Update on COVID-19 and Research Operations

A message from Professor Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research (Oversight and Compliance) - January 5, 2022 (updated May 2, 2022)

In light of changes to the provincial framework, a number of measures have been implemented by the University to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

On-Campus Research

At this time there are no changes to on-campus research. All on-site academic research spaces may operate at normal occupancy levels without 2m distancing, as long as appropriate masks are worn in addition to any other applicable PPE.

As before, laboratories should continue to be prepared for the possibility of staffing disruptions and shortages, including having contingency plans in place for all critical experiments and equipment maintenance.

Those conducting on-campus research must follow their academic division’s current processes and other information provided by the division concerning this change. Divisional processes are based on the University of Toronto Approach for Research Recovery and Adaptation and the COVID-19 General Workplace Guidelines (GWG).

While health screening through UCheck is unavailable, individuals can monitor their health using the provincial health screening tool. Completing a health screening before coming to campus is highly recommended, and we continue to ask members of our community to remain at home if they are ill.

Human Participant Research

The Face-to-Face (F2F) COVID-19 review process has moved to an attestation model as part of the ethics submission process. Researchers who submit an ethics protocol are expected to review and adhere to the following guidance documents, where applicable, and to local public health requirements:

For studies that involve international travel, researchers should review the Safety Abroad in an Emergency webpage and graduate students requesting travel must register with the Safety Abroad Office. Please also review the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Travel, testing and borders webpage for additional information.

Off-Campus Research

At this time there are no changes to off-campus research. Researchers who wish to conduct research at an off-campus site or conduct on-site field research (e.g. Koffler Scientific Reserve, Hart House Farm, Gull Lake) that does not involve any human participant face-to-face (F2F) research components are encouraged to review the University’s Guidance on Research and Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Off-Campus Safety Planning Record. It is the researcher’s responsibility to follow all local public health and third-party location requirements. Local public health requirements may differ from Toronto/Peel/Ontario requirements.

International Travel

For more information regarding international travel, please see the Safety Abroad website and the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 and international travel website.

Anyone travelling internationally for purposes of University business is encouraged to review the Guidance on Research and Travel during the COVID pandemic.

Conclusion

I want to again thank our research community for its incredible dedication to following the University and public health guidelines and directives in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.