Photo By: Brock University

Brock’s President recently announced some major changes to the rest of the fall exam period and the winter semester as a result of the omicron variant, and many students are not too pleased.

On December 16, Interim President Lynn Wells made a slew of announcements regarding changes they will be making to on-campus operations in response to the growing uncertainty posed by the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The first of these announcements was in regards to the fall exam period. As of 5 p.m. on December 16, all remaining in-person exams were canceled and they said that alternative arrangements would be communicated to students whose exams were canceled in the coming days.

For the winter semester, all classes will be conducted online until at least January 30, 2022. The plan is for in-person classes to return on January 31, but that could change depending on the public health situation.

It’s important to note however that despite classes being canceled, Brock’s campus will remain open in January. All the existing requirements for coming to campus, including properly wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance whenever possible, and filling out a daily health screening through the Brock Safety app, will still be in place. 

While at this time they will not be making any changes to their vaccination policy, Brock is encouraging all students to receive their booster COVID-19 vaccine dose when eligible. In Ontario, all residents over the age of 18 are eligible to get a booster dose starting on December 20, so long as it has been at least three months since their initial dose. While walk ups may be available in some places, making an appointment is highly recommended.

Importantly, they did note that all students staying in residence at Brock in the winter semester will need to provide proof of having received their booster vaccine dose by January 25, 2022 in order to remain in residence. 

It is expected that they will require the booster dose as part of their broader vaccination policy for all students, staff and faculty, though this is purely speculative at the point of publication as nothing has been announced on that.

Some students have expressed concern over these announcements on Brock’s social media channels, including on Facebook and Instagram. Many have said they are hesitant to receive a booster vaccine dose. Others hoped to receive a refund for their parking pass, as they feel it will be of little use to them during the month of January and potentially beyond if the return to in-person classes does not go as planned. 

Many are also worried about having to return to remote learning, especially as Brock’s Senate recently voted against providing alternative grading for students who may be experiencing academic difficulties as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

This situation is certainly an evolving one, so be sure to follow The Brock Press for more updates on Brock’s COVID-19 response and re-opening plans.