Frequently Asked Questions

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

Updated January 21, 2021

Winter term

Brock will begin a phased return to campus as planned on Jan. 31. This return will align with public health measures and guidelines provided by provincial and local authorities.

This gradual approach is already underway, with students in the Nursing and Professional Kinesiology programs having returned to campus at the beginning of the term.

The phased return to campus will continue as follows:

Week of Jan. 31:

  • All Year 1 and Year 4 (including 3Alpha90+) lectures, labs, seminars and tutorials
  • All academic activities held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
  • All master’s and PhD courses
  • Pre-service courses in the Faculty of Education, excluding courses in Duration 12, which remain online

Week of Feb. 7:

  • All Year 2 and Year 3 lectures, labs, seminars and tutorials

Week of Feb. 28:

  • A small number of approximately 25 very large lectures will return following Reading Week. Students in these courses will be contacted via Sakai and/or their Brock email address to be informed if they are enrolled in these courses.
  • Courses scheduled for online delivery in the Winter Term will continue online

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

Students living in residence will be required to provide proof of their booster dose of COVID-19 by Jan. 25 unless they have an approved exemption in accordance with the University’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Students living in residence will be required to provide proof of their booster dose of COVID-19 by Jan. 25 unless they have an approved exemption in accordance with the University’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

As of Dec. 20, all Ontarians 18 years of age and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose. All students, faculty and staff are asked to get their booster as soon as possible as this will ensure a safe return to campus when public health conditions permit.

Brock’s vaccine requirement will remain in effect for the Winter Term.

All students attending campus for any reason in the Winter Term must demonstrate proof of full vaccination by Friday, Dec. 10 unless they have been approved for an exemption.

Fill out the vaccination declaration form here

Students who have not provided proof of vaccination by Dec. 10 will be dropped from on-campus courses but will still be able to access online courses. Those who are not vaccinated should switch to online courses only by Dec. 10.

Students who are currently partially vaccinated must provide proof of full vaccination before Dec. 10, as must students who are beginning their studies in the Winter term.

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.

At this time, we cannot confirm whether the vaccine mandate or any other health measures will last beyond the Winter Term and into the 2022-23 academic year. The University will follow guidance from provincial and public health authorities in this area and will share any additional information as soon as it becomes available.

General

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 expected to complete screening online or via the Brock Safety app and to stay home if they are feeling unwell. This helps reduce the likelihood that a positive case will come to campus. Staff and faculty must send the results of their screening to their supervisors prior to arrival on 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).

Individuals who have a confirmed PCR, Rapid Antigen Test or are symptomatic should 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.

  • Those who are fully vaccinated are asked to monitor symptoms. Those who continue to feel well are not required to self-isolate and can continue to attend class and work.
  • Those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated (i.e., with an approved exemption) should self-isolate for 10 days.

If a faculty member learns of a positive case in their class, they do not need to inform their class at the time, please reach out to rapidantigen@brocku.ca for support.

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.

Masks on campus

Physical Distancing: Physical distancing (i.e. keeping 2 metres away from others) 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.

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.

On August 26, 2021, the Medical Officer of Health for the Niagara Region issued guidance that individuals who have either started or completed their COVID-19 vaccine series outside of Canada with a vaccine NOT currently authorized by Health Canada restart their COVID-19 vaccine series with Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Patients would be eligible to restart their COVID-19 vaccination series 28 days after receiving their last dose of a non-Health Canada approved vaccine.

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.

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.

The rapid antigen screens are not a diagnostic tool, but are considered an indication of infectiousness. If you test positive, you will still need to book an appointment for a COVID-19 PCR test at the nearest COVID-19 testing center to confirm whether you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 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 be coming onto campus.

You need to isolate and book a PCR test at an assessment (niagarahealth.on.ca/site/assessmentcentres) Rapid Antigen Screens should be used if you are asymptomatic, it is not a diagnostic tool but rather a screen. If you are symptomatic, isolate and book a PCR test.

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.

Staff

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

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 and a screen shot of the Brock Safety app Screening tool they have filled out in advance and display the confirmation. 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.

(Note: A streamlined process is available to access Brock Archives & Special Collections only.)

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:
    1. Health, Safety, and Wellness Guidance for Shared Campus Research Spaces in COVID-19 Pandemic Conditions
    2. (if relevant) Health, Safety, and Wellness Guidance for In-Person Research with Human Participants under COVID-19 Pandemic Conditions
  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.
  4. Submit the following documents to their Associate Dean Research to request authorization for research activities for themselves and any supervisees:
    1. the Research Facility Access and Prioritization Request Form
    2. the Researcher COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy
    3. the In-Person Research with Human Participants Risk Checklist (if relevant)
    4. any associated Research Ethics Board applications or modification requests (if relevant)

The Associate Dean will assess the extent to which the proposed activity is consistent with the pandemic conditions and, if so, forward the request to the Academic Safety Committee and Health, Safety, and Wellness and (if relevant) the Research Ethics Board for detailed review of the identified risk-mitigation plans.

Faculty researchers will be notified by the Associate Dean Research when research activity has been authorized according to an accepted risk-mitigation plan.

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. Custodial Services must be provided with a list of shared research spaces intended to be occupied on weekends and holidays with at least 3 business days’ notice. Request weekend or holiday access at this link.

In the period from September 7, 2021, to January 5, 2022, the research activity authorization process through the Associate Deans Research was suspended while pandemic conditions permitted. During that time, Principal Investigators (Faculty Supervisors) were responsible for establishing and enforcing capacity limits and risk-mitigation strategies for the shared research spaces under their authority. As pandemic conditions are again surging, the authorization process is now reinstated. Research activities that began while that process was suspended, and which therefore did not undergo review, will now require the completion of the Research Facility Access and Prioritization Request Form and the Researcher COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy to be authorized through the appropriate Associate Dean Research. For the period from January 5 to January 21, 2022, on-site research activity that does not involve in-person interaction with human participants may continue while this review is underway. In-person human participant research should pause until the review is complete.

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. Custodial Services must be provided with a list of shared research spaces intended to be occupied on weekends and holidays with at least 3 business days’ notice. Request weekend or holiday access at this link.

Research participants, technicians, and other visitors must check in at a Visitor/Guest Health Screening desk. Hours may be more limited at some desks in late evenings and on weekends. Consult with Campus Security in advance to ensure smooth access for guests.

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 the stage of response and recovery, location-specific public health guidance, Global Affairs travel advisories, and any funding restrictions. Research funds may be used to fund research travel as follows:

  • Lockdown: local travel only; no overnight stays
  • Brock 1: local travel only
  • Brock 2: limit domestic and international travel to essential activities only
  • Brock 3: limit domestic and international travel to essential activities only

On December 20, 2021, the University revised travel guidance. Domestic and international travel may be authorized by the relevant member of Senior Administrative Council if deemed essential. For faculty researchers, contact the Faculty Dean or Associate Dean Research; for graduate student researchers, contact the Faculty Associate Dean Research as well as the Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. Written authorization for international or interprovincial travel should be included with expense claims submitted through Workday.

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

The Brock Archives & Special Collections are now scheduled to remain open with varying degrees of access across all stages of pandemic recovery. Risk-mitigation processes are in place to support health and safety for researchers, staff members, and (when possible) other users. Table 1 provides details about the restrictions by stage. Consult the Archives & Special Collections website for details about available time slots and the appointment booking process.

Researchers seeking access to other open archives should follow the access request process for other shared research spaces.

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 Karen Espiritu at kespiritu@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.

Authorization for research involving in-person interaction with human participants must be received through the Associate Dean Research (see Brock Research Activities During Stages of Pandemic and Recovery for the latest guidance).

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. Include the In-Person Research with Human Participants Risk Checklist along with any applications to the REB 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. Include the In-Person Research with Human Participants Risk Checklist with your modification request 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. Depending upon the pandemic stage, authorization may be required through the Associate Dean Research (see Brock Research Activities During Stages of Pandemic and Recovery).

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. Include the In-Person Research with Human Participants Risk Checklist along with any applications to the REB for research involving in-person interaction with human participants.

Researchers, participants, and caregivers (if present) must complete the Brock University self-screen survey each day prior to in-person interaction on- or off-campus.

Campus visitors (including research participants, caregivers, or support people) must check in at one of the Visitor/Guest Health Screening desks to show these results along with evidence of vaccination.

Every in-person research interaction with human participants on- or off-campus requires the University to document contact tracing information. Participants (and caregivers or support people, if required) must complete an online COVID-19 risk acknowledgement form prior to their first research study visit. This information must be reconfirmed at each research study visit when contact tracing information is gathered through an online contact tracing form from each research participant and (if applicable) caregiver or support person in attendance. Individuals may complete the online contact tracing form on their own device or on a researcher-supplied device that is sanitized between users.

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.

OFF-CAMPUS RESEARCH

The University is determining possibilities to extend the vaccination mandate to in-person research in off-campus locations.

Every in-person research interaction with human participants on- or off-campus requires the University to document contact tracing information. Participants (and caregivers or support people, if required) must complete an online COVID-19 risk acknowledgement form prior to their first research study visit. This information must be reconfirmed at each research study visit when contact tracing information is gathered through an online contact tracing form from each research participant and (if applicable) caregiver or support person in attendance. Individuals may complete the online contact tracing form on their own device or on a researcher-supplied device that is sanitized between users.

Campus visitors (including research participants, caregivers, or support people) must complete the Brock University self-screen survey and check in at one of the Visitor/Guest Health Screening desks to show these results along with evidence of vaccination.

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, Health Canada guidelines should be followed. Please see Health Canada’s website for up-to-date information.

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

Communicate with your supervisor and team members 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

Brock is prohibiting all student, faculty and staff travel outside Canada as per the travel advisories issued by Global Affairs Canada.

  • The University is also updating and clarifying its travel cancellation policies.
  • When travel is allowed, Brock will continue to adhere to the travel advisories as issued by Global Affairs Canada.

No University business travel is permitted at this time. Research travel may be authorized as described in the restrictions on research travel question.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that travellers avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.

The Government of Canada has recommended:

  • Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. This includes cruise ships. To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing your trip.
  • 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.
  • This advisory overrides all other risk levels, with the exception of areas for which we advise to avoid all travel (including regional advisories). The avoid all travel advisories remain valid.

In addition, Brock is prohibiting all student, faculty and staff travel outside Canada that is not vital to the academic mission.

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.

According to the Government of Canada, it is important for all travellers to:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.

All employees must continue to report absences as per normal departmental practices, even if they have been asked to self-isolate.

Dining

Dining Services resumes partial operations opening Saturday, Sept. 4 in residence dining halls and select retail locations. All locations begin full hours of operation Wednesday, Sept. 8.

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.