Impacts to Research Activities Due to COVID-19

Dear Faculty:

In a recent email, Chancellor outlined the campus’ response to COVID-19. Members of the University’s Emergency Operations Team, including University Health Services leadership and two Coronavirus Working Groups, are managing campus plans and resources, and they are actively monitoring the latest developments. Please view the UMass Amherst official Coronavirus page for guidance and best practices to follow.

Below are specific recommendations and resources related to research activities.

Plan Ahead: If a communications plan for your research group is not already in place, designate points of contact in order of priority (verify email and phone numbers), so everyone receives timely information. Principal Investigators and research group leads should discuss approaches now, in the event that some personnel are unable to come to work. Lab groups that work with animals should update the lab-specific emergency plan with points of contact, phone numbers, etc., in case access to campus is interrupted.

Research Spaces: At this time, there are no plans to restrict access to university research spaces, but it is wise for every research group to make a plan in the event that full access is not available in the future.

Modifying Study Procedures to Occur Remotely: Researchers should plan for alternatives to in-person study visits, if possible (e.g., remote options for questionnaires, surveys, check-ins, screening, etc.). These changes must be approved in advance by the IRB as a Modification to the study, unless they are necessary to eliminate immediate apparent hazards to participants. For questions, please contact humansubjects@ora.umass.edu.

Proposal Deadlines: We expect that the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) will be able to submit proposals, even if staff are working remotely. In the past, federal agencies have been flexible about deadlines under difficult circumstances beyond our control. If agencies are officially closed, proposals will most likely remain pending until the agency reopens (similar to federal budget-related shutdowns). OPAS will provide email updates to the campus. See also the link to NSF updates below.

Travel: Please follow the travel recommendations from the campus available at www.umass.edu/coronavirus. Use caution in considering travel to a country with restricted access to specific locations. As always, you should use your own judgment based on the circumstances. Register your travel using the UMass Travel Registry to ensure contacts and other emergency information is available.

Resources

New resources will be added as they become available.

 

Please send questions to vcre@umass.edu.

Sincerely,

Mike Malone
Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement