This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

Updates to research activities and travel

Thursday, February 17, 2022

This message was originally sent to employees and graduate students by Charmaine B. Dean, Vice-President, Research and International.

As the Government of Ontario begins to ease public health measures, I am writing to clarify our next steps around the resumption of research activities and updates to travel.  

These are possible due to our collective effort to reduce the spread of Omicron. My thanks to the conscientious work across the campus to keep us and our community safe. 

Human-participant research 

  • All research involving human participants, including those involving vulnerable populations, being conducted on campus or an off-campus location may resume with research ethics board (REB) and safety plan approvals. 

  • Safety plans continue to be critical for all research activities. Face coverings meeting our recently-updated standards are essential. 

Occupancy Limits 

  • Research labs where the instruction of undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral fellows occurs are instructional spaces and there are no physical distancing requirements for such labs.  

Domestic Travel 

  • Domestic travel for research or other general purposes can resume with authorization to travel approved by the Department Head or Chair. 

  • Domestic field work continues to be permitted except for field work in remote and Indigenous communities. Minimizing the risk of spread of Omicron to vulnerable communities remains a priority. Exceptions can be made – principal investigators are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Research with queries through 

International Travel 

  • As of  February 28, 2022, the global level 3 travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel will be lifted in alignment with the federal government’s directives.    

  • International travel will be permitted under the usual approval process; this includes  obtaining approval; and  registering travel  which will include completing pre-departure and travel risk mitigation activities. 

  • Until February 28th, previously approved exemptions for international travel continue to be approved. However, travelers for those exemptions approved in late 2021 must contact  Safety Abroad  as they may need to obtain an updated travel risk assessment and pre-departure risk mitigation package prior to departure, if departure is prior to February 28, 2022. 

  • Note that requirements for entry vary by country and can change quickly.  All members of the community should  review the specific requirements  for their destination at the time of travel.

  • Any new exemptions for urgent travel before February 28, 2022, will continue to be considered using the  existing processes

  • Reimbursement for travel costs will be processed following the usual approval processes. 

The Office of Research remains available to provide advice on any aspect of research activities. Feel free to reach out via  Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs  remains available to provide advice to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.  Safety Abroad  may be contacted for information about international travel.