the most recent information on Out of Country TravelCoverage and Coronavirus FAQs.

Faculty and staff who engage in out of country travel, subject to University policies and procedures, are accountable for regularly reviewing the following for timely information, which is subject to change and may impact benefits coverage.

Any benefits questions should be directed to benefit@brocku.ca or to Green Shield Canada (GSC) at 1-888-711-1119.

For information relating to the requirements for entry or re-entry into Canada, please review the guidance provided on the Government of Canada website. 

Dining

For a complete list of dining locations and hours of operation, click here.

Yes, you are permitted to remove your mask while eating or drinking inside a campus building.

Brock University is working closely with public health officials to ensure the ongoing safety of dining on campus. Measures include COVID-19 screening and the requirement for proper personal protective equipment including face masks to be worn by students, employees and visitors. Additionally, daily temperate checks for staff and frequent sanitization of high touch points within dining locations and in designated seating areas is taking place. As the guidelines change, we also monitor capacity limits in each location, as well as the dine-in seating capacity. All guests are advised to sanitize before entering and exiting, as well as follow the physical distancing markers mapped out throughout spaces.