SFU moving to remote research, COVID-19

March 25, 2020

This message is sent on behalf of Joy Johnson, the Vice-President, Research and International. It has been sent to SFU students, faculty and staff.

Given the escalating danger to the community from COVID-19, and tightening policy response from governments, SFU has decided to further restrict on-campus research, effective at the end-of-business on Friday, March 27, 2020. As of March 27, end-of-business, we expect all research activities to be performed remotely, except where an exemption has been granted by a Faculty Dean or the VPRI. We will revisit the decision on a regular basis and will communicate with the research community when the decision is reversed.

We know that we perform a very wide variety of types of research on our campuses. This is why Faculty Deans maintain discretion in allowing specific research projects to continue. However, with this announcement we are changing our posture from encouraging remote work to requiring it, unless there is explicit approval for on-campus activity. For off-campus research work, such as fieldwork, please check our FAQ for information.

You can find an exemption form here. The form includes guidance on valid reasons for an exemption, including for research programs that directly address the COVID-19 pandemic. The collection of these forms also give us a clearer picture of who is on our campus, and which rooms are still in use, which is valuable for health and safety reasons.

A reminder that www.sfu.ca/research/covid-19-information includes information on human subject research, research involving animals, research funding, and other more-detailed information that may affect your ability to perform research. We will continue to update this site regularly.

We know that the bulk of our research community is already working remotely, and that this has not necessarily been an easy transition. We are continuing to look at ways to enable research to continue, while protecting both the SFU community, and the community at large. If you are encountering barriers to remote work, please contact us at avprsec@sfu.ca and let us know if there are services that would make your remote work easier. Please note - you should not be taking any research equipment off-campus, without consulting the guidance provided by Environmental Health and Safety. This does not include equipment, such as a laptop, that is routinely used off-campus. Environmental Health and Safety have also created additional resources for researchers working alone in labs and safety and risk considerations for researchers working from home.

Thanks again for your cooperation, and for working in the best interest of the community.