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Division of Research - Wayne State University

UPDATES -  Laboratory-based research activities on-campus: 

Current evolving pandemic situation – awareness, preparedness and pause of defined on-site activities

November 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues –

We are entering another critical period with respect to the pandemic and we must keep in mind the priority focus on the health and well-being of all involved. As we have all taken this journey together over the past 8 months, all have adjusted to the new environment and I greatly appreciate everyone stepping up to do the right thing.

Because of your commitment and efforts to align with the established parameters for on-site activities, the labs and research programs have managed, albeit at a reduced level of on-site activity, to operationalize effectively over the past several months.

The full engagement of the research community has been the key to success during this period and we need to stay steady as we go into the next few weeks and through the winter with a vaccine on the horizon.

As noted in my communication on Sunday, November 15 and in the memo from President Wilson on Monday, November 16, the university has taken a series of next steps to manage the current surge of COVID-19 infection in the region and in response to the directives from the Michigan Governor’s Office.

Relative to currently authorized research activities and in accordance with institutional and regional considerations in a period of heightened alert, we are taking a few targeted steps as indicated below for a two-week period to pause any expansion of on-campus research activities and to adapt to the current continuing increases in COVID-19 infection rate and the associated impacts on hospital occupancy.

Effective for two weeks beginning Monday, November 23 through December 7:

  1. The approval of new laboratory personnel (staff, students, trainees) for involvement in on-site campus research activities is paused for two weeks. 
  • Any planned and previously authorized visits to on-site research areas (e.g. service providers) should be paused for two weeks.
  • This pause excludes essential critical infrastructure workers and special emergency situations as determined on a case-by-case basis within the review process currently established (Chair, Associate Dean for Research and the Vice President for Research).
  1.  All laboratories should fully align with the staggered shift schedule for on-site activities as authorized from the Vice President for Research.
  2. It is critical for all to follow the established guidelines for the Campus Daily Screener, social distancing, masking and disinfectant procedures for any activities on campus.
  • This is of key importance for the health of your employees and this is a point that I cannot overemphasize and we will take appropriate steps to address any situation that compromises the safety and health of individuals involved.
  1. Laboratories should consider deferring the initiation of new experiments as much as possible for the next two weeks with a focus on critical activities.
  2. Maximize research activities that can be done remotely for the next two weeks.
  3. Specific actions items involving areas of specialized research activities or resources are being communicated directly to those laboratories involved.
  4. Any planned initiation of authorized on-site studies involving human participants is paused for two weeks pending further notice.
  5. Each of you should update your plan to ramp down on-site research activity.

Implementation of the items listed above is essential if we are to be prepared for any further reduction in on-site activities as the current situation evolves. If the current pandemic situation further amplifies through continued increases in COVID-19 infectivity rate or hospital occupancy and in accordance with local, regional and national directives and the university guideline metrics in this regard, additional steps will likely be necessary to further pause or decrease currently authorized, on-campus laboratory research activities.

Hopefully, we will manage through the current situation and hold steadily forward with the potential vaccine on the horizon -  however, I cannot overemphasize the importance of always being prepared.

Many of the key principles involved in the initial framework established for a phased resumption of on-site activities are also relevant for effective and safe management of laboratory activities during a pause or ramp-down period - please review Principles and Guidelines for a Phased Ramp-Up of On-site, Laboratory-based Research Activities”

Be cognizant not only of your immediate laboratory environment, but also of your colleagues and all of the staff that have made the commitments to allow us to function over the past several months.

If the current pandemic situation further amplifies through continued increases in COVID-19 infectivity rate or hospital occupancy and in accordance with local, regional and national directives and the university metrics for action steps, additional steps will be necessary to further decrease currently authorized, on-campus laboratory research activities.

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



Please monitor the sites below for updates.