Ohio University

Preparation for Shutdown

Thursday March 19, 2020

To: Ohio University Researchers

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

I am writing with guidance in relation to current status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the current time faculty and staff have been directed to work remotely as much as possible in carrying out their activities.

Given the rapid growth of cases of COVID-19 infection, there is a strong probability that Ohio University will move into a deeper shutdown of research and other activities at the university.

Faculty and Staff who are still using facilities on-campus should plan for this eventuality now.

In the case of such a shutdown, in-person activities on campus will be limited 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

Faculty should work with their chairs and Associate Deans to identify activities meeting these criteria, and Associate Deans should forward their recommendations for any essential personnel to Joe Shields as soon as possible.   This communication should include

  • 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

Requests will be reviewed for approval by the Executive Vice President & Provost in consultation with the Vice President for Research & Creative Activity.

If the university leadership directs that a deep shutdown is in effect, all research personnel – including faculty, staff, and students engaged in research and creative activity – will be directed to work remotely and only essential personnel approved through this process will be allowed to access facilities on-campus.

Planning Considerations for Potential Shutdown

  • Avoid starting any new projects on-site that can’t be shut down on short notice
  • 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.