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Division of Research - Wayne State University

Guidance on WSU Research Operations and Services

March 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues –

As you know, all university operations are adapting to the COVID-19 challenge.

First and foremost is your health and that of those around you.  Please keep this in mind as we go forward and as you manage your laboratory and ongoing or planned studies.

As a community, we have serious issues to address and I cannot overemphasize this. 

All efforts should be focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

This is a serious responsibility that we all have and we must step up across the board.

Specific information will be posted at two major websites as well as the individual sites for each research support unit as all evolves this week.

As always, please contact us directly with thoughts and questions as we go forward to be sure that we have all the bases covered as situations arise. 

At this time, research facilities on campus remain open with access to individual laboratories.  However, we will be transitioning to limited access in these areas midweek as needed and you must take immediate action to adjust your laboratory operations accordingly. All funding agencies are cognizant of these issues, the declaration of national emergency and all associated challenges relative to research continuity and will provide further guidance support platforms going forward.


The research support offices under the auspices of the Vice President for Research are mobilized to provide continuity of operations through a variety of mechanisms including remote operations and inter-unit communications across campus.

We have implemented a pause on all on-site visits for subject participants and home visits involving research staff until further notice with exception guidelines as posted and updated as the situation evolves.

All studies should implement remote platforms for subject engagement as appropriate and follow guidelines for documenting and handling any deviations from approved study protocols.

  • Vivarium services will continue with adjusted workflow to accommodate scheduling needs of staff and essential personnel to maintain established standards for animal care.
  • Research Integrity offices and regulatory review groups are enabled for operational continuity through remote platforms.
  • Laboratory safety and occupational health teams are operational.

Guidance for Investigators and Research Teams

  • Realize that all operations are reviewed on a continuous basis and we will adjust building access and management as needed to address the evolving health issues for the protection of all.
  • While all efforts are expended to maintain research operations continuity, the situation can change quickly and you must be prepared.
  • Relative to your specific laboratory and any specialized facilities needs including the vivarium, you must take immediate steps to adjust operations to minimize staff and required on site activities by mid week pending further notification.

Onsite operations and access to research facilities will likely be restricted further this week.

  • Shift your operation and staff engagement to remote based operations as much as possible and prioritize elements of your operation. Note that only laptops and data storage devices can be taken from the lab for remote operations and communications.

Research laboratories are urged to restrict personnel to those performing functions essential to prevent long-term loss of resources and data.  Undergraduate researchers should remain home and graduate students enabled given the option as appropriate.

  • Maintain full awareness of the importance of laboratory safety as experiments and staff transition. This includes the management of the use of hazardous materials and specific instrumentation as well as experimental design recognizing that there may be unexpected interruptions with access and staffing.
  • Realize that all individuals have personal commitments and adjustments to manage as well as their university role and we all will adapt and work together in this context.
  • The university has provided flexible workflow and compensation guidelines through Human Resources to manage accordingly.
  • Regular communication with your research team is critical. Update your communication plan with your team providing emergency contact information including cell phone numbers.
  • Procurement and purchasing are fully operational through a remote platform and will support research operations. Information regarding adjustments in package delivery will be communicated.  

Note that deliveries may be delayed for a variety of reasons as we go forward including availability of the specific items ordered and shipping logistics.