From: UF Administrative Memo - Self-subscribers <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of UF Administrative Memo
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2020 5:00 PM
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Subject: UF Administrative Memo: Updated Guidance for Research Community Regarding COVID-19

 

DATE:

March 16, 2020

 

UF ADMINISTRATIVE MEMO

 

FROM: 

Dr. David P. Norton, Vice President for Research

 

SUBJECT:

Updated Guidance for Research Community Regarding COVID-19 (updated

3/16/20)

 

The university continues to monitor developments locally, statewide, nationally

and internationally regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken. 

 

While there is significant uncertainty regarding future events, it is prudent for UF

researchers to recognize that impacts and measures seen in other parts of the

nation and world could be realized locally, and that they could occur rapidly. 

 

Recognize that future safety measures instituted by the University of Florida, the

city, or the state could result in limitations and disruptions in staffing, supplies,

and access to facilities.

 

UF|Research is providing the following updated guidance to researchers as they

prepare for potential additional impacts from COVID-19:

 

·         Supervisors are encouraged to determine what functions can be migrated

to remote workplace (e.g. home), and begin implementation.  While we

don’t anticipate all functions will migrate off campus, moving some

functions now makes implementation of social distancing throughout the

on-campus UF workspace more readily achievable. 

·         Implement recommended practices for on-campus operations that

minimize the potential person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.  If an

employee is or feels sick, they should stay home.  At work, frequent hand-

washing, social distancing (maintaining at least 6-feet of separation from

others), and migrating meetings to calls or Zoom are good practices and

are strongly encouraged. 

·         Perform situational planning in the event that access to your research

space is restricted, or the availability of laboratory personnel is curtailed. 

·         Formulate research plans in the event that extended absence from

laboratory is required for one or more individuals.  For critical functions

that must be performed on campus, such as research animal care,

develop a plan for how these will be handled.  Discuss now with your

group who will be designated as research continuity personnel to

maintain ongoing experiments and receive essential supplies, should

access to campus be restricted. 

·         Primary consideration is the health and safety concerns of your group

members and their families.  Individuals in high-risk groups or with high-

risk family members should significantly limit exposure to other co-

workers, who may be asymptomatic. 

·         Consider what supplies and reagents you will need to maintain ongoing

laboratory experiments and human subject data collection projects in the

event of a shortage or restricted campus access.

·         Prioritize ongoing laboratory activities that are critically important in the

event that on-campus efforts are disrupted.  Consider postponing new

experiments that require significantly long timelines of uninterrupted on-

campus activities.

·         Discuss with your research group the types of research activities that

could be performed if access to campus is impaired.  This could include

data analysis, documentation of procedures, developing manuscripts, and

writing reports.  The university recognizes that such disruption may

impair progress for certain research endeavors.  While the university will

seek to maintain on-campus research operations, these could become

unavailable.

·         In light of disruptions due to COVID-19, federal funding agencies are

providing flexibility to awardees and applicants.  Agency-specific guidance

will be posted at https://research.ufl.edu/covid-19-updates.html  as it

becomes available.  Please contact Stephanie Gray ([log in to unmask]) or

Tiffany Schmidt ([log in to unmask]) for specific guidance.

·         Establish a communication plan (or review existing plan) for your group,

including both students and staff. This should include emergency contact

phone numbers for all group members, and a strategy for how you will

communicate essential information rapidly, if necessary. This information

should be shared with all members of your group.  Plan to stay in good

communication via virtual lab meetings to provide scientific as well as

emotional support to your research team.

 

Many of these recommended actions represent prudent preparation for what

might occur going forward.  The local situation with COVID-19 could evolve

rapidly.  Our goal is to keep research laboratories open and available for UF

researchers, but we to need to prepare now for various scenarios so as to protect

UF personnel and families, and to preserve the remarkable entity that is the UF

research enterprise. 

 

Additional updates specific to the research community will be posted at

https://research.ufl.edu/covid-19-updates.html .  University-wide updates are

posted at http://www.ufl.edu/health-updates/ .

 

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