With Governor Lamont’s order for all non-essential businesses to suspend operations, the president, provost and vice president for research have determined that all on-campus research activities on ALL CAMPUSES – UConn, regional and UConn Health – must stop and labs must close by 8 p.m. on Monday March 23.
In addition to faculty, this includes research being conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. The only exceptions to this are human subjects clinical trials, research where continued in-person interaction or intervention is needed for the safety and welfare of enrolled subjects, research that is directly connected to addressing the COVID-19 crisis, and research that can be conducted remotely by faculty, staff, and/or students without in-person intervention or interaction with research subjects.
We understand the enormous impact this decision will have on faculty and students. But as we deal with the challenges of a global pandemic as well as the uncertainty of its impact on all aspects of the University and surrounding communities, we must make difficult decisions guided by the principles of health and safety.
- Faculty and research staff should follow the Laboratory Ramp-Down Checklist: Procedures for Safely Vacating a Laboratory (updated March 22, 2020) to close down their research and labs.
- Research related to COVID-19 can continue, but faculty must submit a Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory form (updated March 22, 2020) indicating they need to begin or continue this work and describe the work (see last question on the form).
- Faculty with animals must contact the attending veterinarian for their campus regarding steps to immediately reduce animal numbers and number of cages. Breeding must be reduced to the minimum possible; no increases in cage counts will be permitted and plans should be in place for reductions of cage counts in the future. Labs using aquatic, avian, or other species that are housed outside the vivarium must contact the attending veterinarian regarding how animal care and husbandry operations will be maintained.
- Any faculty with critical research infrastructure, such as unique reagents, unique cell lines, equipment, liquid nitrogen stocks, and certain long-term experiments should complete the Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory form. These will be reviewed and the faculty
member will then be advised on how to proceed based on their individual situation.
- Any researcher or faculty member who is unable to halt their research by Monday’s deadline or who has a unique situation that needs to be considered should email email@example.com with a description of the situation or need and their recommendation for how it can best be met or addressed. The email should include a phone number(s) where the faculty member can be reached.
- Any student or employee who feels they have been asked unreasonably to continue on campus research beyond Monday’s deadline should contact the dean of their school or college and the OVPR without fear of retaliation.
For now, the shut-down of labs will be in effect until April 22, 2020. We will assess and monitor the status as events change daily. However, you should plan for a remote-work research operation and lab closure that could last for several weeks or months.