Why a gradual return to research activities?
The COVID-19 global pandemic led to a full shut-down of research activities at the Douglas in mid-March. In the wake of the first wave of COVID-19, a gradual model for return to research has been implemented at the Douglas Research Centre. This gradual return has already cycled through three phases:
- Phase 1, May 25, 2020 – 25% of eligible research personnel
- Phase 2, June 8, 2020 – 50% of eligible research personnel
- Phase 3, June 29, 2020 – 75% of eligible resaearch personnel, plus resumption of research involving human subjects
This gradual return to research has progressed very smoothly, with excellent cooperation amongst researchers, staff, and students. As most restrictions have now been lifted in our society, we are now ready to commence Phase 4, which is scheduled to start on July 15, 2020.
What is Phase 4?
For this phase of research ramp-up, we will be lifting the 75% restriction on research personnel allowed to return to the lab. However, it is very important to understand that this is not a return to “the way we were” before COVID-19. To continue ensuring a safe working environment during this phase, we urge the researchers to adhere to the following directives:
- Anyone able to continue working remotely should continue to do so.
- PIs should organize work to minimize close interactions between individuals (using shift or bubble approaches, using pre-determined work schedules to decrease overlap, adapting work environments, as required).
- Every PI must take responsibility for ensuring that safety protocols (e.g., frequent hand-washing, wearing a mask in common areas, maintaining a 2-meter distance between themselves and others, wearing a mask, even in offices, if 2-meter distance cannot be maintained, etc.) are adhered to by personnel under their supervision or guidance. We encourage PIs to have their research personnel complete an Acknowledgement of research resumption plan form (less than 5 mins) to document that their research personnel has been made aware of the required procedures.
- Every PI will be required to maintain a daily log of their personnel accessing the Douglas, with contact information of personnel readily-available. These logs may be required should any positive cases be reported to public health authorities. (An example of a daily log is available here).
Please note that:
- Individuals who do not need to work on-site, but prefer to do so (e.g. unsafe or uncomfortable home conditions) are permitted to work at the Douglas so long as they are not contributing to the overcrowding of offices and they continue to follow safety protocols.
- Individuals returning to conduct work on-site at the Douglas are encouraged to leave the premises to complete any portions of their work that do not require their presence on-site as this will help to avoid crowding of shared spaces and offices.
- Research activities involving humans require ethics and institutional approval before resuming (or commencing) such research activities, as described here.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.