Procedures to Request a Return to Campus

Last Updated: January 20, 2021

Note: Previously approved on-campus research projects do not need to re-apply; however, returning researchers must ensure their COVID-19 Return to Campus Plans are reviewed and updated if needed. All personnel should be familiar with your plan.

Instructions for Researchers 

The information below is intended to help principal investigators and professors efficiently meet public health requirements in order to resume their research activities on campus. 


On-campus activities will be phased in slowly in order to comply with public health workplace requirements, avoid further stresses on in-demand resources, and safely manage our workspaces.

  • Work that can be done remotely should be, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce building occupancy.  
  • On-campus research approvals are provided by the corresponding associate/vice-deans of research and/or the Public Health Response Team.
  • Necessary safeguards and supplies will be required. All government guidelines must be followed, including any potential roll-back of activity in the future. 
  • All on-campus research must have continuity plans and the ability to shutdown or suspend operations, including labs, within 24-48 hours. 
  • The information here does not apply to field or off-campus research. For current field research restrictions and regulations, please see the Field Research section of this site.

1. Determine the maximum number of people allowed for your work space

A physical distance of 2 metres must be maintained at all times during work activities. There are many ways to calculate the maximum number of people for a given space in order to meet this objective:

  • Area of the space - basic guideline is 12 m2 /person
  • Number of available lab benches/work stations

While a space’s footprint/square footage may determine the maximum number of people, areas that have a lot of equipment, benches, machinery or obstructions may be able to accommodate fewer people and still adhere to physical distancing requirements.  

2. Ensure your research personnel are listed in the Health Safety and Environment (HSE) module of ARISE system

Resumption success requires the ability to contact lab personnel. Ensure that your registration in HSE module of ARISE lists current staff and students. For guidance on adding personnel, see ARISE Add Personnel.

Further information about ARISE can be found at the HSE website: ARISE Database Information.  If you have not registered your space or are experiencing difficulties, contact HSE at

3. Identify the critical supplies that you require

Some items may be in short supply or high demand. Supply Management Services has been working to obtain these items for the university. Items such as gloves, non-medical masks and hand-sanitizer are available to all groups. However, N95 and other respirators are in very limited supply, and will be distributed based on priority needs. HSE is available to help groups determine if there are other controls such as engineering controls that can be put in place.  

4. Create a COVID-19 plan for your research group

Every research group must develop a plan outlining: housekeeping, attendance record of the space, scheduling, working alone policies, etc. HSE has a template Return to Campus Plan that groups can customize for their spaces.

5. Register your space(s) 

Once you have completed steps one through four, you can now apply to resume activities in your space on campus by completing the Resumption of On-campus Research Activities Form

Should you meet all the criteria for a safe return to campus, the Health, Safety and Environment team will confirm the date when you will be able to resume research activity in your space. To ensure the safety of our community, please do not return your work to campus prior to the date indicated on your confirmation.

Should you have any questions while completing this process, please contact