Updates to research activities and travel

Thursday, February 17, 2022

On February 17 the following email was shared with Graduate students

To: All Waterloo employees, including employees at the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo, and graduate students

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

Subject: Updates to research activities and travel

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 researchqueries@uwaterloo.ca

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 researchqueries@uwaterloo.caGraduate 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.

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