ICICS-Specific COVID-19 Response Information

July 2, 2021: Return to ICICS, Step 3

As of July 2, 2021, we are implementing new guidelines governing return to ICICS, in accordance with the move toward Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan by the Province and UBC. We have developed these guidelines with the full agreement of the Faculties of Science and Applied Science, and are following UBC’s streamlined safety plan process, with seven different UBC-wide safety plans now covering various spaces and activities. Note, these do not require customization, just implementation. You may wish to refer to the ICICS Intermediate Safety Plan to tailor plans to your lab.

The ICICS building will remain locked until September, but students, staff, and faculty who wish to return to the ICICS building to work and study may do so, provided they have key fob access (contact access@icics.ubc.ca to renew/request access). We have all had to be agile in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and must remain open to the possibility that things could change rapidly in the coming weeks, depending on the course of the pandemic. 

Currently, we encourage you to return to ICICS, provided you adhere to the following requirements:

  • If you have not already done so, you must complete the online UBC COVID safety training course https://wpl.ubc.ca/browse/srs/courses/wpl-srs-covid. Keep the completion certificate, but you do not need to submit it at the present time.
  • Perform the COVID self-assessment before you come to campus https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en.  If you or anyone else in your household are feeling ill, please stay home.  You no longer need to submit the self-assessment form tat the present time.
  • Use your own cardkey when accessing the building and shared rooms.  We are required to maintain a list of people who have been on-site in case contact tracing is required.  If everybody uses their own cardkey, then we don’t need to re-institute a sign-in system.
  • Disposable wipes and spray bottles containing a sanitizing alcohol solution have been provided in all shared spaces and are available for use.  Please use these to sanitize any shared surfaces you may have touched before you depart a room (including the door handle).  If supplies are exhausted, email info@icics.ubc.ca .
  • We expect that occupancy will remain relatively low, so please be sure to follow these security guidelines:
    • Do not let anyone into the building.
    • Ensure that all doors and windows are closed and locked when leaving a room.
    • Do not leave valuables visible.
Wearing masks indoors and practicing physical distancing are recommended. For more information, please contact access@icics.ubc.ca.

Campus Plans for September 2021

In accordance with BC’s COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for B.C.’s Post-Secondary Sector,” UBC is preparing for a return to campus in September 2021, announced in a March 8 broadcast message from President Ono. The University is also preparing alternate plans for a 30% return to campus, should the provincial guidelines change before September. 

UBC’s Approach for 2021 Summer Session

The majority of courses at UBC will be taught online for the Summer 2021 session, as announced in a UBC broadcast message.

Wearing of non-medical Masks Mandatory at UBC as of September 16

Effective Wednesday, September 16, 2020, UBC students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear non-medical masks when indoors on UBC campuses. This amends the previous policy which strongly recommended the use of non-medical masks in these settings. See the full announcement for more details.

UBC Re-occupancy & Resumption Plans

General information about the gradual and phased re-occupancy and resumption of activity on UBC’s campuses and learning sites is now available on UBC’s COVID-19 information site. Instructions specific to accessing the ICICS building will be sent to members soon, along with a link to our revised Building Safety Plan.

APSC Return to Campus – Stage 2 Directive for  Faculty and Staff

  • The Return to Research Stage 1 application process has been discontinued, and online applications are closed.
  • At this time we are asking those who can work remotely to continue doing so in Stage 2, as this is the best way to keep our community safe.
  • The Dean’s Office Strategic Initiatives team is working closely with Heads and Directors to finalize the new R2C application process, which will include Return to Research Stage 2, as well as teaching and other essential activities.
  • Details about how to apply through the new return to campus process will be coming shortly.
  • Stage 2 applications will be processed within your home unit (Department or School) – we hope to share more information about how this will work early next week.
  • If you are concerned about the timelines for approval, please speak with your unit Head or Director
  • APSC has set up a new email address to handle questions related to the Return-to-Campus process (APSC.Return-to-Campus@ubc.ca). Please note at this time we are not accepting applications through this email address.
  • Everyone returning to campus must complete the BC Safety & Risk Services (SRS) Covid-19 Training: https://wpl.ubc.ca/browse/srs/courses/wpl-srs-covid. We encourage you to complete this training ahead of time.

Phased Resumption of on-Campus Research

In collaboration with the Faculties, UBC has implemented a phased resumption of on-campus research, adopting a gradual approach over the summer months. Conducting on-campus research and scholarship is limited to those who require on-campus resources and cannot conduct this work remotely. The majority of our faculty and staff will need to continue working remotely, wherever possible.

ICICS Building Safety Plan

The ICICS Building Safety Plan provides guidance to those granted permission to resume research in ICICS during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the floor plans located at the end of the document for directional information, elevator use, access points, and hand sanitizer locations. Please email Fatima Damji  with any questions.

April 28: Working Remotely Extended Until Further Notice

Please be aware of UBC’s announcement that remote working arrangements for faculty, staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and student employees have been extended until further notice.

Working Securely Online

With an increase in the number of faculty and staff currently accessing UBC’s systems and networks remotely, we would like to remind you of the IT resources and support available to you. This includes sorting out the programs that will help you stay connected to your colleagues through audio conferencing, virtual meetings and instant messaging.

Collaborating Securely via Zoom

UBC IT has a campus-wide license for Zoom as a platform for delivering courses online, larger meetings, or collaboration with colleagues. Zoom is an easy-to-use video/audio conferencing platform that offers a wide range of features.

  • For faculty who want to use Zoom for delivering real-time lectures, please reference these step-by-step instructions.
  • For staff who want to use Zoom for meetings and collaboration, please request your Zoom account by emailing av.helpdesk@ubc.ca.

To avoid “Zoom bombing,” where intruders hijack a Zoom session by saying or showing inappropriate content and sometimes posting the interruption to online video channels, follow UBC’s recommended Zoom meeting security practices. 

UBC Guidelines for Working Safely on Campus

UBC has issued health and safety guidelines for those who must work on campus during the COVID-19 crisis. This includes documentation on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),  hazard assessment guidelines, and incident reporting, as well as a number of other useful resources and related contact information.

COVID-19 — Status of Summer Term 2

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, UBC has determined that Summer Term 2 courses (July 6 – Aug. 13) at UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square will be held online. This follows on the decision to hold Term 1 classes of Summer Session (May 11- June 18) at UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square online.

April 15: New Mandatory Minimum Cybersecurity Controls for Accessing UBC Systems and Information

The UBC Executive has mandated that increased cybersecurity controls must be implemented on all servers and computers that are accessing, processing or storing Medium Risk, High Risk, or Very High-Risk information, as defined in Information Security Standard #01 (hxxps://cio.ubc.ca/sites/cio.ubc.ca/files/documents/standards/IS%20Standards%201-21.pdf)*

Depending on your device and whether it is managed by UBC IT, you may be required to implement new cybersecurity controls. See the UBC broadcast email from April 15 to determine what action you are required to take. Note: for security reasons, you will need to replace the ‘hxxps’ with ‘https’ in the listed URLs. 

COVID-19 Response Funding

The Federal Government and other bodies have announced initiatives to develop solutions around COVID-19.  They are summarized here, but it is best to visit the websites directly. If you apply for one of these initiatives, please inform the ICICS Director Rob Rohling (rohling@icics.ubc.ca) so that ICICS can help coordinate efforts.

1. The National Research Council (NRC) has created three COVID-19 funding programs: Procurement, Pandemic Response, and Biomanufacturing Capacity. New challenges will be posted so keep checking the link. The Pandemic Response has $15M for dedicated teams around:

  • Rapid detection and diagnosis
  • Therapeutics and vaccine development and
  • Digital health

2. Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster (CDTS ) has created a COVID-19 Program with up to $60M for projects that will:

  • support the health and safety of Canadians
  • deliver solutions to issues created by the COVID-19 outbreak
  • build expertise and capacity relevant to future health crises

Watch a town hall Q&A held by CDTS on this program on Wednesday, April 1

3. Health Canada – Enabling Clinical Trials

Companies and researchers with drugs, medical devices, or natural health products that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact Health Canada to facilitate clinical trials. Health Canada can hasten clinical trials in urgent situations. Key contacts are:

4. Mitacs COVID-19 Focus

Mitacs now will fast track and increase leverage for Accelerate programs applications for companies with projects related to COVID-19. See https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs

5. D-Wave Support for COVID-19 Research

D-Wave Systems is offering Free Quantum Cloud Access for Global Response to COVID-19. See https://support.dwavesys.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045177574

6. NATO Innovation Hub COVID-19 Challenges

The NATO Innovation Hub is a community where experts from around the world collaborate to tackle NATO challenges and design solutions. In response to the pandemic, the Innovation Hub has issued two challenges. These challenges are open to all. Submit your solutions at: https://www.innovationhub-act.org/challenge-intro

  • Identifying false information and mitigate its effects
  • Delivering supply to isolated individuals and teams

7. NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Funding: Deadline June 1, 2020

NSERC is providing up to $15 million in total support to stimulate collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address COVID-19 related research and technical challenges. Support for up to $50,000 for one-year projects is being made available immediately. Deadline for applications is June 1, 2020

NSERC Funding Extensions

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on research, all active Discovery Grants may receive a one-year extension at current funding levels, including grants from the recent 2020 competition. For more information on this extension and other NSERC COVID-19 related announcements, check the NSERC website.

UBC COVID-19 Research Website

UBC has a website dedicated to COVID-19 related research funding and UBC support services in applying for these opportunities. Most of these grants have an extremely short turnaround time, so check frequently.

Free Access to IEEE Explore Articles on COVID-19

IEEE realizes that many are directly or indirectly engaged in the fight against COVID-19 and its effects on global health and safety, research, infrastructure, communications, and more. IEEE has identified articles from the IEEE Xplore digital library that may help researchers understand and manage different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and technologies that can be leveraged to combat it. All content in this collection is now free to access at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org with additional rights for all types of reuse, including full text and data mining, and analysis.

ICICS Lab Monitoring/Supplies

From Rob Rohling, ICICS Director

Please read the three questions from APSC below, even if you are not from APSC. Most of your labs do not require constant monitoring, special materials (like helium), or ongoing safety issues, but if you do, please respond to this request for information. One example that stands out are computer servers. A possible response in those cases could be a variation of the following (do something similar for other critical equipment):

System 1: Computer server

  1. Location: ICICS, Room xxx
  2. Person Responsible: xxx, xxx Staff (xxx@xxx.ubc.ca; cell phone # xxx-xxx-xxxx)
  3. Duties: Computer Server Maintenance
  4. Frequency: when needed for updates, restarts (typically once a week), on-site visits limited to 1 hour maximum
  5. Additional information: In case the person responsible is unable to do this, xxx  (xxxxx@xxx.ubc.ca, 604-xxx-xxxx) is also able to perform this duty.


The APSC Dean’s Office is helping UBC Central collect information about critical supply needs for the Faculty. Please reply to Jody Swift, Director, Special Projects and Strategic Initiatives, APSC (jody.swift@ubc.ca) and copy John Ede, UBC Financial Services (John.Ede@ubc.ca). Please copy the ICICS Director Rob Rohling (rohling@icics.ubc.ca) on issues that relate to ICICS facilities.

APSC needs to understand/collect information on 3 items:

  1. What is required to ensure that the Unit/Centre campus survives and functions as an ongoing business entity (now and in when we return to work)?
    • Examples may include things like – Helium, Liquid Nitrogen, or other specialized gas
  2. Any aspects of research which cannot safely be put on hold, or precautions or steps that need to be taken during curtailment that could lead to significant delays in reinitiating research if these were not met.
    • Is there a piece of equipment that needs constant monitoring?
    • This may also be anything which is required to ensure that research can be safely paused or reactivated later, this may include the need to keep instruments at specific temperatures to prevent having to re-calibrate
  3. Are any units working on processes/production/activity that is directly related to COVID response efforts which would require specific supplies?

March 24: On-Campus Research Curtailment

In keeping with the University’s directive, ICICS has curtailed all research in the ICICS Building, effective end of day March 24th. Possible exemptions are listed on that webpage.  The University has indicated that the campus wide curtailment will be until April 30th at the very least. As such, we encourage you to shut your windows, empty your fridges, move valuables out of site etc. Given the unusual circumstances, we encourage you to borrow laptops or computers if needed, so that research is not completely disrupted.

If you would like to borrow any ICICS equipment, or you require assistance or a cart to move your equipment, please message access@icics.ubc.ca as soon as possible, so that we can arrange to assist you. If your equipment belongs to your home department, please clarify with them what equipment is leaving campus.

Feel free to reach out to me or any of the ICICS staff with questions and suggestions. We now run a virtual office and ICICS remains operational.

Building Operations

Building Operations would like to remind all faculty and staff that the Service Centre is open during this time. For all building and grounds related inquiries, emergencies, or Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) related items, please continue to contact the Service Centre (604-822-2173) or submit a Service Request online.

The Service Centre continues to be the most effective and efficient platform to track, respond, and prioritize inquiries:

  • Engage your Building Administrator or submit an online service request.
  • Dial 604-822-2173 for emergencies.
  • Email servicecentre.buildingops@ubc.ca
  • Tweet @UBCfixmyspace on social media