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July 9, 2020:  Guidance for Progressing to Research Phase 4

Over the past two weeks, research activities across the University have continued to ramp up under Research Phase 2 and 3 operations.  All indications point to a gradual resumption of activities, with labs and research groups following the phased process outlined in the   Restarting Research Plan  and adhering to appropriate safeguards.  Following the same approach described in my   June 24th guidance , principal investigators that have operated effectively under Research Phase 2 or 3 (preferably for at least two weeks), and that believe they are ready to advance to Research Phase 4 operations, should revise their individual plans and submit them to their Chair or unit Director for review and approval.  Research Phase 4 allows an increase in personnel to 60-80% of the research workforce.  The revised plans must have an updated list of all research personnel, including those who returned under earlier Phases. 

Before contemplating an advance to Research Phase 4 and revising their plans, principal investigators should carefully review the effectiveness of the engineering and administrative controls implemented for their labs or other research activities.  It is also important to consider whether the controls implemented in their building are adequate for accommodating an increase in research and related personnel, and, if necessary, work with their Building Manager to request any changes.  With more researchers returning, there is likely to be greater use of offices and related spaces.  Use of these non-research spaces must comply with the safeguards described in the University’s   Return to the Workplace Plan , including social distancing, use of a mask or face covering, and appropriate cleaning of common touch surfaces.

For those principal investigators who have not yet submitted a plan for restarting their research activities, you may choose to create a plan for advancing directly to Research Phase 4 (60-80% of the research workforce).  However, the principal investigator must first check with their Chair, and the principal investigator’s plan must clearly outline a gradual ramp up in personnel levels, allowing adequate time to evaluate the effectiveness of the safeguards and controls.  These plans should be submitted to the Department Chair or unit Director for review and approval.  

As a reminder, all research personnel are required to perform a daily health self-screening for Covid-19 symptoms prior to coming to campus.  An   online self-screening tool  is now available and should be used to record completion of screening.  Graduate fellows and postdoctoral fellows who do not have access to this tool should continue to use the   paper log  and must notify their supervisor of completion.  All returning research personnel are required to view the training video in SOLAR and provide affirmation (one time).  For those fellows unable to view and record the training in SOLAR, they should visit this   site  to view the return to work training video and provide affirmation.  If your lab is already operating with all personnel, then it is not necessary to revise your plan.  Also, make sure that a copy of the approved plan is present in the lab and readily accessible to every lab member.

For those principal investigators conducting research involving human subjects, updated guidance for resuming in-person studies will be provided soon.

Finally, I remind principal investigators and supervisors that any individual who is reluctant to return to research on campus or at an off-site location out of concern for their health should not be pressured to do so.

For any questions, please contact your Department Chair or unit Director first.  Thank you for your continued cooperation as we resume our research activities at Stony Brook.