I move that Senate approve the following document that provides parameters for Research and Creative activities during the COVID-19 situation. This would be effective immediately until further notice.
Motion seconded by Dr. Claire Grogan, Interim Dean of Arts & Science.
The creation of this document was led by Dr. Amy Svotelis, Director of Research & Graduate Studies. It was approved by Andrea Drumheller, a majority of members from the Senate Research Committee and the Academic Officers.
Research and Creative activities during the COVID-19 situation
In these uncertain times, Bishop’s University would like to provide some guidelines in terms of research and creative activities being performed by our community (faculty and students). These recommendations are applicable at the moment, but please recognize the fluidity of the current climate and that they may change over time.
On ethical and security grounds, we recommend that all data collection involving personal interaction with human participants be suspended or postponed until further notice. No new experiments or projects involving interaction with human participants should be undertaken at this time. For ongoing research that is occurring within the community (e.g. community and home-based interventions, interviews, focus groups, etc.) that can be modified or delayed to limit personal contact, we are requesting that you seek approval for the continuity of this project with the REB or ERCSR, as the case may be. In general, any form of contact with research participants, unless done virtually, should be suspended. For researchers who have recently had in-person contact with research participants, we recommend that you contact your participants to ensure that they are not showing any clinical symptoms of COVID-19. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please consult info-santé by phone at 1 877 644-4545 before visiting the Bishop’s University Health Services clinic and please refer to the Government of Canada’s website for safety information.
For research that does not involve in-person contact with human participants, for example on-line collection of data, research and creative activities can be maintained, as long as social distancing protocols are respected and access to the campus is not required. For researchers who require access to the campus for essential research activity purposes (such as maintenance of specialized equipment), a request for access must be submitted to of the Director of Research & Graduate Studies and the Vice-Principal Academic and Research before March 18th, 2020. Specific names, dates and times, location and the rationale must be provided. The number of people per lab (and university building) at any time will be controlled. SPECIAL NOTE: Research activities aimed at responding to, or analyzing the effects of, the COVID-19 threat are encouraged and will be evaluated by the REB and Research office as required, but must respect the guidelines for social distancing.
Travelling for University business has been curtailed; this includes all travel related to research and creative activities. Federal granting agencies (Tri-council) have announced flexibility in terms of reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees due to the COVID-19 situation (both principal investigators and research personnel).
The Research Ethics Board (REB) and the Ethics Review Committee for Student Research (ERCSR) will continue evaluation and approval activities for the foreseeable future. Note that this may change with time, and we will do our best to inform you of any changes as quickly as possible.
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies is closely monitoring decisions made by external funding agencies in terms of deadlines. It is crucial at this time to inform us of any intention to submit a grant to an external funding competition in a timely manner, and to clearly communicate these intentions to both the Director of Research and Graduate Studies, Amy Svotelis (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Grants officer, Samia Mihoub (email@example.com), to ensure a coordinated effort. We are in communication with agencies about deadlines and if we learn that any are extended, we will advise you by email.
Stay strong, stay safe, and don’t fret, research will slay the dragon. And don’t forget, before sharing information on COVID-19 on social media, we invite you to consult reliable, fact-checked sources!
Vice-Principal Academic & Research
Please refer to ubishops.ca/coronavirus, institutional social media channels and/or SafeGaiter for further updates as they become available.