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.

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.

What accommodations will be made for employees who have an underlying health concern? (10/14)

HR and the Office of Accessibility and Gender Equity have developed a process to evaluate appropriate accommodations for faculty with disabilities. More information can be found on the Office of Accessibility and Gender Equity's website.

What behavior is expected on campus to prevent community spread? (8/10)

Campus health guidelines are available at: https://coronavirus.ufl.edu/resources/health-guidance/. Enforcement of behavioral expectations to abide by University regulations and policy, state and local law and the instructions of officials can be carried out by any designee of the Vice President of Student Affairs or other appropriate University Official. For more details, please visit the UF policy page for behavioral expectations.

With the number of class sections increasing, how will UF minimize the spread of Covid-19? (10/14)

UF will strictly adhere to CDC physical distancing guidelines, and mask wearing will be mandatory. Additionally, classrooms will be configured to allow 8 feet of distancing between each student, and many face-to-face class sections will be accompanied by a hyflex section — which streams simultaneously over the internet — to allow for decreased classroom capacity as a result of distancing requirements. Additionally, UF Health will continue its vigorous contact tracing program in partnership with the Department of Health. UF Health’s Screen, Test, & Protect initiative has also developed new tools to monitor classrooms to minimize in-class transmission. Surveillance testing will be scaled up with mandatory regularly scheduled testing of students and others at high risk of COVID-19 infection. Additionally, wastewater testing is in full swing and will enhance the overall monitor and control efforts.

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.

Will UF services and buildings be available after Thanksgiving? (10/13)

Yes. Campus will remain open.

Is UF shut down following Thanksgiving break until spring 2021 semester? (10/13)

The University of Florida is not shut down after Thanksgiving. Faculty are encouraged to shift their classes to an online format after the holiday to give students the option to stay home if they so choose. Most courses will not have a face-to-face requirement after Thanksgiving, but some will.

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.

What is the class schedule for the end of the fall 2020 semester? (10/13)

The fall class schedule can be found a https://catalog.ufl.edu/UGRD/dates-deadlines/2020-2021/#fall20text.