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Wednesday March 25, 2020

To: Ohio University Researchers

From: Joe Shields, Vice President for Research & Creative Activity

I am writing with an update on research activities permitted in Ohio University facilities in response to  COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

On March 22 the  Ohio Department of Health and Governor’s Office released a Stay at Home Order mandating restrictions on activity in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  After review of this directive and consultation with officials and academic leaders across the state, Ohio University will be requiring that in-person activities on campus related to research be restricted to those deemed essential based on 

  • Maintenance of living animals or other organisms to avoid major disruption of research
  • Maintenance of major equipment that requires regular monitoring to avoid catastrophic failure
  • Critical research directly linked to public health or safety in the context of pandemic conditions

This requirement will take effect on Monday, March 30, 2020 and remain in place until further notice.  

In anticipation of this change, I requested on March 19 that faculty work with their chairs and Associate Deans to identify activities meeting a similar version of these criteria, and that Associate Deans forward their recommendations for any essential personnel to me.  These submissions should list

  • Faculty/PI name and department
  • Nature of the activity requiring on-site presence (include locations of activity, frequency and duration of visits, and names of specific individuals involved and their roles)
  • Impact on research if personnel are unable to come to campus
  • Description of steps to be implemented to minimize infection risk for essential personnel when on-site

I would ask that Associate Deans for Research submit this information to Joe Shields no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 27.

Submitted recommendations will be reviewed for approval by the Executive Vice President & Provost in consultation with the Vice President for Research & Creative Activity.   Any urgent exceptions falling outside the stated criteria above should be forwarded by the responsible Associate Dean to Joe Shields, for review by the same process.

In any interval between submission of recommendations and approval, individuals proposed as essential personnel can continue with their work activities until a formal determination on their status is provided.  

With the exception of essential personnel identified through this process, all research personnel – including faculty, staff, and students engaged in research and creative activity - must continue their work remotely and are not allowed to utilize facilities on-campus beginning March 30, 2020.  

Considerations for Research Shutdown

  • Address safety issues related to long-term storage of chemicals or shutdown of equipment 
  • Work with Lab Safety to address other issues related to long-term suspension of activity.  
  • A ramp-down checklist that may be helpful can be found at the UC Berkeley website. 
  • Address IRB and IACUC issues resulting from change of activity. 
  • Work with Lab Animal Resources to plan for long-term management of animals if appropriate. 
  • Work with your ORSP manager on issues related to grant requirements, extensions, reporting, etc.

 Please feel free to direct questions to our offices or to the university’s Safety Department at safety@ohio.edu.