Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

  • Brock to continue requiring masks in instructional spaces, including for exams, Winter Term

    The requirement to wear a mask in instructional spaces will continue through the Fall exam period and into the Winter Term at Brock University.

    Masks will continue to be required for all students, faculty and instructors in all instructional spaces, including classrooms, lecture halls, seminars, teaching labs and other spaces when instruction or examination is taking place.

    The use of masks continues to be very strongly recommended everywhere on campus, especially when maintaining distance from others is not possible.

    Brock has been a leader in Ontario’s post-secondary sector with respect to its public health guidelines, as one of only a small number of universities that have required masks on campus in instructional spaces since September.

    Students and others present in examination rooms are expected to bring their own masks to examinations. A limited supply of masks will be available to students arriving at exams without their own.

    All masks worn must be medical grade. Fabric face coverings such as buffs, gaiters and bandanas do not satisfy the masking policy requirement at Brock.

    Students can learn more about requesting an exemption to the mask requirement on Brock University’s Coronavirus FAQ web page. Those with approved exemptions must bring the relevant documentation to their exam.

    Medical masks are also required in shared research space, as outlined in the relevant section of the Brock Coronavirus FAQ.

    Members of the Brock community and visitors are asked to remain vigilant this fall and winter and to self-monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. If you are feeling unwell, experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, do not come to campus. Please follow the self-isolation guidance provided by Niagara Region Public Health.

    Students who are unable to write an examination due to medical reasons must provide a medical verification form, certifying that the student was not capable of attempting the examination at the scheduled date and time. Students must ensure that they have contacted their course instructor(s) within seven days of the examination in order to be considered for a deferred exam sitting.

  • Brock to require masks in all instructional spaces

    Brock University will implement a masking requirement in all instructional spaces this September as it prepares to welcome students back to campus for in-person learning.

    Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, masks will be required in all instructional spaces, including classrooms, lecture halls, seminars, teaching labs and other spaces when teaching by instructors is taking place.

    All masks worn must be medical grade, a decision reached in consultation with the Brock University Faculty Association and other stakeholders. Fabric face coverings such as buffs, gaiters and bandanas do not satisfy the masking policy requirement at Brock.

    Medical masks are also required in shared research space, as outlined in the relevant section of the Brock University Coronavirus FAQ.

    The University will provide medical masks, including KN95s, to all staff and faculty who want them.

    The use of masks is strongly recommended everywhere on campus, especially when maintaining distance from others is not possible.

    “The health and well-being of our community remains our top priority as we prepare for a full return to campus this fall,” says interim President and Vice-Chancellor Lynn Wells. “After years of pandemic-related restrictions, we know that students are looking forward to a meaningful on-campus experience. By taking these extra measures, we can help protect both public health and the exceptional Brock experience for our incoming and returning students.”

    Vaccination

    Brock’s vaccination requirement remains paused; however, the community is strongly encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccination is the best defence against COVID-19.

    The GO-VAXX mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be located in Brock’s East Academic parking lot from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 and Monday, Oct. 3 for those who wish to obtain vaccines on campus.

    Students, faculty, staff and anyone from the wider community wishing to get vaccinated can book an appointment beginning four days in advance of the clinic date at 8 a.m. This can be done on the  provincial booking website  or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact centre at 1-833-943-3900.

    Walk-in appointments will also be welcomed while supplies last.

    Ventilation

    Brock has taken a number of steps to enhance the air quality in all University buildings, including:

    • Installing high-performance, surgical-grade filters in areas across campus, changed on a schedule to exceed performance standards for classrooms and other non-surgical spaces.
    • Investing in industrial air purifiers for classrooms and teaching labs.
    • Monitoring air changes (how many times the volume of air is changed in a space in an hour) with the goal of maintaining six per hour.
    • Implementing overrides in various areas and systems to maintain increased fresh air volumes to indoor spaces.

    Daily screening

    All those visiting campus – including students, faculty, staff and guests – should complete a COVID-19 self-assessment prior to arrival.

    If you feel unwell, do not come to campus

    Members of the Brock community and visitors are asked to be vigilant and to self-monitor closely for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are feeling unwell, experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, do not come to campus. Please follow the self-isolation guidance provided by Niagara Region Public Health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Brock preparing for a full return to campus in September

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Brock to maintain vaccine and mask mandates beyond Winter Term

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Brock Sports, Recreation updating plans as province eases restrictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Public health protocols to remain in effect at Brock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Dear Brock students, staff, faculty members and librarians,

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

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

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

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

    The phased return to campus will continue as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sincerely,

    Lynn Wells

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