As the COVID-19 positivity rates have fallen and vaccination percentages for Dallas and Collin counties have risen, our research community has continued to demonstrate strong compliance to safety precautions. We have navigated what appears, at least from this vantage point in time, the worst of the pandemic. You have my appreciation for the efforts that you have made to ensure that students and staff in your laboratory demonstrate social responsibility during this crisis.
We are now prepared for full restoration to 100% of our research presence on campus. Effective May 17th, the use of the laboratory scheduling system will no longer be required for your laboratory groups. At that time, there will be no limitations to the percentage of your team that can be concurrently within your research space. However, until the further notice, likely extending through the summer, we will observe the following safety restrictions:
- We will continue to make use of face coverings and maintain hand hygiene practice within research buildings. Conference rooms within research buildings may be used for group meetings. Each of these rooms has an upper limit posted by the fire marshal. Should you decide to hold a group meeting in person, choose a meeting space such that the number of attendees does not exceed 50% of the level posted and you ensure that individuals are well-spaced in the room.
- The research buildings are not cafeterias. Students are not permitted to eat at their desks or in common kitchen areas within research buildings. Instead, students and staff should take advantage of the outdoors at benches or on terraces. While at carrels in open spaces, students/post-docs must wear face coverings allowing for transient removal for consuming beverages. Faculty within single occupancy offices in research buildings may eat alone within their offices.
- Last September, we provided a reservation slot for undergraduate students in the research laboratories and further increased the number of slots possible over the last few months. Effective May 17th, there are no prohibitions for the engagement of undergraduates to participate in your on-site research activities.
Resources for training student researchers
- Social Ethical Responsibility of Conducting Academic Research in the Pandemic Era (non-Human Subjects Research)
- Social Ethical Responsibility of Conducting Academic Research in the Pandemic Era (Human Subjects Research)