Guiding principles

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the variety of planning initiatives that are taking place across the campus, a series of guiding principles have been developed. The following principles are intended to enable cohesive planning across the campus based on the same fundamental values and understanding of the current COVID-19 challenges now and moving forward:

 The University will place the health and wellbeing of students, staff, and faculty above all other considerations.

  1. Decisions regarding in-person and alternative research activities will be driven by program quality and fairness across all student demographics.
  2. The University will provide as much certainty as possible to students and staff by making and communicating decisions as early as possible.
  3. The University will provide as much certainty as possible to students and staff by making and communicating decisions as early as possible.

The University may have the option of increasing on campus activity mid-way through a semester due to a reduction in public health restrictions as they occur; VIU is committed to considering the impact of any of these decisions on students, particularly those that may not be residing close to our campus.

Principles guiding the resumption of research activities

1. Vancouver Island University will enable as much on-campus and field research activities as possible, while both respecting the necessary limits required by the evolving response of the PHO to the COVID-19 situation in BC, and ensuring that research activities will be in compliance with all University policies and guidelines. While this framework provides the process for approving certain research activities, it may become necessary to re-impose restrictions on research, should the situation and direction from the PHO require them. We will also ensure that the process for approving resumption of on-campus research activity, field work and face-to-face interactions with research participants is informed, fair, reasonable, and transparent.

2. Research activities must adhere to all relevant public health directives from the Province of BC’s PHO with respect to actions required to limit the spread of COVID-19. The details of these directives will change over time, with a planned gradual staged easing of restrictions according to specified criteria to be established by the Province. As Provincial guidelines change during the various stages, researchers will be expected to similarly adapt to the current requirement at any given time.

BC’s public health directives  Worksafe BC Guidelines for COVID-19

VIU’s COVID-19 Updates and Information and Covid-19 Health and Safety Planning

3. During any period in which entry and access to campus, or ability to travel and work in the field, have restrictions imposed in response to directives from the PHO, permission to resume on-campus or field research activity will be granted through the process outlined in this framework. Researchers must follow this framework to request access to on-campus research spaces, re-start field work, or begin face-to-face interactions with research participants only when absolutely necessary and allowed under public health directives. Only on-campus or field research or face-to-face interactions with research participants which have been approved through the process outlined here can proceed during such periods.

4. Researchers must complete a new/updated risk assessment of all research activities to be undertaken (including the potential for exposure to COVID-19), and identify how appropriate controls are put in place as part of their request.

5. Research activities must protect the physical, mental and emotional health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, research participants and collaborators. Researchers – including students, and staff – must not feel compelled to work on campus or in the field during this period of restricted activities if they feel it presents risks to their personal health and safety OR if they feel that they present a risk to others health and safety. Research involving, or partnering with, community members must be conducted to ensure these people similarly do not feel compelled to be part of the research; vulnerable communities should not be involved during a time of risk.

6. Research that can be carried out remotely must continue in this manner wherever possible. Research that can be carried out without need of on-site campus resources, without working in the field (outside of one’s own home), or without interacting physically face-to-face with research participants – may continue without following the processes outlined in this framework.