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Information for the Huron Community

This webpage is intended to provide the Huron Community with linkages to information regarding and updates from Western University, the Middlesex-London Health Unit and the Ontario Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus).

COVID-19 ADMISSIONS INFORMATION

Updates

UPDATE, OCTOBER 5: Huron has made the decision to continue delivering classes fully online for the winter term. The world-wide COVID-19 crisis currently does not show signs of being over, and in the face of an apparent resurgence of cases in many places, including Ontario, as many experts predicted would occur this Fall, classes will be delivered online, residence will remain closed and all student engagement activities will continue to be in a virtual format.

UPDATE, MAY 21: Huron has made the decision that all classes this September will begin online. If the situation changes sufficiently in a favourable direction, Huron will return to in-person campus life. All Huron residences will remain closed, and all student engagement activities will move to a virtual format.

UPDATE, MAY 5: Due to the Public Health extension of the Stay at Home order for all non-essential businesses, Huron will remain close until at least May 19th, 2020. Huron will continue to observe any closure directives from the Province and will keep the Community updated as information becomes available.

UPDATE, APRIL 16:  As the COVID-19 situation continues to rapidly evolve, we are reminded of the importance of community and of staying connected. Amidst all the uncertainty, it is clear that now, more than ever, is a time to be Leading with Heart. For those asking how they can help, the Huron Student Relief Fund was established to help direct critical resources to students who find themselves with urgent expenses they’re unprepared to meet. This fund was initiated by our students to support our most vulnerable students in their time of need by helping them gain access to housing, food, tuition, mental health services, and transportation. A contribution to start this fund has been made by our student body and Huron has also made a contribution, which is available immediately for students in need.

If you are a student in need, please email Jane Parker at mjparker@huron.uwo.ca

HURON STUDENT RELIEF FUND

UPDATE, MARCH 27: Huron’s Spring Theology and Faculty of Arts and Social Science Convocations have been canceled. At this time, we do not know when we will be able to hold these events on campus again. It is our intention to recognize our students’ accomplishments publicly at a future date. This will allow Huron to come together as a community and celebrate the hard work and scholarly achievements of our students. It will also allow family, friends, and those who have helped them along the way to be part of the event.

UPDATE, MARCH 24: Following the announcement from the Ontario Premier’s Office that all non-essential businesses must close, Huron will close this evening as directed. Huron will observe the closure as outlined from the Premier for a period of two weeks which means campus cannot re-open until at least Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Huron will maintain all essential operations related to our Residence and the students who remain there. The well-being, health and safety of our students that remain on campus is paramount.

UPDATE, MARCH 20: Given that Huron now has a limited number of students on Campus, and virtually all staff and faculty are now working from home, we will be taking further measures to secure and protect Campus. Please rest assured that we have, and will continue to have, essential staff on campus to support our students that remain in Residence.

Effective Friday, March 20th, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., and until further notice, all Non-Residence Campus buildings will be locked. We are asking all staff and faculty to limit their presence on Campus to urgent or time-sensitive matters only. Only the Main Entrance at Information Desk will be open. If you must come to Campus, please use this entrance only and advise Security at the Information Desk of your arrival and plans while on campus.

UPDATE, MARCH 18: 

Students:

  • Our students are in the process of moving out after we issued a voluntary move out notice last week;
  • For those who cannot return home for multiple reasons – we are currently working with these students to ensure they are safe and taken care of;
  • For any student that is struggling at this time, Academic AdvisingResidence Management, and Wellness Services continue to operate online and by phone.

Staff:

  • As a proactive and precautionary measure to practice social-distancing, Huron moved to a reduced staffing model on campus effective Monday, March 16. This decision was not made lightly, but will ensure our staff, faculty and other Community members are healthy and safe and can still provide exceptional service;
  • All teams will be operational during this reduced staffing period on campus and can be contacted as normal;
  • Since some students remain on campus, residences, dining hall, maintenance, security and housekeeping remain operational;
  • Huron is maintaining Payroll for all full-time and part-time staff;
  • We have asked staff and faculty to limit their attendance on campus to adhere to social distancing protocols.

Faculty:

  • Huron canceled all classes on campus Friday, March 13 to Tuesday, March 17, 2020;
  • Effective March 18, 2020, all classes moved to online course delivery for the remainder of the semester;
  • Final exams are being reimagined in a variety of ways compatible with online learning. No in-person exams will be held on campus.

Facilities:

  • Huron will no longer be booking campus tours for the foreseeable future.
  • Campus is currently not completely closed at this time. However, we have asked staff and faculty who come on campus to notify Justin Henry, Director, Human Resources with the date and time you are on campus;
  • The Library closed completely at 5:00 p.m. March 18. Online tools will remain accessible;
  • Housekeeping continues to work above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our campus is clean;
  • Our dining hall has switched from serve yourself to a full-service model to assist in hygiene best practices during this time. The hours of our dining hall have also been reduced to bolster the number of workers available.

UPDATE, MARCH 13: At Huron, we want to ensure we are taking every precaution to protect the health and safety of our students and all Canadians.
Beginning Friday, March 13, Huron will be canceling classes until Tuesday, March 17. Starting Wednesday, March 18, all classes will be delivered online for the remainder of the semester. This means students and faculty should not come to campus as classes will not be held on campus.

It is our intention that, to the degree possible, classes with final exams will proceed with their exams. For most, this will mean a transition to a “take-home” rather than “sit-down” format. In all instances, students will receive direction from professors.

We understand that this is a stressful time for our students, staff, and faculty alike, so as a precaution, we are issuing a voluntary move out beginning, Friday, March 13. We have encouraged all students to move out of residence and find other accommodations if they are able to. This is to ensure that we are practicing proper social distancing and reduction around crowds / living in close proximity to others. In this sense, we have also communicated to our students we are there for them every step of the way and will assist them on all fronts.

Huron’s community will also be moving to a reduced staffing model beginning Monday, March 16. This means only essential staff will remain on campus, and all other staff will work from home.

For the most up-to-date information, please visit:

COVID-19 WESTERN INFORMATIONAL PAGE

COVID-19 MIDDLESEX-LONDON HEALTH UNIT PAGE

COVID-19 ONTARIO MINISTRY OF HEALTH PAGE

Huron continues to monitor the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) and takes its direction and shares information from Western University, as well as federal, provincial and local health authorities.

Please follow appropriate protocols for travelers returning from affected areas as outlined on the Ontario Ministry of Health website.

To reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including COVID-19, you should follow usual health precautions such as:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, specifically your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve; or cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces frequently

LONDON-MIDDLESEX HEALTH UNIT HYGIENE INFORMATION

Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the appropriate resource – we are here to help.

Contact information: 

Questions from Faculty and Staff – Email Us

Questions or support for students – Email Us

Wellness Services – Email Us

COVID-19 UPDATES FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS

Is Huron still processing applications?
Yes. We continue to process applications based on the information we have. You can check your application status on your Huron Portal. If you have any questions about the status of your application, please contact your dedicated Admission Advisor.
I am an Ontario High School student, will the OUAC still send my grades?
The OUAC is still processing grade information and the schedule of grades has not been delayed. May 5, 2020 is the target date for Ontario universities to receive second-semester midterm grades and interim grades for full-year courses from the OUAC. Grades the OUAC receives earlier than the deadline will be sent to Ontario universities when received.
My final exams have been cancelled. Will Huron cancel my Offer of Admission?
If your final examinations have been cancelled, we will accept the alternative methods of assessment used by your school or examination board. Final admission and scholarships will be awarded based on the final grade information available. If the cancellation of exams and disruption in your studies have negatively impacted your final grades, please complete the Special Consideration form. - GCSE Students: Boards are investigating other assessment tools and will communicate with schools once final decisions have been made. The grades and qualifications that are awarded for this June series will carry the same value as grades and qualifications for any other series. - IB Students: IBO has announced that scores will be awarded using a revised assessment and scores will be released on schedule in July. Huron will not change the process of evaluation of transfer credits. - AP Exams: The College Board will be offering Advanced Placement exams online. Huron will accept the final exam result and award transfer credit based the score awarded.
In India, the final CBSE/ISC board examinations have been delayed. How will this impact my offer of admission?
Conditional offers of admission are provided based on previous academic history and predicted grades. If the final CBSE/ISC exams are cancelled, Huron will confirm final admission based on exam results available and previous academic history.
My English Language Proficiency Test was cancelled and I am unsure if tests will be available in the near future, what can I do?
Students affected by the suspension of language testing are now able to submit the DuoLingo English Test (DET) as a means to demonstrate competency. Students who meet the requirement for direct admission will be retested by Western English Language Centre upon arrival on campus if they are not able to provide another approved language test before September. Students who do not meet direct admission will be offered conditional admission based on the successful completion of our language program. TOFEL iBT offers a Special Home Edition test that is available to students in select countries. Students who meet the criteria for this test, should complete this assessment rather than DuoLingo.
I am worried about meeting the final grade requirement for admission and scholarship. The interruption to my school year, cancelled exams and the change to online learning is affecting my academics, is there a way I can express how COVID-19 has affected my final grades?
Huron’s Special Consideration form provides an opportunity for you to share extenuating circumstances that have adversely affected your grades.
My school has decided to grade the second term as P/F. Will this affect my admission and scholarship?
A change in your school’s grading process will not negatively impact your offer of admission. If your school provides a pass/fail assessment method, we will accept such grades and confirm admission and scholarship based on the grade information available.
Campus tours are currently not being offered. Does Huron have a virtual tour?
Yes! Please visit huronatwestern.ca/tours to see Huron’s campus.
Will there be any changes to the Offer Response deadline?
If you are not able to make a decision by the deadline stated in your Offer of Admission, please contact your Admission Advisor to request an extension.
Will there be any changes to payment deadlines?
The first installment for international students is due August 1, 2020 and the first installment for domestic students is due on August 15, 2020. If you are not able to pay your tuition and fees by the deadline, please contact Alycia Armstrong, Coordinator, Student Accounts at amorga7@huron.uwo.ca
AM I STILL ABLE TO APPLY FOR A STUDY PERMIT TO STUDY IN CANADA
Canada continues to accept and process Study Permit applications. Even if your local Visa Application Centre (VAC) is closed or you are unable to submit select documents, you can still submit your application online. Canada has introduced a temporary 2-stage approval process for international students who cannot yet submit a completed study permit application and who want to begin their Canadian educational program online. This temporary process is available to students who want to begin their program this fall. All students are encouraged to apply for a Study Permit online as soon as possible. For the latest information and full details of how Canada is processing Study Permit applications at this time, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students.html
Am I still able to apply for a Study Permit to Study in Canada? Or is Canada no longer accepting visa applications for international students?
Study permit applications are still being accepted and reviewed by the Government of Canada. Please visit Canada’s Immigration website for information on how to apply.
Why did Huron decide to fully go online?
This decision was made to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff.
Why would I still study? Why shouldn’t I defer for the year, what incentive is there to enrol?
Why would you let a year of your life go by without pursuing your dreams? Right now, you have the opportunity to invest yourself and make progress towards the completion of your degree and build towards the attainment of an education that will prepare you to lead, regardless of what the global landscape looks like. Keeping the bigger picture in mind, this temporary virtual environment will be a small part of your full four year university experience. By enrolling this year, you will keep your admission and scholarships secure, and easily transition to life back on campus when the situation permits it - at which point, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the Huron experience in-person. Huron is doing everything possible to ensure you have the best possible undergraduate experience. Although we are not able to host students on campus this fall, our dedication to students and culture of care will not change. Students will still have direct access to professors, counsellors and any additional supports that are needed. As mentioned by Dr. Craig in Huron’s announcement, when it’s safe to return to campus, we will be ready for you!
So, does this mean there is a possibility Huron will return to normal once safe?
Yes - we intend to keep a close watch on Public Health recommendations and make informed decisions on an ongoing basis.
Why is Huron moving to an online model when many universities are choosing to move to a hybrid model?
As soon as it’s safe to welcome our students back into our classrooms, we will. The decision to offer classes online is to ensure our community is safe, and no risks are taken. As a result of COVID-19, the classroom experience we want to provide is not possible. Rather than offer some in-class experience, wearing protection and practicing social distancing, while offering the majority of classes online, we decided it’s in our students’ best interest to provide all courses online until we are safe to return to campus. You have already experienced many disruptions in your school year, and with the uncertainty of future outbreaks, we do not want to risk putting our students through this again.
Will Huron change their decision if the Ontario Government allows universities to re-open in person? What if a vaccine is found? Will students be able to come back to campus for the second semester?
As soon as it is safe to welcome everyone back into our classrooms, we will. That could be later this Fall, this Winter, or next Spring. We will be ready to do so as soon as we can. What we want to avoid is having everyone return to campus, only to have another wave of COVID-19 cause another social shut down or, even worse, someone in our community being lost to this pandemic.
What about those of us who don’t learn properly when everything is online. Our grades will drop, what are you going to do then?
Huron’s educational experience is unmatched – inclusive of online learning and our student support. Our size enables us, whether in person or over a computer, to facilitate and work 1:1 with our students to ensure they succeed. That means, if you are struggling in any aspect, we are able to cater to your needs to enable you to succeed – this is our ultimate goal.
I was looking forward to Huron’s interactive classroom environment. Will Huron’s online classes just be a series of recorded lectures that I watch?
No. When you applied to Huron, you were promised a personalized, interactive undergraduate classroom environment completely unique in Canada, especially compared to the typical format of large, non-interactive lecture hall style learning commonly seen at the undergraduate level. We will still deliver our promise to you, even in these temporary circumstances. Our faculty, with support of online curriculum specialists, will be designing online courses in a format to maximize their interaction with students. This will include synchronous (live) lectures and recorded lectures and course material (asynchronous) available to students. This will ensure flexibility for all students in the event they are unable to attend live. The online classes experience at Huron will be completely different than the online classroom environment at larger universities, or even your past semester experience at high school. Since our classes are significantly smaller, it will be much easier for our professors to deliver the highly academic curriculum we are known for.
How will I be graded in exams? Will I be given credits for my courses?
Examination assessment will be conducted in a format that allows you to complete the required exam or assignment remotely from home. Yes, you will be awarded credits for courses that count towards the progression of your degree in the same way you would if you were taking the course in-person.
Will the class size and student to faculty ratio remain the same?
Yes. Our uniquely small class sizes of 30 students per class on average and our 13:1 student to faculty ratio will remain.
How will the personalised interaction with the professor be affected? Will it be easy to contact and get support from my professor?
All the Huron advantages of a close-knit relationship with your professors and easy access to 1-on-1 conversations with your professor will continue virtually. We will not compromise on the highly personalized level of professor support Huron students enjoy – it will simply just be done through a screen instead of face-to-face.
How do I gain access to library collections and learning materials during my online education?
The Library at Huron is prioritizing digital-first access to its research and learning collections for students and faculty. Visit: https://huronatwestern.ca/library to access the Library’s rich research collections to support your coursework at Huron.
Will any class attendance policies change with online learning, especially for out-of-province students with time-zone differences?
Our classes will be delivered in an asynchronous manner. This means, while you can attend classes live, you can also review the class recording. As each student’s situation is different, our attendance policies will be reflective of this ever-changing situation.
How will this impact me taking courses in other western campuses or faculties?
If you would like to take a course not offered at Huron at another Western campus, you are welcome to do so. When the timetable goes live at the end of the month, students can view available courses and what the learning format is.
Would the o-week be rescheduled once the university reopens for face-to-face instructions?
Plans are underway to allow you to experience the warm welcome and orientation week programming we are famous for, whenever it is safe for you to come to campus in-person. We are committed to providing our students with this future experience and all the exciting events that happen throughout the year at Huron.
What are the socialising opportunities that will be available? How will i know my cohort?
For September 2020, we are going to make it as easy as possible for you to meet as many of your future classmates, professors and support people as we can. Keep your eye on your email for invites to Meet and Greets, Game Nights and Wholesome Happy Hours where we will put our academic hats aside, have a ton of fun and ensure, together, we’ll conquer any stress you may be coping with and enable a space to make lifelong friends.
How will orientation week and the ability to make friends be affected?
Orientation Week and Welcome Week (international student orientation) will be revised for a virtual environment, but the primary focus and purpose will still be in supporting students to make friends and build a community. Our soph team and student engagement staff are well aware of the importance of students making connections and “finding their people”. We will do everything we can to facilitate that outcome for all students.
Will I still have access to mentorship opportunities?
Yes. You will have a dedicated mentorship Lead who will be actively working to connect you with senior Huron students and our wildly impressive alumni who are eager to support your career.
How will internship opportunities be affected?
Our entire Career Advising team will remain personally available to you for individual virtual appointments and you can look forward to a comprehensive series of career-related webinars too. Due to the current situation, it’s still widely unknown how internships and volunteering will be affected within other organizations, but we’re going to work with you throughout this year to help you build a future plan for paid internships and volunteer experiences tailored to your interests.
What support services will be provided by the university during the online semester?
We are expanding our student service hours to ensure our Leaders with Heart, from around-the-world, get to speak to our staff members – face to face. During these online conversations, you will get to know the people who are personally invested in your short- and long-term success. That includes your very own: Academic Advisor who will help you choose, change and register for your courses Career Coordinator who can keep you up-to-date about all the opportunities we offer to build your most impressive portfolio possible Student Engagement staff member who is going to tell you about the virtual events, activities and connections you can take advantage of Mentorship Lead who is actively working to connect you with senior Huron students and our wildly impressive alumni who are eager to support your career
Will I still have access to tutoring services provided by Huron?
Yes. All the unique and individualized support services that make Huron so special will continue to be available for you virtually, until we are able to return to campus and experience these supports in-person.
What will I need in order to effectively study at home?
You will need a computer and internet access. All materials required for your courses will be accessible digitally.
What if I start at Huron and decide that the online learning model isn’t for me - will I be refunded my tuition? Can I defer my offer after September?
Refunds to students who wish to withdraw from their studies will continue to be available. All students are eligible for refunds based on their withdrawal date at the refund level identified in Huron’s refund policy
Will any part of the fees be waived/reduced?
Your student fees will be reduced to reflect the change in learning format. We are currently reviewing details regarding fees and will be in touch in the future with next steps. Huron is dedicated to supporting our students, and students will still be eligible for scholarships, bursaries and financial aid.
Will tuition fees be reduced because we are online?
Tuition fees will not be reduced in the upcoming academic year. This is for a few reasons. We are making further investments in ensuring students have top quality support during their online learning, this includes student support, faculty support and new technology investments. Yes, there will be some ancillary fees that will not be included as the services related to these fees would not be utilized while online, but it is our promise to our students that we ensure success is not only achievable during an online academic year, but also that our students continue to thrive in this success, regardless of being in person or online. We will do this by making these further investments to ensure the Huron experience, that Huron is proudly known for, is upheld to the highest of standards. If you have further questions, please email Huron’s admissions team at huron@uwo.ca
Since the residence deposit has already been paid, how will that be compensated?
Your residence deposit can be fully refunded to you upon request. Please email huronrez@huron.uwo.ca to arrange this.
If I defer my admission to Huron to sept 2021, will my admission and scholarship still remain valid? What are the conditions of deferral?
Requests to defer your Offer of Admission will be considered on a case-by-case basis after your final grades are received. To request a deferral application form, please contact your Admissions Officer at Huron. The conditions of deferral are as follows: You must have been given an offer of admission to Huron at Western You must have formally accepted your offer of admission on OUAC (or internally) You must have met all conditions of your offer of admission and submitted all supporting documentation Once we receive your completed form, we will review your request and inform you of any additional conditions. Your admission and automatic scholarship will remain valid in Sept 2021 only if your request for a deferral is approved and you meet all the conditions stated. Remember, there are many benefits to continuing your education come September 2020. If you want to discuss why not deferring may be the best option, we are happy to talk with you.
What is the latest date by which I have to make the decision on whether I want to remain enrolled in September 2020 or defer my admission to September 2021?
July 31, 2020. Please speak to your Admissions Advisor at Huron if you have any questions or concerns about this decision.
WILL YOU ASSIST THE INCOMING CLASS WITH SECOND YEAR ACCOMMODATIONS / HOUSING ARRANGEMENTS? PICKING ROOMMATES FOR OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING IN YEAR 2 WILL BE DIFFICULT HAVING NOT MET OUR CLASSMATES IN PERSON YET / LIVED WITH THEM ALREADY IN RESIDENCE.
We are eager to develop programming that encourages students to make friends and get to know one another through the virtual environment with the activities and events we are planning for next year. In addition to the social aspect of university, students will also get to know their classmates thanks to the smaller class sizes at Huron. Even though our classes will not be held in person, the smaller numbers and individualized support and attention provided by faculty and staff will help students make connections and develop friendships. Our Residence Managers, Student Engagement Coordinators, and Wellness staff can also help connect individual students as they consider housing options for their second year.
What services and activities on campus will still be available in-person?
Though this could change in the coming months, we plan to offer in-person academic advising and career services support with physical distancing and barriers in place.
What has been the impact of COVID-19 in the city of London, Ontario?
The total confirmed case count of COVID-19 in the Middlesex-London region is 466 of which, 324 cases have been resolved. For the latest figures and updates, please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit website at: https://www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus As a city, London has coped better then most in responding to COVID-19: Rate per 100,000 population: 93.8 London, Ontario 144.6 Toronto, Ontario 231.2 Total Ontario Source: Public Health Ontario, as of May 14, 2020 https://www.ontario.ca/
WILL TAKING MY COURSES ONLINE FROM MY HOME COUNTRY AFFECT MY ELIGIBILITY FOR CANADA'S POST GRADUATE WORK PERMIT (PGWP)
No. You will still be eligible for a PGWP if
  • - you have a study permit or have applied for one or have been approved for one
  • - you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions
If you’re in this situation, you may
  • - begin your classes while outside Canada, and
  • - complete up to 50% of your program while outside Canada, if you can’t travel to Canada sooner
After you apply for your study permit, any time spent studying online from outside Canada now counts toward the length of a PGWP. (Before, only the time spent studying online after you were approved for a study permit counted.) For this time to count, you must
  • - complete at least 50% of your program in Canada
  • - apply for a study permit by September 15, 2020, and
  • - start, or have started, your program in spring, summer or fall 2020
For the latest information and further details, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students.html#eligibility

COVID-19 UPDATES FOR RETURNING STUDENTS

IS THE DECISION TO CLOSE HURON’S ON-CAMPUS RESIDENCES LIKELY TO BE REVIEWED LATER IN DECEMBER?
The decision to close Huron’s residences for the January 2021 semester is final.
AM I ALLOWED TO LIVE OFF-CAMPUS (IF I AM ABLE TO TRAVEL TO CANADA) DESPITE ONLINE CLASSES AND RESIDENCE BEING CLOSED?
If you are able to travel to and enter Canada, you are free to live off-campus if you wish. For more information on the latest entry requirements to Canada for international students, please click here. It is important to note that Western University has submitted its proposed COVID-19 readiness plan to the Province of Ontario pending approval. Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all necessary authorizations to qualify to come to Canada under the new regulations. You should also take into account local health guidelines and restrictions before making plans to travel. If students are studying remotely and are not currently exempt from travel restrictions, they should not make any arrangements to travel.  
WILL THE RESIDENCE TEAM ASSIST IN THE PROCESS OF HELPING STUDENTS FIND OFF CAMPUS ACCOMMODATION IN CASE THEY WISH TO TRAVEL TO CANADA IN JANUARY 2021?
Huron’s Housing Office is happy to provide advice on finding unaffiliated off-campus housing. However, please note that finding unaffiliated off-campus housing is ultimately the responsibility of the student. To connect with Huron’s Housing Office, please contact: jflynncl@uwo.ca
I HAVE APPLIED TO HURON FOR THE JANUARY 2021 INTAKE, AM I ABLE TO DEFER MY ADMISSION UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2021?
If you have been admitted to Huron for the January 2021 intake, you may submit a request to defer your admission until September 2021. In order to do so, please email Meklit Haile at mhaile2@huron.uwo.ca
WHAT WILL MY ONLINE CLASSES LOOK/BE LIKE THIS YEAR
First, Huron is working hard to make sure your classes are a rich educational experience. Huron has invested in a consultant in online learning who is reviewing course syllabi and mounting online teaching workshops for faculty. Our faculty are, as returning students will know, very dedicated to their students and to teaching and are using the summer to prepare energetically for the fall. And our library and teaching support staff have also been working very hard to put supports in place for both professors and students. Second, what each class looks like will vary depending on the professor’s preferred teaching methods, but you can expect the following:
  1. On every class there will be the opportunity for live online interaction with the professor and your classmates on a regular basis.
  2. Some teaching may take place synchronously but in such cases all materials necessary to successfully complete the course will be available for those who cannot join the class live.
  3. The software your professors will most commonly use will include your OWL course websites with their functions such as the discussion forums, announcements and so forth, Zoom and Blackboard for live interactions, PowerPoint for pre-recorded lecture. Some may also use Microsoft Teams and some may choose to use software not mentioned here. In all cases, you will have ready access to the software.
Third, your professors will be available for online one-on-one consultations. They will communicate to you whether they will be available via a regular virtual office hour or whether it will be by appointment.
DOES MY SCHEDULE NEED TO BE CONFLICT-FREE
Yes, it does. Some class materials will be posted asynchronously but without a conflict-free schedule this precludes any synchronous interactions in the class, which all the research on online teaching suggests is critical to students having the best possible learning experience. Making sure your class is conflict free will also help ensure that you do not have exams scheduled at the same time.
HOW DO I SET UP AN ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATION DUE TO A DOCUMENTED DISABILITY
If you will have an ongoing need for accommodation due to a documented disability, you need to reach out to Student Accessibility Services at Western: http://academicsupport.uwo.ca/. They will keep your documents on file and notify all your professors of the need for accommodations. If you’re comfortable doing so, it’s also a good idea to let your Huron student advisor know of your accommodation needs so that they are aware; further, it’s a good idea, particularly if you will require fairly rigorous accommodations, to let your professors know individually once your classes begin. Huron understands the online environment poses particular challenges for those with certain kinds of disabilities and we are working to ensure that the necessary supports are in place for those who need them. As one example, Western is trying to acquire software that will enable captioning of video/audio for those who are hearing impaired. It is critical those with these sorts of needs let Student Accessibility Services know so we can ensure everything is in place by the beginning of classes.
WILL STUDENT SERVICES LIKE WELLNESS COUNSELLING AND ACADEMIC ADVISING BE AVAILABLE ONLINE
Yes. Both of these offices are offering a full slate of online services. Student advisers, for example, are available for online appointments and the advising team is planning to have regular online drop-in sessions as well. You can find academic advising here: https://huronatwestern.ca/academic-advising; and Wellness Services here: https://huronatwestern.ca/wellness-services
HOW IS WELLNESS SERVICES ADAPTING TO HELP STUDENTS IN THIS PANDEMIC AND ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
Wellness team has developed a plan for virtual drop-in hours that have been scheduled to accommodate all students including those in different time zones to support them in accessing counselling resources and facilitating connection with appropriate Huron staff. In addition, they have arranged for specific group programming for any and all students to join. Individual check-ins with students will be done in a variety of ways, primarily through our residence staff, our engagement coordinators, and the student leaders who will be working with our 1st year groups. Advisors are also doing regular check-ins with all students. Further, online resources will be provided in many forms, including TAO, an online self-help tool specifically and available to all Huron students.
WHAT LIBRARY SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE
Library and Learning Services will be offering a full complement of services online as well. Reference help, for example, is available through the library website: https://huronatwestern.ca/library, and the library will be offering a program of workshops to help both students and faculty in an online environment. Western/Huron has an enormous amount of material available online, but if you are in London, access to the physical collection will also be possible. Equally, the Writing Centre, housed in the library, will be offering online writing, communication, and course content tutoring sessions just as they would offer face-to-face sessions in a normal year. In addition, the Writing Centre will host weekly drop-in Zoom Study Halls, staffed by tutors, for learning strategies, math, and business support. To learn more about the services offered and to book appointments, see: https://huronatwestern.ca/library/writing-services.
WILL THERE BE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
Yes. While experiences involving travel and visits as a class will not be possible, there are many forms of experiential learning that can proceed in an online environment. As one example, Huron will have between 6-8 classes participating in the CityStudio project with the City of London, which sees classes help the city deal with challenges through student research and problem-solving.
WILL I BE ABLE TO NETWORK AND SET MYSELF UP WELL FOR SUCCESS POST-GRADUATION IN THIS ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
Yes. Networking opportunities are and will be provided on an ongoing basis through the Career Development Centre (https://huronatwestern.ca/career-development). Workshops and events that involve alumni, employers and industry professionals are scheduled regularly. In addition, training to maximize networking skills is also provided. Participating in the Huron Mentorship Program will also help with to increase networking opportunities. The Huron Career Development team has continued to source exclusive opportunities for Huron students this summer. Our capacity to help students has only grown as the Career Development team has added two Employment Relations Coordinators this year who will concentrate on sourcing new opportunities for students.
WHAT IS HURON DOING TO HELP NEW STUDENTS INTEGRATE INTO THE UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENT AND TO ENSURE THAT ALL STUDENTS FEEL ENGAGED WHILE WE’RE ONLINE
The Student Engagement team has created a virtual engagement plan that takes into account the need for students to connect, especially in these circumstances, and that recognizes the important role residence typically plays in encouraging the connection between and among 1st year students. All students will be placed into 50-person groups to facilitate OWeek activities (all virtual) and these groups will then transition into a Virtual Residence. The entire team has been working to develop programming for students in four key areas: orientation activities, academics, social activities and wellness activities. Events, workshops, and programming will be tailored and offered to specific individual virtual residence groups. We will also be holding events open for any students from all the groups to join. Upper year students will also be a focus for our team as we develop and schedule events from various departments within Huron through our Student Engagement Council. Huron is working to develop a calendar of events that will be open not just for 1st year students, but also for our returning students. We will be developing events for upper year students based upon their specific needs, depending upon their year of study. For example, Huron is launching an enhanced Mentorship Program. The tri-level mentorship program provides a platform for peer mentorship and for our extraordinary alumni network to mentor Huron’s emerging student leaders. We are also putting a Group Mentorship Program in place, which will provide an opportunity for 1st year students to engage in supportive group interactions through virtual sessions with upper year student mentors. All students will have the opportunity to participate in bi-weekly conversations circles with their upper year mentors to discuss a wide range of topics.
I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY ABILITY TO SELF-MOTIVATE AND SUCCEED IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT. WHAT IS HURON DOING TO HELP ME BE SUCCESSFUL
The Student Engagement Team will be collaborating closely with Advising and Writing Services to provide workshops, online sessions and discussions to deal with motivation, managing stress and anxiety, time management and a number of other topics related to academic success in general and specifically in the context of online learning. The Peer Mentors (part of the Huron Communities Mentorship Program developed by the Careers team) will also be developing and implementing online sessions with 1st year virtual residence groups that address exactly these topics. Finally, our Wellness Services team is developing many programs and events that address these concerns. Further, Professors will be strongly emphasizing student engagement in their teaching strategies. Professors will thus be doing their best to maximize interaction and engagement in the virtual classroom so to speak.
HOW WILL I/WE KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE COVID CRISIS AND HURON AS THE YEAR PROGRESSES
As returning students will know, Huron always opts to be open and transparent; you will receive communications and updates from President Barry Craig or specific units at the institution including the Registrar’s Office, the Career Development Team and so on. We will strive to keep you informed of any new developments as quickly as possible. Accordingly, please be sure to check your uwo.ca email account at least daily. This is the primary way in which we will communicate directly with you. Additionally, you have the advantage of having direct lines of communication with your student advisors, your professors, and your students’ council. At any time, please do not hesitate to raise questions or concerns with the appropriate people.
WILL CAMPUS BE OPEN AND WHAT IS HURON DOING TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE
The residences and dining hall are closed. The academic buildings are unlocked during daytime hours and accessible although there are significant social distancing measures in place and few staff and faculty on campus. Huron’s facilities team has ensured that there is sanitizer at all entrances and exits. There are processes and plans in place at all public-facing offices to ensure physical distancing is maintained and respected. Huron staff and faculty have been asked to work from home when and if possible, to minimize the traffic on campus. Additionally, students should know that the Community Safety Office (https://huronatwestern.ca/community-safety) is a resource to which they have access should there be any safety concerns, whether online or more conventional in nature.