NDSU Smart Restart Research Recommendations

June 19, 2020

Our goal during NDSU’s return to campus in the fall is to permit an increase in research activities while maximizing the safety of our faculty, staff, and students. Consistent with the state’s plan, NDSU plans to help control virus spread, assure worker and consumer safety, and inspire confidence. Therefore, the overall approach is based on establishing physical or temporal distancing for our various research spaces and, when appropriate, requiring use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Under ND Governor’s Risk Level of GREEN – LOW, all research and creative activities may continue or resume at NDSU, subject to the following restrictions:

  1. NDSU employees are required to self-screen each day for fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is important that you DO NOT come to campus if you feel unwell or have a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or greater (no fever-reducing medications in past 24 hours).
  2. Outside visitors/collaborators/contractors/vendors should be limited to essential activity and these individuals must follow the on-site work requirements (daily self-screening for symptoms, universal face coverings, and physical distancing).
  3. Only people with a formal NDSU affiliation (i.e., students and employees) should enter NDSU research laboratory spaces.
  4. When working in a laboratory on campus, ensure appropriate social distancing according to public health guidelines. Wear a face covering and eye protection in accordance with laboratory safety requirements while working in shared spaces. Practice good hand hygiene, cleaning hands upon entry to the building and frequently washing or using sanitizer.
  5. The Principal Investigator/Lab Director/Faculty Mentor is responsible for ensuring a working environment that reduces risk.Maximum occupancy of labs will depend on the size and complexity of the space needed to ensure appropriate social distancing between occupants. The PI or lab director is responsible for calculating and communicating maximum occupancy and for posting it at the entrance to the lab.
    • Maximum occupancy of labs will depend on the size and complexity of the space needed to ensure appropriate social distancing between occupants. The PI or lab director is responsible for calculating and communicating maximum occupancy and for posting it at the entrance to the lab.
    • Computer-based work such as analysis of data, manuscript and grant-writing, budget work, background literature reviews, etc. should continue to be done remotely in order to minimize the number of personnel in the research laboratories at any time.
    • If necessary, personnel rotations may be used to restrict the number of people in the lab or work space to ensure social distancing. Rotation schedules should allow for equitable access to shared equipment and tools.
    • All principal investigators should adopt a daily laboratory sanitation schedule which includes decluttering of lab spaces and decontamination of shared tools, equipment, and furniture (e.g., door handles, keypads, computer keyboards and mice, telephones, printers, cameras, microscopes, and control panels). Facilities Management will provide disinfectant spray and disposable wipes in labs. Custodial services does not clean and disinfect equipment and furniture in labs. Users are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting work stations and equipment.
    • Continue to utilize teleconference technologies for group meetings as a best practice.
  6. Follow travel restrictions if in place, and public health guidelines on travel. Any requests for exceptions should be discussed with the supervising dean, director, or vice president.
  7. Researchers wishing to resume face-to-face human subjects research under an approved IRB protocol should contact IRB Manager Kristy Shirley Kristy.Shirley@ndsu.edu  before resuming human subjects research. Any such research will require both researcher and subject to wear personal protective equipment (minimally face coverings, but also as appropriate, gloves, safety goggles or glasses, and gowns) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  8. Researchers wishing to resume animal research under an approved IACUC protocol that was paused due to pandemic precautions should contact IACUC Manager Josie Hayden josie.hayden@ndsu.edu  or Attending Veterinarian Neil Dyer neil.dyer@ndsu.edu
  9. Guidance for Extension field operations, animal units, and Research Extension Centers will be distributed separately from Agricultural Affairs.
  10. Research costs incurred due to the pandemic response should be tracked and shared with unit budget personnel.

Resources

  • Office 365 allows lab time scheduling
  • Zoom and Teams will remain available for meetings
  • Downloadable signage re: safety practices will be available through University Relations in the near future.
  • Information on ordering or access to PPE is forthcoming from Facilities Management.

Questions

  • Please contact Dr. Jane Schuh, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity, jane.schuh@ndsu.edu
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