COVID-19 Updates

Please remember that information is being updated as procedures and policies develop.

Message from Dean Michael Milde

Dear members of Arts and Humanities,

The start of the academic year is always marked by heightened activity - and now the pandemic has added layers of complication and consideration.  It is inevitable that we have questions and concerns about how things will unfold.  And, it is equally inevitable that not every question has a ready-made answer.  By working together we have managed to carry out the academic mission of Arts and Humanities through the uncertainty of the last 18 months, and I have every confidence that this same spirit of collegial collaboration will see us through 2021-22.

Up-to-date information is crucial - and this page will be kept current, with both general and A&H specific information.  Please check back often.

Wishing you all the best for the term.

Western Communications

The Faculty of Arts & Humanities is aligned with the messaging from Western University.  Communications and procedures are constantly being updated.  Students, staff and faculty will continue to receive emails from the University, Faculty and Departments as information progresses.

You can keep on top of the most up-to-date information by following this page and as well as keeping an eye on news updates, social media and health and safety protocols.

Q & A with Dr. Michael Silverman

On Friday, September 10, 2021, Western President & Vice-Chancellor, Alan Shepard hosted a Q & A with Dr. Michael Silverman, Infectious Disease Expert.  You can watch this very informative video here


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many members of of the Western Community are vaccinated?

Since Western and its affiliated colleges, Brescia, Huron and King’s, launched our proof of vaccination effort on August 26, we’ve received responses from more than 46,000 members of our campus community—with more coming in every day.

Current numbers tell us that 97 percent of our faculty and staff are vaccinated, along with 98 percent of students. And in residence, where we announced mandatory vaccinations in May, 99 percent of students are vaccinated.

These results are extraordinary. They speak to the strong commitment of our students, staff and faculty, along with a shared recognition of the importance of having a highly vaccinated campus.

We continue to receive proof of vaccination from members of the campus community. Those who have not yet submitted vaccination status are not permitted to be on campus and are required to provide their information as soon as possible.

2. How is Western ensuring campus is safe?

Western University has taken multiple measures to ensure the safety of classrooms and campus such as:

  • Health Screening: all those coming to campus will continue to be required to complete the 'return to campus' questionnaire each day.
  • Masks: those on campus must continue to wear a three-layer, non-medical mask while indoors.  These are available to students at The Great Hall; while staff and grad students can collect these from their department.
  • Cleaning and sanitation: continued enhanced efforts focused on dining, washrooms and high-traffic areas.
  • Vaccinations: as part of a strengthened COVID -19 vaccination policy, all students, employees and visitors will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination, except under rare exemptions.  Vaccines are available at the Graphic Services Building on campus. Check here for schedules.

  • Testing: PCR and rapid antigen testing is available for Western employees and students.  Appointments are available online and walk-ins accepted.  Check here for schedules.

  • Ventilation: extra steps are being taken to ensure ventilation systems in building and classrooms are maintained and optimized to maximize health and safety.  Thorough analysis confirmed that ventilation in classrooms meets, and in most cases exceeds, the standards to prevent potential airborne spread.  View the online classroom-by-classroom analysis.

Furthermore, students and faculty who are not compliant with the campus access rules, including the vaccination policy, will not be permitted to be on campus.  Those who attend campus in defiance of these rules will be sanctioned either with employment rules or via the student code of conduct, as appropriate.

3. What specific safety measures are available for instructors?


Three-layer, non-medical masks are required for all classrooms and indoor spaces at Western.  There is no longer any social distancing enforced in the classroom.  All accommodations and mask exemptions must be communicated to the professor and TA.  This will be managed by Accessible Education and accommodation requests will be provided to the instructor.  Reasons for the mask exemption will not be provided.

Classrooms of more than 20 students will be provided with a plastic screen.  Professors wishing to remove their mask while lecturing must remain behind this screen.

Students are not permitted to eat or drink while in class to ensure that masks stay in place.  Students will be able to eat and drink outside of the classroom during scheduled breaks.

Teaching Safety Kits:

These are made available with wipes, microphone covers, hand sanitizer and dry-erase markers.  Please have your Department arrange these through the Dean's Office.  Masks, sanitizer and other PPE is also available.


Building Ambassadors are available to assist professors when enforcing mask mandates in the classroom.  If required, they can escalate to Campus Police.

4. What is the Building Ambassador Program and how does it work?

The Building Ambassador Program is an initiative launched to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.  Ambassadors will be present around campus and will provide reminders about physical distancing, use of masks, as well as distribute masks to students and visitors who may have come unprepared.  They will also assist instructors, as needed, with students not adhering to the required safety guidelines (e.g., wearing of masks) and will be the first point of contact for questions.

Contact information for Building Ambassadors will be available in each classroom.

If you see an individual who is not masked, you may contact the Building Ambassador for the building you are in: 

  • University College, Visual Arts, WIRB - Jamy Brodt

5. What accommodations will be made for students with COVID-19 symptoms?

If a student has symptoms of COVID-19, they will be required to stay home after filling out the daily 'return to campus' questionnaire.  Instructors are encouraged to provide makeups for all significant tests and to be flexible around grading policies for assessments. 

We remain in an unprecedented term and expect discussions to be ongoing.  Please contact the Faculty of Arts & Humanities Academic Counselling for more information. 

6. What do instructors do if they have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot come to campus?

If an instructor is unable to come to campus due to COVID-19 symptoms, they should follow the same protocols as with any type of illness - likely resulting in a cancelled class.

However, if an instructor is quarantining without symptoms or with school-aged children, please discuss with your Department to arrange to move classes online until you're able to return to campus.

7. How can I access mental health support?

Faculty and staff requiring mental health support can contact Western's Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) at any time - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As well, a new counselling service is now available free of charge for all Western employees.  This service is completely confidential and includes 12 virtual sessions with registered Master of Social Work and psychotherapist Alison (Keeney) Watt.  Appointments are available two days a week - Tuesday and Thursdays between 12pm and 7pm.  Click here for more information and how to book.

Students requiring mental health support can visit the University's Health & Wellness site or reach out to Academic Counselling.

8. How will the university conduct contact tracing?

In the event that a COVID-19 is traced to campus, it remains the case that the Middlesex-London Health Unit is responsible for contact tracing.

9. How will we work with research involving visitors to campus?

All visitors to campus – including research participants – are to adhere to Western’s policy requiring mandatory proof of full vaccination status. These efforts will help ensure we continue to maintain a safe campus for all members of our community.

Researchers interested in welcoming research participants to campus are required to obtain and document proof of vaccination status for all participants who are unaffiliated with the university. Confirmation must be obtained in advance of their arrival on campus.

Please do not keep copies of vaccination documents; however, a record of receipt of proof will mitigate the need to confirm vaccination status for any recurring visit by the same participant.

Participants who are exempted from vaccination according to MAPP 3.1.1 must provide evidence of this exemption status, as well as two negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, commencing one week prior to each visit to campus. These tests, recurring for each week the participant plans to visit campus, must be separated by a minimum of 72 hours (e.g., if first tested for the week on Monday at 12 p.m., the next test must occur Thursday at 12 p.m. or later in the same seven-day period.) These tests are available in Western’s Graphic Services Building.

For every visit, all participants and research personnel must continue to follow existing protocols of filling out the COVID health questionnaire and adhering to all PPE, distancing and cleanliness practices in the research area.

10. How will field research take place?

For all field research activities, all Western researchers are to adhere to guidelines provided by the relevant field site.