Brandon University will move to Phase Gold at conclusion of Winter Term

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Brandon University is planning with cautious optimism for a Fall 2022 term that will look more like the traditional campus experience that has been missed throughout the pandemic. BU President David Docherty announced the plan in a campus-wide email Thursday afternoon, saying the university is looking forward to a Fall Term with full classes, full residences, and a full on-campus experience for our students.

To prepare for Fall 2022 with as few restrictions as possible, BU will move to Phase Gold of our campus re-opening plan after the end of Winter Term, and the university will safely begin easing a number of restrictions through the spring and summer. The pandemic is not over, and BU is taking a measured approach to monitoring community transmission and easing restrictions. Phase Gold will take effect Thursday, April 28, 2022.

What we’re changing:

We are committed to a safe and measured response as we make these changes. In Phase Gold, as of Thursday, April 28:

  • We will unlock our doors to visitors and members of the public. Key fob or Student ID card access will no longer be required.
  • We will no longer have a vaccine mandate for attendance on campus. Full vaccination against Covid will remain strongly encouraged, including any and all boosters. Vaccination is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself and your community.
  • We will strongly encourage and support masks be worn indoors, but will no longer require them in all areas. Masks will help protect you from many airborne illnesses, as well as Covid.
  • We will no longer enforce physical distancing and capacity limits.

What is staying the same:

Some things are not changing at this time. Here are some of the Covid precautions that will remain in place:

  • We will continue our enhanced ventilation. Covid is believed to be mostly transmitted by air, and we will continue to protect our community by increasing the filtration and airflow indoors.
  • We will continue to require self-monitoring for illness and symptoms. You should still stay home when sick. You may be able work from home, if arranged with your supervisor.
  • We will continue to provide sanitization stations at entrances for you to sanitize your hands or high-touch surfaces.

Why we’re making these changes:

Over the past two years, we have all repeatedly adapted and readapted to the challenges of the pandemic. We have learned much about ways to stay safe while continuing to deliver the highest-quality education and research. However, we are missing many critical benefits of being together in person, including educational, social, and community connections.

With extremely high levels of vaccination on campus and in our community, with improving outlooks in our health-care system, and with ongoing Covid protocols that will remain in place, we can look forward to a spring, summer and fall that safely welcomes more people to a more open campus.

Why we’re changing things for spring:

We know that this will take some adjustment and we believe that spring and summer are the ideal times to begin Phase Gold. They are slower terms for us, with fewer faculty, staff and students on campus. Much research is in the field. Outdoors becomes an option for some meetings. Many people are taking their vacations. There are fewer classes, and those that are held typically see less mixing.

The pandemic is not over. While some signals show improvement, there is still community transmission, warranting a gradual and cautious approach. Moving to Phase Gold on Thursday, April 28 allows us to finish out the Winter Term the way we pledged we would, while also opening the door for students who are coming to Brandon for Spring Term, and may be looking to move into Residence that weekend. It also permits us the possibility of a more typical Convocation. While we are still determining exactly what Convocation will look like, we are confident that we will be able to return to an in-person celebration, although it will probably feature fewer hugs and handshakes this year.

How we can support each other:

While we finish out the Winter Term, we have two months before these changes take effect, and for many it will require some adjustment. Please, reach out to your Deans or supervisors to ensure that Brandon University can support you appropriately.

As a community, we will continue to expect that everyone follows the latest public health guidance, which may continue to change. For faculty and staff who may be engaged in travel for research or university business, please continue to monitor federal travel guidelines and seek pre-approval from your Dean or supervisor for any international trips.

Over the coming months, we may need to relearn ways to interact in person with one another. All of us will have varying levels of comfort with things like mask-wearing and gatherings. The isolation of the pandemic and artificiality of online communications may have strained relationships. But it will also be good to see friends again, and to reconnect. Please, remember that we reacted to the onset of the pandemic by supporting each other and by coming together — thank you for continuing that same thoughtful and compassionate approach as we return.


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