Fall Semester Updates to Research Reopening, Including Guidelines on Student Research Training

August 10, 2020 - Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation

Dear UofL Researchers:

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester and the return of undergraduate and graduate students to campus, we are continuing to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the research environment at UofL.  Given the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the city and state, we have decided to remain in Phase 2 of research reopening for the time being (see attached Appendix A for a description of the phases of research reopening). All researchers, including faculty, staff, trainees, and students should continue to follow the research reopening guidelines established for Phase 2, with the following updates (effective August 3, 2020) due to the evolving needs of the research community:

  • Undergraduate students are permitted to conduct on-site research (without the need for a COVID-19 exception approval) and must complete and follow the training and guidelines outlined for all researchers during Phase 2.
  • While remote research training is strongly encouraged, close contact, face-to-face training of undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff is permitted.  Given the close personal interaction inherent in this activity, such research training must be limited to one-on-one instruction (i.e., no close contact face-to face group research training is permitted) and short intervals of no more than 30 minutes per session. The number of face-to-face training sessions between any two individuals (trainer: trainee pair) must be limited to no more than two 30 minute sessions per day. Training participants must wear a mask/face covering and eye protection (e.g., glasses, safety glasses, goggles, or face shield) throughout each training session.
  • While in-person social, behavioral, educational, and community-based research continues to be restricted in Phase 2, investigators may submit exception requests to allow for the re-initiation of these important activities.  Exception requests should be submitted to the cognizant College/School Research Dean for approval and approved exceptions will be submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation.

Ensuring a safe and healthy research environment will continue to take all of us staying in compliance with the Phase 2 research reopening guidelines, with CDC and state guidelines, and with University requirements and procedures.  It will also require each of us to make the health and safety of our students and fellow colleagues a top priority in all interactions. Working together, we will ensure our ability to continue to conduct cutting edge research despite the challenges of COVID-19 and to be a transforming agent for our community during this difficult time.

We will continue to actively monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and to modify and revise our research reopening response as the situation evolves.  If you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to provide feedback on the current status of the research environment under COVID-19, please reach out to your Research Dean and to evpri@louisville.edu.  Thank you for your continued adherence to the research reopening requirements and your continued dedication to advancing research and scholarly/creative activities at UofL.

Sincerely,

Kevin H. Gardner, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Louisville