Dean's update on Jan. 31 return to classes

January 27, 2022

The following update was sent to students, staff and faculty on Jan. 27:

Good afternoon,

As you will have read in the University-wide communications of January 14 and January 25, we will be returning to in-person classes this coming Monday, January 31.

I’m writing to let you know about some revised practices and protocols. Please read carefully and note how some things have changed from the fall term.

Masks and Masking Rules

Western has upgraded the standard minimum mask requirement to medical-grade (ASTM Level 3). Neither cloth masks nor 3-ply non-medical masks are acceptable. Students can obtain a package of the new masks from any Western Libraries location, including the Law Library. Faculty and staff can obtain them from the main administrative office.

Masks must be worn at all times when indoors. This means that faculty will need to be masked when teaching and that students will no longer be allowed to consume beverages in classes. If you would like to eat or drink, please do so in a location where you can be physically distanced from others (eg Chambers, Learning Commons, or in vacant classrooms).

Building, Classroom and Library Hours

In an effort to reduce traffic in the Law Building, the perimeter doors will be locked at all times. You will require your Western ONECard to enter. Law students will have card access to the building as follows:

- Mondays 7:30-6:00
- Tuesdays 7:30-7:30
- Wednesdays 7:30-6:00
- Thursdays 7:30-7:30
- Fridays 7:30-5:00

Our classrooms will also be locked, with card access only. The Faculty of Law reception desk will be open from 8-4 on weekdays.

The Law Library will be open from 9-5 on weekdays.

Daily Screening Questionnaire

Everyone should complete the provincial screening questionnaire daily before coming to campus. You will receive an email link to this questionnaire from Western every morning. The questionnaire will let you know whether you can come to campus or whether you need to self-isolate, seek testing, etc.

Faculty and Student Absences

We recognize that, under current provincial health regulations, faculty, staff and students may need to self-isolate from time to time. In order to reduce the disruption of student learning, the following guidelines will apply.

When faculty members need to self-isolate, they can offer their classes synchronously online or otherwise make their lessons available to students. Faculty should let students know about these arrangements as soon as possible.

When students need to self-isolate, we will follow the same policy as in the fall, which is:

If your absence will be short-term, the expectation is that you will respond as you would in a normal year by seeking notes from a classmate, contacting the course instructor, etc. If your absence will be longer, we may grant you limited remote audio access to classes until you are able to return to campus. More particularly, a student will be entitled to receive a live audio transmission of a class if, for reasons falling within the Faculty policy on Academic Accommodation and Consideration, they are or are going to be absent from all classes for more than three consecutive weekdays.

Individual faculty members may also choose to provide additional learning supports to assist students who are self-isolating (eg Zoom access to class; posting of slides, outlines, or other learning aides; peer note-takers, etc).

Meetings and Co-Curricular Activities

Meetings and co-curricular activities should generally be held virtually. Groups of up to 10 people can meet as long as 2m physical distancing can be accommodated for the entire group.

The above practices will be in place until at least February 21, which coincides with Western’s Reading Week and the next phase of Ontario’s reopening plan. We will re-assess at that time and communicate any relevant changes.

Thanks to each of you for doing your part to keep Western Law a safe and engaging place to learn and work together.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus on Monday.

Dean Erika Chamberlain