University Research Approvals - COVID 19 - June 30, 2021

30 June 2021

On July 1, Alberta will enter Stage 3 of its reopening plan. The university will be staying the course with a phased re-entry plan. While the City is lifting its mask bylaw July 1, to maintain the safety of our community, masks will still be required in close contact spaces, such as labs and field vehicles, and strongly encouraged everywhere on all campuses during the summer.

Effective July 1, the university will be lifting a number of current research related restrictions, while some others will remain in place for the time being. Full details are available on the university’s COVID website’s research section, but here are some key highlights:

Effective July 1

Restriction changes:

  • Approval no longer required for on-campus research and creative activities. However, to help facilitate a smooth and orderly return, it still preferred that any work that can continue remotely does until otherwise notified.
  • No physical distancing requirements as of July 1 - therefore lab/studio/ research space and common area occupancy limitations are lifted.
  • Field research:
    • PHRT review and approval is no longer required for in-Canada, off-campus research, including community-engaged and human participant research. That said, some faculties/departments may still require FAPs for internal approval. Please check with your faculty/department.
    • Out-of-province travel: researchers must follow provincial/territorial requirements.
    • While federal travel restrictions remain, international travel (off-campus/field research activities AND business travel) still requires PRHT review and approval.
  • 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:

  • Masks still required in labs, research spaces and field vehicles.
  • No public access to buildings; valid ONEcards/issued keys required for access.
  • Attendance logs must still be maintained in research spaces.
  • Follow isolation requirements if unwell, experiencing symptoms, or testing positive.
  • Contingency plans and ability to shutdown/suspend operations in 24-48 hours are still required for all research groups if an outbreak should occur.
  • Contract tracing and rapid response plan is still in place to track cases/outbreaks if they occur.
  • The Library will reopen onsite service points in August; dates to be announced soon. Until then, all resources, services and building information is available here. Once locations open, print collections will be directly accessible again and HathiTrust ETAS access and curbside service will end.
  • Home/remote work is still preferred when/where possible.

Please visit the research section of the university’s COVID information website for complete Stage 3 details.

Return hesitancy | Vaccinations

While there is much eagerness to resume on-campus research and get back to “normal,” we must continue to ensure this is done safely, carefully and in consideration of complex factors, including hesitancy to return for some. Another complexity is vaccinations. The university cannot mandate vaccinations, nor can the University, professors or supervisors require/request vaccination proof, or ask if someone (staff/student/postdoc) has been vaccinated. We all need to work together to help ensure a safe and collegial environment for everyone. See the university’s COVID-19 vaccination principles and measures for more information.

Thank you for continuing to ensure a successful phased re-opening, and for your patience, participation and compliance during what has been a very difficult and complex past 18 months for us all.

On behalf of the Research Ramp Up Working Group (RRUWG),

Alex Clark, RRUWG co-chair and Associate Vice-President (Research)
Michelle Rooker, RRUWG co-chair and Manager, Inspections and Technical Services (HSE)