Western postpones in-person classes until end of February

Western University. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Western University has decided to delay in-person classes until February 21, following their reading week.

In a letter Friday evening, President and Vice-Chancellor Alan Shepard announced the university will resume with virtual classes on Monday as originally planned, which will continue until later next month.

Ahead of the winter break, Western anticipated to resuming in-class instruction on January 25.

“While 2020 is now behind us, unfortunately COVID-19 is not. Cases in our region and across the province are rising, and increasingly strict measures are in place to stop the spread,” Shepard said in the letter.

Some clinical labs in health sciences, medicine, and a small number of approved non-health programs will be permitted to continue in-person on January 11.

Western said it will also stagger the return of students living in residences. Only a small number of students have already received permission for an early return because of pre-arranged travel or other personal circumstances. Research activities, access to campus for employees and campus services will continue with restrictions in place.

“The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility. These next few weeks and months are absolutely critical,” Shepard said. “If you can stay where you are for now, we encourage that.” He also advised those returning to London should limit their contacts as much as possible, download the COVID-19 Alert app, and get tested if symptomatic.