Photo By: Mackenzie Gerry
It’s been busy these past few weeks at Brock and many new announcements have been made as the return to on-campus learning this year gradually approaches.
Most recently, there has been the confirmed implementation of a vaccine mandate for those who wish to access Brock’s campus and the reintroduction of in-person instruction starting Monday, Sept. 13.
“We were very happy to finally get guidance from the provincial government and that gave us some pretty clear guidelines around the requirement of a vaccine mandate. We also received our exemption from the physical distancing requirements for instructional spaces that continued to be enforced under step three of the province’s guidelines,” said Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President, Academic at Brock. “So, with that exemption now in place, we’re preparing for our return to campus on the thirteenth of September.”
While in-person instruction now resumes on Sept. 13, classes will still begin as planned on Sept. 7 and be conducted virtually. According to Wells, this decision was made to ensure that all the background work can be successfully completed so students can return to campus safely with as little friction as possible.
In addition to the vaccine requirement, individuals who want to access Brock’s campus will be required to continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces and complete a daily screening process through their phones.
“We’re collecting everyone’s information and [will] be sending out emails to registered students who haven’t uploaded their vaccination status,” said Wells. “We will also have systems of cross-reference between classes. If there are unvaccinated students who continue to be registered and are likely to be on campus, we will be in contact with them and will encourage them to get vaccinated for their own health and the health of everyone else.”
Students who have received only one dose of an approved vaccine or who have exemptions for any of Brock’s requirements will be required to participate in rapid antigen screening for the COVID-19 virus twice a week. It is important to note that international students who have vaccines other than the ones approved by Health Canada will be required to restart their vaccination process upon arrival in Canada. According to Wells, those students will be assisted through that process by Brock’s Student Health Services.
Brock staff, students and visitors who continuously refuse to comply with Brock’s requirements around vaccination will be asked to leave the campus.
Though classes will return to a primarily in-person format this semester, some services will shift how they are usually accessed to an appointment-based system while others will remain accessible as per usual.
“We’re approaching the fall as a kind of hybrid model, making sure that we do have frontline staff always available in key areas but also, with some staff working at home depending on the nature of their jobs, some services will be offered a little differently,” said Wells. “Students can rest assured that any offices with a front-facing orientation will absolutely have people present to help them with what they need.”
There will undoubtedly be some awkwardness and difficulty getting used to the current systems in place at Brock, but, with time and continued effort from administration, staff, and students, the semester is expected to proceed as planned with the health and safety of the Brock community prioritized.
As announcements are made rapidly and the provincial guidelines change, students are encouraged to stay engaged with Brock’s news and official social media outlets to ensure they are keeping up-to-date. Undergraduate students can always reach out to the Brock University Students’ Union for guidance while graduate students can get in touch with the Graduate Students’ Association.
Members of the Brock community are reminded to complete their vaccine declaration form as soon as possible at www.brocku.ca/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/ in order to access campus. Students who have questions about how Brock is approaching the safe return of students to on-campus learning this semester are encouraged to contact [email protected].