University Research Under “Orange” (Moderate Risk) Conditions
May 4, 2020
The Vice President for Research is issuing new guidelines as the university transitions from high risk (Red) to moderate risk conditions (Orange) for COVID-19. Please read this and associated documents very carefully to understand and plan for research activities that can be conducted safely during this period.
Under orange conditions, limited research activities can be conducted onsite on campus and in other facilities and field sites. Limited research in this context is defined as activities that can be conducted safely with limited personnel and COVID-19 specific protocols for reduced personnel density, physical distancing, and sanitizing workspaces. All personnel should still work from home whenever possible, and accommodations should be made to allow people at high risk for severe illness to continue to telecommute.
We have provided separate guidance for 1) laboratory research, 2) clinical/human subjects research, 3) field work, 4) research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and 5) participation of students in research in the attached table. Please read and adhere to these protocols with the health and safety of our community and the public as your highest priority.
As you create a plan for research operations with these protocols, please note the obligations of PIs, departments chairs, and deans as described in the University Health and Safety Policy 3-300. As a reminder:
- Supervisors, faculty, and principal investigators are responsible to provide safe and healthy environments for those areas and personnel for whom they have supervisory or administrative responsibility, and to be continuously cognizant of the health and safety needs of all co-workers and employees for whom they are responsible.
- Deans and department chairs are responsible to ensure that activities in their unit are in compliance with all applicable, rules, regulations and standards.
To meet these obligations, deans and department chairs may define limited research activities more specifically as appropriate for their unit. If externally funded research will be greatly impacted or delayed by these restrictions, please contact the VPR office to discuss contingency plans and communications with sponsors via OSP. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) personnel are available to assist with health and safety compliance issues.
For research involving laboratories and/or hazardous materials and procedures overseen by EHS, researchers will have conditional approval to proceed with limited research activities after they complete this checklist, and otherwise comply with instructions and procedures from deans and safety committees in their college.
In collaboration with college safety committees, EHS will continue to monitor research spaces for compliance with regular EHS guidelines and requirements as well as COVID-19 specific protocols.