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Research Community Updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last Updated: April 8, 2020, 4:06 PM

The purpose of this webpage is to update the UofU Research Community in regards to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

**click here for Information on human subjects research-related
visits to University Clinics & Facilities **


Research Operations Update - April 8, 2020 

April 8, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Here are today’s research community updates:

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 


Research Operations Update - April 6, 2020 

April 6, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Here are today’s research community updates:

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 


Research Operations Update - April 3, 2020 

April 3, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

Here are today’s research community updates:  

As previously noted, the VPR Office is phasing out the daily emails for the VPR COVID-19 Updates. Today’s update will mark the end of daily email reminders. Going forward we will send updates weekly or as needed to highlight major changes/additions. COVID-19 related research updates from our units, leadership, and community will be thoroughly and consistently updated on the VPR Website – please check this site regularly for updates.

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 

 


Research Operations Update - April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Here are today’s research community updates:

  • The Research Town Hall materials (video, slides, and chatroom transcript) are now available on box. Please download the video to access audio and sound.
  • The Office of Research Participant Advocacy (ORPA) guidance has been updated. Maintaining open communication with study participants during this time is very crucial. ORPA is available to assist in communicating with your participants about the changing environment and how it impacts their participation.

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events.


Research Operations Update - April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

We would like to express our gratitude to the UofU research community for attending the Research Town Hall today. Thank you to everyone for your input and participation!  We are extremely proud of the research community for working together to keep research operations and activities running as smoothly as possible during this challenging time. The combined efforts across campus truly demonstrates what it means to be OneU!

We hope that we have answered all of your questions and concerns at the Town Hall meeting. Please feel free to submit any additional questions to the Google Form and we will respond to you as soon as possible. The Town Hall materials (recording and presentation slides) will also be available on the VPR website in the near future.

Here are today’s research community updates:

  • The Institutional Biosafety Committee guidance has been updated.
  • Clarification on the recent message regarding “Temporary changes for Documenting Informed Consent during COVID19 Pandemic.”
    • The recent mandate to suspend patient signatures on informed consent for high-risk patients is for standard of care consent only, not for research.

As a reminder, the VPR office will start phasing out the daily emails for the VPR COVID-19 Updates. Please remember to frequently visit the VPR website to access the daily updates.

As always, please continue to give us feedback on how we can do better. Thank you again for your commitment and dedication to research at the U. Be safe and be well.


Research Operations Update - March 31, 2020

March 31, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The VPR office will start phasing out the email reminders for the VPR COVID-19 Daily Updates. Please visit the VPR website to access the daily updates.

As a reminder, the VPR Office is hosting a Virtual Research Town Hall on April 1st at 1:00 pm. The Town Hall will include:

  • An “Opening Welcome” from President Ruth V. Watkins
  • UofU Research Continuity Updates
  • Open Q&A Session

If you have any questions you would like us to address at the meeting, please fill out this form before the Town Hall. This Town Hall is open to all of our research community, however, space is limited to the first 300 participants. Zoom Meeting link: https://utah.zoom.us/j/268865038

Here are today’s research community updates:

  • The Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is requesting that researchers who are carrying out or considering COVID-19-related research fill out a brief REDCap survey. The intent is to identify opportunities for collaboration, areas of expertise, and to connect researchers with funding opportunities. Please fill out the survey here.

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 


Research Operations Update - March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The VPR Office is hosting a Virtual Research Town Hall on April 1st at 1:00 pm. The Town Hall will include:

  • An “Opening Welcome” from President Ruth V. Watkins
  • UofU Research Continuity Updates
  • Open Q&A Session

If you have any questions you would like us to address at the meeting, please fill out this form here before the Town Hall. This Town Hall is open to all of our research community, however, space is limited to the first 300 participants. Zoom Meeting link: https://utah.zoom.us/j/268865038

In addition, the seed grant for COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 is due tomorrow, March 31st. The RFA can be accessed here.

Here are today’s research community updates:  

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events.


Research Operations Update - March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are getting numerous questions about effort reporting and charging salaries on grants during this period. Please see this expanded guidance from OSP

We would like to express our gratitude to all of the research faculty and staff that have tirelessly worked together to donate their PPE to U Health. We are truly humbled by these incredible efforts across campus. THANK YOU!

So far research labs have donated: 

  • Gloves: 87000 (~870 boxes)
  • N95 Respirators: 540
  • Safety glasses: 1165
  • Face Shields: 180
  • Rear closing disposable gowns: 455

Here are today’s research community updates: 

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 

 


Research Operations Update - March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Thank you for the enormous response to the request for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). We’re continuing to ask researchers on campus to provide a summary of PPE that they have on hand and would be willing to donate in support of University healthcare operations.  The hospital is requesting specific types of PPE, as listed on the donation form.

For logistical reasons, we are not collecting PPE at the present time -- we are compiling an inventory of available PPE, contact information, and location. If the need arises, the PPE will be collected by EHS personnel with 24-hrs notification.  We recognize this will require coordination to access laboratory space that might be currently shut down and we are prepared to facilitate that process.

The VPR office is currently working to coordinate this call for PPE donations with other University organizations outside the research community.

Here are today’s research community updates:

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 


Message from Andy and Sam Weyrich

March 26, 2020


Research Operations Update - March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As of Wednesday, March 25, 2020, EHS personnel will begin conducting periodic walk-throughs of all research buildings, verifying that personnel are complying with University guidance on physical distancing, confirming that ongoing work is limited to essential functions, and verifying that building conditions are safe and stable.

Just as a reminder – please help us spread the word that we are gathering inventories of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed by the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics. Fill out the inventory form here.

Here are today’s research community updates:

Additionally, please see this video message from Sam and Andy Weyrich that was sent out to all research administration staff earlier today.

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events. 


Research Operations Update – March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Just as a reminder – please spread the word that we are gathering information on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other needed supplies to give to the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics. Please fill out the inventory form here.

For PIs who receive external funding, please make sure you have read about COVID-19 Impacts on Sponsored Projects.

Here are today’s research community updates:

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible. We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible during these challenging events.


Research Operations Update - March 23, 2020 

March 23, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Many researchers have inquired about donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other needed supplies to the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics. Thank you so much for your generosity! To submit an inventory of equipment and supplies that you may have in your department or laboratory, please use the link at the bottom the COVID-19 Research page.

Just a reminder - as research activities ramp down, under no circumstances should researchers take materials other than laptops, data storage devices, or notebooks offsite (e.g., to their homes). All essential research activity must take place within the confines of an appropriate laboratory space to ensure research continuity, health and safety, and security. 

Specifically, under no circumstances is it appropriate to remove animals from IACUC approved housing or research spaces. Similarly, removal of hazardous, biological, or radioactive material from approved research spaces is not allowed.

We know that many of you are concerned about how restrictions on travel and essential research activities are impacting grants, contracts, and research funding. Please see updated information about COVID-19 impacts to Sponsored Projects.

Here are other research community updates: 

Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance on the VPR website as quickly as possible.


"Thank You" From Vice President Weyrich

March 23, 2020

 


Research Operations Update - March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020

Thank you for your monumental efforts to identify and implement essential research operations and personnel. The majority of research laboratories have developed continuity plans and revised their protocols to operate with minimal on-campus staff, physical distancing, and best practices for personal and public health. We know that this has taken a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we are extremely grateful. 

Although VPR Central Research Administration operations are largely running at full capacity, the majority of services are performed remotely. Onsite VPR operations are limited to essential services that ensure animal welfare and environmental health and safety in laboratories.

Here are today’s research community updates:

As we enter the weekend, we are working with Deans/Research Deans and Center/Institute Directors to further refine guidance on essential research operations within their Units. Thank you for all of your input as we strive to provide needed information and guidance at the VPR website as quickly as possible.

Andy Weyrich, Vice President for Research
Diane Pataki, Associate Vice President for Research
Erin Rothwell, Associate Vice President for Research


Research Operations Update - March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains open and operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Below are the new updates:

Due to the evolving communications regarding COVID-19, please check the VPR website daily for updates and announcements.

 


Research Operations Update - March 18, 2020

March 18, 2020

Dear Research Community,

We are grateful that all of you are safe. It’s important that we take care of each other and demonstrate patience and support during these stressful events.  We appreciate all of your hard work to keep research operations running smoothly as much as possible. On top of all the challenges with COVID-19, we experienced a 5.7 magnitude earthquake this morning. 

The VPR website now has an earthquake information webpage.

Today’s updates:

  • Research buildings have gone through initial assessment, and with the exception of the Browning building, have been cleared for re-occupancy. Essential personnel only should check laboratory spaces for damage and report hazardous conditions to Environmental Health and Safety (1-6590 or EHS website.
  • All vivaria have been evaluated and remain operational.
  • Please check the Central Research Operations Guidance page for the current status of research support operations for continued guidance.
  • Detailed guidance if there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your work area is available. Please review and share this guidance document.

The VPR website will be continually updated with current information about central research operations, investigator laboratory guidance, and funding agency updates.

Again, thank you for all of your hard work. The University of Utah’s research community is doing an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances and we are so grateful for each and everyone of you.  

Andy Weyrich, Vice President for Research
Diane Pataki, Associate Vice President for Research
Erin Rothwell, Associate Vice President for Research


Research Operations Update - March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains open and operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Below are the new updates:

  • The Graduate School has created a new webpage for operational updates related to COVID-19. Access the Graduate School website here.
  • The Office of Comparative Medicine (OCM) has posted a guidance for research operations. Access the guidance webpage here.

Due to the evolving communications regarding COVID-19, please check the VPR website daily for updates and announcements.


Research Operations Update - March 16, 2020

March 16, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains open and operational as we continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As of this moment, UofU laboratories are currently open and functional. Laboratories are recommended to develop and/or review established local continuance plans, identify the minimum personnel necessary for lab operations, and create a laboratory shutdown plan in the event that research operations need to be ramped down on short notice. Below are resources to assist with research planning and guidance:

Due to the rapid communications on the coronavirus outbreak, please check the VPR COVID website daily for updates and announcements.


Guidance for Research Planning and Continuity

March 13, 2020

The Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) remains open and fully operational as we closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and continuance of research operation plans are in place.  

The VPR office is also encouraging research laboratories to develop and/or review established local continuance plans. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, or other infectious agents in the future, it is possible that a significant number of laboratory personnel will be absent. We recommend that each facility/laboratory develop a written continuity plan.

Examples of elements to consider include:

Identify the minimum essential personnel and ensure they know what to do in the event of suspended operations.

  • Encourage employees to telecommute, especially job duties that do not require them to be on campus. Note that telecommuting is not appropriate for all jobs. All employees who telecommute are required to follow the University’s Telecommuting Policy for Staff Employees (Policy 5-140) and Telecommuting Guides (Guideline 5-140) and complete the University of Utah Telecommuting Form.
  • Review important operational questions, such as: Are there sufficient back-up personnel if these personnel become unavailable? How will employees be trained to ensure their safety while they are at work?

Create a communication plan. All emergency contact information should be shared between personnel and departmental leadership (e.g., cell phone numbers).

Identify critical processes that will need to be maintained if the campus is shut down and review samples/facilities that are at risk of harm in the laboratory or facility. For example, do you have live animals that will need feeding? Do you have equipment that cannot be shut down and will need regular maintenance? Are all critical equipment on emergency power and are all refrigerator/freezers connected to alarms with remote monitoring?

Review telecommuting needs. Ensure that you and your key personnel have remote access to files, data, servers, IT devices, etc.

Keep amounts of hazardous materials waste to a minimum. Be mindful that the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) waste disposal group may also be affected by illness, increasing pick up wait times.

Start prioritizing experiments. If you are carrying out a long-term experiment, and if it is feasible to freeze samples at specific steps, you might consider doing this more often. Ensure that critical materials are secured.

Prepare for delays in ordering. Ensure that you have sufficient materials/supplies for critical functions, e.g., PPE, CO2 tanks, liquid nitrogen tanks. Contact vendors/collaborators to discuss plans to suspend regular shipments (receiving and outgoing).

Be cognizant of upcoming deadlines. Although central research administration remains open, reviews by the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Biosafety Committee (IRB), etc., may be prolonged or delayed.

Keep personnel up-to-date on wellness training. All personnel should be trained on what to do if they are concerned that they have been exposed to an illness. This also includes training on prevention methods to keep a healthy and safe work environment. Please print and post the Safe Laboratory Guidance document in your laboratories/facilities. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has helpful tips on what to do if you are exposed to the coronavirus.

Create a Rapid Laboratory Shutdown Plan. Please create a contingency plan in the event the University needs to suspend and/or significantly reduce laboratory research operations on short notice (i.e., 24-72 hours).

The VPR office has created an example template regarding instructional laboratory guidance. Your written plan should be shared with your Department Chair or Division Chief. We hope that advance planning will allow everyone in your group to focus on their own efforts and work together as a team. Be prepared and stay safe!


Letter from the Office of the Vice President for Research

March 11, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to inform the UofU’s research community that the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) continues to provide full services and resources during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As the UofU continues to closely monitor COVID-19, we strongly encourage all research groups, laboratories, and facilities to create an operations plan to prepare for any potential disruptions to research activities. Although UofU research operations are currently functional, we hope that research groups on campus will take proactive steps now to help mitigate impacts to research activities in the case of an illness outbreak. Please consider contingencies, such as remote access and telecommuting, due to the possibility of university restrictions and building access. The VPR office will also have its own emergency plans in place to ensure the continuity of research operations on campus.

Our main priority is the health and safety of the UofU campus community. As a reminder, please check the university’s coronavirus website for regular updates, guidance, and alerts, as well as best practices to reduce the spread of any type of illness. Thank you for your patience and consideration.

Best,

Andy Weyrich, Vice President for Research
Diane Pataki, Associate Vice President for Research
Erin Rothwell, Associate Vice President for Research

 

Last Updated: 4/8/20