Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for the UofL Research Community

March 24, 2020 - Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation

RE: Suspension of All Non-Essential Research Activity – Effective March 26, 2020

Dear UofL Researchers,

In response to my March 15, 2020 memo, many of you have successfully ramped down your non-essential on- and off-campus (community based) research activities and have communicated to your Deans and VPs on the essential research activities that need to continue at this time. Thank you for your quick response, and I hope that your transition to a remote research environment has been as smooth as possible.

If you have not ramped down your non-essential research activities at this time, you are instructed to do so immediately.  Effective Thursday, March 26, all non-essential research activities are suspended and all researchers are requested to stay away from on-campus workspaces/laboratories with limited exceptions approved by your Dean/VP to carry out essential research activities as follows:

  • Activity that if discontinued would generate significant and irreplaceable data and sample loss
  • Activity that if discontinued would pose a safety or health hazard
  • Activity that maintains critical equipment in facilities and laboratories that would otherwise become damaged
  • Activity that maintains existing critical or irreplaceable samples, animal populations and other research materials. 
  • COVID-19 related activity that has a timeline for deployment that could address the current crisis
  • Activity that has U.S. government-mandated security and access requirements, cannot be performed remotely, and whose activity is deemed critical by the U.S. government
  • Activities specifically requested by a U.S. Government sponsor to continue during this emergency situation
  • Clinical trial activity that if discontinued or not started would negatively impact patient health, safety or survival

All research activities that do not meet the criteria listed above and that have not been approved to continue by the cognizant Dean/VP (or their designee) should immediately be ramped down and stopped by March 26.  Research Service Centers and Core Facilities should also ramp down all activities by March 26, unless services are being provided to research programs performing approved, essential research activities. Non-essential research studies and experiments that have not yet started should be immediately postponed. 

In order to facilitate the ramp down of non-essential research in a safe and effective manner, UofL’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) has developed a laboratory ramp down checklist.  When implementing ramp down procedures, researchers are reminded to follow standard physical distancing (i.e., maintaining at least six feet of distance from others) and laboratory safety procedures. Any questions on proper laboratory safety procedures and laboratory ramp down procedures can be directed to Cheri Hildreth, Director, DEHS (852-6670, cheri.hildreth@louisville.edu).

Veterinary and husbandry care of research animals will continue as their health and welfare is essential and of critical importance.  Researchers are requested to contact Leslie Sherwood, DVM, Assistant VP for Research Services (852-3675, leslie.sherwood@louisville.edu), with any questions on animal care and maintenance during the COVID-19 crisis.  Please note that Research Resources Facilities is not accepting new orders for research animals, except for those involving SARS-COV2 studies, at this time.

Please also note that under no circumstances are research materials, including animals, specialized equipment or research specimens to be removed from campus without the express written approval of the cognizant Dean/VP (or his/her designee).  Computers, data storage devices and lab notebooks may be used remotely in alignment with the UofL Emergency Temporary Telecommuting Guidelines for Employees.

We recognize the significant impact that this suspension of non-essential research activities will have on the progress of your research programs.  However, it is critical that we minimize our on-campus research density at this time in order to prevent the continued spread of the coronavirus and to protect the health of ourselves and of our university and greater community. Please take advantage of the tools and resources that are provided by UofL’s Information Technology Services (ITS) for working remotely in order to continue to advance your research and scholarly efforts and to promote the well-being and continued advancement of our students, trainees and staff during this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Kevin H. Gardner, PhD
Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation