Most Western University students return to in-person learning by months end – London

Most Western University students will return to in-person learning at the end of the month, with some exceptions.

Western on Friday unveiled plans to allow all second-, third- and fourth-year undergraduate and graduate courses as well as second-admission professional programs to resume in-person learning.

The exception will be all first-year undergraduate level courses, which will be postponed another month until February 28.

“Most of our first-year students live in dorms with shared spaces and restrooms that increase the risk of transmission and will not meet self-isolation requirements if large numbers of students are required to isolate,” Sarah Prichard, acting president and vice-chancellor, said in a statement.

She said the decision to fend off personalized learning is based on current health guidelines and the increased risk of transmission due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in pooled living environments.

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A mixture of doubt and relief as students of London and the region return to personal learning

“We want to get students back on campus safely as quickly as possible — and do so in a way that we can stay on campus for the rest of the winter,” Pritchard said.

“We hope the calculated plan will guide us through the school year and ensure the best possible teaching and learning experiences for our community.”

Learning continues online, with some students attending in person in rare circumstances.

School officials say the hope is that the incredible return to in-person learning will help reduce transmission of COVID-19 and its impact on the healthcare system in London, Ontario.

Students living in the residence should receive more information about funds and early access requests on January 18.

By postponing a return to in-person learning, school officials say they hope it will mean the rest of the semester will be able to stay in person.

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