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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).

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 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.