UMD Guidance Regarding Severe Research Restrictions

Guidance Regarding Severe Research Restrictions:

Due to the health and safety risk to our campus community and to our region from COVID-19, and resulting directives from federal and state government officials severely limiting interpersonal interactions in any public spaces, our on-campus laboratories and core facilities were place under Severe Research Restrictions starting on March 21, 2020. These restrictions are expected to remain in place through at least June 1, at which time they will be re-evaluated.

Requests for limited exemptions from these restrictions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A formal application process for exemptions is being developed by each college in collaboration with the Vice President for Research and will be managed by the office of the Dean. Exemptions will require approval by the College/School Dean and the Vice President for Research.

Severe Research Restrictions: With Severe Restrictions, all basic and animal research experimentation requiring a physical presence at UMD should cease as we move to maintenance operations: maintaining and caring for important instruments, animal colonies, cell lines, and other valuable resources. An exception to this is research related to COVID-19. Other limited exemptions for research requiring campus facilities will be approved at the Dean’s level and submitted for final approval to the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Please note that no one may be forced to come to campus to work. For those working in campus facilities, please remember at all times to continue to use proper precautions – wash hands, wear gloves, maintain 6-ft distance between persons, and wipe down lab benches or other surfaces. If you have concerns about your rights as a staff member or student, you may use this anonymous website to report your concerns: https://vpaf.umd.edu/ethics-integrity-and-compliance-reporting.

It is important to understand that we are taking this step in the interest of the health and safety of our community. UMD is not discontinuing research. It is temporarily limiting on-campus laboratory and other campus-based research activity through June 1 with some exceptions. All research work that can be done remotely (remote interviews, data processing, proposals, publications, patents, reviews, research group meetings, administrative meetings, etc.) is strongly encouraged.

Federal granting agencies are responding quickly and are introducing significant flexibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most updated guidance about these changes is provided on this website. Please reach out to your NIH, NSF or other agency program director as soon as possible with concerns and questions about grants and contracts regulations. Faculty should keep their collaborators (academic, private, non-profit, and community organizations) informed of any study-specific plans and actions.

Graduate research assistants and their faculty advisors should take steps to place research activities in a state where they can be restarted without loss of progress when restrictions are lifted. We understand that many of you may lose valuable time and resources, but we are living in very unusual and troubling times that demand adaptation.

We are not alone in this imperative. Most of our peers across the country are being forced to take similar measures. It is important that we at the University of Maryland do our part to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic.

Please note that federal agencies are introducing significant flexibilities due to the pandemic, including flexibilities for researchers and institutions related to grants administration, fiscal issues, and time periods for no-cost extensions, as well as delayed submissions and reporting. There is a continuously updated list of agency guidance provided on our website. Please reach out to your NIH, NSF or other agency program director as soon as possible with concerns and questions. Faculty should keep their collaborators (academic, private, non-profit, and community organizations) informed of their study-specific plans and actions.

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