Maintaining research operations during this time presents unique challenges, but there must be no compromise in safety procedures or personal protection. To this end, principal investigators should ensure that all personnel working in campus facilities are following current social distancing and safety hygiene practices.
- Practice social distancing of 6 feet between adjacent people, and a reasonable density of one person for every 120 sq. ft. in all spaces. Social distancing may require establishing shifts for personnel to use offices, labs, and lab equipment.
- Ensure that everyone is wearing the proper lab and safety equipment, including lab coats and safety gloves.
- Continue to use the buddy system in labs with hazardous materials and procedures.
- Laboratory members are encouraged to work on data analysis, writing projects, literature reviews, or online learning (coding, statistics, etc.) remotely.
- In animal facilities, breeding should be reduced to the minimum possible. Labs that require specialized lab care or intensive husbandry operations are expected to continue providing this care.
- Most of our research programs and researchers are supported on externally funded sponsored programs. Federal agencies, such as NIH, NSF, DOD, and others, are beginning to issue guidance on proposal submissions, no-cost extensions, reporting deadlines, use of funds for salaries, travel, and other program support. A table that compiles up-to-date information from the federal agencies is available for quick reference.
Guidance for Research Involving Human Subjects
Effective immediately, all face-to-face human subjects research activities are to cease until further notice. Principal Investigators are expected to pass this notification on to all human subjects research personnel immediately.
Research Involving Animals
To prepare for the impact of COVID-19 on animal research, investigators should plan carefully and consider altering the timing of experiments or breeding. Any elective activities or experiments that are not time-sensitive should be postponed. If they are not postponed, it is the responsibility of the investigator to develop a plan to ensure the collection of data without interruption if members of the laboratory staff are not available.
- Essential Personnel: The personnel that care for the animals at USD are classified as essential personnel and will be here even if other segments of the University are closed. ARC will provide continued daily care of all animals. This includes continued veterinary medical care, assessment of animal health and wellbeing, provision of food, water and clean cages, and maintenance of appropriate environmental conditions.
- Social distancing should be observed in the laboratory setting. Large complex procedures that require multiple people to conduct should be postponed if possible.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): DO NOT remove PPE from animal areas. This has a negative impact on everyone and the animals under our care.
- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee business will be conducted electronically. We will continue to review submissions, new protocols, amendments, annual, and triennial reviews.
- Animals as vectors: There is no evidence that the animals used for research on USD’s campus can transmit the virus or are susceptible to the virus.
Researcher Guidance (Including Graduate and Postdoctoral Students)
Research and Graduate Staff
All researchers (including graduate and postdoctoral students) should follow USD’s overarching guidance on social distancing. Individuals should consult with their supervisors if special accommodations or assistance is needed to ensure their ability to continue work without compromising their own health and safety or that of a larger group. This would include developing plans for remote work due to factors such as experiencing a respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms, participating in a recommended quarantine, or having a chronic medical condition or compromised immune system.
Graduate Teaching Assistants
Graduate students and staff with appointments that include on-campus instruction should contact the primary course instructor for adjusted assignments while courses are delivered in a modified format.