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Monday May 10, 2021
To the Dalhousie research community:
Under the current escalated COVID 19 challenge the province is facing, many animal care workers in Dalhousie facilities are being directly affected by childcare needs increasing at home with school closure. In the event that workers become ill or need to self-quarantine after exposure, our facilities are at risk for not having sufficient staff to ensure adequate animal care.
Steps must be taken immediately to ensure we have adequate human resources for animal care, for a temporary period, until current C19 restrictions are eased by the province. Effective today under the authority of the Vice President Research & Innovation and the Provost of Dalhousie University, the following precautionary measures will be put in place for all animal units in the Dalhousie system:
- no new studies may be initiated until further notice; current studies can be completed on their original timelines
- all animal orders are suspended
- where possible, schedules for essential workers should be accommodated
- UCLA and ACUC will continue to review new studies, however these studies cannot commence until current restrictions end
- hands on training of students and PI staff by the Animal Care Training Coordinator will be suspended until current restrictions are ended, distance training and online training can continue
- PIs should minimise the number and frequency of staff accessing animalcare facilities to the bare minimum required to ensure animals areadequately cared for, and use the online facility and room booking options where available to ensure contacts are minimised
- previous guidelines issued for field research will continue
The unavoidable discontinuity and inconvenience of these new measures on research productivity, coming after a prolonged successful R2R period, is regrettable. However, the measures are temporary, in terms of the onset of the summer research season and the need to train students and faculty.
Once the curve is flattening and the Medical Officer of Health declares an end to the current situation, we can consider easing these restrictions, and hopefully this will happen soon. My office will be sending updates on the current restrictions on animal research on a weekly basis until the current situation is resolved.
Please feel free to contact the office (email@example.com) at any time for further advice and information.
Dr Chris Harvey-Clark
University Director of Animal Care
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Addendum to COVID 19 animal care changes:
After consultation today with the Dean of Medicine Dr Anderson and the VP Research and International Dr Aiken, the continuation of animal orders and commencement of new studies involving animal models is permitted in one special case: research related to the study of COVID 19. In all other cases the suspension of new studies and animal orders continues to apply. Hopefully we will see a timely resolution to the current situation and a return to normal conditions for research support.