Most Western University students return to in-person learning by months end – London |

Most Western University students will be headed back to in-person learning at the end of the month, with some exceptions.

On Friday, Western unveiled plans to allow all second, third, and fourth-year undergraduate and graduate-level courses as well as second-entry professional programs to resume in-person learning.

The exception will be all first-year undergraduate level courses, which will be postponed another month to Feb. 28.

“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,” Sarah Prichard, acting president and vice-chancellor said in a statement.

The decision to push back in-person learning is based on current health guidance and the increased transmission risk due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in congregate living environments, she said.

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A mix of skepticism and relief as London and area students return to in-person learning

“We want to bring students back to campus safely as soon as possible – and to do so in a way that enables us to remain on campus for the rest of the winter term,” Prichard said.

“We are hopeful that a measured plan will see us through the academic year and ensure the best possible teaching and learning experiences for our community.”

Learning still continues online, with some students attending in-person in rare circumstances.

School officials say the hope is that staggering the return to in-person learning will help minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and the impact it has on the  London, Ont., health-care system.

Students who live in residence should receive further information about funds and early arrival requests on Jan. 18.

By pushing back the return to in-person learning, school officials say they hope it means the rest of the term will be able to stay in-person.

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