January 6: Updates to research activities and international travel

To: All employees and graduate students

From: Charmaine B. Dean, Vice-President, Research and International

Subject: Updates to research activities and international travel

As we begin the winter term amidst a changing Omicron landscape, I am providing an update to University research operations and travel guidance.
There are few updates and changes from our current framework of research activities, initiated in mid-December. The changes identified below help us minimize disruptions to research activities as much as possible. These measures rely on our collective efforts to make appropriate decisions to minimize the risk of transmission so that we can continue to ensure the safety of our community, and so that further protocols are not required to navigate the current phase of the pandemic.
As always, we will monitor and further adjust our approach to research activities and international outbound research travel as the Omicron situation evolves and as we receive further guidance from public health and the Government of Canada.
Effective today, the following apply:
Human-participant research

  • All in-person human participant research with vulnerable populations is paused at least until January 27, 2022. Rare exceptions can be made – principal investigators are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Research with queries through researchqueries@uwaterloo.ca.
  • We strongly encourage principal investigators to review their protocols for all other in-person human participant research and consider pausing until at least until January 27, 2022.

Domestic travel

  • We strongly discourage all domestic travel. If possible, please review approved domestic travel that has not yet occurred and consider remote interactions. Wherever possible, research conference interactions, workshops and other such activities should be held remotely. 
  • Domestic field work continues to be permitted with the exception of field work in remote and Indigenous communities. Minimizing the risk of spread of Omicron to vulnerable communities is a priority. Exceptions can be considered if completion of the work before Jan. 27, 2022 is critical.

International travel

  • There are no changes to international travel for research or other general purposes. As we outlined in December’s memo on updates to research activities and international travel, in light of the Government of Canada’s global travel advisory, travel outside of Canada is not permitted until at least January 12, 2022. We will continue to follow the government of Canada travel advice, which could be extended beyond January 12.
  • Exemptions previously approved continue to be approved and new exemptions will continue to be considered using the existing processes
  • Safety plans continue to be critical for all research activities.  

Please also refer to the recent guidelines provided by the Safety Office on face coverings.

If you need to book a booster dose you can do so with Health Services and there are many online resources to help you find available shots, such as Vaccine Ontario or Vaccine Hunters
If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and follow the guidelines as outlined by the province and local health authorities.
The Office of Research remains available to provide advice on any aspect of research activities. Feel free to reach out via researchqueries@uwaterloo.ca. Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs remains available to provide advice to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

2022 communications to graduate students