Return to Campus: A guide for Fall 2021

As Brock University continues to prepare for a significant return to on-campus instruction and activity in September 2021, this page includes information for current and prospective students about what to expect in the Fall at Brock. This information will be updated regularly to reflect the changing conditions of the pandemic in the months ahead, as well as the evolution of public health measures.

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Brock is actively planning for three potential scenarios

Scenario A

Course delivery with a significant return to on-campus instruction, complemented with online and hybrid delivery elements to support students who may wish to study online.

Scenario A represents a public health situation in which vaccine roll-out has occurred according to the timelines laid out by the federal government, with most individuals vaccinated at least partially by September. Public health measures, including physical distancing requirements, will have been lifted, allowing for University facilities to be used as their normal capacity.

This currently represents Brock’s most likely scenario for September and the one for which we are planning most intently.

Scenario B

Course delivery with some return to on-campus instruction, with significant online and hybrid delivery elements.

Scenario B represents a situation where the public health conditions are steadily improving but some public health measures – especially physical distancing – remain in place. The capacity of Brock’s largest classrooms with two metres physical distancing in place is about 50 students. As a result, if two metres physical distancing remains in place in September, all courses with more than 50 students would likely need to be offered online.

Scenario C

Course delivery almost entirely online, as has been the case for example during lockdowns.

Scenario C would occur only in the case of a deteriorating public health situation and the imposition of future lockdowns. In this scenario, on-campus instruction would occur exceptionally and only where public health guidelines permitted.

Brock’s approach to Fall planning is flexible. The University is planning for all three scenarios and will be ready to adapt in the months ahead as the situation changes.

Brock is approaching Fall planning with cautious optimism, and with the knowledge that members of the Brock community who wish to be vaccinated against COVID should be eligible to receive their first dose by the end of May – a full three months before the beginning of the Fall term. The more people get vaccinated and the earlier they do so, the better are our prospects to return to campus in September. It may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel given the current third wave and stay-at-home order, but the increasing pace of vaccine roll-out and the growing supply give us hope for the weeks and months ahead.

Overall, our objective is to resume as many of our on-campus teaching, research and student experience activities as possible at the beginning of the Fall term. This is the shared objective of most universities in Canada, and of all colleges and universities in Ontario.

Assumptions

In preparing for the Fall, the following assumptions inform the University’s work:

  • By the end of the summer, every member of the Brock community who wants a vaccine will have been able to get one. Some – likely many – members of the Brock community will have received two doses of vaccine by September.
  • Mass vaccination will significantly reduce community transmission of COVID and virtually eliminate severe COVID of the kind resulting in hospitalization and death among the vaccinated.
  • COVID will likely never be eliminated from the population. However, Brock will follow public health guidance and manage localized outbreaks as directed by local public health authorities.
  • We also assume that many members of our community will be hesitant – perhaps even nervous or scared – to return to campus. This is understandable and we will be sensitive to these concerns. Workplace accommodations can be granted on medical grounds in eligible situations.

Planning for fall 2021

We expect that a range of health measures may still be in place come September. These may change as the situation evolves.

  • With many vaccinated, we do not expect that physical distancing will still be required in the Fall. The persistence of physical distancing measures would greatly reduce the capacity of campus.
  • Members of the University community will be asked to complete a daily self-assessment for COVID symptoms and to stay home if they feel unwell.
  • The University will continue to promote the importance of handwashing and hygiene protocols with extra hand sanitizing stations, signage and communication campaigns.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols will continue to take place daily across campus. Cleaning protocols will be updated to align with the stage of the pandemic and the appropriate industry standards.
  • Brock will follow public health guidance with respect to the use of non-medical masks.
  • Some federal travel restrictions may remain in place in the Fall. The University will continue to request that all members of its community respect federal travel advisories, which may restrict the range of activities possible for some student, staff and faculty groups.

Course delivery for the fall and winter terms will include significant on-campus instruction, with some courses taught online or in a hybrid format. The timetable will allow most students to return to campus for at least part of their courses.

  • Most courses will be taught in either an online or on-campus format.
  • Some large courses with more than one section may be taught with both on-campus and online sections to maximize student choice.
  • Without physical distancing, classrooms will be used to capacity.
  • Laboratory teaching and research experiences will take place on campus. Graduate-level teaching and research activities will also return to campus.
  • On-campus research activities, including research involving human subjects, will proceed as per the levels of permission established in the Brock Stages document.
  • Off-campus experiential education, such as co-op and practicum opportunities, will be available within the conditions agreed upon with the partners offering the experiences. In some cases, such as in some health fields, partial or full vaccination may be a pre-requisite for participation.
  • As we do not know for certain what kinds of restrictions will remain in place in the Fall, Brock is actively preparing for a range of scenarios.

Questions about your timetable? Speak with your academic advisor.

  • Brock is planning to offer a number of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, with safety guidelines in place as needed. Online options will also be offered for some activities.
  • Student services will also be offered on campus in the Fall. Some services, such as student health and mental health services and student accommodation services, may also be available online as well.
  • Orientation activities will also be offered both online and on-campus. We realize that many students entering second year in September may never have attended campus before. As a result, some orientation events aimed at second-year students will be presented as well.
  • Study space will be available to students on campus, with appropriate safety guidelines in place that will align with the stage of the pandemic response.
  • On-campus library services will resume, with the library space open and access to collections materials.
  • Interlibrary loan services will be available as usual.
  • Access to Hathi Trust ETAS, which was licensed on a temporary basis to make up for the closure of the physical collections, may need to be discontinued.
  • On-campus student residences will be available. We are planning for 75% occupancy within our residences. Brock will facilitate isolation for residence students in the event of infection.
  • To ensure the health and safety of all students living in residence, some additional rules may be in place.
  • Residence dining facilities will be open and operational, with some additional safety and public health measures in place. For example, use of dining halls will be limited to residence students only.
  • On-campus food outlets will be open and following all public health protocols for restaurants.
  • Brock hopes to have all athletics and recreation facilities in the Walker Sports Complex, including the Zone Fitness Centre and the aquatic centre, available to students, staff and faculty.
  • Student programming, such as intramurals and fitness classes, should be available as well.
  • Brock Sports will follow Ontario University Athletics and provincial sport guidelines. While no announcement has been made yet, planning is underway and details should be available soon.
  • The campus store will be open, with both on-campus and online delivery options.
  • Teaching spaces, public spaces and high-touch areas will be cleaned routinely and at least daily by Facilities staff.
  • Facilities Management has implemented a thorough approach to ventilation (HVAC) operation and maintenance that is aligned with industry best practices and with public health guidelines. Adjustments have been made to increase ventilation rates and reduce recirculated air by increasing outdoor air. Industry-standard filters rated MERV-13 or equivalent have been installed and will be changed regularly.
  • Given the volume of people on campus, individual screening and check-in points would not be feasible or practical. Instead, self-screening will be implemented. Members of the Brock community will be asked to check themselves for symptoms before coming to campus and to stay home if feeling unwell.

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.

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.

As of May 18, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over in 2021 across Ontario are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. An overview of some of the Public Health Units booking processes in the GTHA are below:

Halton

For those with or without OHIP
Book by calling 311 or go online using the Halton Vaccine Appointment Booking Tool

Hamilton

For those with OHIP
Access the provincial booking system by going online or calling into the vaccine booking line (1-833-943-3900).

For those without OHIP
Book by calling the Public Health Services COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 905-974-9848, option 7.

Peel

For those with OHIP
Access the provincial booking system by going online or calling into the vaccine booking line (1-833-943-3900).

For those without OHIP
Book by calling the Region of Peel COVID-19 Vaccination Line at 905-791-5202, or go online using the Region of Peel Vaccine Booking System
You may wish to monitor the clinic website to see if there are pop-up clinics which offer walk-in appointments for those living in hotspots communities.

Please review the identification requirements listed by each PHU. Most commonly, out-of-province or international students will be required to show a piece of government-issued photo identification (e.g. Passport, driver’s license, out-of-province ID). Students may also be required to provide proof of current residence in Ontario.

Students without OHIP may also consider booking an appointment through a local pharmacy. You can find all pharmacy locations here. With pharmacies now offering Pfizer and Moderna, this may be the earliest available opportunity for students to receive a first dose.

Booking an appointment for those 18+ in Niagara Region

Niagara Region Public Health and Niagara Health encourage anyone 18+ who has an Ontario health card to book using the provincial booking system.

For out-of-province and international students without Ontario health cards
Please first consider booking an appointment through a local pharmacy.

Please note that the vaccination rollout and clinic capacity continues to be informed by constrained supply allocations, at the same time as additional populations are being deemed eligible to book their appointment.

For the most current COVID-19 vaccine information in Niagara, visit the Niagara Region Public Health website.

Monitor this page for updates to Brock’s plan for Fall 2021.
For more information about Brock’s response to COVID-19, visit brocku.ca/coronavirus