Research Resumption

Since UF Research began implementing a multi-stage research resumption plan on May 18, thousands of faculty, staff and graduate students have been cleared to return to research facilities on campus and around the state, and more are being added daily.

The UF Research Resumption Plan employs a phased reentry strategy that balances the need to resume research activities, the type of research environment and the density of research personnel, while keeping the health and safety of faculty, staff and students paramount. The goal from the beginning has been to secure a fully reconstituted research enterprise, akin to that which existed prior to the onset of the pandemic, while minimizing the risks of coronavirus transmission in the workplace.

UF Research is working closely with the colleges, centers and institutes, and Environmental Health & Safety to ensure that researchers have all the guidance and materials they need to conduct their activities in the safest possible environment.


Safety Guidelines and Protocol

The following practices must be adhered to at all times when conducting research.

Safety in Research
  • Before leaving for work, all employees must do a self-check for symptoms. Anyone who is experiencing any symptom(s) must not come to campus. Instead, that individual should contact their health provider and act on their instructions.
  • Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, who has been referred for testing or who is awaiting test results should notify their supervisor that their doctor has advised them not to report to work.
  • Any individual working in an on-campus research laboratory should wear a university-approved and provided mask or cloth face covering when in the presence of others. Individuals occupying an office alone do not need to wear a face mask or cloth face covering when not with others.
  • Face masks and cloth face coverings will be provided weekly to each individual working in an on-campus laboratory. If work duties require more frequent disposal and replacement of masks, those needs will be accommodated. Masks will also be replaced if they become damaged or visibly soiled.
  • Please do not launder disposable face masks. Individuals using such masks must not touch their face and must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after removing the mask.
  • Individuals should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing when on campus.
  • Hand hygiene is critical, especially after contact with public surfaces, after coughing or sneezing, or after using the restroom. Sanitizing and handwashing stations will be available throughout all buildings, particularly near high-contact areas like restrooms and elevators.
  • The university is increasing cleaning frequency in laboratory environments where there is frequent use of shared equipment. That being said, it is important that all personnel share responsibility for cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces to maintain a safe and healthy workspace. Shared equipment should be wiped down and cleaned before and after each use.
  • High-touch surfaces should be wiped down and cleaned at the beginning and end of each workday with the cleaning and disinfecting supplies that will be provided.
  • Facilities will be monitored periodically to ensure these measures are being practiced. Anyone found not complying will be counseled on the need for these required guidelines, and further non-compliance may result in disciplinary measures in accordance with applicable university policies.
  • Use virtual settings whenever possible to limit face-to-face interactions. Encourage employees to communicate with colleagues by phone, email or other electronic formats, even when on-site.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if COVID-19 has disrupted my research plans or progress toward graduation? (7/10)

We encourage all graduate students to have a conversation with their Supervisory Committee Chair or their department’s graduate coordinator to discuss revising their Individual Development Plan, or other plan of study as necessary.  Credits in supervised (thesis or dissertation) research may be accomplished remotely in some circumstances.  If they involve laboratory or other “in person” activities, see UF’s Research Resumption Plan. Most requirements as to minimum or maximum numbers of such credits are determined by the department and can be modified at the department level. The Graduate School will assist with petitions in situations that require adaptation or waiver of Graduate School policies.

I have plans to work or travel prior to the start of the fall semester. Do I need to self-quarantine before I arrive on campus? (8/7)

For at least 10-14 days prior to arrival to campus, we strongly encourage you to limit your exposure to people who do not live in your household to the greatest extent possible. 

If you must travel or work, or otherwise share common spaces with people who don’t live in your household, please adhere to UF’s behavioral guidance and make sure you are in the habit of these best practices before you arrive to campus.

Can I continue my research? (7/2)

For information about research, please visit the Office of Research COVID-19 website.

If my question isn't answered here, whom can I contact?

Please email reopen@ufl.edu for additional questions not answered here.

Is UF open? (6/30)

Classes are being held online for summer sessions with some resources, such as dining halls, open for students who must stay on campus. UF expects to reopen in the fall.

What behavior is expected on campus to prevent community spread? (7/2)

When returning to campus, all students, faculty and staff are asked to adhere to the following practices.

  • Physical Distancing: Whenever possible, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from others while on the University of Florida properties and in common spaces until further notice.
  • Face Coverings: Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in UF and UF Health facilities, with only a few exceptions for children less than 2 years old or those who are ill. For those who are unable to wear a face covering, face shields will be an acceptable alternative. Face coverings are to be worn in all classrooms, in patient care areas, and when in public/common areas, including lobbies, conference rooms, elevators, stairwells, bathrooms and lounges. Face coverings are also required on employee and visitor shuttles. Exceptions include when in private offices, private work spaces with adequate physical barriers, and well-ventilated outdoor spaces where appropriate physical distancing can be maintained. ​​
  • Wash Hands Frequently: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Stay Home When Sick: If you are sick, please stay home. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

For more information, please visit the UF Health website.

I’m a graduate research assistant. Where do I go for information about my research assignment? (7/10)

If you know the faculty member with whom you will be working as a research assistant, contact him/her.  If you have not yet been assigned to a specific faculty member, contact the department (probably the Graduate Coordinator) in which you are appointed.  You may also want to read UF’s Research Resumption Plan for further detail.

How do I receive approval for university-related essential travel? (7/10)

As UF reopens and reengages with other universities, industries, research and instructional initiatives, and governmental agencies, it is to be expected that members of the community will engage in additional travel closely tied to these activities. Consequently, essential travel directly connected to assigned university duties will be approved by the Dean of a College (or analogous Director in certain units), a Senior Vice President, or Vice President. At this time and until further notice, Deans and Directors may not delegate this responsibility to Department Chairs. No travel reimbursements will be issued without that approval.

Employees are still strongly encouraged to minimize personal travel.

Employees who do travel should inform themselves about restrictions and quarantines either in the areas to which they travel or requirements of the State of Florida and the University of Florida in returning from certain locations. UF may require returning employees to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from certain destinations.

Employees are reminded that any international travel must be pre-approved by a Dean (or SVP or VP) and must be registered on the International Center International Travel Registration website. Employees are further reminded that they could find their movements severely restricted in international travel, including re-entry into the United States.

How do I receive approval for university-related essential travel? (7/10)

As UF reopens and reengages with other universities, industries, research and instructional initiatives, and governmental agencies, it is to be expected that members of the community will engage in additional travel closely tied to these activities. Consequently, essential travel directly connected to assigned university duties will be approved by the Dean of a College (or analogous Director in certain units), a Senior Vice President, or Vice President. At this time and until further notice, Deans and Directors may not delegate this responsibility to Department Chairs. No travel reimbursements will be issued without that approval.

Employees are still strongly encouraged to minimize personal travel.

Employees who do travel should inform themselves about restrictions and quarantines either in the areas to which they travel or requirements of the State of Florida and the University of Florida in returning from certain locations. UF may require returning employees to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from certain destinations.

Employees are reminded that any international travel must be pre-approved by a Dean (or SVP or VP) and must be registered on the International Travel Registration website. Employees are further reminded that they could find their movements severely restricted in international travel, including re-entry into the United States.