Research during COVID-19

COVID-19 2019 Novel Coronavirus - Updates, FAQs, Resources

Updates with respect to pausing of research management plans, human participant face-to-face research and current University and public health guidelines.

Updates with respect to student international travel.

Updates with respect Human Participant Face-to-Face research.

Updates with respect to non-office research space density update, student travel, VIRS.

Update with respect to Omicron measures – Human participant face-to-face research update.

Update with respect to Omicron measures – non-office research space density update.

Updated FAQ information with respect to human participant face-to-face research (7.0 Am I permitted to recruit unvaccinated volunteers for face-to-face research if they have a vaccination exemption?).

Updated information with respect to human participant face-to-face research.

Updated information with respect to density in non-office research spaces.

Updated information with respect to research-related travel.

Research Phase-In Framework and Human Participant Face-to-Face Frameworks (on and off campus) updated to reflect current face covering guidelines.

Guidelines for Human Participant Face-to-Face updated to reflect Ontario’s current three-step plan for reopening.

Updated information with respect to Visiting international researchers and research students.

Updated information with respect to University-operated animal care facilities.

Reminder to work remotely where possible.

Updated information with respect to research-related travel.

Human participant face-to-face research updates with respect to vulnerable populations.

Clarification of requirement for RMPs.

Updates with respect to resuming human participant face-to-face research.

Updates reflecting that as of Feb. 12, Guelph has moved into the Red-Control level of the province's COVID-19 response framework.

Updated information for Research During COVID-19 pursuant to the provincial emergency, in effect as of Wednesday, Jan. 13, and stay-at-home order, in effect as of Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021

Updated information for Research During COVID-19 pursuant to Provincial announcement on Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020.

Updated travel information

Information about the University of Guelph’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy for the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund has been updated.

Self-assessment COVID screening changed to U of G screening tool.

Information about the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund and how it is being managed at the University of Guelph has been posted.

Language clarifying mask wearing has been added throughout the Research Phase-In Framework, including the Research Phase-In Checklist: "All those on University of Guelph campuses are required to wear face coverings when 2 metres of distance cannot be maintained or predicted. In general, this means you must wear a face covering when you are on campus. Situations in which face coverings can be removed are listed on the University of Guelph Return to Campuses website on the “When are face coverings not required?” section of the page."

An updated Research Phase-In Framework has been posted including updated information with respect to phasing-in human participant face-to-face research at University of Guelph.

Research continuity

As a research-intensive university geared to conducting world-class research, University of Guelph places a premium on sustaining our research and innovation enterprise.  We also place a premium on, keeping our research community safe. 

As public health and University requirements change we are revisiting guidelines for conducting research during COVID-19.  We will communicate any changes as quickly as we can through Research Alerts, this website and associated documents, and through Associate Deans Research and Graduate Studies. 

If you have concerns about your safety and well-being while working in University of Guelph facilities, you are encouraged to review your work situation, and any requirements to be on site, in discussion with your supervisor, manager, graduate program coordinator, chair or director, as appropriate.

New:

  • Research Management Plans
    Research Management Plans have served an important role in keeping our research community safe throughout the pandemic. As public health and University COVID-19 measures are lifted or paused, we are also pausing the requirement for Research Management Plans to be in place. 
  • Human Participant Face-to-Face Research
    • ​Researchers who have ongoing projects with human participants should continue with precautions outlined in the informed consent (with COVID appendix) unless revised with a formal REB amendment.
    • As with all potential risk, researchers who feel their research puts participants at a higher risk for COVID-19 should flag this at the REB application stage.
    • For new studies, the COVID consent appendix is no longer required, however researchers are asked to add the following statement to the Risks section of consent forms: "The research team is committed to providing a safe environment for the community and will follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines outlined by the University of Guelph and public health."

For all research activities, please continue to follow requirements outlined on the University’s COVID-19 website

Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to continue to take steps that help keep our community safe, including wearing masks and staying up-to-date with vaccinations and booster doses, even if public health or University requirements for those actions have been lifted or paused.

Please be aware that with the evolving nature of the pandemic, we may at some point see the return of the requirement for Research Management Plans or restrictions on human participant face-to-face research.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies.

College Name Email
College of Arts Andrew Bailey

abailey@uoguelph.ca

College of Biological Science Todd Gillis

tgillis@uoguelph.ca

College of Engineering & Physical Sciences Leonid Brown

lebrown@uoguelph.ca

Gordon S. Lang School of Business & Economics Sean Lyons

slyons01@uoguelph.ca

Ontario Agricultural College Rebecca Hallett

rhallett@uoguelph.ca

Ontario Veterinary College Shayan Sharif

shayan@uoguelph.ca

College of Social & Applied Human Sciences Francesco Leri

fleri@uoguelph.ca

Please continue to refer to the Research Continuity Framework for guidance. The Framework is also posted below, in drop-down-menu-style, by section.

Human participant face-to-face research

While the requirement for Research Management Plans has been paused, please keep the following in mind:

  • Certification from the Human Research Ethics Board for all research involving human participants must be in place before proceeding with any human subject research.
  • Researchers who have ongoing projects with human participants should continue with precautions outlined in the informed consent (with COVID appendix) unless revised with a formal REB amendment.
  • For new studies, the COVID consent appendix is no longer required, however researchers are asked to add the following statement to the Risks section of consent forms: "The research team is committed to providing a safe environment for the community and will follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines outlined by the University of Guelph and public health."
  • As with all potential risk, researchers who feel their research puts participants at a higher risk for COVID-19 should flag this at the REB application stage.

See FAQ section below for more information.

Research-related travel

Any individuals who travel must adhere to all relevant travel advisories and comply with public health, vaccination, and self-isolation requirements both at destinations outside of the province and here in Ontario. Adherence to self-isolation / quarantine timeframes must be factored into travel plans and work schedule commitments.

Domestic travel

Faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Staff and Students

Local Public Health measures must be followed and reflected in the Research Management Plan.

International travel

Students

Students travelling internationally for approved research must follow all Government of Canada travel regulations and have GuardMe travel health insurance coverage. Additionally, students travelling on a University-related activity (including research, training, conferences and/or study) need to contact the Centre for International Programs for mandatory pre-departure preparation, support with logistics, insurance and general travel questions and emergency response services.

Faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Research Staff

Those travelling internationally for approved research must follow all Government of Canada travel regulations, including quarantine on return to Canada.

Important note regarding international research-related travel 

Any research-related international travel approval is contingent on standing enrolment in the University’s Extended Health benefits plan with valid emergency out-of-country coverage. Note that emergency out-of-country insurance coverage is available through the University’s Extended Health benefits as long as Canadian provincial health insurance coverage remains valid.

If you are unsure whether or not you are enrolled in in the University’s Extended Health benefits plan with valid emergency out-of-country coverage, please contact your supervisor.

Visiting international researchers and research students

Faculty and other University personnel are again able to host international researchers using the following processes – one for visiting international researchers (non-student) and on for visiting international research students (VIRS).

Before issuing an invitation, hosts should have a reasonable expectation that visiting researchers will be able to engage in meaningful face-to-face research. In addition, hosts should give due consideration to some of the complications that visitors will likely face, such as uncertain Visa processing times, shifting travel restrictions, and possible quarantine requirements. The University bears no responsibilities for misspent travel costs or any cost associated with a forced change of plans.

Visiting international researchers must be appointed at nil-salary employees via an existing process managed by Faculty and Academic Staff Relations. Given travel restrictions during the pandemic, the standard template letter available via FASR has been updated to meet current conditions.

Given the ongoing pandemic, additional requirements have been established:

If you have any questions about this process, please contact: Vicki Isotamm, Faculty and Academic Staff Relations, visotamm@exec.uoguelph.ca.

Before issuing an invitation, hosts should have a reasonable expectation that visiting student researchers will be able to engage in meaningful face-to-face research. In addition, hosts should give due consideration to some of the complications that visitors will likely face, such as uncertain Visa processing times, shifting travel restrictions, and possible quarantine requirements. The University bears no responsibilities for misspent travel costs or any cost associated with a forced change of plans.

Visiting international research students (VIRS) must be invited and hosted via an existing process managed by OpenEd. Given travel restrictions during the pandemic, the standard template letter available on the VIRS webpage has been updated to meet current conditions.

Given the ongoing pandemic, additional requirements have been established:

  • Incoming students must abide by COVID requirements of the Government of Canada and Ontario and the University of Guelph (e.g. mandatory quarantine of required). This must be noted in letters of invitation, and make clear who will bear the cost of meeting such requirements (e.g. mandatory quarantine).
  • Health insurance (that includes Covid 19 conditions) must be available to visiting students through GuardMe or equivalent for the duration of a student’s stay.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact: Lynne Mitchell, Centre for International Programs, lmitchel@uoguelph.ca.


The University of Guelph continues to closely monitor developments relating to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The situation can change quickly so researchers must also prepare to delay and potentially shut down research activities.

Research Continuity Framework

  1. Our actions place at the fore our responsibility to ensure the collective health, safety, and well-being of members of the communities in which we work and live.
  2. Access to research facilities should be safe.
  3. Any research that is undertaken must be prepared to be contracted as quickly as is necessary to keep people safe if and when conditions change.
  4. Research can only proceed provided it can be done safely and is properly resourced. This includes adequate staff training, availability of PPE, facility support services, and financial supports.
  5. All those on University of Guelph campuses must follow the requirements outlined on the University’s COVID-19 website.  Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue to be mindful of actions that keep the community safe – vaccinations and booster doses, masking, physical distancing – even if public health and University requirements for those actions have been lifted or paused.
  6. Researchers wanting to engage in in- person research activities involving human participants require Research Ethics Board approval and must conform with the principles described herein to ensure studies are conducted in a safe and effective manner, where any face-to-face interactions integrate current procedures and provisions from public health authorities to protect researchers and participants, alike.
  7. Researchers engaging in research activities with live animals must adhere to approved animal utilisation protocols or submit amendments, if changes are necessary to conform to the principles described herein, for the normal process of Animal Care Committee review and approval. Research protocols using live animals must be conducted in a safe and effective manner and should integrate current procedures and provisions from public health authorities to protect researchers and animals, alike.
  8. Researchers retain responsibility for team members under the principle of duty of care. All PIs and personnel who pursue research have a duty of care for themselves and others to protect all from the transmission or exposure to the virus.

There will be ongoing institutional oversight to ensure that all approved research continues to adhere to the principles, including research at non-university sites.

  • Establish framework for research continuity and modify as necessary.
  • Monitor research continuity.
  • Provide guidance related to research continuity.
  • Coordinate with other university activities related to research continuity.
  • Identify and facilitate best practices of COVID-19 safety.
  • Conduct safety visits and audits in research spaces.
  • Consultation as needed.
  • Provide college-level support for the research enterprise as informed by Academic Unit Chairs and Directors
  • Provide support as required for research groups.
  • Ensure all personnel in the research space are provided with appropriate communications, instructions, training, personal protective equipment (PPE), instructions and other resources.
  • Protect physical and mental health and safety by addressing employee and student concerns.
  • Stay home if feeling unwell or are experiencing symptoms.
  • Report hazards and concerns to supervisor.
  • All those on University of Guelph campuses, research stations and facilities are    required to follow the requirements as outlined on the University’s COVID-19 Information page.

The University of Guelph recognizes that an inclusive campus and a culture of inclusion is an institutional and social imperative. Acknowledging the University’s diverse population and ensuring that every member of an inclusive campus is a valued contributor is a foundational pillar of a successful post-secondary institution.

The following principles drive the University’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI):

  • All campus community members must anticipate and encourage diverse perspectives and leverage them to drive creativity and innovation.
  • A culture of inclusion begins by acknowledging the diversity among us and recognizing that some members of our community experience barriers to education, employment, and full participation due to systemic factors.
  • A culture of inclusion is possible only if the institution continually designs, reviews, and rebuilds structures – including policies, programs, and practices – that are inclusive, equitable, and accessible to all.
  • A culture of inclusion necessities the involvement of the community of diverse stakeholders – faculty, staff, and students – to drive a strategic and system-wide approach to EDI.

    The institution is committed to identifying barriers to full participation that exist for equity- seeking groups and ensure, upon identifying and striving to eliminate those barriers, that equity-seeking groups experience a sincere and genuine sense of belonging in the campus community. Particularly at this time, where there are multiple demands on one’s time between caregiving and employment responsibilities, we all bear responsibility to do our outmost to reduce barriers.

  • Share the handbook, “An Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Handbook for Individuals and Organizations During COVID-19”, which was developed by the Office of Diversity and Human Rights.
  • Provide confidential and/or alternative venues for faculty members to provide feedback on research continuity.

Protective measures remain essential. Please refer to the University’s COVID-19 related guidelines available on the EHS website. Protective measures include:

  • All those on University of Guelph campuses must follow the requirements outlined on the University’s COVID-19 website.  Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue to be mindful of actions that keep our community safe – vaccinations and booster doses, masking, physical distancing – even if public health and University requirements for those actions have been lifted or paused.

Any individuals who travel must adhere to all relevant travel advisories and comply with public health, including vaccination, and self-isolation requirements both at destinations outside of the province and here in Ontario. Any required self-isolation / quarantine timeframes must be factored into travel plans and work schedule commitments.

Domestic travel

Faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Staff and Students

Local Public Health measures must be followed.

International travel

Students

Students travelling internationally for approved research must follow all Government of Canada travel regulations and have GuardMe travel health insurance coverage. Additionally, students travelling on a University-related activity (including research, training, conferences and/or study) need to contact the Centre for International Programs for mandatory pre-departure preparation, support with logistics, insurance and general travel questions and emergency response services.

Faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Research Staff

Those travelling internationally for approved research must follow all Government of Canada travel regulations.

Important note regarding international research-related travel 

Any research-related international travel approval is contingent on standing enrolment in the University’s Extended Health benefits plan with valid emergency out-of-country coverage. Note that emergency out-of-country insurance coverage is available through the University’s Extended Health benefits as long as Canadian provincial health insurance coverage remains valid.

If you are unsure whether or not you are enrolled in in the University’s Extended Health benefits plan with valid emergency out-of-country coverage, please contact your supervisor.

While the requirement for Research Management Plans has been paused, as always, certification from the Human Research Ethics Board for all research involving human participants must be in place before proceeding with any human subject research.

Human participant face-to-face research should conform to University of Guelph policy broadly with respect to any public health measures due to COVID-19. As is common practice, researchers who feel their research puts participants at a higher risk for COVID-19 should flag this at the REB application stage.

Researchers who have ongoing projects with human participants should continue with precautions outlined in the informed consent (with COVID appendix) unless revised with a formal REB amendment.

For new studies, the COVID consent appendix is no longer required, however researchers are asked to add the following statement to the Risks section of consent forms: "The research team is committed to providing a safe environment for the community and will follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines outlined by the University of Guelph and public health."

Use of animal care facilities should follow the following guidance to ensure health and safety of all staff and users in those facilities:

  • All researchers working with animals must have met mandatory training requirements and  have the practical skills necessary to competently perform animal-based tasks while adhering to public health directives.
  • Research plans using live animals should include plans for contraction of activities on short notice.
  • All those on University of Guelph campuses, research stations and facilities must follow the requirements outlined on the University’s COVID-19 website.  Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to continue to be mindful of actions that keep our community safe – vaccinations, including booster doses; masking; physical distancing – even if public health and University requirements for those actions have been lifted or paused.
  • Significantly increase the frequency of hand sanitation.
  • Send your team with appropriate cleaning/sanitizing supplies so that they can do their part in the continuous cleaning of their own equipment, common equipment and high traffic areas in the field research station. If needed, appropriate concentrated disinfectant solution will be available at each station, from which you can prepare disinfectant solution to be used for cleaning. It must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Bring spray bottles, paper towels and disposable gloves (if required by the product) for use.

Graduate students working in university research facilities should feel comfortable that their personal health and safety are assured. Graduate students should communicate any concerns they might have with the Lab Manager and/or research advisor, who is expected to address those concerns either by clarifying misperceptions or more fully  implementing safety measures.​

Faculty members have a responsibility to their staff, students, and research participants to ensure that certain precautions are taken.

The University's COVID-19 webpage has updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and general information about COVID-19, including how to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission. The University will continue to monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus situation and provide updates on this page as needed.

FAQ

These FAQs have been created and will be reviewed and updated daily, as necessary, with the latest available information on how to minimize impact on research operations, while maintaining health and safety.

Yes. The requirement for Research Management Plans has been paused, however, all research activities should follow requirements outlined on the University’s COVID-19 website

Please be aware that with the evolving nature of the pandemic, we may at some point see the return of the requirement for Research Management Plans.

Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to continue to take steps that help keep our community safe, including wearing masks and staying up-to-date with vaccinations and booster doses, even if public health or University requirements for those actions have been lifted or paused.

If you have concerns about your safety and well-being while working in University of Guelph facilities, you are encouraged to review your work situation, and any requirements to be on site, in discussion with your supervisor, manager, graduate program coordinator, chair or director, as appropriate.

Please see the U of G Diversity and Human Rights office COVID-19 resources page.

No FAQs at this time

Any individuals who travel must adhere to all relevant travel advisories and comply with public health, vaccination, and self-isolation requirements both at destinations outside of the province and here in Ontario. Adherence to self-isolation / quarantine timeframes must be factored into travel plans and work schedule commitments.

Faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Staff and Students

Local Public Health measures must be followed.

Students

Students travelling internationally for approved research must follow all Government of Canada travel regulations and have GuardMe travel health insurance coverage. Additionally, students travelling on a University-related activity (including research, training, conferences and/or study) need to contact the Centre for International Programs for mandatory pre-departure preparation, support with logistics, insurance and general travel questions and emergency response services.

Faculty, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Research Staff

Those travelling internationally for approved research must follow all Government of Canada travel regulations, including quarantine on return to Canada.

Before issuing an invitation, hosts should have a reasonable expectation that visiting researchers will be able to engage in meaningful face-to-face research. In addition, hosts should give due consideration to some of the complications that visitors will likely face, such as uncertain Visa processing times, shifting travel restrictions, and possible quarantine requirements. The University bears no responsibilities for misspent travel costs or any cost associated with a forced change of plans.

Visiting international researchers must be appointed at nil-salary employees via an existing process managed by Faculty and Academic Staff Relations. Given travel restrictions during the pandemic, the standard template letter available via FASR has been updated to meet current conditions.

Given the ongoing pandemic, additional requirements have been established:

If you have any questions about this process, please contact: Vicki Isotamm, Faculty and Academic Staff Relations, visotamm@exec.uoguelph.ca.

Before issuing an invitation, hosts should have a reasonable expectation that visiting student researchers will be able to engage in meaningful face-to-face research. In addition, hosts should give due consideration to some of the complications that visitors will likely face, such as uncertain Visa processing times, shifting travel restrictions, and possible quarantine requirements. The University bears no responsibilities for misspent travel costs or any cost associated with a forced change of plans.

Visiting international research students (VIRS) must be invited and hosted via an existing process managed by OpenEd. Given travel restrictions during the pandemic, the standard template letter available on the VIRS webpage has been updated to meet current conditions.

Given the ongoing pandemic, additional requirements have been established:

  • Incoming students must abide by COVID requirements of the Government of Canada and Ontario and the University of Guelph (e.g. mandatory quarantine of required). This must be noted in letters of invitation, and make clear who will bear the cost of meeting such requirements (e.g. mandatory quarantine).
  • Health insurance (that includes Covid 19 conditions) must be available to visiting students through GuardMe or equivalent for the duration of a student’s stay.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact: Lynne Mitchell, Centre for International Programs, lmitchel@uoguelph.ca.

Research must comply with public health measures as well as the University of Guelph's requirements for being on campus.  As is common practice, researchers will be required to implement additional protective measures where there is an increased risk to participants, researchers, students, or anyone else involved with the research activity from COVID-19. As always, detailing these measures is part of the REB application process.For new studies, the COVID consent appendix is no longer required, however researchers are asked to add the following statement to the Risks section of consent forms: "The research team is committed to providing a safe environment for the community and will follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines outlined by the University of Guelph and public health."

If you have an existing Research Management Plan:

  • Researchers who have ongoing projects with human participants should continue with precautions outlined in the informed consent (with COVID appendix) unless revised with a formal REB amendment.

The Research Ethics Board continues to review protocols during this time.

On Campus:

  • The process for exemptions will follow the guidelines developed by the University of Guelph for visitors, contractors and volunteers for on campus research. Until these guidelines are finalized all volunteers must be fully vaccinated, but those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or on other grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code are exempt from this requirement. However, individuals who have an exemption must receive a negative COVID-19 rapid test result no earlier than 72 hours before accessing University of Guelph facilities.
  • On May 1, 2022 the University will pause vaccination requirements.

Off Campus:

  • The University's vaccination mandate does not apply in the off-campus setting but may be required if working with high-risk participants. The College/Department must consider these exemption requests on a case-by-case basis. Where applicable, researcher must adhere to vaccination mandates set out by the local directive of the research location.

 

Name

E-mail Address

Sponsored research proposals & agreements

Jill Rogers
Katie Meyer-Beck

research.services@uoguelph.ca

Human participant research

Katelyn Wadleigh

reb@uoguelph.ca

Animal Care

Marcus Litman
Anna Bolinder

acc@uoguelph.ca

Office of Research Services (all other queries)

Karina McInnis

avpres@uoguelph.ca

Biohazards

Gausiya Khan

bso@uoguelph.ca

Radiation Safety

Karan Virdi
Daniel Cardenas

radsafe@uoguelph.ca

Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance – Research Stations

Remo Pallottini

remop@uoguelph.ca

Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance – Research Programs

Laurie Halfpenny-Mitchell

laurieha@uoguelph.ca

Office of Research, Agri-Food Partnership and the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance

Beverley Hale

avpagrfd@uoguelph.ca

Animal Health Laboratory

Maria Spinato

mspinato@uoguelph.ca

Agriculture and Food Laboratory

John Melichercik

jmeliche@uoguelph.ca

Central Animal Facility

Mary Fowler

mafowler@uoguelph.ca

Research Innovation Office

John Livernois

live@uoguelph.ca

Research risk and regulatory compliance

Jennifer Wesley

jwesley@uoguelph.ca

Laboratory Safety

Alicja Zachertowska

labsafe@uoguelph.ca