TRIUMF continues to develop a number of resources to support our community as the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves.
- TRIUMF's COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Meeting Protocols and Virtual Meetings
- Contact information for administrative and business operations teams (Finance, Communications, etc.)
- Computing Resources for Working Remotely
- Reporting Illnesses
More information about TRIUMF's COVID-19 task force can be found here.
Site-wide email update, March 27, 2020 - Important Updates:
Yesterday, over 250 members of our community came together for our first Virtual Town Hall. Thank you for participating -- and thank you for the excellent questions! If you have other questions or comments, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to meeting again in the very near future. Stay tuned for more on that front.
Tonight, I have two quick updates to share:
- Reporting Illness: TRIUMF has developed a new protocol for reporting illness for all staff. Please refer to this information here.
- TRIUMF Community Discussion Board: As announced earlier today by Ian Doyle, TRIUMF has launched a new platform to facilitate community engagement. Please join the TRIUMF Community Discussion Board to stay connected with your colleagues, to give and receive help from others, and to share virtual meet-ups and other social activities. You can access the page here.
Keep in touch and support each other. Remember, we are stronger together than we are apart.
Site-wide email update, March 27, 2020: New platforms for remote work and community support
We know remote work can be a challenge, but as we learned this morning, BC is beginning to see a flattening of the curve attributed to physical distancing. It’s great to see everyone’s efforts having an impact, and with this progress being seen, it is all the more important that we maintain our effort.
To this end, we are working to make sure that you have the tools you need to collaborate with your team members. To help support you during this time, we’ve created the Working Remotely Team on Microsoft Teams.
For those new to the tool, Microsoft Teams is a unified collaboration platform and part of the Office 365 suite of products that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. Teams allows you to communicate and collaborate with your colleagues, whether they’re on-site or working remotely.
On the Working Remotely Team, you’ll find useful information about remote work, best practices, and a growing list of subject matter experts to help you get comfortable with using this platform. We encourage you to explore the Team and see how the platform can complement your group’s existing workflow and processes for working together on shared projects.
At the same time, we’d also like to invite you to the TRIUMF Community Discussion Board. As we practice physical distance, it is all the more important for us to make sure that we live our values and ensure the needs of our TRIUMF Community are being taken care of. Please use the Community Discussion Board to stay connected with your colleagues, give and receive help from others, and share virtual meet-ups and social activities. We’ll be updating this Team over the next few weeks, but if you have ideas please share them with us via email@example.com.
TRIUMF is an exceptional place to work because of its strong collaborative culture. We hope that these new tools will help you keep that culture alive as we work remotely.
Thank you for your continued support.
Director, Human Resources
Site-wide email update, March 25, 2020 – Important Updates:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, I would like to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to safeguard the health of our community.
The well-being of our staff is our top priority; we are working hard to minimize risks associated with continued operations. I will be providing more information at a Virtual Town Hall planned for tomorrow afternoon (see below for details).
Today, I am writing to share several updates:
- Essential staff list: There are many individuals and teams whose on-site presence is critical to the safety and viability of TRIUMF’s scaled-back operations. The COVID-19 task force has been working closely with ALDs and group leaders to identify these people and set out guidelines for site access and safe work. We will share more information very shortly.
- Virtual Town Hall: I will be holding a Virtual Town Hall tomorrow, Thursday, March 26 from 2:30-3:30 PM. You can access this meeting with the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/497407373. If you have questions, suggestions, or comments you would like to ask, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact information for administrative and business operations teams: Our colleagues in TRIUMF’s administrative and business teams remain at your service. However, most are working remotely. Please follow this link to learn how to you can reach them: https://www.triumf.ca/node/36000
- TRIUMF community and the COVID-19 response: Many in our community have expressed interest in supporting the local response to COVID-19.
- We are exploring ways for TRIUMF to assist in the COVID-19 response effort. If you have an idea or a lead as to how TRIUMF might help, please contact Reiner Kruecken at email@example.com
- In this time of stress and isolation, it is important for each of us to remember that we are part of the larger TRIUMF community. We will soon be launching a Microsoft Teams-based forum to collect opportunities to help one another, from assisting colleagues and neighbours with groceries to convening virtual community events. Many of you are already exploring these opportunities, and I encourage you to bring these ideas forward to others via the Teams site.
- And if you really want to feel better, join in the 7:00 pm cheer in support of Vancouver’s front-line health care workers.
I would like to thank you, once again, for your continued flexibility and resilience in the face of these challenging times. I look forward to seeing many of you at tomorrow’s Virtual Town Hall.
Site-wide email update, March 23 2020: Site access protocols
I am following up on this morning’s announcement by Jonathan Bagger that all on-site research activities and other non-critical on-site project and manufacturing activities are being curtailed until at least April 15. Only activities related to medical isotope production (TR-13, 520 MeV cyclotron, BWXT cyclotrons, IAMI construction) are deemed critical and will continue.
For all on-site research activities, this means that all equipment should be brought into a safe state that does not require any or only very infrequent intervention. Research and project activities should continue remotely.
I am asking all research groups to report to their ALDs by Tuesday noon, by when your systems will be in a safe state. If you deem it necessary to continue running certain systems (e.g. detector systems, cryogenic and vacuum systems, electronics and computer systems) you will need approval by your ALD, in particular if these systems that are not supporting the medical isotope production as well as maintaining a safe and secure status of the TRIUMF site.
Each division is in the process of identifying all essential personnel needed to support activities related to medical isotope production and these individuals will continue to be allowed on site.
We expect to have only this essential personnel on site starting Thursday, March 26. We will communicate who is among these personnel within the next day. If you believe an extension is needed to bring your systems into a safe state, please contact your ALD as soon as possible.
We will implement a process to request exemptions for any short-term site access in support of the medical isotope production activities, critical research continuity activities (such as filling of detectors, restarting failing equipment, etc.), or break fixes of essential site service.
Requests can be made by completing the exemption form (see link below) and submitting it to the respective ALD. Approval from the ALD and a Deputy Director is needed. For staff in the Directorate, both Deputy Directors need to approve.
Workers must call the Driver Control Room before entering the site and after exiting the site. All usual safety protocols must be used including pre-job briefings and job hazard assessments as applicable. If the planned work would usually require a work permit, a work permit still must be taken out.
Examples of the type of activities that might be considered are:
- Send in a lab technician to fix equipment in the radiochemistry lab that is needed for the clinical medical isotope production as back up to BC Cancer.
- Send in a mechanical services technician to fix or maintain a cooling water circuit that supports the 520MeV cyclotron.
- Send in two machine shop machinists to manufacture a replacement part needed for the clinical medical isotope production.
- Move a radioactive source in a detector lab or experimental hall
- Fill a germanium detector with LN2
- Power cycle a DAQ computer that is used for off-site work on DAQ software
Examples of the type of activities that will not be considered are:
- Request to work in the office since it is quieter than at home.
- Come in to take some data on a detector system because a student needs it to complete their thesis.
- Come on site to complete installation work for a project that is not supporting medical isotope production.
- Bring a contractor on site to have construction work done for a project that is not supporting medical isotope production.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to us.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay in contact.
Anne Louise Aboud
Deputy Director, Operations
Deputy Director, Research
See https://www.triumf.ca/sites/default/files/Exemption_Request_Form_v2.pdf for more information.
Site-wide email update, March 23 2020: Reducing on-site activities:
Dear colleagues –
I hope your weekends went well, and that you were able to find some respite from the stress of the past week.
I’d like to start off this week by thanking you for the extraordinary efforts you are undertaking to limit the spread of COVID-19, both at TRIUMF and in the larger community. With luck, and intensified effort by everyone, we can save lives by flattening the curve.
To that end, we at TRIUMF are taking the next step: As of today, we are curtailing all on-site research activities until April 15, in line with UBC’s recent directive. This date might be extended, possibly significantly, depending how the situation develops.
We will continue to operate as a medical isotope producer, both for BC Cancer and for BWXT. Patients worldwide need our isotopes, and it is our duty to provide them, even in this difficult time. With fewer people on site, the better the chance that everyone stays healthy.
This decision was taken in concert with all ALDs, and I can assure you it was not taken lightly. We need to keep our site as safe as possible, and that means we need to stop all nonessential on-site activities.
Therefore, we are asking all researchers to leave their facilities in a safe state and to work from home during this period. We are also halting all on-site project and manufacturing activities until April 15, except those related to medical isotope production (TR-13, 520 MeV cyclotron, BWXT cyclotrons, IAMI construction). (The IAMI site is under the control of Ventana, our Construction Manager.)
We are now planning to restart the 520 MeV cyclotron on April 22 – one week later than originally planned. The delay will provide extra time to be sure all work can be done safely following appropriate social distancing protocols.
The deputy and associate directors are preparing a list of staff who need to access the site to carry out critical activities associated with cyclotron startup, medical production, and other essential lab operations. I ask that everyone else work with their supervisors to find meaningful work that can be done remotely. This is a golden opportunity to develop your skills through online training, to update documentation, and to catch up on all sorts of things that have been languishing.
I also ask that you implement this pause as quickly as possible, and that all activities cease by close-of-business Wednesday. If you feel you need an extension, or you anticipate the need to come on campus for any reason, please contact your ALD. The ALDs are working with Reiner Kruecken and Anne Louise Aboud to develop appropriate site access protocols. More to come soon about that.
And a special note to our researchers: use this time to finish documentation, complete an analysis, write a paper, or be creative! Know that Isaac Newton discovered his law of universal gravitation after he was sent down from Cambridge in 1665 because of the plague. As we all know, our apple trees are descendants of those from his home at Woolsthorpe Manor.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay in contact.
Site-wide email update, March 20 2020: Update from the Director:
I’d like to share several updates:
1) We will be delaying the start-up of the cyclotron by one week. The extra time will provide a bit of breathing room as we adjust to the rapidly changing situation.
2) We have updated TRIUMF’s FAQs, including additional information on staying safe at work and at home.
3) We cannot forget the importance of cybersecurity, especially when working from home.
• Be mindful when transporting devices on which data is stored (laptops, USB storage devices)
• Use only secure wi-fi connections
• Be vigilant for phishing emails and other malicious messages
Note that there have been numerous reports of cyberattacks targeting users who are seeking online resources related to COVID-19. As always, never download unknown or suspicious files to your computer.
This has been a challenging week for us all, and I thank you for bearing up so well.
Be safe this weekend!
Site-wide email update, March 20 2020: Vacations / Leaves / Other Requests / Process Changes:
In support of TRIUMF’s transition to remote work, effective immediately, HR/Payroll will no longer be processing the following paper forms: vacation requests, leave requests, request for recruitment, request for extension, or any other forms that can instead be completed as a fillable PDF or Word document.
For Vacation and Leave Forms:
- Employees must email their completed forms to their supervisors. Note: no written signature is required and electronic submission by email will be taken as your signature.
- Supervisors must review the submitted form, check for accuracy and correctness, and email as attachments to payroll to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Request for Recruitment and Request for Extension Forms:
- Supervisors must complete the form and obtain all required authorizations via an email chain of approvals with a note indicating “approved” by each signatory.
- The completed and signed form can be submitted to HR by email as an attachment to HR to email@example.com.
We will be monitoring how these changes are working and impacting everyone and be looking for feedback to improve the process as we move forward.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Director, Human Resources
Site-wide email update, March 20 2020: Payroll & Remote Work Advisory
We’d like to take a moment to share some guidance and practices to support our community as we navigate the changing landscape of work at TRIUMF.
We are seeking to transition to remote work for as much of our operation as possible. With this, we are asking our community to find creative and flexible solutions so we can all continue making meaningful contributions to TRIUMF each day, regardless of where we work, the changing nature of the work, or with which tools.
For some, this may require moving away from your typical on-site work. You may be asked to focus on other areas, such as planning, documentation, or 5S activities, both physical and digital.
We recognize that this transition may pose challenges, so everyone must stay in close communication with their supervisor. It is important that you maintain an agreed-upon work-plan and conduct regular check-ins to report progress. Our common goal is to continue to operate TRIUMF to the best of our ability given the current situation and conditions.
At present, our payroll and pay practices will continue to be administered as follows;
Hourly employees: Employees and supervisors will continue to complete timesheets on a semi-monthly basis as per the current cut-off schedule.
- Employees must email their completed timesheets to their supervisors.
- Note: No written signature is required – electronic submission by email will be taken as your signature.
- Supervisors must review the submitted timesheets, check for accuracy and correctness, and email as an attachment to payroll to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note: Please ensure that all timesheets are submitted in advance of the scheduled cut-off dates.
- At this point, any hourly employee who is unable to work will be compensated at a rate determined by the average hours worked in the last 12 weeks of work.
Salary employees: Employees and supervisors will continue to be paid for hours worked. Employees, who for whatever reason, will be requesting time off or who are sick, must submit the required form to their supervisor electronically, who will in turn review, approve and email as attachments to payroll to via email@example.com.
Overtime - Callout - Standby Forms
- Employees must email their completed form to their supervisor and ALD.
- Note: No written signature is required and electronic submission by email will be taken as your signature
- The supervisor and ALD must review the form, check for accuracy and correctness, and email as an attachment to payroll firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure all forms are submitted in advance of the scheduled cut-off dates.
If you have questions about TRIUMF’s COVID-19 response, please see the TRIUMF COVID-19 FAQ page.
If you have questions about your work situation, please speak first with your supervisor before reaching to Human Resources via email@example.com.
On behalf of TRIUMF leadership, thank you all for your understanding and support through this very challenging situation. We will all get through this together!
Director, Human Resources
Site-wide email update, March 19 2020: TRIUMF priorities
With more and more of us moving to remote work as part of TRIUMF’s social distancing efforts, it is important to update you on our operational priorities during this time of COVID-19.
First, our priority continues to be the health of our people. Changes to regular operations at TRIUMF are being made to ensure community health and well-being, while also advancing our mission. As a result, in consultation with your ALDs, we have re-evaluated the operational priorities for the lab.
In sum, yes, we will continue to operate TRIUMF, for as long as we are able. Our plan is to conduct as much mission-critical work as possible from off-site locations through work-from-home protocols. We are preparing for the cyclotron to start on schedule in mid-April, in order to supply patients worldwide with Strontium for medical use.
The start of ISAC will be delayed until at least June 16; this date will be re-evaluated as the situation develops. For now, all off-site science activities will continue, while on-site science will be restricted to activities deemed critical by your ALD – and only if appropriate social distancing or PPE can be implemented.
For a detailed outline of the operational plan, please see https://www.triumf.ca/node/35969. Questions about our revised priorities can be directed to your ALD. Note that this plan may change – and will likely change – at any moment as the COVID-19 situation develops.
If we continue to support each other, we can continue to deliver on our mission while we keep our community healthy.
Site-wide email update, March 18 2020: COVID-19 Update
I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on TRIUMF’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the new protocols that aim to minimize risk to our community.
1. For those working remotely, remember that online tools are at your disposal to facilitate collaboration. Meetings can be held using Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, which are included in our Office 365 subscription. Please note: Teams CAN be used by those with a TRIUMF email domain OR those without, which is a correction to a previous site-wide message. More resources about remote work can be found here: https://www.triumf.ca/node/35963
2. An FAQ page (https://www.triumf.ca/node/35961) has been created to answer questions about what to do if you are sick or facing self-isolation. Rest assured; you will be paid. If you have a specific question about your individual situation, please contact human resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Following federal and provincial recommendations, we are encouraging work from home, proper hygiene, and social distancing, all aimed at flattening the curve. Please follow the recommendations to respect the health of all.
For those who work on site, we have distributed bottles of disinfectant to help keep shared spaces, such as kitchenettes and lunchrooms clean. Instructions for use are on the bottles, and empty bottles can be dropped off for refill at Room 101 across from the Driver Control Room. (Proper social distancing would suggest that you not drop in to chat with operators while you are there. Don’t worry, they’ll understand!)
We have plenty of soap and water for the frequent washing of hands. Hand sanitizer refills are backordered, but in the meantime we encourage you to wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water, which is more effective than sanitizer anyway.
4. Additional COVID-19 related questions or concerns can be directed to email@example.com – we are monitoring that inbox daily and will respond as promptly as we are able.
Finally, I'd like to thank each of you for your flexibility and understanding as we navigate the changes that come each day. We are adapting as the situation develops, and I appreciate your efforts to accommodate these changes in the interest of community health.
We will continue to update you as we work through this pandemic together.
Site-wide email update, March 17 2020: Health and Wellbeing in a Challenging Time
As we navigate through the coronavirus pandemic together, I would like to share the simple but important fact that the future will inevitably bring uncertainty, anxiety, and stress, to which none of us are immune. In spite of this, I want to remind you of the strength and support that you can find in our TRIUMF community.
Together in the coming days, we will face unprecedented upheavals in day-to-day life, from travel and social gathering restrictions to municipal activity directives and beyond. Additionally, each of us will face further challenges to our closest bonds – parents, children, friends, co-workers and neighbours. The cumulative impact will be difficult for many to bear.
At this point, you have received a variety of communications addressing immediate needs: protecting yourself and those you care about from the virus, work procedures, and others. I am writing this afternoon to share an additional message about our core values. Today, more than ever before, it is important for us to remember and live our values – to be compassionate, to take care of each other, and to support the success of all.
Our values are more than words. They represent us as a community. Therefore, in line with our values, I reassure you that we are committed to caring for our people, whether on site or off, whether we are operating or not.
As we support each other, we must also remember to take care of ourselves. As individuals, we must remember that our personal well-being is the single most important factor in keeping our community resilient in the face of turbulent times.
If you have questions or require support, I encourage you to reach out: to your TRIUMF community, to our colleagues in human resources, to your friends and family, or to an appropriate health professional. Please note that Homewood Health is our Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), who as part of your employee benefits, provides a wide array of support and resources. As our wellness services provider, you can call whenever or wherever you need them, including a hotline and counselling services. Please see the link below to access these services.
If you are able, please also consider proactively reaching out to check in on your TRIUMF colleagues to ask how they are faring. Remember: small gestures can have a tremendous impact. Social distancing does not mean we need to deal with this situation alone.
If you have any questions or concerns about how TRIUMF can help support health and well-being in our community, I urge you to reach out to Ian Doyle, Director of Human Resources, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the days and weeks to come, our bonds will be tested, so I am asking each of you to step up and do what is necessary to help us weather the storm. The TRIUMF community has pulled together in the past, and I am confident we can do so once more.
Site-wide email update, March 16 2020: Updated site access protocols
At the recommendation of TRIUMF’s COVID-19 task force, TRIUMF’s site will be accessible only to staff, authorized visitors, and contractors until further notice.
Furthermore, all staff, authorized visitors, and contractors must pass a screening protocol based on directives from B.C.’s Provincial Health Services Authority, comprised of the following questions:
- Have you travelled internationally within the last 14 days, and returned to Canada after March 12?
- Have you travelled internationally within the last 14 days to Italy, Iran or Hubei Province (China) and returned on or before March 12?
- Have you been in contact with a known or suspected COVID-19 case within the last 14 days?
- Are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing)?
Anyone who answers yes to any question is not allowed on site.
Staff are required to self-assess, and if the answer to any question is yes, please do not come on-site, and contact your supervisor and Ian Doyle, Director of Human Resources (x7314).
Authorized visitors and contractors must complete the TRIUMF COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire, which contains the same questions. The TRIUMF contact or supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the questionnaire is completed prior to site access via the Main Office Building and Stores.
The questionnaire is available as a .PDF here.
Site-wide email update, March 12: TRIUMF COVID-19 task force
TRIUMF has convened a lab-wide task force – chaired by Anne Louise Aboud, TRIUMF’s COO and Deputy Director, Operations – to facilitate planning related to COVID-19. With the situation rapidly evolving, the task force will meet daily to develop guidance informed by best practices from federal and provincial authorities – tailored to the specific needs of the TRIUMF community.
Hand sanitizer stations
TRIUMF will be increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations across the laboratory. We will also be hanging posters reminding all staff, students, and visitors to adhere to proper hygiene practices. Please take note of this information as it is posted across the site, and please follow the direction provided.
Public group tours are on hold
In addition, the task force has also recommended a temporary hold on all public tours. This change will be implemented immediately, with the cancellation of all the individual and group public tours that are currently booked.
Further updates to TRIUMF's travel protocols
In a joint statement issued on March 12, B.C.’s Minister of Health Hon. Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (PHSA) announced that, effective March 12, the province’s health officials expect all individuals in B.C. who choose to travel out-of-country to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon their return.
TRIUMF is now taking in response to this directive:
1) All staff and visitors who returned to Canada from international travel on or after March 12 must place themselves in self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor their symptoms according the provincial government’s directives. Staff must also contact their TRIUMF supervisor.
2) All staff and visitors who returned to TRIUMF in the 14 days prior to March 12 must follow previous government directives, including 14 days of self-quarantine for those returning from countries with Level 3 travel health notices, and 14 days of monitoring for those returning from countries with Levels 1 and 2. Please see here for a list affected countries.
3) Effective March 12, TRIUMF will deny entry to staff and visitors who do not comply with these measures.
Please continue to monitor this page for updates.
Website update, March 5 2020: Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As you may be aware, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China has since spread to several countries around the world.
The BC Centre for Disease Control and Public Health Agency of Canada continue to assess the risk to British Columbians and Canadians to be low. At this time, the BC Centre for Disease Control advises the following:
- Staff, students or visitors who have been to Hubei, China and Iran should stay home and self-isolate for 14 days, immediately on their return. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
- Staff, students or visitors who have been laboratory tested for COVID-19 should stay home and self-isolate until their test results are known.
- Staff, students or visitors who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing should stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing).
- Staff, students or visitors who have been in other parts of the world where COVID-19 cases have been reported should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing) for 14 days. They do not need to self-isolate.
With respect to future travel, TRIUMF is following the guidance of the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia. The Government of Canada advises avoiding all non-essential travel to China (including no travel to Hubei Province), Iran, and regions within Italy and South Korea. With the situation rapidly evolving, it is suggested that all staff and students review the Government of Canada's travel health notices before commencing a trip.
For any staff traveling to affected areas for work, please report your plans to your Associate Laboratory Director / Deputy Director as soon as possible to determine if your travel should proceed. For anyone travelling for non-work reasons, please be advised that you may be affected by travel restrictions.
All those returning to Canada from affected areas must contact their Associate Laboratory Director / Deputy Director and Human Resources (Ian Doyle; email@example.com) prior to returning to work.
For more information about this evolving situation, please see the links below:
- Public Health Agency of Canada - Coronavirus outbreak updates: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
- BC Centre for Disease Control - Latest case counts on novel coronavirus: http://www.bccdc.ca/about/news-stories/stories/2020/information-on-novel-coronavirus
- Public Health Agency of Canada - Self isolation advisory for Iran and Hubei Province, China: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-sheet-travelled-hubei-province-china.html
- COVID-19 Travel Advice: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
- Travel Advisories: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
For any questions, please contact Ian Doyle (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director, Human Resources.