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Research / Coronavirus: Research Policies

Coronavirus Emergency Plan

Thanks to everyone for managing the reduction in research personnel that occurred over the past 6 months as well as the COVID-19 precautions that were enacted (e.g., masking, 6 ft distancing, location log, etc.). We are unaware of a single COVID-19 infection that occurred in our research spaces during this time. Because of your vigilance, the reduced capacity in research labs and spaces will be lifted as of October 1st as communicated by the Vice President for Research.

In preparation for this increased density, we are asking the PIs of laboratories and research programs to fill out the very brief Research Lab Density Attestation Fillable Form which will provide us with a better understanding of the College's projected density. Please send on to your department chair or designee for final signature. Department chairs/designees should then forward to Diana Mullenix by close of business, September 30, 2020.

Although we are increasing our capacity for research, there is still an expectation to minimize density by continuing to perform activities remotely and/or staggering schedules as much as possible. If work can be done at home, that should be accommodated. Smaller labs that cannot accommodate physical distancing practice may have to stagger schedules of lab personnel. We ask that PIs offer latitude for lab personnel schedules that may need to accommodate child care or other issues. In addition to being aware of the social distancing requirements in your lab, you must pay attention to the surrounding areas to minimize congestion.

Though we all would like to get back to our past lab camaraderie, please be mindful of limiting the number of people at gatherings to 10 or less (with appropriate physical distancing). Lab meetings can only be held in a room if such distancing can be accommodated. Consumption of food or beverages during the meeting is not permitted. Remote lab meetings, especially during the winter months are strongly suggested. A potential transmission situation is posed by lunch groups, even outdoors, as masks are off. It remains prudent to eat lunch in your office/space by yourself with the door(s) closed.

Please be aware that confirmed COVID-19 infections within the CoM buildings, individual labs, departments, and the College could result in closures or return to reduced density. It is in our best interest to ensure all precautions which kept us safe thus far are maintained to get our research engine at capacity. In addition, personnel will no longer be required to complete location logs as of October 1.

We must all be mindful that strict adherence is necessary to maintain full capacity and that we are all very much in this together. If you see a lapse in adherence in a lab or by lab personnel, please report it to the lab director, department chair or designee immediately. You could also ask the person to correct their behavior in a courteous manner.

Finally, we are grateful that you have been so productive during these past 6 months even with all the restrictions. We ended FY20 as one of only 3 colleges to meet the challenge of the President to increase annualized research holdings by 25%; in fact, thanks to all of you we surpassed 30%. Although we have been hampered over the past 6 months, it is now our challenge to regain that high level of productivity and continue building upon what you have done over the past few years. It will be great to see everyone back. Masks up!

Andrew T. Filak, Jr. MD
Dean of the College of Medicine, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Melanie T. Cushion, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Research
Brett M. Kissela, M.D., M.S.
Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research

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