Update for Researchers: Assess on-campus and in-person research

Michelle Rooker, Alex Clark - 05 May 2021

Updated May 26: On-campus activities remain limited until further notice as the university assesses the current situation.

Posted: May 5, 3:45 p.m.

On May 5, the Government of Alberta put in place some of the province’s strongest public health measures in order to stop the spike of COVID-19 cases in Alberta -- measures that did prove to turn the tide for our province's rates over the winter break. These safety measures are currently anticipated to be in place until May 26, 2021, with the possibility of extension depending on the public health situation.

Today, we received additional information from the Ministry of Advanced Education on how the new restrictions relate to post-secondary institutions including current exceptional research activities on our campuses and in the field. The need to adjust to these new measures is not easy, but as a university community that seeks to serve the public good, our efforts to embrace these temporary adjustments matter and will have a positive impact. 

Effective immediately, if your on-campus or in-person research can be temporarily paused or conducted remotely for the next three weeks without critical impacts, this must be done. If that is not possible, your on-campus or in-person research may continue provided that it meets all current U of A safety measures and provincial public health restrictions, including masking and 2m physical distancing.

Examples of exceptions could be applied to: 

  • Critical research that is time sensitive, such as research needed to generate data for imminent grant applications, or for research personnel who are nearing the end of a defined term.
  • COVID-19 research.
  • Clinical research or clinical trials that if interrupted, would endanger the life, health or safety of study participants or patients.
  • Critical animal care, breeding colony maintenance, plant colony maintenance, and critical cell line maintenance.
  • Critical research support that if interrupted, would endanger the life, personal safety or health of our community and/or irrevocably damage the environment or university property, infrastructure maintenance, animal care and hazard risk management.

Next steps for Researcher and Research Teams

  • On-campus research that doesn’t meet the criteria for critical on-campus research must implement their research ramp down protocols, and ensure all on-campus research operations are suspended safely. 
  • After May 7, 2021, all on-campus researchers must register research activities and locations via this Google form. This registration information enables the university to provide critical research/infrastructure supports to you when needed. 
  • From May 5 to May 23, 2021, new on-campus research can only be approved by the Public Health Response Team (phrtinfo@ualberta.ca). 
  • Off-campus researchers may visit on-campus workspaces to retrieve critical items for research, and as required for equipment and lab maintenance activities, but these visits must be kept to a strict minimum and be approved in advance by their supervisor(s).
  • All on-campus personnel must remember to follow the Rapid Response Plan. If any research staff or students are required to self-isolate, supervisors must inform the Rapid Response Team as soon as possible.

Field Research Guidance

  • All field research, including all off-campus community-engaged or human participant research, must also meet new public health requirements, and will continue to be approved by the Public Health Response Team using the existing process.
  • In-person training for field research should be postponed if at all possible. Please reach out to fleet.safety@ualberta.ca or fieldoff@ualberta.ca if you wish to postpone training.

Taking these actions now and hearing today that Alberta’s vaccination effort will be expanding to include all Albertans 12+ on May 10 should give us cause for hope to keep moving forward. 

We thank you for taking these temporary steps needed to help keep our community safe at this time. 


Michelle Rooker and Alex Clark
Research Working Group Fall Readiness ‘21 

See all U of A COVID-19 information updates for researchers »