COVID-19 Response Information for Researchers and Research Groups

Latest Updates

Current Status of U of A Research during COVID-19 (Updated July 26, 2021)

  • Refer to the Masks page for the current mask policy.
  • Approval no longer required for on-campus research and creative activities. However, to help facilitate a smooth and orderly return,  it is still preferred that work that can continue remotely does so unless otherwise notified.
  • Most university buildings are open during operating hours, with a few exceptions.
  • Most Library locations are open as of August 16, with fall hours beginning Sept 7. Visit the Library website for information on resources, services, and building information. Access to print collections is now available.
  • No physical distancing requirements as of July 1 — therefore lab/studio/ research space and common area occupancy limitations are lifted.
  • Off-campus/field research and International/domestic university-related travel:
    • Domestic off-campus research, including community-engaged and human participant research and travel in Canada — PHRT approval no longer required. However, some faculties/departments may still require Field Activity Plans (FAPs) for internal approval. Check with your faculty/department.
    • International travel (research activities + business travel e.g., conferences, sabbatical leave, etc.) — still requires PRHT approval and destination country requirements must be followed. Approvals will be revisited when federal travel restrictions are lifted. Approval procedure.
  • Vehicle occupancy/space restrictions lifted. However, mask use in field vehicles is still required for the time being.

Restrictions still in place for the time being:

All research activities must always meet current, local public health and travel requirements set by public health and travel authorities and the university's current safety measures.

All faculty, staff and students are asked to limit their on-campus presence/activity to help ensure an orderly gradual return while minimizing demand on resources and supplies, and help us safely manage our work and building spaces.


Resources for Researchers


Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: June 28, 2021

Resuming Research on Campus

Must we apply for an approval to increase occupancy in our research group?

No approval is required to increase occupancy.

Must research staff be vaccinated before returning to a research space or lab?

Vaccination is not mandatory. Principal investigators and supervisors cannot mandate vaccination or ask the vaccination status of any research personnel. See the university’s COVID-19 vaccination principles and measures for more information.

What happens if a member of my research group becomes ill?

Individuals are still required to monitor their health. If a member of your research team is required to isolate due to Covid-19 symptoms, please follow the Rapid Response Protocol.

Do we still continue to track attendance on campus?

At this time attendance logs, either paper or electronically based, must be kept in case of an outbreak. While we are gaining the upper hand, COVID is still with us and there could be localised outbreaks. This information will only be used by the Rapid Response Team/AHS in the event contact tracing becomes necessary.

What are the changes for field research?

Please refer to Field Research Activities during COVID-19 for the latest information.

Health and Safety

Is my workspace, building, or lab ready and safe?
If your workspace has met all the public health requirements for a safe work environment. Meeting public health requirements will be the key consideration in approving additional work to operate or re-commence on campus throughout all relaunch stages.
Do I need to provide my own mask, or other personal protective equipment (PPE)?

If it is required for your work or workspace, faculty and departments will be responsible for providing PPE for employees and graduate students. Employees should discuss PPE needs with their supervisor.

Students, public or campus visitors and external service providers/vendors will be responsible for procuring their personal PPE, including masks.

Face masks are still required in labs, research spaces and field/university vehicles. They are strongly encouraged elsewhere on all campuses. Learn more »

Support and Services

How can I stay up-to-date on funder COVID-19 accommodations?

Funder websites are the best source for the latest information on COVID-19 related accommodations, and most have a dedicated COVID-19 section. Funders are reviewing information program by program, and posting information as it becomes available. Please check these sites regularly, and information can change. ​We have provided links to some of our key funders​​ below:

How does our group dispose of hazardous waste right now?

Health, Safety and Environment continues to operate a hazardous waste pickup service. To schedule a pickup, submit a request through CHEMATIX.

Do we have enough PPE, supplies or gases to maintain research activities?

Currently, our supply of PPE, cryogens and compressed gases are stable, and Supply Management Services (SMS) is able to deliver these products. As this situation is very fluid, access to supplies may not be guaranteed. In the event of shortages, priority will be given to COVID-19 research and maintenance of animal facilities. Please register your maintenance activities, such as periodic inspection of compressed gas inventories with EHS. This may allow EHS to notify you if there is a pending shortage of materials.

Where will staff and faculty be able to eat lunch?

Staff will be able to eat lunch in traditional lunch room spaces; however, we ask people to be mindful of those who may not be comfortable sitting in close proximity to others. Outside spaces are preferred during the summer months.

Off-Campus/ Field Research

Do I need PHRT approval for domestic travel in Canada?

PHRT approval is no longer required for domestic off-campus research, including community-engaged and human participant research and travel in Canada.

However, some faculties/departments may still require Field Activity Plans (FAPs) for internal approval. Check with your faculty/department.

Do I need PHRT approval for international travel outside of Canada?

International travel (research activities and business travel such as conferences, sabbatical leave, etc.) still requires PRHT approval and destination country requirements must be followed. Approvals will be revisited when federal travel restrictions are lifted.

Find the approval procedure here.

More Information


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