Latest information and updates about COVID-19 (coronavirus) from McMaster University
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Dear Members of the Research Community,

With Hamilton moving into “lockdown” on Monday, December 21, 12:01 am and as the province works to curb the steep rise in COVID-19 cases, we need to implement new research directives, specifically with respect to the Training of Research Personnel and Research Involving Human Participants.

Effective Monday, December 21, 2020, 12:01 am researchers must adhere to the following research directives:

Updated from Phase 2 On-Campus Research:

  • Training of Research Personnel is limited to only that which maintains physical distancing of greater than 2m (Category 1);
  • Involvement of In-Person Human Participants (Categories 1 – 4) is suspended;
  • Consultation with External Research Partners is no longer permitted on campus.

NOTE: Contractors involved in the repair and maintenance of research equipment are permitted on campus.

Updated from Phase 2 Fieldwork Activity:

  • Training of Research Personnel is limited to only that which maintains physical distancing of greater than 2m (Category 1);
  • Involvement of In-Person Human Participants is suspended;
  • Consultation with External Research Partners is no longer permitted.

NOTE: The provincial government has advised that non-essential travel be avoided particularly from areas of high transmission to areas of low transmission. Please be mindful of the local protocols and restrictions of the region in which you’re conducting your fieldwork.

Essential research, as previously defined by the University and which meets the criteria cited below, is permitted:

  • Responds to the COVID-19 pandemic – includes only COVID-specific research across the University
  • Involves clinical trials or intervention studies with patients who need to be monitored
  • Must be maintained for health and safety reasons
  • Must be continued for ethical reasons, such as some animal studies

In essence, we’ve returned to Phase 1, with the only exception of being able to train research personnel if socially distanced. Our Phased Return to Increased Research Activity has been managed through the application portal and, as a result of the new directives, if you are currently approved for research involving interaction with in-person human participants your plan will now be marked “denied.” You will receive an email to confirm this updated status. If you meet the essential research criteria, this email will include instructions on obtaining written approval to continue, i.e., have your plan reverted to “approved,” and there should be no interruption to your work as we switch to the lockdown environment.

While these measures are extremely unfortunate, they are both temporary and necessary as we work together to help our community reduce the number of COVID cases. Please refer to the Government’s COVID-19 Response Framework for additional information.

For those of you continuing your research, please follow all McMaster’s Environmental & Occupational Health Support Services guidelines and be sure to exercise proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and mask-wearing protocols, as these are essential in keeping our community safe. If your research takes place at a hospital site or McMaster Innovation Park, you must also adhere to site-specific SOPs and protocols.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me or your Associate Dean Research.

Stay safe,

Karen Mossman
Vice-President, Research

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