Information for laboratory/research space owners

Apr 16th, 2020

By Neil Bose

Information for laboratory/research space owners

Memorial University is enacting further measures related to buildings access on all our campuses to enhance social distancing and keep our community safe. By ensuring we are aware of who is on campus, we are better able to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students who must come to campus.

This plan will reduce campus density, lessen the demand on campus services and staff and will see a reduction in building foot patrols during the controlled access period. Only employees who are deemed essential to complete on-campus functions are to report to campus. Therefore, every effort must be made to ensure hazards are controlled and risks mitigated during this unprecedented time of extended laboratory/research space shutdowns.

On March 19, Memorial suspended on-campus research and scholarly activities in research spaces across its campuses. Additionally, all fieldwork was suspended and all activities that would involve face-to-face (in-person) interactions (e.g., surveys or focus groups with research participants) were to be deferred or carried out remotely using a technology solution that allows researchers and participants to be involved from their homes. 

Since then, there have been a small number of requests by researchers for exemptions in order to continue specific on-campus research and scholarly activities and in-person interaction with research participants. The suspension of on-campus research and scholarly activities and of in-person interaction with research participants remains in effect. However, Memorial has provided exemptions for some on-campus research and scholarly activities that are related to:

(1) critical COVID-19 research;

(2) essential clinical studies; or

(3) critical continuity activities related to research and scholarly activities that cannot be paused for a number of months.

Exemptions were granted by the Office of the Vice-President (Research) (VPR). Approvals for exemptions were made at vice-president level and involve both the vice-president (research) and the applicable vice-president of the Grenfell Campus or the Marine Institute (or their delegate). Deans (in the case of the St. John’s and Grenfell campuses) or school heads (in the case of the Marine Institute) were required to submit exemption requests on behalf of researchers to: If you haven’t received a letter from the VPR’s office to confirm approval of your exemption, you must follow the exemption request process, outlined here. NO on-campus research or scholarly activities in research spaces are to continue without receipt of a VPR exemption letter.

In addition to the guidelines outlined in the various health and safety systems for laboratories/research spaces (Radiation, BioSafety and Laboratory Safety), the following checklist was developed to assist in ensuring laboratory/research space hazards are controlled while the spaces are unoccupied.

Complete the checklist and submit to your unit head, copying, by end of day Monday, April 20, 2020.

Dr. Neil Bose
Vice-President (Research)
April 16, 2020



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