May 21, 2020
The Texas Tech University Office of Research and Innovation is providing guidance regarding our eventual return to active research on campus.
This document, prepared for research leaders, is composed of five sections: The first page outlines our principles for guiding a safe transition back to campus under these very unusual circumstances. This statement is followed by four additional sections: 1) the process and staging for our return; 2) considerations for faculty and PIs as you plan for on-campus research, scholarship, and creative activity; 3) guidance about health and safety, social distancing, and laboratory operations for ALL researchers coming back to campus; and, 4) actions that must be taken if any on-campus researchers become ill or test positive for COVID-19. We will also provide a shortened version of this document for all student and staff researchers returning to campus.
We ask that you use these guidelines as you plan new ways to operate once your program re-starts work on campus. We will review the key elements of this guidance on a Zoom webinar this Friday at 12:00 Noon CDT; participant information is available below. As new information emerges, we will continue to provide updated guidance via the OR&I website and email.
We cannot afford to simply resume "research as normal" on our campus. To move forward and open our campus for research, we must actively plan to outsmart the virus and prevent its spread in our community. TTU is relying on you to establish new practices and expectations for your research groups that will minimize the possibility of outbreaks of COVID-19 among our researchers and colleagues. Examples of these new practices and expectations include both on-campus and off-campus social distancing and personal hygiene behaviors, as well as steps designed to meet the special needs of your scholarship. An outbreak among team members who share common laboratory, office, or studio spaces would trigger a severe disruption of research among that group of investigators, and, of course, we all want to avoid this. To emphasize how fragile the current situation is, UT-Austin reported just yesterday that there had been a significant outbreak of COVID-19 among their custodial staff, even though their campus has been largely shut-down for the past two months.
Working through this guidance is another important step toward opening on-campus research at TTU. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful attention to these considerations.
Texas Tech University
Vice President for Research and Innovation
Texas Tech University