Western moves to required services

March 16, 2020 8:00 PM

Western moves to required services, online learning continues, residences remain open

To ensure the health and safety of our campus community and to prevent the risk and spread of COVID-19, effective Thursday, March 19 Western will move to a required services model until further notice.

The University will continue to operate—with some employees required to be physically present on campus and others required to work off-campus in a virtual mode.

Regarding this shift to virtual, off-campus work, we need some time to consult academic and administrative leaders, along with our union/employee-group leaders, and we hope to have these decisions made by Thursday, March 19th. This planning will help identify the appropriate staffing levels required to maintain the safety of our community and the continuity of operations.

We intend to operate virtually as much as possible.

The University is fully committed to helping our students complete the term.

  • Online learning will continue.
  • Support for faculty moving their courses online will continue.
  • Our residences and dining halls will remain open and operational in order to support students who cannot return home due to travel restrictions, health, personal circumstances, or various obligations.
  • Students in residence are welcome to stay if this is the best option.
  • Western International is encouraging all students currently studying abroad to come home.
  • Western International is cancelling future university-sanctioned international travel for all students until September 1.
  • Details on final exams will be forthcoming.

Please note that while the University has moved to a required services model, employees will continue to be paid for any scheduled days/shifts.

Western is committed to continuing ongoing research.

  • Researchers are however encouraged not to start, or submit, any new research protocols involving human-subjects, or animal research, at this time. Researchers should also assess the needs for ongoing projects.
  • Researchers, their staff, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars should ensure they have the necessary tools, materials and data to continue work at home when possible.
  • Other important updates for researchers are available on Western’s COVID-19 website.

Wellness and well-being

This rapidly evolving situation may be causing stress for members of our campus community. Supports are available:

  • Students: Dedicated staff in Student Experience continue to provide support to help students manage their academics and well-being. Information about how to access these supports remotely can be found at studentexperience.uwo.ca/remote.
  • Employees: Western's Employee and Family Assistance Program can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

If you are sick, please stay home.

On Saturday, March 14, the Government of Canada announced all travelers returning to Canada from abroad must self-isolate at home for 14 days whether they have symptoms or not.

Western employees who are impacted by this directive should speak with their supervisors as soon as possible. Public Health Ontario has resources available to help people learn how to properly self-isolate. 

We recognize supervisors in units across campus may have questions about how this self-isolation requirement may impact their operations. Questions can be directed to Human Resources via family.care@uwo.ca

We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and support and as we work through this in coordination with the various levels of government and the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

More information will follow as it becomes available. If you have questions not addressed on Western’s COVID-19 website, please email covid19@uwo.ca

Thank you. 

  • A number of Western researchers have received emergency grants to accelerate the Canadian effort to understand COVID-19 and control its spread. Your expertise in action!
  • To our faculty, Western Technology Services colleagues, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and all of us at Western who are supporting each other in the unexpected transition to teaching online.
  • To our many clinical faculty and staff members working on the frontlines of health care. Your commitment to caring for those who are sick and preparing for what might be coming is deeply appreciated.
  • To the many staff members who are working long hours to care for our students and ensure our campus community remains safe and as prepared as possible.
  • To our students, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through these uncertain times together. We are here to support you in any way we can to ensure you finish your term.

Over the past several weeks I have witnessed incredible collaboration and commitment across our entire campus community.

To all of you, my sincere thanks. Complicated times!


alan signature


Alan Shepard

President and Vice-Chancellor