Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Student Considerations for Winter Term 2022

Vaccines, Testing, and Personal Protective Equipment

Will I be required to get a booster shot to be permitted to return to campus?

A booster shot is not required; however, the University strongly recommends that you receive a booster shot prior to your return to campus. Those unable to access a booster shot where they are can also book an appointment at Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre. Some graduate programs include work-integrated learning -- your practice partners or agencies may require a booster shot.  Please consult your graduate program for more information.

Where can I get a booster shot?

Booster shots will continue to be available at Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre.  

Will rapid tests be made available?

Based on guidance from the Middlesex-London Health Unit, rapid testing is available for high-risk settings on campus, and the majority of students do not participate in these activities.

Students who are part currently part of a testing program will continue to be able to access testing at Western’s Vaccination and Testing Centre.

Do I still need to fill out a return to campus questionnaire?

Western has recently aligned its self-assessment with the provincial tool. Individuals are asked to review and complete the Daily Return to Campus Self-Assessment each day they need to attend campus and follow the instructions provided.

If I am a close contact of someone with COVID-19, but have no symptoms, what is the recommended course of action and for how long?

Western has recently aligned its self-assessment with the provincial tool. Individuals are asked to complete the Daily Return to Campus Self-Assessment each day they need to attend campus. Please follow the direction given by the result of the assessment. Additional guidance is available at

Will Western continue distributing masks to everyone who needs to be on campus?

Western is providing new medical grade (ASTM Level 3) masks that must be worn by students and employees when indoors on campus, as well as outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.  At the current time, public health officials are asking that masks be worn at all times, while instructing students or when working in open spaces or cubicles.  Employees (GTAs) will receive medical grade masks through their home faculty/department or administrative unit. Students can pick up these new medical grade masks at  Western Libraries using their Western ONECard when they return to campus.  While not a current public health requirement, the University will be making non-fit-tested N95 masks available as an option for instructors teaching in person and for employees who support students face-to-face for extended periods of time (e.g. academic advisors, GTAs). Non-fit-tested N95 masks are available through the designated requisitioners in your home faculty/department.

Return to In-Person Instruction

Have public health officials been consulted on Western's planned return to campus?

Yes, Western’s plan was developed in consultation with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) and has its support.  As always, the University takes direction from the MLHU as well as provincial and federal health officials, and will change direction if required. 

Will food be available on campus?

Campus Eateries that were previously closed will reopen on Monday, January 31. Designated study spaces that provide options for taking a nutritional break will be provided. All designated study spaces will follow current provincial guidelines including physical distancing requirements.

Ontario Hall, Saugeen-Maitland Hall and Medway-Sydenham dining halls are also open for students living in residence with pre-approved early arrivals. 

Study areas (where dining is allowed) include the following locations:

  • Mustang Lounge, 9am-10pm M-F (note extended hours)
  • New Somerville House Gathering Space across from Lucy’s, 9am-5pm M-F
  • Great Hall, 9am-5pm M-F
  • Natural Science Rooms 110, 120 & 245, 9am-5pm M-F

Will food and drink be permitted in the classroom?

No. Although water was permitted during December in-person examinations, that was in the context of exam seating arrangements. Seating in lectures is less controlled, and food and drink have not been approved in those settings.

What is the classroom occupancy limit for winter 2022 term?

As with the Fall 2021 term, the Middlesex-London Health Limit has approved full classroom occupancy this term. Note that Western's strong COVID-19 vaccination requirement is still in effect, and we have upgraded to medical grade (ASTM Level 3) masks.

I'm not able to come to London for in-person classes. Can I continue online?

No, students will need to make arrangements to be in London by the date specified for their courses to return to in-person delivery. The only exceptions are international students who cannot travel to Canada due to delays in the study permit approval or other travel restrictions. They are allowed to continue online studies until they arrive in Canada. However, they must submit the accommodation request to continue online studies using the link: 

I'm concerned about the risk of contracting COVID in an in-person class. Why can't Western provide a hybrid option?

The guidance from local and provincial health officials has been consistent – classroom learning environments are considered low risk. We have also increased masking requirements to medical grade ASTM level 3, which must be worn by students and employees on campus.

Western University has been clear on its intention to deliver an in-person experience to the extent possible this term. In some cases, lecture materials may be available online. However, delivering courses in multiple formats would in many cases diminish the classroom experience and opportunity for experiential learning.

I live with an immunocompromised individual and I am concerned that attending in-person classes will expose them to COVID-19.  Can I receive accommodations to continue my studies online?

Students with a medical condition that prevents them from attending in-person classes should consult Accessible Education to explore their accommodation options.  Accommodation may not be possible in all cases, given that in-person activities are in many cases essential course elements.  Accessible Education is not able to accommodate individuals other than the student, however.

What if I have an in-person class and online GTA responsibilities back-to-back, and don’t have access to appropriate office space on campus to conduct my online GTA duties?

Although first-year classes will remain online until February 28, there will be a number of study/work spaces available for any students who need a place on campus to attend a synchronous online class or to deliver an online tutorial. Additional quiet space suitable for non-interactive classes/tutorials may be available in the Libraries. 

Will I receive a tuition refund if I choose not to return this term?

The refund schedule may apply only for those who officially withdraw or take a leave from studies. Information regarding voluntary withdrawal and leaves of absence may be found here:

The refund schedule is available on the Registrar’s website.

Students are encouraged to speak with their graduate program prior to requesting to withdraw or to take a leave of absence.

Students should be aware of the course drop deadlines when making these decisions as they may affect the Western transcript.

International students are encouraged to contact the International & Exchange Student Centre prior to withdrawing or taking a leave of absence.

Instructor and Student Absence

How will a student in an in-person class be notified of an instructor absence?

Students should check the course OWL announcements and monitor their University-issued email account for updates.

How will an in-person class proceed if the instructor is unavailable due to self-isolation or illness?

Instructors are preparing for this possibility. Available solutions will vary for different courses but may include:

  • continuation of in-person lecture by other faculty members and/or TAs
  • a temporary return to synchronous online instruction
  • posting asynchronous online lectures
  • assigning readings