Texas Tech University

Coronavirus Update:
March 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the developing emergency associated with the spread of COVID-19, the President has asked us to switch into a work remotely mode. Effective immediately, with very few exceptions, TTU researchers must begin working from home.

Principal Investigators and other research leaders must take the following steps:

  • Suspend all new experiments and data collection.
  • Where possible, bring all existing experiments and studies to a safe conclusion.
  • Suspend ordering of experimental animals, biological samples, and research supplies, except those required to sustain current animal and plant populations, and maintain appropriate laboratory safety.
  • Secure research data, transfer data to storage, and arrange for members of your group to have remote access to data.
  • Identify key laboratory personnel who will maintain necessary laboratory functions, and share contact lists with your entire group to ensure communication with laboratory personnel.
  • Identify critical laboratory functions that cannot be left unattended.
  • Ensure that key personnel maintain appropriate social distancing while they are performing critical laboratory functions.

Permissible research activities:

  • Critical human subjects research involving immediate health and welfare of the subjects, though face-to-face clinical activity not involving the administration of drugs or use of monitoring devices should be shifted to remote contact wherever possible. Non-critical human subjects research must be suspended.
  • Critical laboratory research involving:
    • Maintenance of living organisms-including plants and animals.
    • Ongoing live animal studies that involve longitudinal data collection.
    • Long-term medical research involving the timely processing of samples.
    • Tissue culture lines that require maintenance, until such time as they can be securely stored.
    • Maintenance of instruments and storage systems that require cryogens.

Non-critical research projects are not allowed:

  • Experiments that can be paused or suspended without severe long-term impacts must be stopped.
  • No new short-term or long-term experiments should be started until further notice.

Designated research staff:

  • Each laboratory may designate very limited number of key laboratory personnel to conduct critical functions or complete permissible research activities.
  • These key laboratory individuals should spend minimal time in research laboratories, and, while in laboratories with any other researchers, should maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Any key laboratory personnel not feeling well should stay at home and notify their supervisor of the situation.

Grant submission and necessary accounting functions, and intellectual property disclosure and patent filings:

  • TTU grant personnel will be working remotely to support grant submissions and necessary accounting functions, as well as intellectual property disclosure and patent filings. Please consult the web site for the Office of Research Services, Accounting Services, and the Office of Research Commercialization for information on access. Generally, you should be able to contact team members in these offices by email.

I know this relatively sudden development is highly disorienting. I must stress that looking after the welfare of our students, staff, researchers, and faculty is a primary consideration that will drive decision-making in the coming weeks. Obviously, my office deeply cares about research, and we will work with you to do all we can to sustain all of your activities in planning, proposal writing, publication, and reporting we can during this situation.

We ask you to be patient as we outline measures to be taken in the coming days. Please refer questions to department chairs and ask the chairs to contact my office for clarification.


Joe Heppert
TTU Vice President for Research and Innovation

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