Campus/Field Activity or Campus Access

All university buildings are closed, with only limited access to faculty and staff with approved access.

Stages of reopening are guided by Provincial recommendations and guidelines, but USask may decide to move more conservatively in some areas to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. View our current stage of reopening.

Staff, faculty and researchers that are able to work remotely should continue doing so until further notice but can make a request for long-term campus/field activity or short-term campus access.

Requesting long-term campus/field activity

You can make a request for increased activity on campus or in the field related to specific research, teaching and learning, or critical campus services. For specific direction regarding field work, please see the Field Work Decision Tree and Expectations.

Request for Campus/Field Activity

Requesting short-term campus access

Requests for short-term access are handled differently depending on the type of request:

Safety Requirements for long-term campus/field activity

All faculty, staff, and students who have been approved for increased campus/field activity are required to follow the Working on Campus Safety Guidelines.

Working Remotely

Work Remotely

How to work remotely including working securely, meetings, accessing files and more.

Teach Remotely

Support and tools for delivering classes online.

Research Remotely

Researching remotely throughout the research lifecycle.


If you require any items from your university workspace to more safely or efficiently work from home please contact your manager and supervisor. USask has implemented a working remotely policy.

Academics

All course instructors are to be working remotely. Information and support for offering courses and exams remotely will continue to be updated on the remote teaching site and there are staff available to support this work.

Students who do not have access to computers or reliable internet in their off-campus locations are encouraged to connect with their instructors for alternative options. 

Support will be in place to assist you in identifying alternative options. Information will follow on the remote teaching site.

Exams

There will be no in-person exams for courses offered during Spring and Summer 2020 terms.

Student Absences

During this period, students will not need a medical note if they are not participating in class, need to miss an examination, or are requesting an extension. We don’t want our students overwhelming the medical system with requests for notes from doctors at this time.

Delivery Mode

The planned September delivery model will combine primarily remote online learning, with extremely limited classroom, laboratory, clinical, and physical instruction only where warranted and where circumstances permit, in consultation with public health and Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer.

The health and safety of our campus community has been our primary focus throughout this pandemic and will continue to be our top priority as we plan for a limited and very cautious reopening of our campuses in the fall. With thoughtfulness, responsiveness and resiliency, we will continue to work with the province to adjust our plans as necessary as we remain focused on delivering our world-class academic programming and research.

All off-campus locations and programs (Prince Albert, Regina and regional colleges) will be following the same directions as the main campus.

Communications

Colleges/schools are communicating with students directly about plans for the fall term. For students concerned about making travel and living arrangements for the fall term, every effort will be made to communicate information about the mode of delivery of specific programs as soon as possible.

Delivery Mode

Consultations to help inform this decision will occur over the summer and we hope to make an interim announcement no later than mid-September.

Research

Safety Permit
Approved applicants will be provided with a “COVID-19 Safety Permit”  that confirms they have been approved to resume or commence activity. 

  • Amendments to your Safety Permit may need to be made. Learn more.

Campus Safety Guidelines
All faculty, staff, and students who are working on campus are required to follow the Working on Campus Safety Guidelines

Lab Safety
All laboratory supervisors and workers must review and follow the Lab Safety Requirements including the Lab Safety Manual-Pandemic Supplement

COVID-19-related Research
Review biosafety information and human specimen handling guidelines.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we advise investigators working with human participants to:

  • Eliminate personal contacts, lab visits or trips into clinics and hospitals; and
  • Where appropriate, consider modifying or delaying your research studies to eliminate in-person participant interactions. For some research, it may be possible to replace in-person interactions with telephone or online communication, depending on the nature of your protocol, the participants, and any additional risk that may arise by switching to different communication channels.

Revised participant consent forms or amendments to the consent process may be required (e.g., to update privacy considerations with the use of different modes of communication). While the standard practice is for REBs to review and approve amendments prior to the implementation of any changes, exceptions can be made where changes are necessary to eliminate immediate risks to participants (as per TCPS2 Article 6.15).

As such, investigators may implement changes but must report those changes to the REB at the earliest opportunity (preferably within five business days, if possible, as a guideline).

If you have any questions, please contact:

Human Ethics team
  ethics.office@usask.ca
  306-966-2975.

For clinical trials, screening and enrolment of new participants into studies should be discontinued, with the exception of situations (e.g., oncology) in which enrolment in a trial is needed to provide treatment options.

For ongoing clinical trials with human participants, please ensure sponsors, the Research Ethics Board and Clinical Trial Support Unit are kept informed regarding any changes to research protocols, and ensure our previous guidance related to human-participant research is followed.

As well, if your research must involve physical assessments and use of any equipment, and this can contact cannot be absolutely eliminated, it is paramount to employ stringent disinfection protocols (following the manufacturer’s standards, if available) or to use single-use accessories.

If you intend to submit a time-sensitive ethics application directly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, please indicate this in your email, so that we can expedite your application appropriately.

Animal research projects will be supported by the university’s animal care and facilities staff.

However, limitations on procurement of animals may occur and no guarantees can be made on animal availability. Please contact the Animal Order Desk for any questions on animal procurement (animal.orderdesk@usask.ca). Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, we may have reduced the ability to provide all services beyond essential animal husbandry. Your patience is appreciated.

USask has an unwavering commitment to animal welfare. The OVPR has been working to ensure that appropriate standards for animal care will be maintained throughout any disruption. If research staff responsible for animal care are no longer able to perform those duties, this must be communicated immediately to facility staff or the Acting University Veterinarian that alternative arrangements can be made to maintain animal welfare.

If you have any questions or concerns about your animal research, please speak with your facility managers or contact: 

Dr. Kurtis Swekla, 
Acting University Veterinarian
   kurtis.swekla@usask.ca 
  306-966-8081

The granting councils, other funding agencies and our industry partners continue to develop responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Office of the VP Research team is working closely with our contacts in those organizations to determine and help shape the impacts for our researchers and students. 

As we learn about changes to funding programs and as we adjust our own programs in response to the pandemic, we will always do our best to keep you informed. As well, our office will continue to work with faculty and staff to prepare for submissions and manage questions about new timelines and expectations. Below are the latest updates.

Canadian Foundation for Innovation

  • CFI JELF - All October 2020 CFI JELF applicants are encouraged to attend the next Proposal Development Meeting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm Via WebEx.
    • For more information or to RSVP contact sandra.stone@usask.ca. Material and WebEx directions will be sent in advance of the presentation to all those have RSVP’d.
    • CFI JELF proposal submission deadlines remain unchanged.
  • Award finalization and financial deadlines are extended by 3 months, including for CFI-JELF projects. SRI has been in touch with all grant holders (and their ADR or Centre Director) to develop a plan of action.
  • Annual Project Progress Reports are now due September 30, 2020. SRI has extended the internal deadline to September 15, 2020, to meet this new CFI deadline. Reporting forms will be available April 1, 2020.
  • SRI will continue to provide updates on CFI JELFs.
  • Innovation Fund 2020 is proceeding according to original timelines. Decisions are anticipated in November 2020.  

Updates and responses to common questions can be found at on the CFI JELF webpage. We will continue to update you as new information and directions arise.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time: 

Canada Research Chairs

The Secretariat has indicated that they will consider on a case-by-case basis requests to extend the two-year timeline for CRC searches and nominations. SRI has been in contact (and made arrangements) with two current CRC searches that may need to request accommodations. We are also monitoring the progress of all active searches and will address extension needs for these recruitments if needed. 

Questions and concerns may be directed to doreen.canillas@usask.ca.

New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation Stream

  • The LOI deadline is extended to July 15, 2020.
  • SRI is working with PIs on their strategy and timelines for completion.

Undergraduate Research Assistantships

NSERC USRAs

NSERC has indicated that the program is still going forward. NSERC will honour the full value of the award ($4500) and encourages universities to do the same. Working remotely, working a shortened term, deferring to fall, or other flexible options may be considered. There will be communication from the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to finalize modified summer plans with faculty and students.

Office of the Vice-President Research USRAs

These are awarded to faculty members via a college process. SRI is working directly with colleges and faculty to enable opportunities for students to work in a safe and fully-mentored environment. Faculty are asked to provide details on the arrangements prior to award approval. Please contact merle.massie@usask.ca with any questions.

SCPOR USRAs

SRI is working directly with SCPOR and faculty on options for safe and mentored assistantships.  Given that these are patient-oriented projects, individual assistantships will only proceed if they meet new of standards of social distancing and/or for care of vulnerable populations

IMII Indigenous Research assistantships

RI is working with host organizations to enable safe and mentored assistantships. We are encouraging flexible solutions.

SURE

SRI is leading a new initiative Student Undergraduate Research Experience to connect undergraduate research assistants across the university.  This initiative will move on-line with technology-enabled environments for 2020.

Summer Entrepreneurs (Innovation Enterprise)

IE is working with the industry partners and innovation ecosystem mentors involved in the program to design a modified program for summer 2020, focusing on the use of technology to facilitate program delivery. Please contact alix.hayden@usask.ca, 306-966-5638 with questions.

Research Junction Development Grant

The deadline for the Research Junction Development Grant has been moved to October 2, 2020. 

This change recognizes that efforts to match city employees and university researchers around research interests has been delayed by recent events.  Partnership development will again be available next week and ongoing for faculty and City staff.

Contact research.junction@usask.ca for assistance finding a research partner.

Faculty Awards and Recognition

Contact research.awards@usask.ca for more information.

Mitacs

NSERC Discovery Grant Results and Appeals Process

  • The release of results from the 2020 Discovery Grants competition is proceeding as planned. Results are still expected to be posted on the Research Portal by mid-April.
  • The deadline to submit an appeal has been extended to June 30, 2020.

Tri-Agencies - General Information

  • For NSERC and SSHRC, academic institutions can immediately approve extension requests up to 12 months for Agency grants with an end date between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 inclusively. This applies to all grants, even if they have received a previous extension of any length for any reason. This will have no impact for applications awarded in the fall 2020 competitions. The intent behind this is to allow grant holders to continue spending grant funds, and institutions to delay the processing of residual grants.
  • CIHR is consulting on how best to meet the needs of researchers at this time and has not yet announced its intentions.
  • Please regularly check the COVID-19 updates on the CIHRNSERC and SSHRC websites.

Other Funding Programs

  • Genome Canada has provided an update with regards to current research project expectations and current competition deadlines.
  • CIHR SPOR Units Phase II (SCPOR 2.0) application deadline has been extended to July 21, 2020.
  • The NSERC CREATE LOI application deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020.
  • AIMday Plant Proteins has been postponed to late fall 2020. Further updates will be provided over the coming months. Please contact alix.hayden@usask.ca, 306-966-5638 with questions.

Stories on How We Are Serving Canada in the COVID-19 Crisis

Universities Canada, government agencies, and media are seeking stories on ways that university colleges and research centres are helping their communities combat COVID-19. If you or your research team have examples of the above to share, please forward a couple of sentences to research.communications@usask.ca

Feeling Sick or Time Away from Work

If you have any concerns about your health or possible exposure to COVID-19 call the Healthline at 811.

If you are feeling unwell and/or showing signs of illness, you should not come to work. Even if your illness and symptoms are not consistent to that of the COVID-19 virus, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. Sick employees should not be required to work from home.

You can use sick time or you may be eligible for a short-term disability leave. If you are absent from work for 5 days or longer please review the medical leave processes.

Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from contracting COVID-19. It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the seasonal flu virus. 

Steps to Take

  • In line with provincial and federal travel guidelines, faculty, staff and students returning from any international travel (including the U.S.A.) should not come to campus for 14 calendar days after their return from travel. 
  • Stay home and report if sick or if notified that you may have possibly been in contact with someone with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • If you are sick, it is imperative that you stay home and do not spread your illness. Even if it is not COVID-19, please stay home and monitor your symptoms. 
  • If you attended an event within the past 14 days and received notification that you may have been in contact with a fellow traveller or attendee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing, please self-isolate for 14 days and monitor yourself daily for symptoms (fever, cough and difficulty breathing).  

Gov't of SK Self Isolation    Gov't of SK Self Monitoring

If you have been exposed, are experiencing symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing, and will require a medical leave due to illness proceed with the following steps. Please do not come to campus and self-isolate.

Steps to Take

  1. Notify your manager of your situation.
  2. Complete a Wellness Referral to initiate the medical leave process and provide the following information in the comments box:
    • Known exposure to COVID-19 (person, place, etc.)
    • Confirmation if you have contacted health authorities or plan to do so
    • Confirmation if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing)
    • Contact information by which you can be reached during this time
  3. The Wellness Referral will be sent to arc Health, the university’s third-party disability and medical accommodation provider.
    • No medical forms or note will need to be completed at the onset of illness/isolation, however, arc Health will do a telephone interview with you per standard process. Updates will be sent to your manager/supervisor accordingly.
  4. You will be covered for income loss and time away under the appropriate sick time and disability plan.
  5. If you do not have disability benefits you can apply for EI Sickness Benefits. Please submit a Leave of Absence Application for Health Reasons and send to connectionpoint@usask.ca once complete, marked URGENT – COVID 19

We recognize that some people with health concerns and chronic illnesses may be concerned about the potential impact COVID-19 virus. If you have been advised to work-from-home by your doctor please do the following:

Steps to Take

  1. Talk to your manager advising them of your situation and explore a work-from-home accommodation. If you are able to work remotely no further steps are required.
  2. If your position cannot be done remotely you may qualify to access disability/sick leave benefits under the disability plan under which you are covered. Submit a Wellness Referral to initiate the medical leave process. The referral will be sent to arc Health, the University’s third-party disability and medical accommodation service provider.

Based on the latest science on COVID-19, the time from exposure to developing symptoms can take up to 14 days. If you have not developed symptoms over this time, the risk of having COVID-19 is low and you can return to work.

Note: If you have a confirmed case please talk to your doctor to confirm you are well to return to work. However, if you have had another exposure during the initial 14-day period (for example, from a family member that becomes ill) the self-isolation must extend for 14 days from the last exposure.

Support

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. If you need help, use the university's employee and family assistance program.

Also, be considerate to people around you. The World Health Organization has put out a Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak factsheet.

Questions?

Teaching

Help with instruction using remote technologies
Email: gmctl-support@usask.ca
Phone:
 306-966-2231.

Support in designing alternate final assessments
Email: deu.support@usask.ca
Email: gmctl-support@usask.ca 

Assistance with technology that is not working
Request IT Support Services
Phone: 306-966-2222

Research

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of your OVPR contacts for assistance.

Should you have any urgent research-related questions on which you are uncertain whom to contact, please do not hesitate to reach out to:

Dr. Dion Martens
Director of Research Excellence and Innovation
Email: dion.martens@usask.ca
Phone: 306-966-1318

Laura Zink
Director, Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives
Email: laura.zink@usask.ca
Phone: 306-966-1778


General

Email covid19@usask.ca for information about USask programs, operations and plans.