MARCH 24, 2020 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent via email today from Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise Bernard Arulanandam to all faculty and staff:
In response to the Stay Home, Work Safe orders from Mayor Nirenberg and Judge Wolff, all noncritical on-campus laboratory research will be paused beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 and until further notice except as described below. During this pause, only essential personnel may enter UTSA laboratories. Only essential research activities and core facilities preapproved specifically for your laboratory by both your associate dean for research and the VPREDKE office are permitted to continue. See below for further guidance on what activity may or may not be deemed essential.
Please immediately put your shutdown plan into effect for an anticipated pause of at least six to eight weeks. Please place the Lab Door Notice on your lab door when you have migrated your lab to “pause mode.” This notice will display names and phone numbers of contact people for emergencies, your designated “lab well-check” person (defined below under Important Policies), and (in the event we grant you an essential activity exemption) a list of essential personnel. Provide contact information for each person.
If you have not already, notify Lab Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org of any ongoing sanctioned activity in your lab; the presence of possible lab hazards if emergency entry is needed; any needs for chemical or biohazardous waste pickup; and any perishable items still present in your lab or core. Those of you conducting animal research will receive additional guidance from LARC director Marcel Perret-Gentil.
Please note that when we go into “pause mode” for on-campus laboratory research, the following units will maintain remote operations to support our UTSA research community.
Essential Activities Eligible for Exemption
The research pause is being implemented to maximize the safety of the UTSA research community. Exemptions are only needed for work in on-campus research facilities. Work at home does not need an exemption. We encourage those few PIs who will be eligible to go ahead and submit their requests now to prevent interruptions in their activities. Many of you have already submitted your information to your college and we appreciate their partnership in this process. If you have already sent your lab needs, you do not need to submit an exemption. If you have any questions, please contact Mickey Stevenson at (210) 668-3313.
Exemptions should be requested using the form located here. Potentially eligible activities include:
When the VPREDKE and your ADR grant an exemption, we expect lab leaders to proceed with extreme caution and follow the updated Continuity Guidance for Research Facilities. Lab members should work from home whenever possible and team meetings should only take place in virtual settings. When in the lab, maintain a density of personnel to permit a safe space between researchers, even in training situations. Require essential personnel to stay home if they are ill or have contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Establish a system by which lab members can check on the status of each other.
This is an extraordinary time for our institution and our local community. I fully understand the impact these changes can have on your respective research program and the impact on your students’ progress. The impact of the COVID-19 virus may have long-lasting effects. Our focus now is on the health and safety of all members of the UTSA research community while trying to minimize the immediate effects on our Roadrunner family. The Research Office is committed to serving the research needs of our faculty and postdocs and continuing to support our research portfolio. Please feel free to reach out to us during this critical time.
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