Western phasing in return to class

Most students at Western University will return to in-person learning at the end of January, but it will be another month before the same can be said of first-year students.

Western University announced Friday that first-year students will return to class on February 28, four weeks after second, third, and fourth year students return to in-person learning.

It also announced that a return to residence is not yet in the cards for students.

“Based on current health guidance and the increased transmission risks associated with Omicron in congregate living environments, we will be delaying the return to residence for most students,” Acting President and Vice-Chancellor Sarah Pritchard said in a statement released Friday. “Most of our first-year students are living in residence with shared spaces and washrooms that increase the risk of transmission and will not meet self-isolation requirements if substantial numbers of students are required to isolate.”

Information on refunds and early arrival requests will be given on Tuesday.

Pritchard added it’s hoped these measures will reduce the spread of the Omicron variant and lessen the burden on hospitals.

“We know this is challenging for many of our students, faculty and staff,” she said. “We are hoping this staggered return will allow classes to take place on campus for the rest of the term to support academic progress and get back to the in-person learning experience we all value.”

In the meantime, the university is encouraging students to get a third dose of vaccine prior to the return of in-person learning.

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