Stewart Biology closure extended

Published: 8 February 2023

As mentioned in the message sent to the Stewart Biology listservs and posted on the web this morning, tests revealed the presence of asbestos in some building materials damaged by flooding. To be cautious, testing has been extended to other areas of the building not covered in the initial round of tests.

We estimate that the North and South blocks may re-open Tuesday or Wednesday next week at the earliest. These preliminary timelines will of course depend on the results of the tests conducted yesterday. We expect to receive those results tomorrow, February 9. While we wait, an external firm is conducting specialized cleaning under asbestos protocols in all affected areas.

We will provide an update on Monday, February 13.

As per previous messages:

Access to the building:

  • Until the testing and clean-up processes are completed, access to the building will be restricted to those designated research personnel who must care for animals or maintain live cell cultures or plants.
  • Everyone entering the building must wear appropriate PPE, which must be fit-tested. Anyone who has not already requested permission for access and a P100 fitting should contact their supervisor, who will submit a request to Carole Verdone-Smith (carole.smith [at] or Marilena Cafaro (marilena.cafaro [at]
  • Please note that our capacity to fit-test is limited, and therefore we will need to prioritize requests, but we are working to expand it as quickly as possible.


  • All classes currently scheduled in the building should continue to be held online where feasible. Classes that cannot be held online will unfortunately be cancelled.


  • Academic, administrative and support staff working in the Stewart Biology Building should work from home, unless their supervisor requests their presence and can arrange an alternative in-person location. Staff who cannot perform their duties remotely will nonetheless be paid.

We know this is an extremely frustrating situation for many building users, particularly those conducting research. We ask for your continued patience as we work to ensure your safety.

Pierre Barbarie, 
Senior Director, Campus Public Safety, on behalf of the Emergency Operations Centre

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