Keeping our research operations moving forward

July 16, 2020

This message was sent on behalf of Research & Innovation to subscribers of the University's ResearchNotes group email list.

Dear Colleague,

The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted, to some degree, virtually every aspect of life and society, as you well know. From the vantage of my role, it has been disconcerting to consider it impeding research programs and career progression; however, it has been rewarding to see our research community respond to these times with resilience and persistence.

We opened a process in May by which essential, critical or time-sensitive research, laboratory and creative programs could submit plans for the full resumption of these activities. As of today, more than 300 have been approved to do so. This includes a wide array of disciplines ranging from the STEM fields to the social sciences, humanities and the arts.

NEW CONTINGENCY PLANNING CHECKLIST: We have the opportunity to learn from the past months and prepare to keep our research operations moving forward as we are currently doing in Phase 2. This is the time to revisit contingency planning and implement cross-training that would allow continued operations with minimal personnel, in case COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations increase to a level that warrants a directive from the Governor and Chancellor to ramp-down our operations once again.

Please access our new checklist, available in NevadaBox (or use the link at Research Continuity) to assist with contingency planning, whether to ramp-down or ramp-up operations.

REVISING YOUR CURRENT RESTART/RESUMPTION PLAN: If it becomes necessary to adjust your current operations plan in terms of scope and modality, you are asked to submit a revised restart/resumption plan through our Restarting Research and Laboratory Operations process (or use the link at Research Continuity).

Here are some examples to help you think this through. Administrative updates such as adding a staff member, bringing on a student intern, having a vendor conduct on-site service or a change in work schedules do not need to be submitted as plan revisions. However, if your initial plan centered on laboratory work and you are now preparing to involve your team in off-campus field work, a revised plan must be submitted. The bottom line is that you must have an approved plan that addresses the current scope and modality of your research or creative activity. In all cases, please consult with your department chair.

BRINGING ON STUDENTS: As a phased return of students to campus begins, it is all the more important that we demonstrate leadership and safety practices. As our colleagues in Environmental Health & Safety remind us, encouraging students to understand and follow safety practices also contributes to their education and career-preparedness. Remember, everyone working in research and laboratory settings, including students, must complete the online COVID-19 General Training and the COVID-19 Training for Research Laboratories and Creative Activities. These trainings are available at Research Continuity.

Those who work in and support research and creative activities are accustomed to following safety guidelines and, where needed, using personal protective equipment. Nonetheless, a reminder is warranted to remain vigilant and adhere to the strict regimens applicable to your work and research settings. It is imperative that we maintain social distancing, safety guidelines and disinfecting practices; wear facial coverings; and restrict the number of research personnel to a maximum of one person per approximately 200 square feet, with no more than two research personnel per bench and a minimum of 6 feet distancing.

Thank you for supporting our research mission, and for your flexibility, commitment and vigilance as we continue to move through this extended Phase II of Nevada’s reopening plan.


Mridul Gautam

Vice President for Research and Innovation
Ross Hall, Room 201
(775) 327-2363