COVID-19 Operations

Dear TERRA users,

As you may have heard through a statement from the VPR office, steps are being taken to reinstate some on-campus research capabilities. At TERRA, we have made plans to return gradually to operation in phase with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the COVID-19 Research Working Group (CRWG) recommendations. Please be aware that our opening phases may differ from the dates from the provincial government to accommodate our own requirements and lab space restrictions. Our priority is your safety as well as the safety of our staff and equipment while resuming samples analysis.

Below you will find information of our phased-approach return to research activity. Please note that this webpage will be updated regularly to adjust to the ever-changing situation of living with COVID-19.

We are Now Operating at Alert Level 2

Phases of return to operations

Alert Level 5 (effective March 17th):
  • All CREAIT facilities are closed until further notice.
  • As of March 27th, CREAIT staff have research exemption approval to perform lab and instrument checks.
Alert Level 4 (effective May 11th):
  • Lab and instrument inspections by staff continue.
  • Remote research support is available.
  • A plan to return to operations in the next alert level is developed considering H&S COVID-19 measures.
Alert Level 3: (effective June 8th):
  • CRWG grants staff full access to labs to prepare for a controlled resumption of approved research activities.
    • Approved lab users can access the labs (proof required).
    • No students allowed in the labs. All analytical work to be done by TERRA staff.
  • Lab doors to be locked at all times. No unexpected visits permitted.
  • All contact with staff must be done by email.
  • Sample Analysis:
    • Priority will be given to projects that are close to completion (i.e., students and  fellows close to completing their degree or term of appointment; and on-going projects that got interrupted).
    • All online sample submission forms must be completed and submitted to respective RLC before sample drop off.
    • Samples must be dropped off/picked up at specific time and location agreed upon with RLC.
    • Properly labeling of samples is essential. Failure to do so will result in the sample being discarded.
    • Grouping of samples/experiments is strongly encouraged.
Alert Level 2 (effective June 25th):
  • In some cases, experienced users can run their samples. Only 1 user at a time in the labs. (Contact staff for further information)
  • Lab doors to be locked at all times. No unexpected visits permitted.
  • No training of new users.
  • Senior users whose research is close to completion will be given priority.
  • Users must have been granted access approval by CRWG and EH&S (proof required) and must contact respective TERRA staff to coordinate access to the lab.
  • Users must have taken the COVID-19 awareness online training.
  • Users must comply to all COVID-19 lab safety rules.
  • Users must sign the occupancy log and cleaning checklist when entering and leaving the lab.
  • Users who exhibit illness symptoms, even if mild, are not allowed on the premises and are recommend to contact 811.
Alert Level 1 (anticipated winter/spring 2021):
  • Training of new users resumes.

Sample drop-off time & location by lab/instrument

Please contact the respective lab coordinator to arrange sample drop-off and/or access to lab.

  • Stable Isotope Lab Facility
    • EA and GasBench (ER-5042), email
    • GC and large sample EA (ER-4006): Closed to students until further notice. For further information email
  • Hibernia Electron Beam Facility
    • SEM & EPMA, email for appointment.
      • Samples will be received Monday to Friday, 8 am to 12 pm, outside ER-5006 by appointment only
      • Samples must contain all necessary information for analysis. All sample preparation is the responsibility of the user, the lab will mount and carbon coat the samples as required.
      • Proof of authorization to continue research by the university is required at this time.
      • Access to the facility is limited to 1 person at a time and experienced users only will be granted permission to run their own samples.
      • Access is subject to compliance with all safety protocols and priority will be given to users whose research is close to completion.
  • XRD Facility
    • Email for appointment.
      • Samples will be received Monday to Friday, 8 am to 12 pm, outside ER-5006 by appointment only.
      • Samples must contain the scan parameters for the XRD (e.g. tth range). All sample preparation is the responsibility of the user and received samples must be ready to go on the XRD.
      • Access to JADE computer: Where possible, remote access to the offline processing computer is the preferred method of operation. If this is not possible, alternate arrangements may be made on a case by case basis.
  • Trace Element & ICP-MS Lab: Closed until further notice due to ongoing renovations. For further information email
  • Crushing & Mineral Separation Facility (ER-3017 & ER-3018), email

TERRA COVID-19 general lab safety rules

  • Cleaning Procedure
    • Handwashing is mandatory when entering the room.
    • Any new materials must be wiped clean before entering the lab.
    • All surfaces should be wiped down with the provided EtOH or disinfectant solution before and after usage. Use the spray bottle provided in the lab to spray the solution onto a paper towel before wiping down all surfaces. Do not spray directly on surface as it can cause damage!
      • Door/Door handles
      • Desk/Chair
      • Computer keyboard, mouse and screen
      • Instrument surfaces
      • Handwashing should be repeated every 30 minutes.
  • PPE
    • Do not enter the room with gloves worn outside the lab.
    • Masks should be worn in the lab when proper physical distancing is not possible.
    • Gloves should be worn when handling samples.
  • Physical distancing
    • Physical distancing (1 person per 10m2) is to be maintained at all times. This means only 1 person at a time in the room in same cases.
    • Users are not allowed to walk in to see if an instrument is free. All the checking and booking must be done online.
    • Access to the room might be granted only after discussion with staff.
    • All communication with staff should be made by email or phone.
    • Doors will remain locked at all time.


CREAIT Network

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000