New statement regarding on-campus research and scholarly activities, fieldwork and interaction with research participants from vice-president (research)
Late on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, we all learned from the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) that we had a very serious public health situation with community spread of the UK B.1.1.7 variant.
The province immediately reverted to Level 5 of the N.L. COVID-19 Alert Level System.
We hope that this will be a short-term change and we will be able to ramp up on-campus research, as well as fieldwork and research involving face-to-face interactions with research participants, quickly based on our experience through this past 12 months.
Looking ahead, we have taken this opportunity for the Research Pandemic Planning Subcommittee (RPPSC) to review the existing COVID-19 Research Working Group (CRWG) Framework and to make changes that will serve us better over the duration of the pandemic.
Information for researchers affiliated with the Grenfell Campus is here; information for researchers affiliated with the Marine Institute Campus is here; and information for researchers affiliated with the Labrador Institute is available here.
The framework for the St. John’s campus has been simplified from 5 activity levels to 3 levels (RED, YELLOW, GREEN) with the RED level corresponding to the existing activity level 5; the YELLOW level corresponding to the previous activity levels 4 and 3; and the GREEN level corresponding to the previous activity levels 2 and 1. For the St. John’s campus, we are currently operating at the RED level.
Under the new framework, effective immediately, deans, or delegates, will review requests and submit those that fit the criteria (RED level currently) to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) with a copy to email@example.com.
Consideration of RED level requests involving graduate students or post-doctoral fellows must be in consultation with the dean of Graduate Studies.
When EHS has advised deans of their approval of the activity-specific Health and Safety Plans or any required changes, final approvals will be communicated to researchers by their deans, or delegates, along with any changes to the scope of approved activities or to the activity-specific Health and Safety Plans.
In view of the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation in the province, before making a request for access for research continuity activities, researchers should ask themselves if this activity could reasonably be delayed for a couple of weeks without a significant impact on the research program or progress.
If the answer is ‘yes’, researchers should not make a request at this time.
If you are making a request that requires support from other units (e.g. CREAIT, Animal Care, Technical Services, Library, etc.), researchers must confirm such support is available from those units before deans, or delegates, submit a request.
Please note that support units are also all impacted by the immediate COVID-19 situation. In terms of Animal Care Services, animal orders are currently suspended.
Thank you once again for your ongoing co-operation and with your patience as Memorial responds to the evolving COVID-19 situation in the province.
Dr. Neil Bose
Feb. 18, 2021