Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

  • Looking at Fall: Brock community must collectively continue to manage the pandemic

    Thanks to hard work and dedication by Brock students, faculty and staff, Brock University successfully navigated the past six months as the world dealt with the fallout of an unprecedented pandemic. That same level of cooperation and commitment will be needed in the months ahead as Brock continues to address COVID-19 and its effects.

    In what will be a busy Fall, most campus operations will remain modified from ‘normal’ as Brock continues taking careful steps to deliver services, academic programs and research capacity while protecting personal safety.

    “There have been difficult decisions to make, shared sacrifices and a commitment to doing the work of the University in different ways,” says President Gervan Fearon.

    “Over these months, our students, faculty, researchers and staff have worked together to ensure we place the health and well-being of each other first, and to ensure that Brock is a responsible member of the broader Niagara and Ontario communities as we all work together to mitigate the impacts of this virus.”

    This week, a major advance was achieved with the introduction of a new tool for tracking the status of campus operations and indicating specific levels of response and recovery.

    Stages for Pandemic Response and Recovery lists five different stages of activity that campus operations can be set at, based on current public health guidelines. For each stage the document indicates corresponding levels of access and activity for more than 20 categories of groups or facilities at Brock.

    Currently the University is in Stage 2. On Sept. 1, as Fall term is set to begin, the University is to advance to Stage 3, with further loosening of some restrictions on campus activity and access. In order to allow for a safe and orderly resumption, not all transitions will happen at once. It is expected that the University will remain at Stage 3 until at least January 2021.

    Under Stage 3:

    • As previously scheduled, some limited in-person classes will be held. Students in these classes require access to specialized spaces or equipment. Almost all of the teaching and learning in the Fall term will continue to be conducted online. You can read more about the Fall Academic Plan here. Where in-person classes are required, the University is making modifications to classrooms and in public spaces to ensure health and well-being and to follow Public Health guidelines regarding physical distancing and hygiene.
    • There will be a continued easing of restrictions on research activity, with some time-sensitive and in-person human research now permitted. Researchers must follow the Plan for Expanded Access to Research Facilities and Sites During Pandemic that was released in June.
    • Library services will be provided mainly online, with some limited access to collections and materials permitted.
    • In the coming weeks, a smaller-than-usual number of students will move into Brock Residences. This housing plan has been drafted in consultation with Public Health and will allow for physical distancing and maintenance of social bubbles that align with health guidelines and advice.

    Campus Access

    Under Brock Stage 3, access to campus remains strictly limited to those whose jobs are required to provide critical support to students, faculty, staff or campus operations.

    Some staff will return to campus, but only those who are required to be on-site to fulfill their duties. For those areas where limited staff will return, modifications are being made to workspaces and scheduling to ensure physical distancing and health and safety. Anyone entering campus will need to go through a pre-screening process. Non-medical face coverings will be mandatory (as has been the case at Brock since July 1).

    Faculty members wishing to obtain access to their individual offices should fill out the Office Access Request Form and apply through their Senior Administrative Council (SAC) leader.  Any member of the Brock University community wishing to request access to campus for any other type of activity should fill out the Resumption of University Activity Request Form and apply through their SAC leader.

    Everyone coming to campus will continue be pre-screened at the security desk entry points, and will still need to follow Public Health guidelines, including wearing a mask and maintaining safe distancing.

    People will also be required to maintain schedules that ensure safe distancing is maintained at all times, in all departments or work environments.

    Saving time:  New app lets people answer COVID-19 questions before they get to campus

    Brock is introducing a new Self-Assessment Screening Survey that streamlines entry for those who are approved to come to campus.

    The app does not collect personal information, but lets people answer in advance the same questions they’re currently asked when entering campus at access desks in the Rankin Family Pavilion or the Cairns Research Complex.

    Created with the assistance of Niagara Regional Public Health, the app can be accessed through the Brock Safety App, or at this link.

    Upon entry at one of the health screening stations at campus access points, people will be asked to display the results screen of their self-assessment. This will display the date and indicate if the person has shown symptoms or a probability of exposure to COVID-19. This self-assessment must be completed each day someone wishes to enter a Brock facility.

    Those who complete the screening and find that they should not be permitted entry as they display symptoms or a perhaps pose a higher risk of exposure are asked not to attend campus but to self-isolate and to contact their health care provider and/or Niagara Region Public Health for further assessment or support.

    Reminder on Research Access

    As Brock has enacted a number of measures in response to the pandemic, the Office of Research Services continues to provide services for our researchers. We ask that researchers allow extra time for us to process applications and other documentation during this challenging period.

    This summer, the Vice-President, Research issued a memo detailing expanded access to research facilities.

  • Brock COVID-19 update for Friday, July 17

    Here’s a look at some of the updates to Brock University’s COVID-19 response for Friday, July 17:

    Although parts of Ontario are moving into Stage 3 Friday, Niagara remains in Stage 2 under the provincial government’s recovery plan.

    Following public health guidelines, Brock University is also carefully moving forward with its own multi-stage recovery plan, guided by the key principle of keeping the health, safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff and the community a top priority.

    As the University moves through the recovery process, students, faculty and staff are asked to monitor their Brock email addresses, as well as for the most up-to-date information.


    Registration for 2020-21 underway

    Course registration for the Fall and Winter Terms is nearing completion. Just one hour after registration opened for incoming Brock University students in the early hours of Monday, July 13, more than 2,500 students had already finished mapping out their courses for the upcoming academic year.

    Registration continues Monday, July 20 for students heading into their second year, and wraps up Wednesday for any students with fewer than five credits.

    A variety of resources and support, such as details on when and how to register for courses, has been provided by various areas of the Brock community, including the Office of the Registrar, Information Technology Services and University Marketing and Communications to alleviate any barriers students may face during the process.


    BU4U/Smart Start available to help first-year students

    Incoming students are being provided with extra support this year. Brock has prepared a new set of online orientation programs to help welcome and support first-year students as they transition to university life, virtually.

    In addition to the online version of the University’s Smart Start summer orientation program, Brock has also launched a set of additional online experiences, known as BU4U, designed to enhance student success and ease the transition to post-secondary learning.

    Over the next few weeks, a member of the BU4U team will contact students via their Brock email to describe how to get started.


    Face coverings now mandatory

    As of Wednesday, July 1, Brock is requiring that anyone entering on-campus buildings wear a non-medical face covering if they’re able to.

    Exceptions will be made if:

    • The person is unable to wear the face covering because it would inhibit their breathing for medical reasons.
    • The person cannot safely wear a face covering for any other medical reasons, such as having respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties, or difficulties in hearing or processing information.
    • For religious reasons, the person cannot wear a face covering or cannot wear a face covering in a manner which would properly control the source.
    • The person is a child under the age of two.

    While these face coverings are not required to be worn in single-person offices, they must be worn when maintaining two metres of physical distance is not possible or predictable, such as hallways, elevators, classrooms and restrooms.

    Read the full story in The Brock News.


    Student fees reduced for 2020-21

    In recognition of the challenges facing students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brock University along with the Brock University Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Association have reduced their ancillary fees for the upcoming year.

    Collectively, these reductions will save students more than $4.2 million in the 2020-21 academic year. The full list of student fee savings can be found on the Student Accounts and Financial Aid webpage.

    Read the full story in The Brock News.


    Brock youth camps move online

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and following public health guidelines, Brock had to make the difficult decision to cancel its popular summer kids camps.

    However, the Brock Recreation and Brock Sports teams have now launched Camps at Home, an online resource for parents and guardians to access lesson plans and website links for fun camp-related activities.

    Camps at Home does not require any registration or fees, has no maximum capacity and is fully accessible 24/7. The activities for campers cover everything from technology, the arts and science to aquatics, sports and adventure. 

    Read the full story in The Brock News.


    How to access Brock campus

    Access to the main Brock campus in St. Catharines remains through one of two entrances: the Rankin Family Pavilion and the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex.

    Brock is guided by public health and Government of Ontario mandates on reopening, but we are considering ways of providing access to study space and libraries for current students. More information on the availability of all on-campus facilities, including athletics and recreation facilities will be released in the coming weeks.


    Morneau Shepell releases new resources for Brock employees

    Brock’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Morneau Shepell, has released new resources focused on adjusting to life post-pandemic.

    Articles on returning to work and school, self-care, talking to your children post-pandemic and ways to help the local community can all be found on Brock’s Employee Wellness website.

    Further resources and information can be found in Morneau Shepell’s COVID-19 toolkit or within their complimentary webinars.


    Mental health resources — update for students

    Brock is dedicated to supporting students with mental health resources.

    In-person counselling is currently not available; however, same-day drop-in counselling is still accessible. Email to be contacted via Microsoft Teams with an appointment time and a counsellor’s name.

    For 24/7 personal counselling phone 833-276-2533 (833-BROCK33).

    From Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., students can access Student Health Services (SHS) by phoning 905-688-5550 x3243 to leave a message and contact number, or by emailing

    Student Accessibility Services remains available for students and contact information can be found on the SAS website.

    If you have questions about COVID-19 symptoms and need to speak to a Student Health Services nurse, please email

    For medical emergencies, students should phone 911.

  • COVID-19 signs installed on campus to help keep Brock community safe

    The COVID-19 safety signs that have become the norm in grocery stores and public areas will now be posted around campus to help keep the Brock University community safe. 

    Floor and wall signs will be distributed throughout Brock to encourage physical distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizing, face covering reminders and encouraging the use of reusable water bottle filling stations, as water fountains will be disabled.

    Read more on The Brock News

  • Researchers may access laboratories July 2 and 3 thanks to collaborative effort

    To the surprise and delight of faculty and staff, Brock announced last week that the University would be closing for an additional two days — Thursday, July 2 and Friday, July 3 ­— to fully enjoy the Canada Day holiday. The two days are considered holidays declared by President Gervan Fearon in addition to the ‘floater’ day already provided to eligible employees.

    However, despite the extended University closure, researchers who have been scheduled for access to their on-campus research spaces on these days are allowed to proceed at their discretion.

    The ability to continue research if desired to do so has been made possible by the generous contributions of staff members at Brock who are stepping in to work through the holidays to support researchers.

    Read more on The Brock News

  • Coming onto campus? Face coverings now required

    As of Wednesday, July 1, Brock University is requiring that anyone entering on-campus buildings wear a non-medical face covering if they’re able to.

    Anyone entering Brock’s main St. Catharines campus through one of the two available entry points, or other Brock campuses, must have a minimum of a fabric mask covering their mouth and nose. Exceptions will be made for those individuals for whom wearing a face covering poses health concern or other issues as described below.

    While these non-medical masks (sometimes referred to as community protective equipment) are not required to be worn in single-person offices, however face coverings must be worn when maintaining two metres of physical distance is not possible or predictable, such as hallways, elevators, classrooms and restrooms.

    Read more on The Brock News

  • Brock committed to experiential education

    Brock University’s 2020 Fall Term might look a little bit different than in past years, but students can rest assured knowing its commitment to being a national leader in experiential education is continuing.

    The University has been proud to offer experiential education in 100 per cent of its programs, and the opportunity for students to engage with work experiences directly related to their degree programs remains.

    The changes due to COVID-19 have impacted some work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences more than others, such as health care, where practicums were affected to protect the health and safety of students, frontline workers and the community.

    Read more on The Brock News

  • Brock Central’s virtual Call Centre now open to students

    Since the University’s operational changes in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brock Central team in the Office of the Registrar has been working remotely, along with the majority of the Brock community.

    Read more on The Brock News

  • Brock extends funding for graduate students

    In recognition of challenges the COVID-19 pandemic may have posed for graduate students striving to complete their studies, Brock University is providing additional Faculty of Graduate Studies fellowship funding for research-based grad students.

    This funding will include the Graduate Fellowship, International Fellowship, International PhD Fellowship, and the Dean of Graduate Studies Excellence Scholarship, as appropriate.

    Master’s students will receive one additional term of their usual FGS fellowship support, while doctoral students will receive two additional terms. In order to receive the additional funding, students will need to remain registered as full time at Brock and will be responsible to pay usual tuition and fees.

    The Faculty of Graduate Studies will apply these fellowships to student accounts as a student reaches the end of their normal funded period and will not graduate in the next term. As usual, students past their funded terms who are on final stage status will not be eligible for this additional fellowship funding.

    Read more on The Brock News

  • Second Brock entrance now open

    After announcing that Brock’s Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon announced that laboratories across the University would open for a substantially wider range of approved users beginning June 15, a second entrance to the University has now opened. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the single access point to on-campus buildings had been the Rankin Family Pavilion. However, starting Monday, June 22, the east entrance to the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex is also now available as an access point. As with the RFP entrance, users will be asked to provide campus identification and answer a few basic screening questions. Through the new Plan for Expanded Access to Research Facilities and Sites During Pandemic, drafted by the Research Access Task Force chaired by Associate Vice-President, Research, Michelle McGinn, approved users will have access to research labs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday (excluding University holidays) under certain conditions.

  • An update for Brock University faculty and staff

    As the Government of Ontario continues to take steps to slowly lift COVID-19 restrictions, Brock University is making preparations for its own operations that put the health, safety and wellness of its faculty, staff and students at the highest priority.

    Research Plan

    Brock’s Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon announced this week that the University’s research labs would open for a wider range of approved users starting on Monday, June 15. The Plan for Expanded Access to Research Facilities and Sites During Pandemic was drafted following input and proposals contributed by more than 400 researchers and graduate students.

    Academic Plan

    Last month, Brock announced plans for the 2020 Fall Term, with the vast majority of courses being offered online. Only a small number of courses will be in-person; primarily upper-year and those with small-sized classes requiring specialized labs or other on-campus equipment.

    Faculty/Staff Health and Well-Being

    Since the early days of the pandemic, an Emergency Management Group consisting of dozens of representatives from across Brock University have been meeting on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

    Over the past three months, the EMG has been tasked with providing guidance to the University through these unprecedented times — while working within the framework of the regulations set at the regional, provincial and national levels.

    As the province begins to carefully take steps to allow more activities to resume, Brock is also turning to what operations will look like in the recovery phase with a number of sub-committees examining things such as research activities, the academic plan, student experience and general recovery including on-campus operations. Officials with Niagara Region Public Health have joined Brock in weekly meetings to provide input and updated guidance on an ongoing basis.

    Similar to the province’s staged resumption of commercial, social and recreational activities, Brock will take a staged and measured approach to bringing employees back to campus.

    Plans are being finalized to implement health and safety measures that will be in place for the fall for the limited number of students, faculty and staff who may need to be on campus. This includes measures such as community protective equipment (non-medical face coverings), limited campus entry points and restricting the number of people allowed in small areas to follow public health guidelines on physical distancing. For example, a limited residence offering that follows the guidelines established by public health is being considered to provide housing to some students who are required to be on campus or who have extenuating circumstances.


    Today was originally supposed to mark the final day of Brock’s 107th Convocation inside Ian Beddis Gymnasium. Instead, the Class of 2020 will be celebrated in a much different way.

    Spring Convocation will be delivered in a virtual format for the first time. Graduating students will receive an invitation from the Dean of their respective Faculty on Friday, June 19, when the Virtual Spring Convocation portal will go live.

    Rather than a single livestreamed event, Virtual Convocation is an online portal that is personalized for each individual graduating student. Although the portal will launch on June 19, graduands and their friends and families will be able to enjoy their Convocation experience whenever they choose. While the portal will include the official conferring of their degrees by Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo, and video addresses from a number of special guests including former Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin, it’s not meant to replace an in-person celebration, which will be planned in the future when it’s safe to do so.

    Watch the Brock News for information on how to view the Virtual Convocation portal when it goes live next week.

    Next Steps

    Keeping the Brock community safe while still conducting groundbreaking research and delivering a high-quality education to its students — wherever they might find themselves — remains the focus of the University.

    Information will continue to be communicated to faculty and staff as it becomes available. For more details about plans for the Fall Term, visit and for the latest updates on Brock’s COVID-19 response, including a full FAQ section, please visit