As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Oregon State University has not ceased conducting research. However, limiting the spread of the coronavirus is our top priority. Researchers—including faculty, graduate students, and staff—should follow the guidance below and consult with the appropriate dean, vice provost, or vice president regarding questions/issues specific to particular laboratories or research contexts.

WORK FROM HOME

Maintaining research continuity is a critical function and should continue. However, all researchers who are able to work from home should do so until further notice. Some OSU employees will be required to continue working in OSU facilities around the state, including in labs and research spaces, to deliver critical services. Researchers who are not designated to continue working in an OSU facility should work from home in order to facilitate social distancing for others.

SHIFT LABS TO MINIMAL OPERATIONS

Until further notice, every laboratory should transition to a state of minimal operations.  This level of operation should require only infrequent and short-term visits by critical personnel. Critical activities would be those that maintain the continued viability of large and complex projects, as well as unique specimens and collections, plants and animals or cultures; highly specialized analytical, manufacturing, computing facilities; and field-based facilities and laboratories. Researchers should consult with their department heads, deans, or the vice president for research, as appropriate, to determine how best to transition labs and facilities.

BE MINDFUL OF CHANGING CONDITIONS AND POTENTIAL NEW DIRECTIVES

Every researcher should complete ongoing experiments as expediently as possible, while engaging fully in social distancing. Researchers planning on starting new experiments should consider approaches that allow for the cessation of operations with little notice, while retaining the usefulness of the data collected up until that point.

ADHERE TO HUMAN SUBJECTS RESEARCH LIMITATIONS

Given the need to practice social distancing, research that involves human subjects must be limited. Effective March 21, 2020, in-person research study visits must be discontinued unless those visits have a direct therapeutic benefit to the subjects and are essential for the subjects’ health and safety. This directive applies to research conducted by OSU researchers at any site worldwide. If in-person study activities are required for studies related to COVID-19 or for safety monitoring related to other life threatening conditions, contact the HRPP Office immediately to discuss feasibility.

PRIORITIZE GRADUATE STUDENT PROGRESS

OSU is committed to all students reaching their academic goals. Faculty should work with their advisees to devise plans to achieve timely graduation. Additional guidance on the Oregon State University Pledge and its implications for graduate students will be available soon.

SUPPORTING CONTINUING WORK

OSU greatly values the work of laboratory staff, technicians and postdoctoral researchers who are vital to the research enterprise. Please think creatively about how these individuals can continue to do meaningful work, even if operations of some on-campus laboratory functions are reduced or prohibited. Data analysis, literature searches, report-writing and catching up on required training activities are all possible options.

DOCUMENT IMPACTS

Reducing the scope of laboratory activities will lead to significant impacts, including impairing the ability to meet research deliverables and the potential loss of revenue within designated operations. Please document these impacts to the extent possible to inform the university’s efforts to seek emergency funds and other support. The Research Office will further advise on how it will collect this information.

Even as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, OSU will continue carrying out research and creative work; supporting students in their thesis and dissertation work; and remaining loyal to all those who make the research engine run, including our technicians, postdoctoral researchers, administrative and support staff.

Thank you for your commitment to OSU’s research enterprise and the extraordinary scholarship you do to the benefit of Oregon, the nation and the world.

Sincerely,

Irem Y. Tumer, Ph.D., ASME Fellow
Vice President for Research, Interim

Date: 
March 21, 2020