July 20, 2020
As UNL continues making plans for the fall semester, the Research Task Force is sending regular updates to investigators on topics related to resuming research and creative activities. This message addresses topics for the week of July 20-24. Messages are archived at research.unl.edu/covid19.
Safe reopening plans extended through August
>> Due to changes in Lincoln’s community health status, the Office of Research and Economic Development has extended the timeline for which reopening plans are required. Investigators should continue using the safe reopening checklist through Aug. 31. Read the guidelines here and complete the reopening plan here.
Complete a lab ‘self-audit’ before restarting work
>> Environmental Health and Safety has temporarily suspended scheduled on-site lab safety surveys due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-audits by lab members are the best way to maintain a strong safety culture and keep lab workers safe until on-site surveys resume. EHS recommends that supervisors and lab staff walk through lab spaces to identify any potential issues and make sure they are addressed prior to restarting research. Read more.
How to protect your peer-reviewed work during a pandemic
>> Many in-person conferences have been canceled due to the pandemic, but researchers can take steps to ensure they receive proper credit for their presentations, posters, abstracts and other conference-related work. University Libraries has provided a helpful infographic (attached) to guide researchers through the process.
>> On July 10, Lincoln moved from Yellow to Orange on the COVID risk dial, meaning the community is at high risk for the spread of COVID-19. Faculty and staff are encouraged to work from home whenever possible. Investigators should develop contingency plans in case university operations become more restricted. More information will be forthcoming if the situation changes.
Reminders for July operations
>> Face coverings are required for all university activities taking place indoors, and during outdoor activities in which participants are unable to stay 6 feet apart.
>> Through the encouragement of working remotely, flexible scheduling and other flexible measures, unit leaders should continue keeping the density of individuals in a workplace to the minimum necessary.
>> In-person human subjects research was permitted to resume July 6. Before restarting those activities, investigators must outline a plan that prioritizes the health and safety of UNL employees and the broader community. The form is routed to the appropriate center/department/unit leader for approval. More details are available in the Institutional Review Board’s website and FAQ guide. The topic also is addressed in the June 29 task force email.
>> University-sponsored domestic and international travel is prohibited through July 31. If travel within Nebraska is required, researchers should inform their supervisor before making plans. All faculty, staff and students are expected to continue following university policies on physical distancing, face coverings and hygiene. Remember to limit travel to only one person per vehicle.
Your efforts to ensure campus activities resume safely are greatly appreciated. The Nebraska research community has remained strong during this challenging time because of your commitment and flexibility.
This communication is distributed to principal investigators with approved research and creative activity re-opening plans as well as the associate deans for research. Please share this guidance with members of your research team as appropriate.