• Français

COVID-19 Guidance Plan for on-site research activities

at the CHU Sainte-Justine and the Marie-Enfant Rehabilitation Centre

Version 4

The CHU Sainte-Justine (CHUSJ) Research Directorate has updated its guidance plan for research activities (Version 4) in the context of the development of the COVID-19 crisis. The instructions and information presented are aimed at maintaining the safest on-site work environment possible both at the CHUSJ Research Centre and at the Marie-Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME) Technopole. The proposed plan aligns with the directives of Quebec’s General Directorate of Public Health (Direction générale de la santé publique du Québec).

We would like to state that the guidance plan will be revised and updated based on how the pandemic progresses. It is important to realize that research activities could be reduced, interrupted or compromised should the pandemic intensify.

1. General Principles

The directives issued in the June 29, 2020 communiqué concerning the maintenance of essential research services are no longer applicable. This document redefines the activities that can be carried out within the context of the start of the new academic year and the arrival of new research staff, students and trainees at the CHUSJ Research Centre.

One of the basic principles is that any activities that do not require a physical presence at the CHUSJ or the CRME should continue to be performed remotely provided an agreement to this effect is made with an immediate superior.

Activities that require an on-site presence at the CHUSJ Research Centre or the CRME must be performed in accordance with the directives of the CHUSJ with regard to physical distancing, hand hygiene, the use of personal protection equipment and other health measures. Furthermore, measures specific to the context of our research environment have also be developed. These various directives are summarized below.

2. Training sessions and pledge of honor

All investigators, employees, students (including postdoctoral fellows) and trainees must:

  1. be aware of this plan, including the associated documents, based their areas of expertise:
  2. take training on how to handle masks:
  3. and take training on hand hygiene:

All investigators are responsible for ensuring that all their team members have been made aware of this plan and have taken the training sessions.

3. What to consider before going to the CHUSJ and the CRME

Transportation. We urge you to avoid public transit during rush hour. If applicable, community hygiene and safety recommendations (distancing, wearing a mask, etc.) made by the Public Health Directorate (Direction de la santé publique) must be strictly applied.

If you come by car, the agreement with Brébeuf College and the HÉC is terminated. No other free or reduced-price parking lots are available for the time being. The daily rate for underground parking at the CHUSJ is $18 on weekdays and $11 at night and on the weekend. HEC parking is open to all (prices).

Symptoms. DO NOT come to the CHUSJ/CRME if you have coronavirus infection-like symptoms (fever, cough, respiratory problems, loss of taste or smell, etc.). If you experience these symptoms, you must immediately contact your investigator, the Research Directorate (rh.crhsj@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca) and the Health Office of the CHUSJ (514-345-4931, Ext. 4882 or 4704). The Health Office of the CHUSJ will determine whether protection, isolation or screening measures need to be implemented and it will give you instructions in this regard.

Contacts. DO NOT come to the CHUSJ/CRME if you have been in contact with people who have coronavirus symptoms or a confirmed coronavirus infection. If you have, immediately contact your investigator, the Research Directorate (rh.crhsj@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca) and the Health Office of the CHUSJ (514-345-4931, Ext. 4882 or 4704). The Health Office will determine whether protection, isolation or screening measures need to be implemented and it will give you instructions in this regard.

Job or traineeship at another organization. If you have been an employee, trainee or volunteer at another organization over the last two weeks, you must fill out the form (French only) and send it to the Health Office at the following address: covid‐19.sst.hsj@ssss.gouv.qc.ca. A nurse from the Health Office will then contact you to give you instructions about the conditions of your return to the CHUSJ/CRME.

New staff. Anyone recently hired at the CHUSJ Research Centre (investigator, employee, student, trainee) must follow the process set up by CHUSJ Human Resources. Therefore, any new staff member must undergo COVID-19 screening and meet established criteria regarding the absence of symptoms, contact with people who have symptoms, isolation, waiting for diagnosis or having positive results, having travelled, etc.

Travel abroad during the pandemic. Trips outside Canada must be limited to essential travel as much as possible. Other reasons than essential travel, for example, meeting family members abroad, must be discussed with the immediate supervisor before planning trip.

Employees, students and postdoctoral fellows of the CHUSJ Research Centre who are returning from abroad should contact the Research Directorate before they return to Canada:

Upon their return from abroad, people are required to quarantine themselves for the first 14 days of their arrival in Canada. 

4. Access to the CHUSJ and the CRME

On-site reception. Security guards are present at the entrances to the CHUSJ and the CRME to confirm that you are wearing your employee card, require that you disinfect your hands and confirm the absence of COVID-19-related symptoms. You must wear a procedure mask provided by the Research Directorate when you enter the doors of the institution.

Trainees. Fall session research training sessions are now authorized on site at the CHUSJ and the CRME until further notice. Trainees and their supervisors must carefully read the recommendations on health training sessions within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic from Health and Social Services (Santé et des Services sociaux) and the Infection Prevention Team at the CHUSJ (Équipe de prévention des infections du CHU Sainte-Justine). Off-site research internships are still a priority, whenever possible.

Visitors. Visits by technicians or outside firms related to the maintenance of our common equipment or research infrastructures are permitted, but they must be pre-approved by the Research Directorate team that will coordinate following up on the request with the person concerned. Requests to this effect must be emailed to the following address: safaa.jaoui@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca. Monitoring visits for clinical research projects must be approved by the managers of the clinical research units concerned. All other research-related visits to the CHUSJ or CRME sites must be approved by the Research Directorate (manuela.maurice@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca).

5. Guidelines governing on-site research activities

Since the phases for the resumption of activities, during which the total number of people admitted to the CHUSJ Research Centre was limited, the Research Directorate has no longer imposed this type of restriction (as of June 30, 2020), provided directives on wearing masks and physical distancing can be respected. However, any activities that do not require a physical presence at the CHUSJ should continue to be performed remotely with the consent of an immediate superior.

5.1 - Human Resources

5.1.1 – Vulnerable people. We ask employees and students with a recognized chronic ailment or weak immune status or who are pregnant to contact the Health Office of the CHUSJ (514-345-4931, Ext. 4882 or 4704). It will determine whether they can perform any work on site.

5.1.2 – Symptoms. You must immediately leave your workplace (CHUSJ or CRME) if you experience one or more coronavirus infection-like symptoms (fever cough, respiratory problems, loss of taste or smell, etc.). Then you must immediately contact your investigator, the Research Directorate (rh.crhsj@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca) and the Health Office of the CHUSJ (514-345-4931, Ext. 4882 or 4704). The Health Office will determine whether protective, isolation or screening measures need to be implemented and it will give you instructions in this regard. Only screening done by the Health Office and its affiliated clinics are admissible. Screening done at any other center or clinic is not considered to be acceptable and cannot be received by the Health Office for any decision-making and the results will be considered non-compliant.

5.1.3 – COVID-19-positive test. The disclosure of screening tests is handled by the Health Office of the CHUSJ. When a test is positive, the Health Office will carry out a rigorous evaluation of the associated risks and it must contact all staff members at risk to manage and control the spread of infections. The Research Directorate itself will not release positive cases. Only situations involving major outbreaks that affect teams, sectors or floors that put the health of the community at risk may be announced, if need be.

5.1.4 - Time sheets. As some employees will change their work schedule in order to promote working remotely and to respect limitations on their on-site presence, employees will have to enter their actual hours worked based on the new schedules when they complete their timesheets indicating their on-site presence in the Logicbec GRH payroll system. Furthermore, overtime is not permitted unless there is an agreement between the investigator or manager and the employee. By respecting the instructions received from the CHUSJ Payroll Department, the hours worked at home using remote working tools will still have to be identified with the code TELTRA.

5.2 - Physical distancing principles in the common areas

You are asked to maintain a distance of 2 meters from other people wherever possible. Wearing a procedure mask is required at all times except if you are alone in a closed office or space.

5.2.1 - Office spaces and dry areas. Employees who shared closed offices with several workstations before the COVID-19 crisis may continue to do so as long as they maintain a distance of 2 meters from their colleagues. Furthermore, offices located in cubicles such as in open spaces on Floors A and B (Block 17) may be occupied without limitations, since the separation panels used are recognized protective physical barriers for the prevention of infections. Wearing a procedure mask is required at all times and in all cases. We strongly suggest staggering work schedules, whenever possible, to minimize the extended presence of people in the same restricted area. In addition, sharing a workstation in closed offices or open cubicles is still to be avoided.

As for cubicle areas for students in wet labs (Block 17), they cannot accommodate more than 4 students at a time according to the various work schedules that will have been set by the investigators. The number of available chairs in these areas will be reduced.

5.2.1 - Wet floors (Block 17). The number of people authorized in the primary support rooms (ex.: culture and microscopy rooms, rooms with chemical hoods and large equipment) and secondary support rooms (radioactivity, black, freezer, stock and cold rooms) must make it possible to respect 2-meter distancing during extended contacts (5 minutes and more). Two-meter distancing is therefore possible for short and sporadic contacts, if the need arises, such as when carrying material or moving from one work zone to another when more than 2 people are in the same room.

5.2.2 - Rest and meal areas. Breaks and mealtimes at work are when you are most at risk of community transmission among colleagues. We therefore ask you to avoid being in groups. The risks and precautions to take are pointed out in a video available on the Intranet here concerning the prevention of infections at the CHUSJ. We therefore ask you to limit the number of people eating or taking a break at the same time in the rest areas of the Research Center and to stagger the times allotted for each person. To this effect, the number of chairs now available is limited in order to respect the distancing measures. Please limit the use of common appliances like microwaves, coffee machines, refrigerators and practice strict hand hygiene. Please note that the meeting rooms on Floors A, B and 2 to 7 (Block 17) may be used for eating. To this effect, the removable panels in the meeting rooms on Floors 2 to 7 have been opened to increase the area of available space for eating or taking breaks. Reclosing these panels and holding lab meetings in these spaces is therefore not allowed until further notice.

5.2.3 - Research Directorate Floor. As is the case for research teams, the Research Directorate has limited the presence of its staff in the Research Center by, in part, working remotely for positions that allow its staff to do so. We understand that the increase in on-site activities will lead teams to interact with the staff of the Research Directorate team. For this reason, we ask for your cooperation in limiting your comings and goings on the Research Directorate floor.

5.2.4 – Meetings and presentations. No meetings that require participants to be physically present should take place. We ask that you use available videoconferencing and virtual platform options to hold meetings for your teams.

5.2.5 – Elevators. The policy on using elevators throughout the CHUSJ is clearly identified by signage in every elevator. Floor stickers (decals) and notices point out that physical distancing must be respected and the maximum number of people authorized in each elevator is 8 as long as each person is wearing a procedure mask.

5.3 - Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

5.3.1 - Masks. Wearing a protective procedure mask provided by the Research Directorate is mandatory at all times unless you are alone in a closed room or office.

5.3.1.1 – Masks for employees and students who do not have any contact with patients and their families. You will be provided with procedure masks (3 masks a day, 2 for the day and 1 more for your return on another day). For wet labs, these masks will be distributed by community managers. For dry areas, masks will be available from Safaa Jaoui (Ext. 4525 or by email at safaa.jaoui@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca). There is also a system to distribute masks outside work hours (please contact Safaa Jaoui for details). Masks will be distributed by unit managers for clinical research units. Masks must be replaced during the day if they become humid or dirty and disposed of properly as soon as they are soiled or damaged. If you need extra masks during the day, please ask Safaa Jaoui directly.

5.3.1.2 - Masks for employees and students who have contact with patients and their families. Clinical research staff in contact with patients will receive two procedure masks at the start of every day. The masks will be distributed by the managers of the clinical research units.

5.3.2 – Protective Eyewear. Research staff must wear protective eyewear or a mask with a face shield when in the presence of patients or their families. This eyewear will be provided by the managers of the clinical research units. If it cannot be provided in the clinical research units, please ask for eyewear by contacting François Fontaine at francois.fontaine@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca.

For clinical research in cold zones where the 2-meter physical distance between the healthcare professional and participant cannot be respected:

  • They must be separated by a Plexiglas protective screen with an opening at the bottom to transfer material.
  • Any material that is shared or used during the procedure must be disinfected on the surface before and after the procedure using disinfectant wipes.
  • If wearing a mask seriously impedes performing the evaluation properly, the healthcare professional and the participant are authorized to remove their masks but only during the procedure. In this case, it is recommended, but not mandatory, that the healthcare professional wear a protective facial shield or protective eyewear, if possible, to better control the spread of aerosols.

5.3.3 – Gloves. Gloves can become a very powerful vector of transmission if users do not pay attention to the movements they make. We, therefore, urge you to wear them only when handling samples and devices in wet labs and to avoid touching other surfaces (ex.: doorknobs). They must be disposed of properly after each use. Wearing them as personal protection in the common and public areas of the CHUSJ is strictly prohibited.

5.4 - Hygiene and cleaning measures

5.4.1 - Washing your hands. We urge you to wash your hands regularly according to the training procedure, particularly after touching any shared public device such as doorknobs, toilettes, the surfaces of meal areas, elevator buttons, biometric readers in freezer rooms, photocopiers, etc. Wall dispensers or bottles containing hydroalcoholic disinfectant solution have been added for this purpose and are located at several strategic locations in all the research areas. If a dispenser is empty, please mention it to Sylvie Julien at serv-tech.crhsj@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca.

5.4.2 – Cleaning of surfaces. Surface disinfectants in hydroalcoholic solutions or hydrogen peroxide wipes are delivered by Logistics to delivery stations that are strategically placed. Empty bottles of hydroalcoholic solution or boxes of wipes must be placed in the delivery bin. When Logistics then does its regular rounds, it will replace the old containers with new full ones. To request an extra delivery of products, call Ext. 7211. The stations are found on the counter of the rest areas for Floors 2 to 7 (Block 17). They are in the mail delivery alcoves for Floors 1, A and B (Block 17). Other stations are also present in strategic areas of Blocks 7, 8 and Seismic 9. For extra requests for delivery stations in your sector, please contact François Fontaine (Ext. 6700 or francois.fontaine@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca). The decontaminants are to be used to treat the surfaces of shared devices such as biometric readers, keyboards and photocopiers. The decontamination of lab benchtop surfaces must also be done by research staff using 70% alcohol-based solutions and disposable wipes.

We urge you to consider the following practices for computer keyboards or touch screens:

  •  Sharing office workstations and work computers without disinfecting them between each use is to be avoided. 
  • It is also possible to simply use a Kimwipe soaked in a hydroalcoholic solution (70% ethanol) to directly disinfect the keyboards. It is important never to disinfect a touch screen of a scientific apparatus with a chlorine, ammonium or peroxide wipe.
  • Certain computer keyboards and touch screens are permanently covered with a plastic film to protect the devices and facilitate the disinfection procedure with disposable wipes or vaporized ethanol. The Research Directorate provides this film and installs it and replaces it in strategic locations on regular rounds. Please contact François Fontaine to point out any film that needs changing.

5.4.3 - Mail and merchandise delivery. Mail, parcels and merchandise delivered to the laboratories are not disinfected by the Logistics Department. You are therefore asked to practice strict and rigorous hand hygiene after handling the merchandise you receive. It is recommended that you spray parcels with a 70% alcohol-based or activated hydrogen peroxide (commercial product) disinfectant solution. Leave it on for about 2 minutes to ensure the efficacy of the procedure.

5.4.4 - Site cleaning and maintenance. The CHUSJ Hygiene and Sanitation Department has confirmed to us that it performs rigorous and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of all its routes in the public areas, wet labs and office areas. A disinfectant effective against SARS-CoV-2 is used every day in all these areas.

6. Common platforms

When users wish to use a platform instrument, they must reserve it on the platform management portal plateformes-crchusj.ca. On your arrival at the platform or to use common self-service instruments you must disinfect your hands or gloves and the device before use. For details on the disinfection method specific to each device and the specific characteristics of each of the common platforms, please refer to the document on platform management in a COVID-19 setting or on the platform website. If you have any questions about the common platforms, please contact Valérie Villeneuve, the person in charge of common platforms (valerie.villeneuve@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca or Ext. 2786).

7. Clinical research

The following clinical research activities are authorized to continue, resume or start (including participant recruitment) at the CHUSJ and the CRME:

ATTENTION: It is still recommended that face-to-face visits be avoided as much as possible for clinical studies and that virtual visits, whenever possible, be encouraged.

  • Clinical trials with Health Canada approval (i.e., a No-Objection Letter [NOL]) for study drugs or the equivalent for other types of therapeutic products (ex.: natural products, medical instruments, etc.);
  • COVID-19-related research activities;
    • In view of the high number of clinical studies related to COVID and the limited number of pediatric patients, a COVID research committee was created to evaluate the various projects on COVID-19 in order to avoid an over-solicitation of patients and develop an optimized and standardized approach concerning the process of obtaining consent.
  • Clinical studies (without investigational treatments or instruments) that require on-site research visits that are not paired with clinical visits to the CHUSJ or the CRME. However, to be safe, people with medical conditions at high risk of developing COVID-19 should not present at the CHUSJ or CRME just for research activity.
  • Research projects that are carried out at home, at daycare centers or in other environments of community nature. These settings must first provide their approval for the resumption of research activities at their sites and the environment must be considered safe for the people involved.

Research activities by zone:

Cold Zones: Research activities may in general take place in cold zones by respecting the preventive measures issued (hand washing, wearing a mask, wearing protective eyewear during visits with participants, etc.).

Warm zones: In warm zones, clinical study research activities related to COVID-19 or not must be carried out first and foremost by the principal investigator (PI) or one of the co-investigators of the study (ex.: obtaining consent). For special specific needs or when there are no other possible solutions, research staff may be authorized to enter warm zones. To do so, a detailed plan of the planned processes must be submitted to the address aide_RC@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca in order to obtain approval from the Clinical Research Support Center (Centre de soutien à la Recherche Clinique - CSRC). For complete details, please refer to the Politique de gestion des études cliniques pendant la pandémie de la COVID – V6 as well as the Politique de gestion du processus de consentement à la recherche en période de pandémie COVID-19, version 2.

Hot zones: In hot zones, only clinical studies related to COVID-19 are authorized. Research activities must be carried out first and foremost by the PI or one of the co-investigators of the study (ex.: obtaining consent). For special specific needs or when there are no other possible solutions, research staff may be authorized to enter hot zones. To do so, a detailed plan of the planned processes must be submitted to the address aide_RC@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca in order to obtain approval from the Clinical Research Support Center (Centre de soutien à la Recherche Clinique - CSRC).

For requirements and details, please refer to the Politique de gestion des études cliniques pendant la pandémie de la COVID – V6 as well as the Politique de gestion du processus de consentement à la recherche en période de pandémie COVID-19, version 2.

8. CRME Technopole

After the phases for the resumption of activities, during which the number of people admitted to the CRME Technopole was limited, the Research Directorate no longer imposed this type of restriction as of June 30, 2020, as long as physical distancing guidelines could and can be respected. However, any activities that do not require physical presence at the CRME should still be carried out remotely. Wearing a procedure mask will be mandatory in the open areas.

Policies and requirements related to proper use specific to each platform of the Technopole (Lokomat, FLOAT, GRAIL, 3D printing, virtual reality, etc..) have been developed by the Directorates and investigators concerned.

For all of the information applicable to clinical research activities, please refer to the previous section (7. Clinical Research) and the "Politique de gestion des études cliniques pendant la pandémie de la COVID – V5" available on the site recherche.chusj.org/fr/COVID-19/Lignes-directrices.

9. Failure to observe guidelines and monitoring

The proper application of the guidelines to ensure a safe workplace is everyone’s responsibility. The consequences of failing to comply with these directives are the risk of transmitting the coronavirus within our community, which would lead to health risks for each of us and an undesired return to the partial or complete suspension of research activities.

Community managers and the Heads of the research axes will be involved in applying and complying with all of the established guidelines. Any failure to comply with the guidelines must be reported to them. Other monitoring measures of compliance with the guidelines and follow-up on breaches will also be put in place. Access to research areas will be withdrawn from people who do not comply with the guidelines and their teams’ research activities may be suspended.

10. Process should the COVID-19 pandemic intensify with reduction of research activities

As indicated above, this plan will be revised and updated based on the progress of the pandemic. The conduct of research activities will still be based on Public Health requirements and Ministry guidelines. Any intensification of the pandemic will also lead to new internal guidelines in compliance with the prevention of infections and the General Directorate of the CHUSJ.

It is therefore important to remember that any research activity could be reduced, interrupted or compromised should the pandemic intensify and the need arise for another lockdown. We could then go back to one of the 3 phases of the resumption of research activities based on the directives received. While no one would wish for such a situation, we must take every action necessary to maintain the safety of our community.


Jacques L. Michaud
Sylvie Cossette
Mylène Vermette
François Fontaine

Research Directorate, CHU Sainte-Justine

About this page
Updated on 11/12/2020
Created on 5/20/2020
Alert or send a suggestion
 

Every dollar counts!

Thank you for your generosity.

It's people like you that allow us to accelerate research and heal more children better every year and, as such, offer among the best healthcare in the world.

It's also possible to give by mail or by calling toll-free

1-888-235-DONS (3667)

Contact Us

514 345-4931

Légal

© 2006-2014 CHU Sainte-Justine.
All rights reserved.
Terms of Use, Confidentiality, Security

Avertissement

Les informations contenues dans le site « CHU Sainte-Justine » ne doivent pas être utilisées comme un substitut aux conseils d’un médecin dûment qualifié et autorisé ou d’un autre professionnel de la santé. Les informations fournies ici le sont à des fins exclusivement éducatives et informatives.

Consultez votre médecin si vous croyez être malade ou composez le 911 pour toute urgence médicale.

CHU Sainte-Justine