Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

  • Vaccines mandatory in the fall for all Brock Badgers student-athletes

    When Brock Badgers varsity and club athletes return to competition this fall for the first time in a year and a half, they’ll do so with the added protection of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    Brock University announced Thursday, July 29 that all student-athletes on a varsity or club team roster must be fully vaccinated in order to compete in the 2021-22 season.

    The decision follows Brock’s announcement earlier this week that all students living in on-campus residences must also be fully vaccinated.

    “We’re grateful that varsity and club sports have been given the green light to resume this fall, but we want to make sure they’re being conducted in a way that keeps our athletes, coaches, supporting staff and fans safe,” said Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students. “This vaccination requirement is an important part of that effort, and will help us get back to the exceptional student experience Brock is known for.”

    Melissa Krist, Director, Brock Sports, said the University is doing everything it can to create a safe environment for its 900 student-athletes.

    “It comes down to setting that standard for duty of care for our athletes and ensuring their health and safety is part of our return-to-play strategy,” she said. “Keeping our student-athletes safe is our No. 1 job at all times, but especially as we deal with this ongoing pandemic.”

    The vaccine mandate will not include students participating in on-campus athletics such as intramural competitions or apply to those using the University’s athletic facilities for recreational purposes.

    With the first exhibition games of the season set to get underway by mid-September, all student-athletes will be required to be fully vaccinated by Saturday, Sept. 4 or 14 days prior to competition, whichever date is sooner.

    More information will be sent to coaches and student-athletes in the coming days.

    “The message we really want to send to our student-athletes, and all members of the Brock community, is to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Brock University Vice-President, Administration Ken Chan, who previously served as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Secretariat. “Being fully vaccinated not only offers protection from the harmful effects of COVID-19, but it also enables students to participate in student life safely.”

    The University will recognize Health Canada-approved vaccines as well as vaccines on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing. Requests for accommodations on human rights grounds such as due to medical conditions or religious beliefs will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    “What we’re trying to do is create a safe environment for our student-athletes who may travel and come into contact with other athletes who aren’t vaccinated,” said Krist. “We want to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes and the best way to mitigate the risk is to have them fully vaccinated.”

    Students who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to take advantage of one of the walk-in clinics now available or book online through the provincial booking system in their home province. Brock University’s Student Health Services has also been running a vaccination clinic at Harrison Hall for all students, including those starting at Brock this fall. To register, visit the Student Wellness and Accessibility website.

    With the provincial regulations around indoor and outdoor gatherings easing, Brock Sports will allow spectators at its events this fall, but with limited capacity and safety measures in place. A plan is also in the works to expand the live video streaming offerings of athletic events on campus.

  • New measures in place to enhance Brock’s ventilation system for fall

    As Brock continues to prepare for a significant return to campus this fall, steps are being taken to enhance the air quality in all University buildings.

    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 maintain increased fresh air volumes to indoor spaces.

    High-performance, surgical-grade filters have been installed in areas across campus and are changed on a schedule to exceed performance standards for classrooms and other non-surgical spaces.

    The University has also invested in industrial air purifiers for classrooms and teaching labs, said Dave McArthur, Brock’s Director, Facilities and Services.

    “We’re going to install air purifiers in all of the spaces that will have increased capacity,” he said, adding multiple air purifiers will be placed in larger spaces, such as David S. Howes Theatre.

    Staff continues to monitor 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, McArthur said. Air audits are also being conducted in all classrooms to ensure standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) are being met or exceeded.

    The air in indoor spaces will also be “flushed out” every night and again in the morning prior to people entering for the day, with ventilation starting two hours prior to scheduled occupancy.

    While the increased air exchanges will take a toll on the University’s energy efficiency, with systems working longer and harder than ever before, the measures are being put in place to emphasize safety on campus, said Mary Quintana, Director, Asset Management and Utilities.

    “Brock is being proactive and taking steps that go above and beyond the most recent regulations to keep our community comfortable and safe,” she said.

    McArthur added that the ventilation and HVAC systems are “one piece of the puzzle in keeping everyone safe, along with wearing masks and getting vaccinated.”

    As Brock’s plan for a fall return relies heavily on a high COVID-19 vaccination rate, the University has been encouraging all faculty, staff and students to get both doses as soon as they’re able to.

    “This is one in a series of initiatives Brock is putting in place to ensure people feel confident that the University is doing everything it can to keep them safe when they return come September,” McArthur said.

    The University continues to stay up-to-date on conversations regarding ventilation and air quality, he said, and is “constantly researching information from ASHRAE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health and other universities.”

    Brock also exchanges and compares knowledge with peers at other institutions to learn about best practices and any challenges others might be experiencing, Quintana said.

    The University is fortunate, she said, as even its oldest buildings still contain strong ventilation systems, which has been a challenge for other institutions with more historic facilities. The two spaces that were not connected to Brock’s HVAC building automation system — Harrison Hall and Kenmore Centre — are being upgraded and controls installed to ensure they can also be monitored properly, she added.

  • Full vaccination to be mandatory for students living in Brock University residences

    A high rate of COVID-19 vaccination is an important part of Brock University’s plan for a significant return to on-campus classes and activity this fall.

    With the health and safety of the Brock community as a top priority, the University announced Monday, July 26 that full vaccination will be mandatory for all students living in on-campus residences.

    “Reducing the spread of COVID-19 through vaccination is critical because of the close living arrangements in student residences,” said Brock University Vice-President, Administration Ken Chan. “As such, and after engaging with regional and provincial public health officials, we are taking this step to require that students living on campus are fully vaccinated.”

    Residence students must have one dose prior to moving into their rooms on campus, and their second dose within 14 days of moving in.

    However, Chan, the former Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Secretariat, said it is recommended that students receive their second dose at least 14 days before moving in, where possible.

    “Being fully vaccinated not only offers protection from the harmful effects of COVID-19, but it also enables students to participate in student life safely,” he said.

    The University will recognize Health Canada-approved vaccines as well as vaccines on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing. Exemptions will be allowed based on medical and Ontario Human Rights Code grounds.

    Students who have registered to attend residence in the fall will receive further information by email in the coming days, and more information can be found on the Residence FAQ page here.

    With fewer than 45 days before the start of the Fall Term, the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU), Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and the University itself are also encouraging all students to get vaccinated.

    Last week, BUSU released its latest in a series of social media posts and videos encouraging students to get fully vaccinated, pointing out that public health officials recommend 28 days between doses and say it takes 14 days after the second dose before the vaccine is considered fully effective.

    “Canada’s vaccination rate remains among the highest in the world, but unfortunately our age demographic from 18 to 29 has one of the lowest rates of fully vaccinated people,” said BUSU President Rafay Rehan. “Our team at BUSU is trying to change that by tackling misinformation and advocating for easy vaccine access on campus.

    “We’re getting clear messaging out to students on how this is our shot to get back to doing the things we love and getting back to campus life. These next few weeks are critical to our campaign, especially with the first day of classes around the corner.”

    Similarly, the GSA has been using its social media platforms to encourage students to take part in the on-campus vaccination options or get vaccinated in their home regions.

    “Whether it’s to conduct research or to collaborate with colleagues, being on campus is such an important part of the graduate student experience,” said GSA President Christopher Yendt. “We know that the higher the rate of vaccination among students and the Brock community, the more things can open up, so we want to make sure that our students are getting vaccinated and that there are no roadblocks stopping that from happening.”

    In order to help make getting vaccinated easier for its students, the University’s Student Health Services has been running a vaccination clinic at Harrison Hall for all students, including those starting at Brock this fall.

    Since launching last month, nearly 300 students have received their vaccinations at the ongoing clinic.

    “We’re extremely pleased that our students are taking advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated as we all prepare for a significant return to campus in September,” said Interim Brock President Lynn Wells. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our students to get vaccinated, and I want to thank staff in Student Health Services for making this clinic possible.”

    Whether through the Brock vaccine clinic or by taking advantage of other community options, there are positive signs that students are getting the message.

    Prior to the University’s mandatory vaccine announcement for residence students Monday, more than 2,000 undergraduates and graduate students planning to live in residence rooms responded to an anonymous survey about their plans, with more than 94 per cent reporting they were planning to get vaccinated.

    While the provincial government has said colleges and universities may reopen in September with no limits on class sizes or social distancing requirements, medical face coverings may still be required, and Brock has taken significant steps to ensure the health and well-being of all students, faculty and staff.

    “Throughout this pandemic and as we look ahead to the Fall Term, the safety of our students and of the whole Brock community has always remained our top priority,” said Wells. “The goal in September is to give students the exceptional on-campus experience they have come to expect from Brock University in a safe environment.”

    To register for the student vaccination clinic at Harrison Hall, visit the Student Wellness and Accessibility website.

    For more information on public vaccination options such as the community clinic hosted at Brock’s Ian Beddis Gymnasium over the weekend, visit the Niagara Region Public Health COVID-19 vaccination website.

    To read more about Brock’s plan for the fall, visit brocku.ca/fall

  • Brock releases update on fall plans

    Brock University continues to prioritize the health and well-being of the campus community as it prepares for the beginning of the Fall Term.

    September will see a significant return to on-campus instruction, complemented with online elements, as well as the resumption of as many in-person student experience activities as possible.

    Government and provincial public health officials have advised that fall planning can be done without the need for capacity limits or physical distancing. Masks will still be required when indoors.

    The provincial government is expected to confirm public health guidance for Ontario’s post-secondary institutions later this summer.

    Brock moved into the third stage of its reopening plan this week, which allows for the reopening of student residences, dining facilities, recreational areas and other amenities on campus. The plan relies heavily on a high rate of vaccination, so all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to get both doses as soon as they’re able to.

    For a complete listing of what is permitted under the various Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery, see the full chart here.

    Existing measures, such as accessing campus through the Rankin Family Pavilion or Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, as well as requiring medical face masks to be worn while on campus, remain in place.

    The University has also begun to plan for a return to on-campus work for staff in the coming weeks. Transition details will differ depending on the work being performed in each unit, so managers will be reaching out to their staff with details in the weeks to come.

    As part of Fall Term planning, the University continues to monitor the public health situation and may adjust remaining measures in place as required.

    Ontario will remain in Step Three until at least Friday, Aug. 6 and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated.

    Other key public health and health-care indicators must also continue to remain stable.

    Brock continues to update the community at brocku.ca/fall and brocku.ca/coronavirus

  • Brock University to move to ‘Brock 3’ Monday, July 19

    Brock University is taking an important step toward its goal of a significant return to campus this fall, moving into ‘Brock 3’ of its own reopening framework as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 19.

    The move comes as Ontario transitions into Step 3 of the provincial government’s Roadmap to Reopen Plan.

    Last month, Brock updated its Stages of Reopening/Recovery document to better align with the provincial framework with three stages of recovery. Brock 3 (Protect and Prevent) allows for a greater resumption of activity and more areas of campus to reopen under certain guidelines.

    As the next step in the University’s continued planning for a return to campus in September, Brock 3 allows for most classes to be offered in person and some offered online or in a hybrid format, as well as the reopening of student residences, dining facilities, recreational areas and other amenities on campus. The plan relies heavily on a high rate of vaccination, so all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to get both doses as soon as they’re able to.

    As the health and safety of the Brock community remains the top priority, existing measures, such as accessing campus through the Rankin Family Pavilion or Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, as well as requiring medical face masks to be worn while on campus, remain in place. Faculty and staff who are able to work from home should continue to do so.

    In addition, the measures below will be in place as of Monday, July 19 when the University moves into Brock 3 (Protect and Prevent).

    • While in-person and hybrid classes are permitted to resume, ongoing Summer Term courses delivered online will continue in this format.
    • Exams and testing will primarily be delivered online.
    • The James A. Gibson Library will increase bookable study space to a maximum capacity of 50 within the Learning Commons. Appointments for Archives and Special Collections continue to be available with limited capacity.
    • The Computer Commons will continue to provide appointment-only bookable space with a maximum occupancy of 25 students.
    • Time-sensitive research, including some in-person human research, can be authorized. Domestic travel for research purposes is permitted. See the Research FAQs for more information.
    • Additional events or activities at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts may be authorized, subject to restrictions.
    • Student wellness and academic services will continue to be offered primarily online, with some limited on-campus services.
    • Some student events may resume indoors and outdoors with restrictions in place.
    • Athletic facilities inside the Walker Sports Complex, including the Zone Fitness Centre, Brock pool, gymnasia and Brock Sport Performance Centre, will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 3 for pre-booked recreational use, with capacity limits and other restrictions in place. In addition to outdoor athletic training, which previously resumed with capacity and physical distancing limits in place, authorized indoor training may also resume with restrictions.
    • The Campus Store will remain available for online sales only until Tuesday, Aug. 3, when it will reopen for in-store shopping with limited capacity allowing two metres of physical distancing.
    • While dining services are permitted to open under Brock 3, they remain closed for the summer.
    • Public access to campus remains limited with authorized access only.

    For a complete listing of what is permitted under the various Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery, see the full chart here. As a part of Fall Term planning, the University continues to monitor the public health situation and may adjust remaining measures in place as appropriate.

    For more information on Brock’s COVID-19 response, please visit brocku.ca/coronavirus

  • Brock moving to Stage 2 Wednesday, June 30

    Aligning with the Province of Ontario’s move to Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen plan, Brock University will move into Stage 2 as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 30. 

    Brock recently updated its Stages of Reopening/Recovery document to better align with the provincial framework with three stages of recovery. Brock Stage 2 (Intermediate) allows for a greater resumption of activity and more areas of campus to reopen under certain guidelines.

    Moving up to Stage 2 is also the next step toward the University’s continued planning toward a significant return to campus in September. This would include most classes offered in person and some offered online or in a hybrid format, as well as the reopening of student residences, dining facilities, recreational areas and other amenities on campus. The plan relies heavily on a high rate of vaccination, so all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to get both doses as soon as they’re able to.

    As the health and safety of the Brock community remains the top priority, existing measures such as accessing campus through the Rankin Family Pavilion or Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, as well as requiring medical face masks to be worn while on campus, remain in place. Faculty and staff who are able to work from home should continue to do so.

    In addition, the measures below will be in place as of Wednesday, June 30 when the University moves into Brock Stage 2 (Intermediate). Please note that Brock is closed Thursday, July 1 and Friday, July 2.

    • Classes will be delivered primarily online with limited on-campus delivery.
    • Exams and testing will primarily be delivered online.
    • The Brock University Library will reopen with limited availability and capacity limits.
    • The Computer Commons will reopen as appointment-only bookable space with a maximum occupancy of five students.
    • Individual bookable group study rooms in James A. Gibson Library will reopen on July 5 with capacity limits in place. Print book pickup and archives access continue.
    • Time-sensitive research, including some in-person human research, can be authorized. Domestic travel for research purposes only may resume. See the Research FAQs for more information.
    • The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts remains closed for indoor use, but outdoor events may resume subject to restrictions.
    • Student wellness and academic services will continue to be offered primarily online, but may begin to offer limited on-campus services.
    • Some student events may resume outdoors only with restrictions remaining in place.
    • Athletic facilities inside the Walker Sports Complex, including the Zone Fitness Centre, Brock pool, gymnasia and Brock Sport Performance Centre, remain closed while outdoor training expands to a maximum of 25 people per area with 3m distancing still required.
    • The Campus Store remains available for online sales only.
    • Dining services remain closed.
    • Public access to campus remains limited with authorized access only.

    For a complete listing of what is permitted under the various Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery, see the full chart here. The University will not transition to a less-restrictive stage of recovery until the public health situation allows for it and all required measures are in place.

    Similarly, Brock anticipates being beyond Stage 3 (Protect and Prevent) by the time the Fall Term begins. With Ontario expected to reach Step 3 of reopening by late July, Brock will await guidance from the province and public health officials about further stages of reopening before Fall Term begins.

    For more information on Brock’s COVID-19 response, please visit brocku.ca/coronavirus

  • University to begin offering vaccine to Brock students

    As public health officials look to increase the vaccination rates among young adults in Niagara, Brock University will be offering the Moderna vaccine to undergraduate and graduate students starting Friday, June 25.

    The University is working to ensure students have access to both first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine as part of its campus-wide fall preparations.

    All Brock students are eligible to receive the vaccine, which will be administered by staff of the University’s Student Health Services clinic in Harrison Hall. Students do not need to live in the Niagara region to access the clinic, but must be enrolled Brock students (including part-time students and those starting in September). Students living outside of Niagara are encouraged to get vaccinated in their home region prior to the school year beginning.

    Students who want to get vaccinated at Brock can register on the Student Wellness and Accessibility website. After registering, students will be contacted with more information on when they should come to the University to receive their vaccine.

    Brock University Provost and Vice-President, Academic Lynn Wells said the plan for a return to on-campus instruction and activity requires a high rate of vaccination among all community members.

    “As we work toward the gradual resumption of on-campus classes, research, athletics and other extracurricular activities, we are relying on vaccinations to increase throughout the summer months,” Wells said. “Each of us can do our part to help end the pandemic by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”

    “We’re all in this together, both as a university and as a community,” she said. “Being able to offer all Brock students direct access to the vaccine through this on-campus clinic is a very important step in the right direction.”

    Following provincial guidelines, the Brock clinic will be administering first doses of the Moderna vaccine to all students who would like to receive it, as well as second doses for those eligible. For information receiving the Moderna vaccine as a second dose, please visit the Province of Ontario’s vaccine website here.

    “Throughout this pandemic, persons in their 20s and 30s — the post-secondary student-aged population — have been the highest risk of being infected by COVID-19, and as older groups were vaccinated first, the virus has increasingly concentrated in younger people,” said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Acting Niagara Region Medical Officer of Health. “Getting vaccinated before returning to class will help protect people in this age group, as well as their friends, family and loved ones.”

    Vaccine administration at Brock will begin clinics on Friday, June 25 and Monday, June 28. Additional clinics will be scheduled as required based on student demand.

    Students who receive their vaccine at Brock and are also still holding appointments at other community vaccination clinics are encouraged to cancel those additional appointments to free them up for other community members.

    “We are very pleased to be working closely with Niagara Region Public Health in order to ensure our students have timely access to vaccines in advance of their return to campus,” said Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Students. “Depending upon student demand and vaccine supply, we also anticipate Student Health Services will be able to offer this service to students through the Fall and into the Winter Term.”

    Anyone with questions or concerns about whether the COVID-19 vaccine is right for them is encouraged to book an immunization counselling appointment by phoning 905-688-5550 x3243.

    To contact the Brock University COVID-19 nurse, email covid19nurse@brocku.ca

    In addition to being encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible, the Brock community is reminded to continue taking steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19 such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and self-isolating when not feeling well.

  • Fall update: Planning continues for return to campus, vaccines will not be mandatory

    Brock University continues to prepare for a significant return to on-campus instruction and activity this September as the rate of new COVID-19 cases both locally and across the province continues to decline and more people receive their first and second vaccine doses.

    Brock’s Fall Term course calendar was released on May 25 with about two-thirds of all classes including some form of on-campus component. Other classes — particularly those with large numbers of international students enrolled — are complemented with online delivery to ensure those unable to come to campus can continue their studies.

    “After consultation with the University community, including students, staff and faculty, Brock committed to being as open as possible this fall and to restoring the post-secondary experience students expect from us,” says Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “With careful planning in consultation with public health officials, I have confidence in the Brock community’s ability to navigate this next stage of the pandemic together.”

    Brock has seen a significant increase in student applications this year and expects to welcome more than 4,000 new students this fall — a 6.5 per cent increase in high school applicant confirmations over last year.

    In addition to the strong incoming class of secondary school students, applications from transfer students, international students and those pursuing school in non-traditional ways are also positive this year.

    Brock has also seen strong demand for residence spots, which is expected to rise further in the coming weeks.

    After consultation with colleagues in the sector and consideration of the legal implications, Brock will join other universities in not requiring vaccinations for students, staff and faculty members on campus in the fall. This decision was discussed with Niagara Region Public Health and conversations with public health will continue as September approaches.

    Some student populations, such as those living in residence, may be asked to disclose their vaccination status.

    “While Brock will not require vaccinations for those returning to campus or living in residence this fall, we do strongly encourage anyone who is able to get vaccinated to do so before arriving on campus in September,” says Wells. “A safe return to on-campus instruction and activity relies on a high rate of vaccination among all members of the community.”

    Brock will work with regional authorities to facilitate vaccination for students in September in an effort to ensure those students who have not received their two doses of COVID-19 vaccine can do so once the Fall Term begins.

    Information on how to get vaccinated now can be found here.

    Brock University remains committed to the health and safety of all members of its community now and into the Fall Term. It’s expected that a range of health measures may still be in place in September including:

    • Non-medical masks may still be required indoors.
    • The University will continue to promote the importance of handwashing and hygiene protocols.
    • Enhanced cleaning will continue daily across campus.
    • Those coming onto campus will be asked to complete a daily self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms and to stay home if they feel unwell.

    Details and updates can be found at brocku.ca/fall

  • Brock updates Stages of Recovery, will move to new stage Monday

    With the Province of Ontario moving into Step 1 of its new Roadmap to Reopen plan on Friday, June 11, Brock University has updated its own reopening procedures. The updated Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery document better aligns with the new provincial framework and follows all current regulations set by Niagara Region Public Health.

    The document also supports the University’s continued planning for a significant return to campus in September, with most classes offered in person and some offered online or in a hybrid format. Brock is also planning for the reopening of student residences, dining facilities and other amenities on campus.

    In the meantime, the University will move into Brock Stage 1 (Stringent) as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 14. Like the provincial framework, Brock’s plan sets out three specific stages of reopening.

    Under Stage 1 of the new Brock framework, which was approved this week after consultation from across the University, there will be some resumption of on-campus activity permitted.

    As the health and safety of the Brock community remains the top priority, existing measures such as accessing campus through the Rankin Family Pavilion or Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex, as well as requiring face coverings to be worn while on campus, will remain in place. Faculty and staff who are able to work from home should continue to do so.

    In addition, the following measures will be in place as of Monday, June 14 when the University moves into Brock Stage 1 (Stringent) of the new three-stage plan:

    • Classes will be delivered primarily online with limited on-campus delivery.
    • All exams and testing will be delivered online.
    • Common areas such as the Computer Commons and Brock University Library are closed, though the library will offer expanded book pickup hours.
    • Time-sensitive research, including some in-person human research, can be authorized. See the Research FAQs for more information.
    • Athletic facilities inside the Walker Sports Complex, including the Zone Fitness Centre, Brock pool, gymnasia and Brock Sport Performance Centre, remain closed while outdoor training may resume with a maximum of 10 people.
    • The Campus Store remains available for online sales only.
    • Dining services remain closed.
    • Public access to campus is not permitted.

    For a complete listing of what is permitted under the various Brock Stages of Reopening/Recovery, see the full chart here. The University will not transition to a less-restrictive stage of recovery until the public health situation allows for it and all required measures are in place.

    Similarly, Brock anticipates being beyond Stage 3 (Protect and Prevent) by the time the Fall Term begins. With Ontario expected to reach Step 3 of reopening as early as the end of July, Brock will await guidance from the province and public health officials about further stages of reopening before Fall Term begins.

  • SWAC supports remain steadfast through Spring, Summer Terms

    With Winter Term now over and Spring classes set to get underway next week, the health and well-being of Brock students remain the University’s top priority.

    Supports are available year-round, said Sarah Pennisi, Director of Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC), who urged students to reach out for help.

    “Call us. Reach out to us. There are no wrong questions,” she said. “Whatever it is you’re going through, we’ll walk with you. Whether you’re concerned about a relationship, worried about a roommate, or if you have a question about your identity or sexuality. We’re here, and we’ll figure it out together.”

    SWAC offers a wealth of programming for both undergraduate and graduate students, including Personal Counselling, Student Health Services (SHS), Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and Peer Health Education and Promotion.

    The supports have seen a significant uptick in usage over the past seven years, but the pandemic has sent demand into overdrive:

    • Student Health Services has tracked an 81 per cent increase in mental health visits by students.
    • Personal Counselling sessions are up 112 per cent.
    • Student Accessibility Services accommodations have risen 87 per cent.

    SWAC has been working hard to meet the growing need for support and make a difference in the lives of students through its pillars of service.

    Personal Counselling addresses students’ concerns about their well-being with 24-7 support via telephone or text chat with professional licensed counsellors.

    Student Health Services provides virtual health care and makes in-person visits when medically necessary.

    Student Accessibility Services is supporting students with accessibility needs with one-on-one case manager support, providing accommodations for a variety of conditions, including learning disabilities, mental health disorders, or physical, vision or hearing disabilities.

    Peer health education and promotion provides peer support and programming for both undergraduate and graduate students.

    “We are always looking to knock down barriers preventing students from using our services,” said Pennisi. “We want our students to access what we have to offer easily.”

    SWAC worked to overcome two major hurdles imposed by the pandemic: the need for appointments to be booked outside of business hours and for a high standard of support to be available through text.

    “Access 24-7 is vitally important for students,” said Pennisi. “We also recognize that because students were learning remotely from home that sometimes they weren’t able to speak freely, so the importance of text communication was paramount.”

    SWAC implemented a game-changing service with the My Student Support Program App (SSP), which offers real-time, 24-7 confidential telephone and text chat counselling support for students in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

    The app also offers resources, including articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, evidence-based screening self-assessments and free access to the virtual fitness app LIFT.

    Although other organizations provide text mental health supports, Brock’s services consist of a full suite of mental health assistance, including appointments and interventions by highly skilled mental health practitioners.

    “Having a live person pick up the phone or answer a text is integral, especially when students are in distress,” Pennisi said. “It takes a lot of courage to take that first step, and this service has been the difference in providing round-the-clock support. The SSP app has been effective in reaching students who wouldn’t otherwise seek assistance.”

    Counsellors from Morneau Sheppell were also integrated on campus alongside Student Wellness staff when the initiative was launched in December as a one-year pilot project.

    Pennisi said SWAC is grateful for the funding it has received from the Ontario governmentthe Niagara Community Foundation and Takeda Canada Inc., and for ongoing support from the Brock University Students’ Union.

    To reach SWAC’s services:

    Personal Counselling

    Personal Counselling crisis support is available 24-7 by calling 1-833-BROCK-33, or, if outside of North America, by calling 001-416-382-3257. Addiction support is also available Tuesday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

    Student Health Services

    Students can book telehealth or virtual appointments with SHS by calling 905-688-5550 x3243. Office hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Students can also connect with an SHS nurse if they’re feeling unwell or have questions regarding COVID-19 by calling 289-968-5273 or emailing covid19nurse@brocku.ca

    Student Accessibility Services

    Students who are currently registered for SAS services can book case manager, learning strategist, assistive technology and available drop-in appointments through the online booking portal.

    For new students who have questions or require accommodation, please visit the SAS website or call 905-688-5550 x3240 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for more information.