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WESTERN AND CORONAVIRUS

LIVE: What we know about COVID-19 and campus

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COVID-19 UPDATE GRAPHIC

Last updated: Thursday, September 24, 3:16 p.m.

Eight hundred and twenty-five cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the London and Middlesex region since the outbreak. There have been 57 confirmed deaths.

The provincial government declared a state of emergency on March 18, with the city of London following their lead on March 20. 

London entered Ontario’s third phase of reopening on July 17, allowing indoor dining in restaurants, live arts events, movie theatres and playgrounds to open. In this phase groups of 50 people can gather indoors and 100 people can gather outside.

London officials recommend getting tested if:

  • you've been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

  • you're in hospital with coughing and shortness of breath

Read more COVID-19 information about symptoms and safety measures from the World Health Organization.

Plans for the Fall

As of June 17, Western is mandating the use of masks for staff, students and faculty in shared spaces on campus or in the presence of others. The university said it will provide Western-branded reusable masks.

The majority of Western University’s fall classes will run online, with less than a third of courses having in-person components. Most “blended” courses will regularly hold small labs or tutorials on-campus while delivering larger lecture components online.  

This structure will remain in-place through the entirety of fall semester, unless a surge in cases requires the shut-down of on-campus activities. Students whose schedules are entirely online will not be required to return to London until January at the earliest.

The university is working to accommodate students who may not feel safe returning to campus for their in-person components, but notes that in some programs, such as Nursing and Dentistry, in-person instruction will be mandatory.

Brescia University College and King's University College have followed main campus’ “mixed model” approach. Brescia will run 50 per cent of their courses online and have on-campus components for the remaining half. Huron University announced on May 15 that all their courses will be conducted online.

Western’s president Alan Shepard said he hopes to be running in-person classes by second semester, though the university is unlikely to make any permanent decisions regarding the winter until September.

In an email to prospective graduates on July 14, Western said fall convocation will be postponed to spring 2021. Students who graduated in June amid the pandemic will have the opportunity to walk across the stage in the spring.

Living on Campus 

All incoming first-years who were promised a spot in residence upon accepting their offer are still guaranteed that spot in the fall, according to Western’s housing service.

Housing will provide all students in residence with private rooms in the fall to abide by social distancing guidelines, moving some first-year students into upper-year residences to accommodate "higher than anticipated" enrolment.

Western announced March 23 that all students still living in residence must move to suite-style buildings with single rooms and private washrooms. Around 200 students, most of whom are international, remain in residence after the end of semester, paying a reduced rate of $150 a week.

Online academics

Western and the affiliate colleges announced on March 23 that all summer courses will be delivered online. Western will not be lowering tuition costs for the summer.

All spring convocation ceremonies and events were cancelled, the university is looking into rescheduling to the fall ceremony or spring 2021.

Western is introducing an online Student Illness Reporting Tool, to "track and monitor illnesses, whether the illness impacts the submission of course work or not." This online tool replaces the need to submit a doctors note and self-reported absences for online courses.

Buildings and facilities

All campus buildings are closed as of March 25, including the University Community Centre. The University Pharmacy is open with reduced hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and students can call in to have prescription medications delivered to them.

As of March 16, the University Students' Council has closed their operations for the rest of the academic year, including The Spoke, the Wave and Western Film.

Both Windermere Manor and Perth Hall have been opened by the university to house front-line healthcare workers. Precautions are being taken to ensure the facilities remain sanitary and ensure the safety of Western’s caretaking staff.

Western libraries closed their doors as of March 17, until further notice.

Bus Routes

All LTC riders are expected to enter buses from the rear door. Front door boarding and fare collection are expected to resume Sept. 1.

Masks are mandatory on all LTC buses starting July 20.

The London Transit Commission announced several routes will no longer be operating as of April 19.

Affected routes:

  • Express routes 90 and 92 from Masonville Mall

  • Route 94 from the Natural Science Centre to Argyle Mall

  • Route 102 travelling downtown from the Natural Science Centre

  • Route 106 from downtown to the Natural Science Centre

  • Routes 31 and 33 will decrease in frequency

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The Gazette news section is run by news editors and staff. Reach the news section by emailing news@westerngazette.ca or call 519-661-2111 ext. 81505.

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