WINDSOR, ONT. -- University of Windsor officials say they are ready to welcome international students with a “rigorous pandemic plan” approved by federal, provincial, and local health agencies.

International students new to the university or returning students who left after the last academic year are expected to start arriving this month.

“We’ve developed a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and well-being of both our international students and the broader community,” said Christopher Busch, associate vice president of enrolment management. “The plan helps students stay healthy and puts in place supports if they fall ill.”

Students will have to complete a comprehensive checklist before travelling to Canada and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Among the details the university requires from students as part of its COVID-19 readiness plan, is their date of arrival and the address where they will be staying during quarantine. Students must also detail what arrangements they’ve made to feed themselves and obtain other necessities during quarantine.

UWindsor’s International Students Centre will track the students and keep in contact with them.

Busch said the plan is meticulous, right down to securing a COVID-compliant shuttle service to transport students from Toronto to Windsor.

International students last year made up nearly one quarter of the university’s enrolment. Some have established residences in Canada or are enrolled in programs that require them to attend campus.

Busch said international students are an important part of UWindsor and Windsor and Essex County’s fabric.

“International students contribute actively to the community, both economically and culturally,” he said. “We are not whole without them.”

A recent study by KPMG showed non-local students contribute $133 million to the Windsor-Essex region’s economy.

The university is currently in an essential-services model where almost all classes are online, all but essential staff are working from home, and visits to campus are limited.

Students in residence have been assigned single rooms and the university says it is prepared to offer quarantine housing to students who contract the virus while living in shared accommodations off-campus.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a University of Windsor residence on Nov. 10.