February 5, 2021

Residence Fully Reopening Starting February 11

February 5, 2021

We hope your winter semester is going well and want to provide an update on your return to residence. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we paused the return to residence until mid-February. 

With the current stay-at-home order anticipated to end by February 11, we will begin to welcome students back to residence between February 11–21, with in-person classes resuming on February 22.

To support your health and wellness, and the health and safety of the residence community, the following safety strategies are being implemented:

PCR test screening

Western has procured a number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which will be used to screen students returning to residence in mid-February. These are the same types of tests being used at local assessment centres and at some International Airports. 

We strongly recommend and encourage each returning resident to have a PCR test done, prior to moving into residence. While London case numbers have seen a recent downward trend, students returning to residence will be coming from all corners of the province and country, which all have varying rates of COVID prevalence. PCR testing will provide you a sense of security that you have not been infected while you were away and also to your fellow students a sense of safety.  

Western students have been extraordinarily resilient and responsive to the ever-changing dynamics throughout this pandemic, and understand that health and safety is a shared responsibility. We hope you will do your part by having a PCR test done, as we gradually rebuild the health of our residence community. 

30 minutes prior to your scheduled return time to residence, please go to the Western COVID-19 Testing Centre to have a PCR test done (located in the Western Student Recreation Centre). Once the test is completed, students will receive a personalized card to show Housing staff stationed at residence entrances, allowing for entry to the building. A wristband will be provided when you check into your residence, which you are required to wear until February 22. **Please Note: If you have previously tested positive using the PCR testing, please do not attend the testing centre for a test. You may proceed directly to your residence and check in at the front desk. 

PCR tests are sent to a laboratory, and results should be back within 24 to 48 hours. Students are required to self-quarantine in their bedroom while they await test results. Students are only allowed to leave their bedroom to use the dining hall to pick up food. Students in traditional-style residences are able to leave their bedroom to use the floor washroom. 

  • If the PCR test is positive  
    Students who receive a positive test result will be required to move immediately to an isolation location for 10 days. This isolation location is outside of residence, where your meals will be delivered to your door throughout the day. University staff members will check in and provide you support throughout your isolation period.
  • If the PCR test is negative
    Once a student is notified they have received a negative test result, they will be allowed to leave their residence bedroom, and use residence and campus amenities. The health unit still recommends that residence students keep their close contacts to only your roommate or one friend, and continue to self-monitor for symptoms. 

It is important to note a negative test result should NOT replace public health measures. Students are still expected to physically distance, wear face coverings, and practice good hand hygiene. Due to the incubation period of COVID-19, a negative test result today does not guarantee you are COVID-free. It is imperative to understand that testing is being used as a screening measure. It is one additional strategy in our collective efforts to rebuild the health of our residence community.  

Scheduled return dates and times

Students are required to register a return date and time. Daily limits on the number of students allowed to return on designated days and hours will be set to assist in managing this process as safely as possible. Dates of return have also been scheduled every other day (February 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21) to manage the internal capability of administering tests at the COVID-19 testing centre, processing the test results, and following up with students on their test results. 

To register your return date and time, please log in to the myHousing portal and follow the steps below to select your preferred time slot to return to campus. The registration site will go live the afternoon on Monday, February 8. Registration for your return date and time is first come first served. If a date or time is unavailable, the maximum number for that time slot has already been reached. Reservations can be revised up until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday February 10, 2021. 

  • Select: Residence
  • Select: Live in Residence / September 2020 – April 2021 / Current academic year
  • Select: Reserve Your Return to Residence Time Slot

Please remember to visit the Western COVID-19 Testing Centre 30 minutes prior to your scheduled residence move-in time. If someone is driving you back to campus, parking will be available in the South Valley parking lot adjacent to the testing centre. They can wait there while you complete the testing and then take you to your residence building. Please remember that no guests are allowed in the residences or the testing centre. 

On the day of your scheduled return, if you feel sick, stay at home, contact housing@uwo.ca, and we will reschedule your return. 

New health & safety measures

When you return, you will likely notice some new health and safety measures in residence:

  • Residence Health & Safety Ambassadors will conduct rounds and provide education to ensure health & safety responsibilities are being upheld. You will likely see them in the evenings and on weekends in residence. These are University employees that complement the work of our Residence Staff, Campus Police and external security guards. 
  • We have launched a new Residence Health and Safety Protocols web page that outlines the expectations, access privileges, and closures, in each residence building. It will continue to be updated to reflect all current health and safety protocols that the health unit and provincial government release, and what that means for you in residence.
  • Upon your return to residence, you will be asked to complete the Return to Campus Questionnaire
  • Closer to your return to residence, you will receive an update with available amenities, depending on the guidance from the provincial government and the recommendation from local health unit. 

You are likely anxious and excited to return to residence and re-immerse yourself in your academic studies. Don’t forget, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact our office at housing@uwo.ca – we’re here to help.

We have been so impressed with how conscientious you’ve been, and the sacrifices you all made in the first semester to keep our community safe and healthy. Keep up the good work, remain diligent, and ensure you take some time to review and understand the new residence environment.