INRS is ready for a safe return to university!

Write by Audrey-Maude Vézina

August 19, 2020

( update : October 11, 2020 )

Summer is coming to an end and, with less than two weeks to go before the start of the new school year, INRS is ready to welcome students in the laboratories and classrooms of its four research centres, located in Quebec City, Montreal, Varennes and Laval.

It is under the particular context of the COVID-19 pandemic that the fall trimester will begin on August 31 for more than 800 INRS student members and postdoctoral fellows. Despite the unusual situation, INRS is pleased to be able to safely hold research and training activities in person and remotely when health conditions require it.  

L’INRS est prêt pour une rentrée sécuritaire !

For most of the programs, training activities will be offered in hybrid mode (remotely and on-site) in the fall of 2020. As for research and training activities in the laboratory or in the field, the vast majority will take place in INRS’s facilities, in compliance with the health guidelines required by the Direction de la santé publique du Québec. For example, the size of the groups will be reduced to respect the required physical distancing.

International students who are unable to start the semester in Québec will be able to begin the university semester remotely with the agreement of the supervising professor or to postpone admission by sending a request to the registrar’s office.

In order to take full advantage of remote learning situations, the student community is invited to ensure that it has adequate equipment, computer hardware and Internet access. Technical support is offered to the entire community by the Centre d’assistance of Service des ressources informationnelles (SRI). 

Preventive Measures

In order to provide a safe learning environment on campus, wearing a face mask is mandatory in all common areas, such as hallways, communal areas, washrooms and elevators, as well as in areas where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained. Face cover removal will only be possible in offices or classrooms, once seated, if there is enough space to allow physical distancing. Specific guidelines for each campus are outlined below.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Quebec recommends frequent hand washing with soap or the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible. Health Authorities also recommend avoiding direct contact such as handshakes.

NEW: Peer Mentoring Program

The Service des études supérieures et postdoctorales has established a peer mentoring program, offered to all new student members, even those based outside the province of Quebec. This program aims to help them integrate into the university community, break isolation by quickly creating links with colleagues, direct them to the right resources and help them participate fully in university life. Upon their arrival at INRS, all new student members will be put in contact with someone who knows the university well. To contact the person in charge of mentoring, write to mentorat@inrs.ca.

Ongoing Support

Going back to university in this exceptional context can lead to stress, anxiety and a sense of isolation. In order to accompany members of its community who need psychological support, INRS offers the Employee and Student Assistance Program (ESP), a free assistance service.

INRS continues to financially support its student community through advantageous bursary programs whose payments continue as planned. 

Specific measures

At the Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre,

only one person at a time is allowed in the washrooms. In the rest and dining areas, one person per table is allowed, and microwaves and refrigerators are accessible. A limit of two people per elevator is allowed. Signs indicate the number of persons allowed in the laboratories according to their surface area. A person is responsible for continuous disinfection (door handles, bathrooms, etc.) and bottles of disinfectants are available on each floor.

Access to the campus will be through the main door only, and entrances and exits will be through different doors. Access is managed on a per-request basis to ensure a limited number of people. The supervisor must request access for student members of their team. Access is on a rotating basis in order to respect the distance rules. 

At the Urbanisation Culture Research Centre,

all members of the community will have to sign a form, during their first visit, in which they agree to respect the measures of hygiene and social distancing, and to not show up if they have symptoms or if they have been in contact with a person presenting symptoms. Access must only be through the main door at 385 Sherbrooke Street E. Only one person at a time is allowed in the elevator and in the washrooms.

All fall courses will be held remotely and courses in the urban studies programs given jointly with UQAM will begin the week of September 7. 

At the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre,

people are authorised to carry out experiments in the laboratory, according to the activity schedules, four people per 40 m2 are allowed. Students working in the laboratories, postdoctoral fellows and research employees listed on the attendance chart will also have access to their offices. Microwaves will be available in the cafeteria, but refrigerators will not be in use. Elevators and washrooms may only be used by one person at a time.

Entrance to the building is one person at a time and only the main door is to be used. A signature attesting the absence of flu-like symptoms and close contact with a person testing positive for VIDOC-19 is mandatory.

At the Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie Research Centre, 

the instructions are set out in the Occupant Guide. Access to the Centre is authorized to those who have received the reception training (health control, hygiene measures and rules to be respected). Presence on site, travel between buildings and floors must be limited to the strict minimum. Elevators and washrooms may only be used by one person at a time. A maximum number of occupants is posted at the entrance to certain premises. The Centre recommends having a second face cover for exclusive use on campus. Reusable face covers are not to be used in NC2 laboratories with special operating procedures.

Certain rooms and common areas are available for breaks and meals, while respecting the occupancy capacity of these areas and cleaning the surfaces used on arrival and departure with the disinfectant provided. Picnic tables outside the campus may be used for meals, with a maximum of two people per table, seated at opposite corners.

Additional Information

Consult our section on COVID-19 for more information on the latest updates, prevention measures, study, research and work modalities, as well as psychological support resources. If you have any questions, we invite you to write to coronavirus@inrs.ca.

Happy end of summer!