Impact of COVID-19 on Laboratory Based Research
Dr. Gene Bourgeois, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs | March 27, 2020
Email sent to students, faculty and staff
This is a challenging time for everyone and certainly the research community is facing the daunting task of continuing to advance their important work while keeping health and safety as a top priority. The reality is that the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to work differently for the foreseeable future especially with respect to laboratory based research. While this will affect everyone, students are in a particularly vulnerable position and we would like to provide them as much guidance as possible while realizing that it is difficult to fully manage all the long-term consequences.
Please read the two statements below from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and The Graduate College.
Statement from the Office of Research and Sponsored Research regarding the impact of COVID-19
Regarding ongoing scientific research, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs provides the following guidance. To the extent possible, Texas State University researchers are encouraged to engage in activities that can be performed remotely (e.g., writing, data analysis, etc.); routine laboratory research activity should be paused with essential laboratory operations currently permissible, provided they can be performed while meeting the “6-feet” requirement for social distancing.
To the fullest extent possible, both graduate researchers and undergraduate student workers should be allowed to work remotely. It is the position of Texas State, based on communications received from NIH/HHS that these students should be eligible to be paid in this remote work situation even if their contribution is not precisely what was envisioned in the original job description. Supervisors should structure an approach to documenting the student's activity that aligns with their revised job duties.
While it is not encouraged, it is currently permissible for graduate and undergraduate students to continue to support critical research activities and functions that are necessary for continued laboratory operations on-campus, but only if they choose to do so. Likewise, students may choose to work in a remote-assignment mode without retribution. Any individual who is in a high-risk category should not be required to come to campus.
This same guidance applies to the core facilities at the university such as the Research Service Centers.
The university is currently determining if additional measures are necessary regarding the laboratory based research activities in order to insure the health and safety of the faculty, staff, and students involved in these activities.
For questions regarding COVID-19 and research, please contact Dr. Mike Blanda, Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations, via email at email@example.com.
Statement from The Graduate College regarding the impact of COVID-19
The Graduate College continues to promote steps to protect the health and well-being of graduate students and encourages remote working, mentoring, and advising. Academically, The Graduate College is working with all units across campus to enable graduate students to make progress towards graduation by removing and/or minimizing the impact of COVID-19 on graduate student degree completion. In some disciplines, COVID-19 has a greater impact on research activities than others. Graduate students, especially those whose progress towards their degree is negatively impacted by COVID-19, are encouraged to reach out to their research advisor, graduate advisor, and also to The Graduate College to discuss potential changes to research timelines, changes to the scope of the work, research methodology, course sequences, etc. The Graduate College is developing a section of the TXST COVID-19 website’s FAQ which will address graduate student concerns.
For questions regarding COVID-19 and graduate education, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org