Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

  • 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

  • Winter Term update from Interim President Lynn Wells

    Dear Brock community,

    I’m writing to you today with an update on the Winter Term and Brock’s response to COVID-19.

    Our top priority continues to be providing a safe learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff, with the goal of getting students back on campus as soon as possible.

    We continue to monitor the rapidly changing environment surrounding the Omicron variant, and together with our colleagues across Ontario, we are doing everything possible to provide the meaningful, on-campus experience for which students have so strongly advocated.

    I want you to know that I share your frustration at the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I too want to see us return to a more normal situation, without further disruption to campus activities — especially the on-campus learning so many students desire.

    To that end, I encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as possible, and to continue following all public health guidance.

    As announced earlier, most classes will resume Monday, Jan. 10 through online delivery. On-campus delivery of classes is planned to resume on Monday, Jan. 31, giving students, staff and faculty time to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster, which will help ensure a safe return to campus.

    During the period of online course delivery, the campus will remain open. Anyone attending the campus must continue to follow all public health guidelines, including masking and physical distancing unless in an approved setting, and complete daily screening through Brock’s safety app.

    Additionally, the following measures will be in place on campus at least until the end of January (see full operating guidelines list):

    • Work-from-home arrangements are in place for any staff not required on campus due to nature of their role.
    • Only time-sensitive research is permitted (with a priority on student degree progression).
    • Main floor access and bookable space (subject to capacity limits) is available at the Brock University Library.
    • Recreational facilities are closed.
    • All dining service is take-out only.
    • The Computer Commons is open (subject to capacity limits).
    • The Campus Store is open online and in-store (subject to capacity limits).
    • Reduced occupancy will continue in residences.
    • No university business travel is permitted, with limited travel for research purposes.

    As we have throughout this pandemic, we’ll continue to provide regular updates to keep the community informed as new information becomes available.

    Thank you for your continued patience, support and resilience as we navigate this unprecedented situation together.

    Sincerely,

    Lynn Wells

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

  • On-campus vaccination clinics available for Brock community

    Four vaccination clinics are scheduled at Brock University over the next week to help make it easier for students, faculty and staff to get their COVID-19 vaccination doses.

    The University previously announced that the Winter Term will start with online course delivery to allow time for the Brock community to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, which will help ensure a safe return to campus.

    Brock’s Student Health Services will host a booster shot clinic for students 29 years old and under at Harrison Hall (located across from the Walker Sports Complex) Thursday, Jan. 6 and Friday, Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are required and must be booked by phoning 905-688-5550 x3243.

    The University will also host the GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinic on Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan 10. Appointments are required and will be limited in number. They can be booked starting at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic and typically fill up in less than one hour. They can be booked through Ontario’s booking portal or by phoning the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 833-943-3900. Students, faculty, staff and anyone from the wider community are welcome.

    Other local vaccine bookings are available through the Government of Ontario website as well as through local pharmacies. Niagara Region Public Health has also launched a daily standby list for those looking to get a vaccine at its clinic at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. The list will be refreshed daily, so anyone interested must register each day they’re available to get to the clinic within 30 minutes of being contacted.

    All Ontario adults are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Proof of receiving the booster can now be uploaded to the my.brocku.ca portal. Further information about vaccine requirements will be provided in the near future.

  • What you need to know as Winter Term approaches

    With 2022 now upon us, Brock University will resume operations after the holiday break on Tuesday, Jan. 4, with most classes resuming Monday, Jan. 10 through online delivery. On-campus delivery of classes is planned to resume on Monday, Jan. 31.

    The University previously announced that the Winter Term will start with online course delivery to allow time for students, staff and faculty to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, which will help ensure a safe return to campus.

    All Ontario adults are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Proof of receiving the booster can now be uploaded to the my.brocku.ca portal. Further information about vaccine requirements will be provided in the near future.

    Vaccine bookings are available through the Government of Ontario website as well as through local pharmacies. In addition, Brock will host the GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinic on Friday, Jan. 7 and Monday, Jan 10. Appointments are required and will be limited in number. They can be booked starting at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic and typically fill up in less than one hour. They can be booked through Ontario’s booking portal or by phoning the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Students, faculty, staff and anyone from the wider community are welcome.

    During the period of online course delivery, the campus will remain open. Anyone attending the campus must continue to follow all public health guidelines, including masking and physical distancing unless in an approved setting, and complete daily screening through Brock’s safety app.

    Students living in on-campus residences have been provided with specific information about when they may return and the public health measures in place impacting them. Residence students are asked to monitor their Brock email for more information.

    The University’s top priority is to provide a safe learning and working environment. As has been done throughout the pandemic, Brock will continue to monitor the public health situation and work with government and colleagues in the sector to ensure the health and well-being of the community.

    For Brock employees, given the latest provincial guidance, a work-from-home arrangement will be in place for anyone not required to work on campus due to the nature of their roles. Managers/supervisors will be making the determination on work-from-home arrangements based on operational requirements. The date for return to on-campus work, including any existing hybrid working arrangement, will be assessed in the coming weeks based on the public health situation. This measure will limit the number of employees on campus to those who are required to work on site for operational reasons and minimize traffic in the hallways, stairs and elevators.

    Employees required to continue working on campus due to operational requirements, such as teaching, research and student services, will be required to comply with public health measures in place, including active screening protocols, masking and physical distancing.

    For the latest information on Brock’s COVID-19 response and protocols, visit the University’s coronavirus web page and the accompanying FAQ section.

  • COVID-19 update — A message from Interim President Lynn Wells

    Given the rapidly changing environment surrounding the Omicron variant of concern, I wanted to provide an update to the community on Brock’s response to COVID-19 for the coming weeks.

    The University’s top priority is to provide a safe learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to monitor the public health situation and work with government and colleagues in the sector to ensure the health and well-being of the Brock community.

    Exams

    On-campus exams for the Fall Term will be cancelled or will move to alternative modes of delivery as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16. The Centre for Pedagogical Innovation will work with the instructors concerned to understand their options, and students will be contacted by their instructors.

    Winter Term

    Brock will move to online course delivery for the beginning of the Winter Term to enable students, staff and faculty to receive their booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. On-campus classes are planned to resume on Jan. 31, 2022. During the period of online course delivery, the campus will remain open. Anyone attending the campus must continue to follow all public health guidelines, including masking and physical distancing, and complete daily screening through Brock’s safety app.

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

    Further information about vaccine requirements for the Winter Term will be provided in the coming weeks. 

    Remote work

    Given the latest provincial guidance, a work-from-home arrangement will be in place for employees who are not required to work on campus due to the nature of their roles. Managers/supervisors will be making the determination on work-from-home arrangements based on operational requirements. The date for return to on-campus work, including any existing hybrid working arrangement, will be assessed in the coming weeks based on the public health situation. This measure will limit the number of employees on campus to those who are required to work on site for operational reasons and minimize traffic in the hallways, stairs, and elevators.

    Employees required to continue working on campus due to operational requirements, such as teaching, research, and student services, shall comply with public health measures in place, including active screening protocols, masking, and physical distancing.

    Employees are asked to get their COVID-19 booster as soon as possible in order to help ensure a safe return to campus when the public health conditions permit. 

    Further information about vaccine requirements for the Winter term will be provided in the coming weeks.

    Research

    Brock University has safe practices and guidelines in place for the conduct of research activities. The Vice-President, Research will notify the research community in the event that new provincial orders or public health guidance limit research activities.

    COVID-19 Booster Dose

    Starting Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine through Ontario’s booking portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-390, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies and primary care settings.

    Appointments can be booked three months (84 days) after a second dose as the province urgently expands booster dose eligibility. Additionally, pharmacies and other channels may provide boosters for individuals aged 18 and over at the three-month interval starting Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 for walk-ins.

    Travel

    The Government of Canada has issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel. Members of the Brock community are encouraged to abide by this travel advisory and to limit their international travel to essential activities. 

    Those who must make an essential trip outside of Canada should check the current travel restrictions and entry/exit requirements of Canada and the country being visited. Consult the Government of Canada website for details.

    All incoming international students must register their travel and quarantine information with Brock International Services regardless of vaccine status. See Brock’s International Student Travel Requirements for more.

    Health and Safety

    Members of the Brock community are urged to continue taking the steps necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 over the holidays. These include:

    • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as possible
    • Participating in provincial COVID-19 testing programs
    • Avoiding all non-essential travel
    • Limiting social interactions
    • Practising physical distancing
    • Wearing a mask when indoors or when physical distancing is not possible
    • Washing hands frequently

    Additionally, Brock’s vaccine mandate remains in effect. Vaccination remains the best defence against COVID-19 and I ask everyone to get their booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 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.

    Brock’s Fall Term was safe and successful, with a limited number of on-campus cases, thanks to the support and co-operation of all members of the University community. Thank you for your continued patience and co-operation as we navigate this new stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Free, confidential, 24/7 text or chat support with licensed counsellors is available in real-time via Brock’s MySSP app, on the App Store or Google Play. Additionally, Brock’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provides immediate and confidential support to help resolve work, health, and life challenges.

    We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available.

    Sincerely,

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

  • Second positive case results in outbreak being identified in Nursing class

    Niagara Region Public Health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak in a Brock University Nursing program after a second positive case was confirmed over the weekend.

    An outbreak is defined by two cases or more that have an epidemiological link. Due to the dates of exposure, public health has advised that the outbreak could be deemed to have been resolved later this week.

    When the first individual tested positive on Friday, Sept. 17, everyone in the class who may have been exposed received notification and was asked to monitor for symptoms and to self-isolate if they were not fully vaccinated. On Sunday, Sept. 26, the University learned that a second individual connected to that class had tested positive. This person was last on campus on Wednesday, Sept. 15 and has been in self-isolation since that time.

    Anyone in NUSC 1P10, NUSC 1P12 or NUSC 3P0H is reminded to continue to monitor for any symptoms. Those not fully vaccinated will continue to participate in Brock’s Rapid Antigen Screening program and will remain in self-isolation until ten days elapse from the time of last exposure. All Brock classes will continue as scheduled and planned.

    Of the more than 15,000 students on Brock’s campus this Fall, more than 90 per cent are fully vaccinated. Only seven per cent are partially vaccinated. This number will decline as these students complete their second dose. Approximately 150 students have approved exemptions. Mandatory regular antigen screening is required for those not fully vaccinated and those with approved exemptions.

    Public Health guidelines permit fully vaccinated individuals without symptoms to continue daily activities following exposure to a positive case. Regardless of vaccination status, anyone who develops COVID-19-like symptoms should self-isolate, seek further medical support as necessary and schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre.

    To learn more about Brock’s COVID-19 response, visit brocku.ca/coronavirus

    Brock shares a daily update of positive cases reported in the past 14 days. It can be accessed at brocku.ca/coronavirus/cases

  • Please upload your vaccination information

    If you have received a text message from Brock University, it is because our records indicate that you have at least one class on campus this fall and have not uploaded your vaccination information to Brock’s vaccination declaration tool.

    Brock announced its COVID-19 vaccination requirement on Aug. 12. All students, staff and faculty were asked to declare their vaccination status by Sept. 7. Several reminders have been sent to your Brock email address, in addition to updates on the Brock News and social media.

    Please declare your vaccination status by 5 p.m. on Sept. 10. Failure to do so will result in your access to BrockDB and Sakai being blocked.

    FAQs on Brock’s vaccination requirement can be found here.

  • Update on Fall Term for Wednesday, Sept. 1

    Brock continues to prepare for a safe return to campus this fall as the province announced that physical distancing requirements and capacity limits for indoor instructional settings will be lifted at post-secondary institutions with mandatory vaccination requirements.

    This means that Brock University can proceed with the Fall Term as planned, with most courses taking place on campus.

    As previously announced, all classes will be delivered online for the week of Sept. 7 to 10. In-person classes will begin as planned on Monday, Sept. 13.

    Residence move-in will take place from Saturday, Sept. 4 to Monday, Sept. 6.

    Brock’s vaccination requirement — first announced on Aug. 12 — comes into effect Tuesday, Sept. 7, after which time only those who are vaccinated or who meet limited criteria for accommodation will be permitted on either the St. Catharines or Hamilton campuses.

    Students, staff and faculty can fill out the vaccination declaration form here, and should do so as soon as possible. Completing the form is a mandatory requirement. Those who have not submitted their vaccination information by Sept. 7 will not be permitted on campus until they do so.

    To date, more than 14,000 members of the community have completed the vaccination declaration process and 99 per cent of respondents indicate they are fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or have a plan to be vaccinated.

    Those who have accommodation exemptions will be required to complete twice-weekly rapid antigen testing and enhanced screening upon arrival to campus.

    “The single most important step everyone can take to ensure the safety of our community this fall is to get a COVID-19 vaccination,” says Lynn Wells, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor. “It is imperative that everyone who can gets vaccinated and fills out the vaccination declaration form as soon as possible.”

    Brock has taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of the campus community this fall, including:

    Updates will continue to be posted to The Brock News and Brock’s social media channels.

    Brock University recognizes this is a challenging time and appreciates your ongoing support.

  • Our plan for a safe return to campus — A letter from Interim President Lynn Wells

    I want to provide this important update to our students, faculty, staff and community.

    Although Ontario remains in Stage 3 of the province’s COVID-19 reopening framework and what the coming weeks will look like remains uncertain, work continues in preparation for a return to campus.

    First, let me begin by extending my personal thanks for your ongoing support and commitment to ensure a safe and responsible return to campus. We had all hoped the pandemic would be long past when we began planning for the upcoming term, but COVID-19 has proven a determined and multi-faceted foe that continues to require extraordinary measures to safeguard our health and well-being.

    Earlier this month, Brock University announced its vaccine mandate for students, faculty, staff and visitors. This was not a decision we made lightly and is one that is based on the advice and guidance of public health officials.

    Following that decision, the Province of Ontario announced that it will be requiring all universities and colleges in the province to implement mandatory vaccination policies. Exceptions to this rule would be granted only in rare and limited cases.

    The message is clear: if you want to study, teach, work or visit at a university campus this fall, you need to be vaccinated.

    Today, we launched Brock’s vaccination declaration tool as well as a dedicated web page and FAQs with details about how to upload your proof of vaccination, information outlining the extremely limited grounds on which an accommodation will be considered, and other information.

    Please upload your documentation as soon as possible. Documents must be uploaded by Wednesday, Sept. 1.

    I know these have been challenging and difficult times for all of us. We would all prefer to be planning for an open and “normal” return to campus. However, we also have a responsibility to ensure we do everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our community.

    Thank you for your co-operation and support.

    Lynn Wells

    Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, Brock University

  • An update on Brock’s Fall Term vaccine mandate for Aug. 24

    Ontario’s Medical Officers of Health issued a letter on Tuesday, Aug. 24 to the province’s universities and colleges that strongly supports vaccines for all students, faculty members, staff and visitors to any campus.

    On Aug. 12, Brock announced its intention to mandate vaccines for the coming term.

    Tuesday’s letter from the Medical Officers of Health aligns with the Brock approach, while strongly recommending:

    • Full vaccination against COVID-19 be required for all individuals involved in any in-person activities on campus (students, staff, faculty, contractors and visitors) with the rare exception of those individuals who cannot be vaccinated due to permitted exemptions (medical and other protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code). Individuals are to be required to submit proof of vaccination.
    • All individuals who are unvaccinated due to permitted exemptions or who are awaiting their second dose be required to adhere to additional health and safety measures, up to and including serial and frequent rapid testing.
    • Individuals involved in any in-person activities on campus (students, staff, faculty, contractors and visitors) should be fully vaccinated as soon as operationally feasible.

    This week, faculty, staff and students will be receiving information on the University’s vaccination requirements and how to provide confirmation of your vaccination status.

    Brock University is encouraged by surveys which indicate that at least 90 per cent of its students are fully vaccinated or have plans to be fully vaccinated. All others are strongly urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.