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UWO faculty waiting for COVID-19 guidance, want mask mandate to return

Students walk at the Western University campus in London, Ont. on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nicole Osborne. JFJ

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) is waiting for guidance from the school on COVID-19 health and safety protocols as a new school year quickly approaches.

“There’s still no clear and concrete plan in place for the return of thousands and thousands of students,” said Hiran Perinpanayagam, the president of the UWOFA.

Perinpanayagam told 980 CFPL that Western had planned to announce back-to-school COVID-19 protocols the week of Aug. 8 but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Read more: Student dragged from Western University class for repeatedly violating COVID-19 vaccine policy

In a website post, the UWOFA said the most recent announcement from Western University was in June when the school indicated that masks would no longer be required indoors.

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“UWOFA expressed its dismay at the premature lifting of that health protection… UWOFA continues to advocate for mandatory indoor masking,” the post read.

Western’s COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-2022 school year included mandatory indoor masking and vaccination, which Perinpanayagam says should be brought back for the upcoming school year.

Read more: COVID-19: Western University students hopeful for ‘normal year’ as they move back to residence

“It’s appropriate that students (and) staff are prepared and are confident that they’re returning to once again an institution that’s at the forefront of implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures,” he said.

In a statement to 980 CFPL, Western University stated that it’s “still in consultation, and we are expecting an update on COVID-19 policies to be shared with the campus community next week.”

-With files from 980 CFPL’s Matthew Trevithick

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