Continuity of Essential Research on Campus

March 26, 2020

Dear Lakehead University Research Community,

I am writing to provide further clarity to the University’s COVID-19 Operational Update of March 24, 2020 ( as it relates to continuity of access to critical on-site research laboratories and facilities, as well as critical research supplies for essential research operations.

Most importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to commend all researchers who have made extraordinary efforts to protect our community and to find creative ways to continue your research through remote techniques.  I appreciate your willingness to cooperate and work together, so we can all be safe and do our part to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Thank you!

As a required on-site services model is in place on both our campuses, Lakehead University will be temporarily restricting all on-campus research activity as of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2020, until further notice. This includes on-campus research activities performed by all faculty, students, post docs, staff and visiting scientists. We are taking this action in response to the provincial emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic and the Provincial Government’s COVID-19 Order in Council, and the advice from public health authorities.  We will only be allowing continuity of the most essential research operations on our campuses.

Our communications so far have also directed the research community to move towards a remote operations model. Therefore, Principal Investigators should suspend all research activities operating in on-campus research laboratories and facilities, and implement plans to operate remotely by the end of day on Monday, March 30, 2020. This period before implementation is to allow for preparations needed to arrange remote working, safe shutdown of equipment, etc. If you need assistance with laboratory shut-down protocols described in Appendix A, please contact Tiffany Moore in Human Resources at

Recognizing that there may be critical research activities that must continue in on-campus research laboratories and facilities, individual researchers may apply for an exemption using the Request to Continue Essential Research in on-campus research laboratories and facilities Form and provide it to their Dean and the Vice-President, Research and Innovation for final approval.  Please submit the form once approved by the Dean to If your request is approved, please keep a copy.

Exempted research approved in on-campus research laboratories and facilities must implement social distancing advisories and recommendations, as well as enhanced hygiene practices. If you have any questions, please contact


Andrew P. Dean, PhD

Vice-President, Research and Innovation


Appendix A:  Safe Closure of Laboratories/Studio Spaces

Tiffany Moore, Lakehead University’s Laboratory Safety Officer has provided research laboratory supervisors and technicians with the following measures to ensure each laboratory is safely closed:

1) Ensure your emergency contact information is updated with Security Services.  You can contact  Please be clear with room numbers for spaces you are responsible for and give a secondary emergency contact if possible.

2) Laboratory equipment is shut down wherever possible.  If equipment must be left running, please let security know what to expect when they patrol your area.

3) Water must not be left running to equipment at this time, unless it is required to keep the equipment operational.  If water cannot be turned off, please let Security Services and Physical Plant (work order) know so these spaces can be patrolled more often to ensure we do not have a flood.

4) Chemicals, hazardous wastes, biohazardous materials are secured, labeled and stored appropriately.

5) Laboratory users should refrain from working on-site as directed by Senior Admin, but supervisors should stay in touch with their research teams.  This is a great opportunity to write those articles you keep meaning to!

6) Should anyone need to access the lab, please check in with security first.  As there will be limited personnel on campus, it is imperative that Security personnel know what areas of buildings are occupied in case of emergency.

7) Work with hazardous materials or processes must not be conducted at this time, due to the limited on-campus response should there be an emergency.

8) Supervisors should check on their labs periodically, at minimum once a week.  Remember to check on those freezers too!

9) Should your personnel need to access the lab, they are required to notify their Supervisor each time and must have their Supervisor’s permission before proceeding.  Before accessing the lab, they must check in with Security.

10) Security/Physical Plant will not be issuing new keys at this time.  Additional access will only be possible by checking in with Security.  Access will only be granted to those on access lists for the space.

Just a reminder that due to the changing situation and the nature of the pandemic, we must all do everything we can to reduce the number of areas to be patrolled by security.  This will help prevent overburdening our officers and reduce the risk of physical damage to our facilities that would require us to be away from our work longer than necessary.