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COVID 1”

Reducing impact of COVID-19 on UW research activities

Updated as of August 6, 2020

 

Given the global nature of the University of Wyoming’s (UW) research enterprise, the Office of Research & Economic Development (ORED) is monitoring the fluid situation presented by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the associated COVID-19 disease, and its continuing potential to impact university research activities. Please consult UW’s Official Page for COVID-19 Communication for important tips on how to stay healthy, view available wellness resources, and find information on national and international protocols undertaken to help minimize the spread of illness.

All services provided by ORED and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will continue to stay open for business. ORED staff will continue working remotely when possible and will be able to assist via phone, email, and Zoom.  ORED is considering an employee rotation schedule to provide for a couple of employees to be in the office each day of the week.  Office visitation with ORED staff will be by pre-arranged appointment only. 

UW is planning to reopen campus for the 2020 fall semester (please see UW’s Official Page for COVID-19 Communication for details).  The majority of research activities are conducted on campus; therefore, faculty, staff and students retain access to university research spaces, and research support services remain available. UW Laramie campus research facilities and UW research stations in other Wyoming locations should continue their operations according to the recommendations in this document and in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for minimizing COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.


Incidence of COVID-19

If anyone in a research laboratory or facility experiences COVID-19 symptoms (coughing, fever and shortness of breath), please stay away from campus, self-isolate and contact your health care provider for care. Also, please go to the COVID-19 Command Care Center page and fill out the form so that the university can get in touch with you. You could also email covid19@uwyo.edu or call 307-766-COVID (2683) to report your status.  Reporting to the UW COVID-19 Command Center will enable rapid mobilization of disinfection crews, if necessary, and inform UW administration to determine if there is a need for a change in building or campus operations.


Graduate Student Research

UW faculty are to continue to advise and work with their graduate students toward advancement of their degrees. For questions about graduate student education, please see the Office of Graduate Education COVID-19 Related Information website.


Undergraduate Research

UW undergraduate students, who are conducting research as part of the federal work-study program, can continue their research and be paid if they so choose. It is recommended that supervisors of part-time hourly undergraduate research employees alter students’ duties as needed to protect their health and well-being in accordance with CDC guidelines for minimizing exposure in the workplace. Part-time hourly students shall be afforded the option to continue or discontinue work based on their level of comfort.


Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in Labs and for Field Research to Minimize Risk of Exposure

Due to the unique set up and operations of each lab on campus, ORED feels it best that each laboratory manager or field research investigative lead develop standard operating procedures (SOP) specific for their research activities to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19.  At a minimum, SOP’s need to align with CDC guidelines and current UW COVID-19 policies for medical surveillance of participants, social distancing, use of masks and PPE, and disinfection regimens for reducing the spread of COVID-19.  It is worth including consequences for anyone violating an SOP and include information on how to contact the COVID-19 Command Care Center in the event of a positive case of COVID-19.

SOP’s should be posted, shared with, and adhered to by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors, in the research space with a copy provided to the reporting department head and dean/director.

ORED has provided some examples of laboratory and fieldwork SOP’s.


UW Travel Policy

The current UW institutional travel policy states that university-sponsored travel outside Wyoming must be mission-critical and approved by the appropriate vice president. UW advises checking the CDC COVID-19 Travel webpage for the latest updates on international and domestic travel. UW is allowing institutionally sponsored travel within the state of Wyoming.  Any travel requires a UW Travel Request Form approved by the traveler’s supervisor.

For information about externally sponsored research travel, including field research and trips to other institutions/entities for collaboration, data gathering, equipment use, and outreach activities, please see the Sponsored Research Travel section.


Externally Sponsored Research Travel Update (August 24, 2020)

The InfoReady Review system is ready for use for submission of mission-critical out-of-state and international sponsored research travel requests.  This system is not to be used for in-state sponsored research travel.  (As a reminder, mission-critical is defined as sponsored research consisting of activities that if discontinued would generate significant financial and opportunity loss for the collection of data/specimens/samples or use of specialized equipment that are solely available in a unique time period. Requests for exception to sponsored research travel for the sole purpose of ensuring progress toward a student’s pursuit of their degree is not considered mission-critical.)

You do not need to contact ORED for approval for in-state sponsored research travel but we do require you notify your Department Head of your intent to travel and fill out the UW Travel Form, which requires supervisor approval.  In-state sponsored research travel needs to have a travel plan that considers the following:

  • Assurance that each traveler has been allowed to decline participation in the interest of protecting their health.

  • Assurance that travelers will each have their own vehicle for travel. (Researchers may travel in the same vehicle if they have self-quarantined for 14 days prior to departure and verify they have no COVID-19 symptoms as documented on the Medical Screening Checklist)

  • How travel to/from the site, food and fuel procurement, and any overnight stays will be conducted to provide adequate social distancing.

  • How social distancing guidelines will be followed during travel and at the site.

  • How PPE (masks, gloves, face shields) will be used.

  • How equipment will be cleaned/disinfected before and after use.

  • Prepare a detailed emergency rescue/evacuation plan that accommodates the necessary precautions surrounding COVID-19.

The information required for the InfoReady Review form will be similar to what was required in the ORED Sponsored Research Travel Request Form.  Use of InfoReady Review eliminates the need for correspondence for approvals and routing of forms via email. 

To access the system, follow this link InfoReady Review and review the steps below.  There are instructions specific for PI’s to submit a request, and below that are instructions for Department Heads and Deans to make approvals.

 INSTRUCTIONS FOR PI’s click here.

 INSTRUCTIONS FOR DEPARTMENT HEADS AND DEANS click here.


UW Visitor Policy (Updated 8-17-2020)

While on University-owned property or when conducting University business or activities, including instruction and research, please ensure visitors follow the UW Visitor Policy.


Designate Emergency Personnel

Currently, there are no plans to restrict access to university research spaces. However, should the COVID-19 situation change, it is in the best interest of all that research groups prepare for limited access. It is advised that laboratory managers designate emergency personnel who will carry out essential functions in case access to research spaces becomes restricted.  Please contact UW Police and UW Operations and provide them a list of people who will need access to the building, why they need access, and when. Emergency personnel may include positions directly responsible for:

  • Building or property safety and security
  • Care of research animals, specimens or equipment
  • Information security
  • Critical infrastructure
  • Essential business, contractual or legal duties such as payroll

Plan for Reduced Staff

In the event personnel cannot come to work, research group leads should discuss how to complete research activities with reduced staff. Each university research laboratory is best positioned to create its own contingency plan, which should include a communication strategy to streamline decision-making and reduce disruption to your research.


Ensure Remote Access to Research Materials and Meetings

All faculty, staff, and students involved in research projects should make sure they are able to access their work and information remotely. For instance, access to databases, research-related files, and literature, as well as meeting software such as Zoom, should be made available to all students, staff, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty. Prepare to hold meetings remotely if need be. Contact the IT Help Desk at 766-HELP (4357) for technical assistance.


Prioritize Experiments (considerations)

Prioritize experiments that can only be undertaken in your research spaces or in-person and defer work that can be supported remotely.

  • Identify experiments that can be ramped down, curtailed or delayed
  • Identify ways to communicate with your staff and have their contact information
  • Review inventory of supplies
  • Document instructions for key processes
  • Save results and data for analysis

Core Facilities

For researchers who use UW fee-for-service Core Research Facilities, please contact the individual Core facility as to whether they are able to provide services in support of ongoing research projects. Core Facility contacts are:

  • Stable Isotope Facility, Berry Biodiversity Center Rm 214, uwyosif@uwyo.edu,
    766-6373
  • Jenkins Microscopy Facility, Biological Sciences Rm 29, zzhang@uwyo.edu,
    766-3038
  • High Precision Isotope Lab, Earth Sciences 3rd Floor, ksims7@uwyo.edu, 766-3386
  • Near Surface Geology Instrument Center, 1220 Bill Nye Ave (facility address) or
    Earth Sciences Rm 1008 (campus contact), bcarr1@uwyo.edu, 761-3884
  • Geochemistry Analytical Lab, Earth Sciences 2019 and 2032, jdewey2@uwyo.edu,
    766-3659

Restarting Research

Restarting Research Activities Safety Checklist

For any labs that may have shut down operations during COVID-19, a checklist was created to ensure a safe restart of research activities.  This general laboratory checklist intends to aid you and your research team as you plan to restart laboratory operations after COVID-19 or any major disaster. This checklist will help to minimize potential disruptions and to ensure safety for all working in a research facility. For specific guidance please contact:

Madeline Dalrymple, Biological Safety Specialist at 307-766-223 or dalrympl@uwyo.edu

Curtis Cannell, Industrial Hygienist at 307-766-3203 or ccannell@uwyo.edu


Adjust Long-term Experiment Strategies

If practical, freeze or capture samples at specific stages of long-term experiments in the event the COVID-19 situation deteriorates and research activities need to ramp down.


Research with Animals

Please refer to the IACUC Guidelines

Contact Nichole Person at IACUC@uwyo.edu with any questions.


Research with Human Subjects

Please refer to the IRB Guidelines and the new Addendum for Face-To-Face Human Subjects Research (8-10-2020)

Contact Nichole Person at IRB@uwyo.edu with any questions.


Biosafety and IBC Questions

Contact Madeline Dalrymple at dalrympl@uwyo.edu


Radiation Safety Questions

Contact Jim Herrold at herrold@uwyo.edu


Respect the Concerns of the Researcher

The extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 require that deference be given to researchers if they have concerns about performing research in the lab or field even after the supervisor feels reasonable adjustments in procedures have been made. If a researcher is uncomfortable performing a scope of work, the researcher’s work scope must be respectfully adjusted. The supervisor will work with the research team to find other ways to get the required work done.


Keep Your Communication Plan Up-To-Date

If you do not have a communications plan for your research group, designate points of contact to efficiently disseminate information that impacts your work and group.


Plan to Submit Research Proposals Remotely

The ORED Research Services Team will rotate time working from home and in the office.  They continue to submit research proposals. Be prepared to work with department administrators and your Research Services point of contact remotely to meet deadlines.


Electronic Submission of Greensheets

Greensheets can be submitted electronically as email attachments to research@uwyo.edu and can be signed electronically.


Sponsor Guidance

With the need to reduce human contact, it is likely research projects will experience some delays.  As this situation evolves, please contact our office if you feel you need to ask your sponsor for a no-cost extension.  We will keep you posted as we hear from sponsors regarding their guidance during this time. There is also sponsor-specific information on the Council of Government Relations (COGR) website.


Chemical Stockroom

Hours of operation for the Chemical Stockroom are Mon-Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

To place an order or arrange to pick up items, call the office at (307) 766-4348. If there is no answer text to (307) 272-8309 or email Jack Leonhardt, Chemical Stockroom Manager, at jleonhar@uwyo.edu and he will make arrangements to meet you.


Advanced Research Computing Center (ARCC)

ARCC will remain open and available to assist campus. ARCC staff can be reached at arcc-info@uwyo.edu.


Shipping and Receiving – Animals, Research Supplies

UW Shipping and Receiving will still be fully staffed for the foreseeable future, but recommends coordinating with their group (307-766-2304, ext. 4) prior to ordering to minimize the risk of lost materials.  Researchers expecting deliveries of perishable samples/supplies should still receive them in a timely manner.  If you have concerns about an incoming perishable item, please call UW Shipping and Receiving.


Redirect Media Inquiries

News media may contact you or a member of your research group for comment on the coronavirus. Unless authorized, do not give statements on behalf of UW. Instead, all inquiries should be directed to UW’s Institutional Communications staff. Media relations representatives are trained to respond to media inquiries in a timely manner.

 

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