Conducting Off-campus Fieldwork

For off-campus fieldwork in the natural and applied sciences, researchers must be able to provide compelling explanations for the questions below.  Please note: failure to respect current public health directives may nullify insurance coverage you have related to your field work.

For off-campus fieldwork in disciplines involving in-person human participant research, Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) guidelines must be followed.  For projects receiving ethics approval, no further application from researchers will be required.

Please consult the resources listed below and the considerations page for links to information from the BC Center for Disease Control and Work Safe BC as well as additional guidance notes that will help you to respond to the questions below in the context of your field plan.

Approval process

Heads of unit will provide initial approval for off-campus fieldwork requests, followed by Dean’s offices.  Please provide a contact number for all field crew members with your request. In all cases, the request must include confirmation that fieldwork is being carried out in a manner consistent with Faculty fieldwork safety guidelines and the accepted safety plan for the project.  Please include a copy of the fieldwork safety plan for the project with your request. 

If you received an exemption for fieldwork before June 1, but would like to update the list of personnel or otherwise revise the plan in light of new provincial health directives or for some other reason, please submit your changes by email to your Head of unit and Associate Dean Research. 

Questions to be addressed in a field work plan during COVID-19

  1. As you prepare for the field, will you need to access your lab or office?
  2. Are you able to travel to and from research sites in compliance with current government and University travel advisories and restrictions?  
  3. How will the field team composition and size allow for physical distancing?
  4. Will you require permission from a government department, non-profit agency or research institute to conduct work at your field site?  If so, please attach signed permissions. 
  5. What are the proposed dates for this fieldwork?
  6. Is there a contact number for your team during the fieldwork period?  If not, how can the team be reached daily while in the field?
  7. How will you train the field crew in COVID-19 safety practices?
  8. How do modes of travel at your research site allow for physical distancing?
  9. How do living and working conditions at the site allow for physical distancing and/or for self-isolation should it be necessary?
  10. What plans are in place should a member of the research team develop COVID-19 symptoms?
  11. If your research will potentially bring you into contact with local communities, how will you ensure required and effective physical distancing? 
    • ​​Guidance on avoiding contact with local communities, including indigenous communities, may be found here
  12. When you return from the field, will you need to access your lab or office to process or handle samples?  If so, please describe the expected duration of sample-handling and why the handling must be done immediately.
  13. Please confirm that this Safety Plan has been shared with staff and students through email and will also be made available as a shared document.   Staff and students can either provide a signature or email confirmation that they have received, read and understood the contents of the plan.