In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the campus is implementing many new procedures and measures to address the current crisis. We want to assure you that the health and safety of our campus community is our highest priority and consideration. As a result, on March 21, 2020, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost imposed SEVERE RESEARCH RESTRICTIONS for campus research. Under these restrictions, the university is performing only essential and limited exempted research that must be approved by the Dean and VPR. Below are links to policy updates and resources regarding the University of Maryland’s evolving response to the situation.
- University of Maryland Announces Updated Guidance for Conducting Research (June 3, 2021)
- University of Maryland Transitioning on August 24 to Phase 2 for On-Campus Research Activities (August 12, 2020)
- Guidelines for Resuming In-Person Human Subjects Research (August 3, 2020)
- Research Update on Employee Building Visitation Log (July 15, 2020)
- Information for Researchers Returning to Campus (June 7, 2020)
- Safety Practices and Requirements for Working on Campus (June 11, 2020)
- University of Maryland Research Transition to Phase 1: Limited Presence (June 5, 2020)
- A Message from the VP for Research: Preparing to Reopen On-Campus Research (June 1, 2020)
- News: University of Maryland Severe Research Restrictions Extended Through June 1
- Virtual Town Hall Highlights Preparation for Phased Relaunch of Campus Research Activities
- UMD Guidance Regarding Severe Research Restrictions
- Federal Guidelines and Information about Financial Assistance, Proposal Submission, and General Support
- COVID-19 Funding Opportunities
- UMD Research Administration Support
- UMD Checklist for Researchers to prepare for emergency restrictions
- UMD Research Guidance
- UMD Research Resources
- Additional Questions? Submit Your Question via Our Online Form
- The UMD Coronavirus Information Page includes general university guidance for employees and students, including teleworking and travel.
What laboratory safety priorities should I ensure are addressed as we reopen our laboratory?
To ensure your lab is physically ready to start work safely, we have developed a short, 20 question self-inspection BioRAFT COVID-19 Reopening Self-Inspection Checklist checklist. All laboratories should complete the self-inspection checklist. See ESSR BioRAFT Information page on how to access the checklist from your BioRAFT lab profile. Only PIs or group compliance liaisons can perform the self-inspection (instructions on how to assign group compliance liaison designation is in the FAQ section of the above website), but all members of the lab will be able to see the inspection reports. The checklist can be completed using a computer, smart phone, or tablet as many times as you need. You can add pictures and customize notes.
How can I obtain laboratory safety support related to implementing COVID-19 requirements in the laboratory?
Although the majority of ESSR staff are also teleworking, ESSR is on campus maintaining Environmental Health and Safety regulatory requirements, license commitments, and processing hazardous wastes. We are standing ready to help your return to research operations. Up to date links to COVID-19 related resources can be found on our ESSR COVID-19 website. Laboratory Safety resources can be found under the “Research” header. For research safety assistance contact . Note that ESSR will not be monitoring completion of the BioRAFT COVID-19 Reopening Self-Inspection Checklist of individual labs or following up on reports, unless requested by the lab. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any additional support.
Are there special guidelines or considerations for cleaning and disinfection in laboratories?
As you return to the lab, new procedures are required to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus through the touching of surfaces in your research spaces. Laboratory personnel are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting laboratory spaces. FM will only clean non-research areas. We have developed a Cleaning and Disinfection in Laboratories guide to provide general guidance on cleaning and disinfection in laboratory settings.
How should I manage service vendors required to repair, calibrate or perform preventative maintenance of laboratory equipment?
Returning to normal operations may mean bringing service vendors into laboratories for service, repair, or installation purposes. We have developed the COVID-19 Expectations for Service Vendors Supporting Research. You can customize and hand to service vendors to notify them of current campus COVID-19 related requirements and your unique lab-specific considerations.
Where can I get a copy of the template for the Phase 0/Phase 1 Safety Assuredness Procedures & Guidance Plan for Re-Opening Research?
For your convenience, the template is available as a fillable Word document as well as a Google Form. From your Google Shared Drive, click "Forms", then "Template gallery" to find the "Research Reopening Form" and "Statement of Commitment Form". Click the "more icon" (looks like 3 vertical dots) to "Make a copy" and save the forms to your local Google drive for sharing with your team.
What are the occupancy and considerations for graduate students and researchers to work in office spaces during Phase 1 of the reopening research?
The Phase 0-1 in Dr. Locascio's plan, Restarting Research at the University of Maryland calls for a very limited presence on campus. Phase 0-1 specifies "those who can work at home must work at home". For office based research in Phases 0-2, it is strongly encouraged to continue to work remotely unless there are specific needs regarding on-campus resources. When on-campus resources are needed, all occupancy guidelines and health and safety guidelines must be addressed in the Phase 0/Phase 1 Safety Assuredness Plan the Principal Investigators are developing. Therefore, In Phase 1, graduate students and all researchers should only be on campus for lab work. While it is understandable that some computer/desk work in adjacent offices may be required, in Phase 1, the times spent at the campus offices/desks must be minimized and remain very limited. In the office spaces, the occupancy requirements include the same safeguards that are being applied in the research areas. These include, but are not limited to keeping to 1 person per 200 sq.ft., the wearing of face masks, the ability to maintain social distancing (maintaining 6ft separation between people), cleaning high touch surfaces and staggering work shifts to reduce the number of people in the space.
Can delivery and installation of sensitive equipment take place during Phase 1?
From the Procurement side, the university is currently able to place orders and receive deliveries. Delivery and installation of sensitive equipment in laboratory spaces will depend upon the necessary final connections and who is responsible for them, whether the space is prepped for the equipment, and how training on use and maintenance of the equipment will be conducted all while maintaining physical distancing.
For this reason, these situations must be treated on a case by case basis depending upon the space, occupants, and the supplier's ability to provide training to those who need it. Some determinations may need to be made at the College level with regard to equipment installations giving consideration to whether the equipment is needed immediately for research or whether the portions of research that are dependent upon the equipment can be delayed for the safety of employees.
Also, some equipment suppliers may not be willing to come to campus to perform installations and training until a later date.
In light of the recent announcement that the university will move to Phase I, will COVID-19 specific training be a requirement? Or can we simply return to the labs once our plans are cleared by our department chair and Dean’s office?
University Human Resources is nearing completion on a campus-wide training program for all faculty, staff and students. This training will be tracked and will include information all employees and students need to know. As the various teams coordinated efforts for the campus reopening, and after discussion and consideration for efficiency and effectiveness, it was decided that this UHR training will serve as the training requirement previously cited by Dr. Locascio for the Phase 1 research restart. Therefore, yes, when your plan is approved by the Chair and Dean, you can begin work on campus June 8th. UHR is working to offer the campus training as quickly as possible.
Will campus parking restrictions be lifted?
Anyone with or without a permit can park in any student or employee parking lot or any parking meter without paying it. The campus community will be informed once this situation changes.
Will masks be required for doing research on campus? And what is the availability of PPE?
Cloth face coverings are required to be worn on campus when indoors, and when outdoors in proximity to others. The university will provide face coverings to those who need them. Individuals may choose to wear their own. Procurement and Strategic Sourcing is working to obtain cloth face masks. They are expected to be available the week of 6/15/2020. Disposable non-surgical face masks are available immediately via Printing Services’ Digital Storefront at https://www.dbs.umd.edu/print/services/DSF.php. Additional information on how departments can place orders will be forthcoming later this week.
How should units order cleaning supplies?
Units should obtain cleaning supplies as they normally do. Procurement & Strategic Sourcing is working on sourcing supplies that are difficult to obtain (e.g., disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, disinfecting spray cleaner) as a backup for campus.
Will there be signage for in-building traffic?
Starting the week of 6/9, Facilities Management will post signs at primary building entrances reminding people to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance, wash their hands, and stay home while sick. This sign is available in a PDF so that units can print and post additional copies as needed. Strategic Communications is developing a comprehensive signage package that will be available for departments/units to order signs in late June.
Will there be plexiglass barriers/dividers available for receptionists, and other high traffic areas?
Facilities Management (FM) can install plexiglass barriers where desired. Any units that want these should submit a work order to FM. Key findings of the Health, Safety and Risk Task Force will be shared regarding when barriers are recommended. These findings will be available soon.
Where can individuals go for testing?
UMD is undertaking an initial voluntary testing program for those who currently work on campus or will be returning to campus in June. As dates are scheduled, notices will be issued to the campus community. This voluntary testing program will be used to inform decisions about subsequent testing on our campus. For those who receive an invitation to participate, voluntary testing is on a first-come, first-served basis and is not a requirement to return to campus for research. This testing program involves PCR-based testing conducted in a CLIA-certified lab. Employees can also seek testing through the State of Maryland, Prince George’s County or other counties.
If someone is identified as being COVID-19 positive, are the contact tracing personnel in place?
Yes. Working with the Maryland Department of Health, the university has a process in place for contact tracing.
Who is in charge of enforcing 25% occupancy, 200 sq. ft. distancing, and face masks? If we find violators, who should we inform?
If people refuse to wear face coverings or abide by physical distancing, they will not be allowed to come to work. Escalation will proceed from the Department Chair to the Dean to the Provost.
What will the procedure be for building cleaning?
For now, building cleaning will continue as it has in recent weeks. Facilities Management (FM) will assess their procedures as campus community members return to campus, and the campus becomes more populated. Additional details will be communicated as they become available.
Will the buildings remain locked?
At this time, the buildings will remain locked and will only be accessible by using UMD employees' UID to access the buildings and research spaces.
What protocols will we use in the physical spaces once we determine a positive case (shutdown building/floor/or research space until further cleaning? Have cleaning protocols been determined? Who is responsible for that cleaning?)
These instances are handled on a case by case basis under the direction of the University Health Center. Facilities Management is responsible for coordinating the cleaning.