In response to increasing positive COVID-19 cases, the Ontario government announced a province-wide lockdown in an attempt to contain the surge of cases. The announcement includes new restrictions and health guidelines which impact everyone, especially students as they await more information on changes to their academic plans. Imprint spoke to UW and the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) for more information on how UW will be handling the second lockdown.
On Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, Ontario declared a second provincial emergency to address the COVID-19 crisis. The announcement includes new restrictions and heath guidelines aimed to limit people’s mobility and reduce daily contact with others. Some of the new restrictions to take effect on Thursday, Jan. 14 include, limited social gathering with up to five people, and mask or face covering requirement in indoor areas.
On Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, UW released a statement on its official website, re-enforcing the Ontario government’s safety guidelines and outlining the school’s guidelines for the second lockdown. According to the website, students are to only visit campus if necessary and for essential trips. Instructors will notify students of any changes to classes.
“All of the safety measures that were in place before this new lockdown are still in place now. As are all the supports for students – including mental health and academic supports through Campus Wellness, the SSO, and the faculties,” a representative from UW said.
Additionally, WUSA stated that they will be offering their services both on-campus and off-campus – specifically the Turnkey desk, student-run services, and used textbooks.
“WUSA is still offering services to our students through the Turnkey desk, student-run services, used textbooks, and commercial operations…WUSA is encouraging all students to stay home and stay safe. We will continue to offer services online (like peer support, used textbooks) and are always available to hear student concerns,” Abbie Simpson, President of WUSA, said.
Moreover, WUSA emphasizes that they will continue to advocate student’s concerns as well as offer their full support financially.
“WUSA will continue to raise student concerns with courses as we hear them. The Academic Readiness Bursary was available to students this term. WUSA worked hard in Winter 2021 to ensure this was available to students. As for supports, WUSA is still running our peer support services, our Centre for Academic Policy Support, and WUSA Clubs continue to run,” Simpson said.
Summary: As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, UW prepares for the second lockdown order by the Ontario government.