DC’s proactive steps in managing Omicron variant

Dear students,

In September, Durham College (DC) implemented a mandatory vaccination policy to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our campus community.

As the fall semester closes and we head into the holiday season, the pandemic continues to evolve at an accelerated pace. While concerns are mounting, there are many unanswered questions about the Omicron variant, and we are working closely with Public Health officials to monitor the situation.

With a continuation of our COVID-19 safety-first approach and in an abundance of caution, DC is taking steps to protect the campus community’s health and wellness and provide as much certainty as possible to help your semester planning over the holiday break.

As the pandemic evolves and changes are implemented at DC in response, we understand this will have an impact on your decision-making and planning. It is our hope to resume more on-campus activities when we are able to safely do so. At this time, the below changes will remain in effect until at least Friday, January 28. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate any additional updates via DC Mail, on our website and on social media once we have a better sense of the impacts of the Omicron variant. Please check our winter semester program delivery chart and program pages regularly.

This week’s classes will continue as planned with current health and safety protocols in place, including pre-screening, mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing.

Winter semester classes

Winter semester classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, January 10. Programs will be delivered remotely where possible, with a limited number of students coming to campus for required in-person activities, such as labs, shops and clinicals.

You will receive a communication from your school office confirming your course delivery for the period of Monday, January 10 to Friday, January 28 in the coming days.

Building access

Buildings will remain accessible through designated entrances for those who have scheduled on-campus classes and activities. Current health and safety protocols (pre-screening, mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing) remain in place.

The campus Library will be closed for access and will offer curb-side service.

Services

Where possible, services will be offered remotely until the end of January, and possibly beyond. Our campus operations chart on the COVID-19 webpage is currently being updated to reflect these changes – please check back for specific service hours and accessibility.

Residence

Students are welcome to move in to residence when they are ready to do so. Residences will remain open to those students who are not leaving campus over the holiday season and all current Public Health precautions will remain in place. Dining service will close December 19 and re-open January 4.

Students, including international students, should contact Residence with specific questions.

Athletic facilities

Our athletic facilities, including the FLEX centre remain open at 50 per cent capacity. The Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC), FLEX and Whitby Fitness Centre will close for the holiday break at 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 23 and reopen on Tuesday, January 4.

The above changes will provide important health and safety benefits as one semester ends and another begins. By planning in advance, we hope that everyone enjoys their upcoming holiday time, and focuses on their health and well-being and that of their loved ones.

Vaccinations are our best defence against COVID-19 and there was an outstanding response to our mandatory vaccine policy As your opportunity to receive a booster shot arises, we encourage you to roll up your sleeve and continue to protect yourself, family, friends, and the campus community from COVID-19 and its variants.

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, consult with the Province of Ontario and Durham Region Health Department and will provide additional planning updates early in the new year. By then, we should have a clearer picture of how the Omicron variant is playing out and affecting our campus community.

Your cooperation and patience are truly appreciated as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic together.

Wishing you a healthy and safe holiday season.

Stay well,

Don Lovisa
President