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Page last updated 16:15, 27 May 2020

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, there will be challenges in carrying out our research mission as well as our educational mission. The Vice President for Research has established this webpage, accessible from the TAMU.edu/coronavirus webpage, to provide regular updates for Texas A&M researchers. Guidance is provided in FAQ format to assist faculty and researchers on all campuses with active research programs in managing their ongoing research and planning for potential future limitations. Questions may also be submitted via the box below.

For additional information, please go to TAMU.edu/coronavirus for the most current Texas A&M University response concerning the coronavirus.

Remember all personnel should stay home if they experience any symptoms including fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

Submit a request to conduct essential research.

 

Recent Announcements

Guidance on Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student Researchers - May 20, 2020

Plan for Resuming Research Operations - May 7, 2020

 

COVID-19 Federal Research Funding Announcements

COVID-19 Federal Research Funding Announcements

Questions

Resources

Council on Governmental Relations

Institutional Resources on Ramping Up and Reopening
https://www.cogr.edu/institutional-resources-ramping-and-reopening

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html
(The CDC emphasizes that “these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which IHEs must comply.”)

Worldometer

(run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers to make world statistics available to a wide audience around the world. COVID-19 data is collected from official reports, directly from government communication channels or indirectly through local media sources when deemed reliable. Includes live counters).

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

White House Guidelines-Opening Up America Again

https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica

Open Texas Checklists and the Governor’s Report to Open Texas

(includes Governor’s report as well as checklists for individuals and employers)
https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas/homepage

Texas Department of Health Services (DSHS)-COVID-19

(includes minimum standard health protocols for COViD-19 as well as information and links related to case counts, what to do if you are sick, testing information, symptoms and prevention tips: COVID-10 self-checker)
https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

CDC

(includes information on what to do if you are sick, cleaning, and disinfecting guidance)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Guidance on face coverings
(includes information on how to make a face covering)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Reopening guidance
(cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

TAMU COVID-19 Guidance

(central hub for general information with FAQs and links to federal, state, local and university resources. Includes FAQs addressing a number of issues including travel, what the campus is doing about infection control; how to clean and disinfect; what to do if an employee is showing symptoms/signs consistent with coronavirus, etc.)
https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/index.html

TAMU HR employment related information concerning coronavirus

https://employees.tamu.edu/COVID-19

Reopening of Research Activities

1. When will research activities be expanded beyond current “essential” levels?
 
2. Will all Texas A&M research facilities be open?
 
3. Once reopened will Texas A&M research facilities return to normal operations?
 
4. Are protective measures still in place?
 
5. What hygiene procedures are required to work in Texas A&M research facilities?
 
6. Are other considerations required for researchers working with living organisms?
 
7. Will disposable surgical masks be available for Texas A&M researchers?
 
8. What is required to increase the level of research beyond essential activities in Texas A&M research facilities?
 
9. Who is responsible for developing and implementing laboratory management plans and training research personnel?
 
10. Are shared facilities such as libraries, computing facilities, and core research facilities open?
 
11. Does resuming research operations impact remote work?
 

Research Facilities/Laboratory Safety

EPA - Disinfectants for COVID-19

https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

CDC

(interim laboratory biosafety guidelines for handling and processing specimens associated with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19))
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab/lab-biosafety-guidelines.html

(laboratory biosafety and COVID-19 questions and answers)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/biosafety-faqs.html

Penn State University

(cleaning guidelines for laboratories and research facilities)
https://ehs.psu.edu/sites/ehs/files/cleaningguidance-laboratory.pdf

OSHA

Worker exposure to COVID-19
(outlines classification of worker risk to COVID-19)
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3993.pdf

Guidance on preparing workplace for COVID-19
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

University of Washington

(COVID-19 risk level and selection of personal protective equipment (PPE)
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/COVID-19-risk-ppe-selection.pdf

(guidance for face mask use)
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/facemask-guidance-COVID-19.pdf

1. Are research laboratories and facilities open and operational? How is research affected by orders issued by state, counties, and cities?
 
2. What protective measure should I take in preparation for the resumption of research activities?
 
3. What hygiene procedures are expected for research locations/personnel?
 
4. What if I need PPE?
 
5. What steps should be taken for laboratory-based research?
 
6. Continue to ensure your Continuity of Operations Plan
 
7. Are Core Facilities open?
 
8. Are there any restrictions regarding how many individuals can be in a research laboratory space?
 
9. What types of precautions should researchers use when handling human material specimens in the research lab?
 
10. Are research laboratories and facilities that work with biohazardous materials open and operational?
 
11. Working with COVID-19 positive or suspected positive human samples.
 
12. What disinfectants should be used in research labs?
 
13. What Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) is required to be worn in research labs during COVID-19?
 
14. Will offices of Research Compliance & Biosafety and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) be available if needed?
 
15. Will the Institutional Biosafety Committee continue to meet and review submissions?
 

Research Travel

1. What's the latest travel information?
 
  1. 1.1.

    May 25, 2020: The current travel restriction of only essential travel outside of the campus area remains in effect through June 14, 2020. In keeping with current guidance of a phased approach in returning to business operations, the following will apply:

    Effective June 1, 2020:

    Domestic Travel (includes in-state travel): Only travel essential to the mission will be permitted at the discretion of the applicable vice president or dean.

    International Travel: Only travel essential to the mission will be permitted at the discretion of the provost or their designee. All travel must be routed through Concur for Risk Management's review and risk mitigation and subsequent recommendation to the provost for approval.

    Further updates to the easing of travel restrictions will be made available after July 15, 2020.

    IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, CDC/STATE OF TEXAS/TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY GUIDANCE FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING AND PERSONAL HYGIENE MUST BE FOLLOWED.

2. Should I cancel travel plans related to research (conferences, site visits, field trips, etc.) amid the COVID-19 outbreak?
 

Proposal Submission & Award Management

1. My study may be impacted by the measures taken as part of TAMU’s COVID-19 response, which could lead to delays in completing my study by the end of the project period or end of the semester. What should I do?
 
2. Will my proposal be submitted to the sponsor by the deadline during the COVID-19 outbreak?
 
3. If the agency to which I intend to submit a proposal is closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak will my proposal be submitted by the deadline?
 
4. How can I reach my SRS contact?
 
5. Will I be able to get an extension on a proposal deadline in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak?
 
6. Where can I find COVID-19 related guidance from the National Institutes of Health in regards to proposal submission and award management?
 
7. Where can I find COVID-19 related guidance from National Science Foundation?
 
8. Can a principal investigator working remotely during self-isolation charge salary/effort on a federal grant?
 
9. What about guidance regarding travel and expenses related to COVID-19?
 
10. Will agencies consider longer no-cost time extensions if they are needed to finish a project after disruption?
 
11. Where can I find additional information on this topic?
 

Research Involving Animals

The target date for expanding research activities beyond current “essential” levels is June 1, 2020. No new research should be initiated prior to June 1 unless approved as essential. Preparation for the resumption of research requires access to adequate and reliable supply of appropriate PPE and development of an investigator plan that ensures social distancing and hygiene requirements are met and that all necessary resources and materials are available and accessible. Additionally, investigators should plan for how their experiments and animals will be appropriately managed in the event that one or more personnel become unavailable to work in the lab, or in the event that research activities must be ramped down. Investigators who are unable, or become unable, to provide their usual level of care for their animals, should notify their animal facility staff immediately. While CMP and other vivaria staff will always provide health care, they will not be able to conduct experimental protocols, so please plan accordingly.

State of Connecticut

(safe workplace rules for essential employers)
https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Safe-Workplace-Rules-for-Essential-Employers

1. What plans does Texas A&M have for animal care?
 
2. How do I request animal care or other assistance?
 
3. What should investigators do now that research is resuming June 1, 2020? [Important for ALL campuses]
 
4. What about the Animal Welfare Office (AWO) and the IACUC?
 
5. What do I do if I have other questions?
 

Research Involving Human Subjects

San Diego County, California

(example of social distancing and sanitation protocol)
https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/Epidemiology/covid19/SOCIAL_DISTANCING_AND_SANITATION_PROTOCOL_04022020_V1.pdf

University of California San Francisco

(guidance for screening of research participants by clinical research staff)
https://research.ucsf.edu/sites/g/files/tkssra2931/f/wysiwyg/Screening%20Guidance%20for%20CRCs%202020Apr17.pdf

University of Washington

(COVID-19 risk level and selection of personal protective equipment (PPE)
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/COVID-19-risk-ppe-selection.pdf

(guidance for face mask use)
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/facemask-guidance-COVID-19.pdf

1. Will studies limited to remote procedures be required to submit an SOP or plan?
 
2. May we conduct off campus research activities to collect data from participants or perform other research interventions off campus?
 
3. Must the IRB approve amendments to the study protocol before resuming in person research activities?
 
4. Will the IRB Office continue to operate as usual?
 

Undergraduate Student Research

1. Under COVID-19 precautions, should undergraduates conducting research be allowed to continue working in the lab?
 

Graduate Student Research

University of Washington

(COVID-19 risk level and selection of personal protective equipment (PPE))
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/COVID-19-risk-ppe-selection.pdf

(guidance for face mask use)
https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/facemask-guidance-COVID-19.pdf

1. Under COVID-19 precautions, should new graduate students conducting research be allowed to begin working in the lab?
 
2. The COVID-19 situation will affect my graduate research and/or dissertation and/or my ability to defend/conduct prelims or qualifying exams. What should I do? 
 
3. Will the COVID-19 situation affect my ability to conduct fieldwork and attend meetings/conferences?
 

Research Funding Announcements

1. Is federal research funding available to study COVID-19?
 
2. Will SRS give priority to COVID-19 related proposals and projects?
 
3. Will funding agencies provide flexibility to support research during this crisis?