Western University may never be the same, but the institution is revealing its plans to make the health and safety of students a priority.
“With so much uncertainty, we know you’re wondering if it will be safe to come to campus, whether residence is still an option, what your social experience will be, and what your courses will look like,” said president Alan Shepard in an update released on Friday.
In the statement, Shepard described several ways Western will be different in the future.
On-campus experience for a quarter of courses
With physical distancing requirements in place, Shepard said Western will be reducing the capacity on campus. Many of the university’s largest courses will be taught online throughout the fall and winter semesters.
The university anticipates that 25 to 30 per cent of courses will take place on campus.
However, the availability of on-campus learning may depend on course selection, program and year of study.
University staff are also striving to include in-person clinical programs, some undergraduate seminars and labs, and labs for graduate students doing research.
Information for international students
International students face several concerns during this time of uncertainty.
Shepard said the university is looking at providing support for international students during the mandatory 14-day quarantine well before the beginning of the school year.
Change in design
“When you return to campus, things will look and feel a bit different: you will notice some new rules about how we gather together and changes to our physical spaces,” said Shepard.
Western is currently working with a global architecture and space planning firm to make adjustments to many of its public spaces.
Residence still a guarantee
The university plans to honour its first-year residence guarantee for students in September.
Shepard said planning is underway to accommodate students and implement physical distancing models safely.
Increased financial support
Western has increased financial support to both graduate and undergraduate students. This includes the establishment of a $13.5-million student support fund.