July 27, 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 27-31. Messages are archived at research.unl.edu/covid19.
Using PPE safely in lab settings
Laboratory workers should be mindful that personal protective equipment used for protection against chemical, biological and radiological contamination should be removed before exiting the lab. UNL Environmental Health and Safety has guidelines on proper PPE use and care online and via a training module.
Cloth facial coverings can be removed and worn outside the lab, unless they are contaminated by materials that workers handled. Contaminated cloth facial coverings should be promptly removed from the face and laundered before reusing. Gloves are not necessary for protection against SARS-CoV-2; instead, workers should wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.
Charging salaries, benefits to federally funded projects
The Office of Management and Budget guidance (M-20-26) announced recently that it has extended federal funding agencies’ ability to allow recipients to continue charging salaries and benefits to active federal and non-federal research – consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries and leave – through Sept. 30, even if those employees cannot work remotely or on campus. However, grant recipients will need to follow a new tracking requirement to “retain documentation of their efforts to exhaust other funding sources and reduce overall operational costs.”
The Office of Research and Economic Development is developing a simple reporting tool to help faculty comply with OMB’s requirement. More details will be provided soon.
Central package delivery winding down
Campus buildings will open Aug. 10, and mail delivery will resume at that time. Investigators using the central receiving location for deliveries are urged to contact vendors to update delivery addresses.
August travel guidelines
As outlined in Chancellor Ronnie Green’s July 23 message, university-sponsored international travel will continue to be prohibited until further notice. Domestic travel outside Nebraska is high discouraged. For exceptional cases where university-sponsored domestic travel is necessary, two levels of authorization approval will be required prior to travel.
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.