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Friday, February 26, 2021

In-person courses suspended starting Nov. 19

Carver Gym, parts of Viking Union also closed until further notice.

Western’s campus sits empty as all classes are moved online. // Photo by Sienna Boucher

By Tunny Parrish

Citing a significant spike in positive COVID-19 tests last week, all in-person classes will be moved online, said university President Sabah Randhawa on Wednesday afternoon.

As previously noted, all fall quarter classes will be offered remotely after Thanksgiving break. The Viking Union, which opened less than two weeks ago, is closed until further notice. In-person athletic practices at Sam Carver Gymnasium have also been suspended. Study spaces in Haggard Hall will remain open.

On Wednesday, Western’s Office of Institutional Research reported five new positive cases. This is more positive cases in one day than in the week of Nov. 9, and accounts for one-third of all cases since Sept. 15.

University Director of Communications Paul Cocke said the announcement came from a continuing review by Western’s Incident Command Structure. The Incident Command Structure reviews pandemic data and uses recommendations from on and off-campus experts to make decisions about campus safety.

During fall quarter, Western has been operating at Level 2 of the Safe Start Western plan. Under Level 2, limited dining services are offered, some lab spaces are open and visitors are not allowed in indoor spaces on campus. Last month, President Randhawa announced Western would remain at Level 2 during winter 2021, with some changes.

“Since the pandemic began earlier this year, our decisions have been driven primarily by the safety of our campus community, and that focus on safety is at the forefront as we put forward these precautionary measures to reduce both campus and community spread,” President Randhawa said.

Free COVID-19 tests are offered at Fraser Hall by appointment. Students who wish to be tested can make an appointment on the MyWesternHealth patient portal.

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