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Research Ramp Up--Other Information

For information on our Research Ramp Up program that is not urgent or has not recently changed, but is still relevant to researchers.

If you would like to download the complete Research Ramp Up Guidebook, click here (PDF).

UPDATE: Increasing access to labs, offices and studios

(3/25/21) (updated April 21, 2021)

As part of UC San Diego’s plan to incrementally repopulate the campus, we are increasing access for faculty and PIs to their individual labs, offices and studios for academic and research work. Beginning April 1, 2021, those with approved Research Ramp-up Plans can increase on-site personnel to 50 percent. 

if you are returning to individual on-site work in your private office or studio without additional personnel, you need only submit a Work Health Management Form (requires Active Directory sign-in).

Continuing On-site Research Activity

  • All personnel working on-site must continue to follow CDC and campus guidelines including social distancing, use of face coverings, daily screenings and regular hand washing and sanitization. Fully vaccinated individuals (two weeks after second dose), no longer need to test weekly.
  • Number of individuals on-site at any one time is limited to 50% of total personnel. This includes those who may have been/still are working remotely. All individuals on an approved plan are eligible to return to campus, regardless of the phase they are assigned to.
  • The 50% limit may be increased when county guidance changes.
  • Density limitations based on square feet or people per aisle/bay will no longer be required. 
  • No active lab should reduce the number of people on-site. Therefore, you may go by either
    • 50% of those on your Research Ramp-up Plan (all phases) OR
    • If more personnel can be accommodated with 1 person per 150 sf, use this metric instead (must maintain 6-foot social distance).
  • Increased capacity does NOT apply to courses, any meetings or other events.
  • At present, vaccination status may not be used to determine occupancy level. Asking personnel about their vaccination status is in violation of HIPAA laws.

Preparing to Increase On-Site Research Activity 

Update existing Ramp-up Plans (updated March 29, 2021)

    • Make sure all members of your lab or group are listed on your plan. If you need to add people to your plan please follow the instructions here. 
    • Faculty, research staff and students engaged in research, scholarship and creative activity can be added to plans. Students participating in training rotations or educational programs (199, thesis work, etc) can also be added. Administrative staff working remotely should continue to do so until at least May 31.
  • If you need to otherwise update your plan, instructions can be found here or email researchrampup@ucsd.edu to begin the update process.
  • Ensure alternative or training risk mitigation plans exist when side-by-side training is required.

  • Unaffiliated (non-UC San Diego) volunteers may be added to plans, but continue to be restricted from on-site access in order to prioritize UC San Diego personnel.

Submit a Ramp Up Plan if you have not already done so

  • Instructions can be found here.
  • List all current personnel (in appropriate phase). If more personnel are hired or your team expands, you can add them to your plan at that time.
  • Plans should be submitted at least 7 days before on-site activity commences/expands to allow enough time for EH&S review.

Guidebook Table of Contents

  1. Statement from UC San Diego Academic Senate
  2. Principles
  3. A Phased Scale Up
    1. Figure 1: Campus Phases
  4. Guidance Framework
    1. General Requirements: applicable to all research, scholarship, and creative activity
    2. Context-specific requirements and resources: Orange Phase (began June 1, 2020)
    3. Figure 2: Additional Context-specific Requirements
    4. Exceptions: Alternative Strategies for Risk Mitigation
      1. General
      2. Training
  5. Ramp-up Procedures
  6. Important Information: COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing and Decontamination Procedures
  7. Appendices: Context-specific Additional Guidance and Resources
    1. Wet Labs
    2. Equipment-Intensive/Dry Labs
    3. Clinical Trials
    4. Social, Cognitive and Behavioral Human Subjects Research in Dedicated Research Facilities
    5. Imaging Research Involving Human Subjects
    6. Animal Research
    7. Community-Based Research in Researcher-controlled Settings (classrooms, clinics)
    8. Social Sciences/Humanities Field Research
    9. Performing Arts
    10. Natural Sciences Field Research (Additional Guidance)
  8. Additional Resources
    1. Campus Phase Explanations
    2. Impact on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
    3. Ethical Considerations and Resources

Introduction

The Continuity of Research Task Force chairs are Miroslav Krstic & James McKerrow with Faith Hawkins.

The Continuity of Research Task Force is comprised of: Todd Adams, Douglas Bartlett, John Bauer, Ben Bergen, Eli Berman, Sandy Brown, Andrew Chisholm, Kevin Chou, Linda Collins, Bob Continetti, Ross Dammann, Peter Ebenfeldt, Rachel Flanagan, Michelle Franklin, Rusty, Gage, Tracy Handel, Gene Hasegawa, Martin Hetzer, Susan Pike Humphrey, Steve Johnson, Ted Johnson, Andrew Kehler, Nancy Kwak, Tia Levine, Eric Mah, Angela McMahill, Phil Richter, Chip Schooley, Lance Scott, Dio Siegel, Frank Truong, George Tynan, Samuel Ward, Erika Wilson, Jerry Yang + faculty and staff advisors. 

In consultation with: EOC (Emergency Operations Center), EH&S (Environmental Health & Safety), IT Services, Facilities, Procurement, Return to Learn team, Academic Senate leadership and Committee on Research, Animal Care, IRB, Deans & Provosts, multiple undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars

Introduction 

These guidelines outline plans and procedures to enable ramp-up of research activity at UC San Diego. Guided by our own infectious disease experts and epidemiologists as well as the World Health Organization, the CDC, and state and local public health experts, our goal is to enable a return to on-site research, scholarship and creative activity while protecting the health and safety of all members of the UC San Diego community. All available scientific evidence indicates that the threat of community spread of SARS-CoV-2 will remain for months to come, and that we should prepare to move back and forth between varying levels of activity on campus. Prepared by the Continuity of Research Task Force, with additional input from faculty, staff and students, the guidelines outlined here will enable us to do so with minimal complexity.

The Continuity of Research Task Force understands this document to be a living text, one which will be adjusted and improved as circumstances evolve and we learn together how best to respond to them. Updates will be posted on this page regularly.

Statement from UC San Diego Academic Senate

The Continuity of Research Task Force, organized by Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra Brown and co-chaired by SAVCR Miroslav Krstic and Dean James McKerrow, has in a few short weeks produced a detailed set of plans to govern research continuity in the SARS-CoV-2 era. Reflecting our institution’s core values, these plans make the protection of the health and safety of campus members its paramount priority, while recognizing the urgency of returning to the vibrant research activity that is characteristic of our campus life. Eight breakout groups that included Senate members addressed the heterogeneous research and safety needs of faculty, research staff and students across campus. The process was broadly consultative, and made essential use of the world-class medical expertise that our campus is fortunate to have. Senate Council applauds these plans and expresses its deep appreciation for the dedicated scientists and staff who worked tirelessly to bring them to fruition.

Andrew Kehler Chair, Committee on Research

Maripat Corr Chair, San Diego Divisional Academic Senate

Steven Constable Vice Chair, San Diego Divisional Academic Senate

Principles

  • Prioritize the physical safety and mental health of all members of the UC San Diego community, the communities in which we engage in research, and the communities in which we live.
  • While the urgency of resuming our research is keenly felt, we will do so only in a way that is informed by the ethical imperative, to prioritize health and safety.
  • Resume research, scholarship and creative activity with full adherence to public health directives, campus policy, and the guidance of medical and public health experts.
  • Ensure a transparent and consistent process in determining permissible levels of research activity over the course of the pandemic. Minimize complexity so that we can easily move from one level of activity to another. Ensure that decisions are made and implemented at the unit level (PI, department, center or institute) to account for the variety and contexts of research, scholarship and creative activity at the university. Allow flexibility within necessary parameters.

A Phased Scale Up

Given the continued threat of community spread of COVID-19, activity will resume/expand in phases. New outbreaks are possible at any time and may require a contraction of activity. The Chancellor, in adherence with state and local directives and in consultation with university leaders, epidemiologists, and infectious disease experts, will determine when conditions require or permit transitioning from one phase to another. Research, scholarship and creative activity at UC San Diego will therefore be governed by campus-identified phases, with distinct and risk-appropriate restrictions on the density of on-site personnel, requirements for use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face coverings, and frequency of disinfection of work spaces and commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs and light switches.

The Red Phase is characterized by a “stay-at-home” order from government officials, and campus-mandated remote work. Only essential activity is permitted on campus (or at any UC San Diego research site) during this phase. PPE, social distancing, and sanitization protocols are required.

The Orange Phase is characterized by a modest increase in on-site activity (including field research, community research, and clinical sites). “Stay at home” orders may remain in place; remote work is required for those whose work can be conducted remotely. In general, approximately 25% of research personnel will be on-site at any time. PPE, social distancing, and sanitization protocols are required.

The Yellow Phase is characterized by a more significant increase in on-site and field activity of normal activity. In general, approximately 50% of research personnel will be on-site at any time; remote work is recommended for those whose work can be conducted remotely. PPE, social distancing and sanitization protocols are required.

The Green Phase is characterized by a return to normal operations, subject to campus restrictions.

Click here to download a PDF version of these phase descriptions and the chart below. 

Figure 1: Campus Phases

 

 

 

Campus PHASE

 

RED

Shelter-at-home, “essential research only”

ORANGE

Low-density with PPE and distancing (approximately 25% personnel density)

YELLOW

Medium-density research with PPE and distancing (approximately 50% personnel density)

MODIFIED, APRIL 1, 2021

GREEN

return to full operations (some restrictions may remain)

PPE, physical distancing, sanitation

Required

TBD

Work that can be done remotely continues remotely

Required

TBD

Remote work by vulnerable groups[i]

Required

Recommended

Not required

DENSITY restriction for on-campus research, rehearsal, etc. (with safety & sanitation per EHS)

Only essential personnel allowed

wet labs: 1 person/aisle 

other spaces: no more than 1 person per 250 sq ft

All spaces: minimum of 6 foot distance between individuals

All personnel on approved Ramp Up plans, regardless of Phase assignment, may access facilities (within 50% cap)

To increase access in labs with limited personnel, allow 1 person per 150 sq ft (rather than 50% of group)

None

Chair/Dir./Dean actions required

Review/Approval of on-site research plans, exception requests

Review/Approval of research activity plans, exception requests; floor/adjoining facilities’ plan coordination, building egress

Review/Approval of new research plans, exception requests; floor/adjoining facilities’ plan coordination, building egress

As per usual practice

PI actions required

Submission of on-site & remote site plans

On-line submission of density/safety management plans, adherence agreement

On-line submission of density/safety management plans, adherence agreement

None

Researcher/staff actions required

Remote work plans, contact information to PI/supervisor

PPE, safety, hygiene training (if required)

PPE, safety, hygiene training (if required)

None

TRIGGER

Campus level determination with public health considerations (state and local)

Shelter-at-home order instituted by Governor or by County

From RED: state shelter-at-home order may be eased; campus-defined low-density research with health & safety standards 

CAN BE REVERSED

From ORANGE: state or local shelter-at-home order may be lifted; campus further relaxes density restrictions with campus-defined health & safety standards 

CAN BE REVERSED

Normal functions resume (some restrictions may remain) 

CAN BE REVERSED

 

[i] Effective May 10, 2020 and continuing until further notice, the Health Officer of the County of San Diego issued “a strong recommendation … that all persons who are 65 years or older, have a chronic underlying condition, or have a compromised immune system self-quarantine themselves at home or other suitable location.”

General Guidelines

Regardless of the type of activity in which you’re engaged, certain practices are required for all UC San Diego faculty, students and staff. The CDC advises that risk of viral transmission rises when individuals work in close proximity (at distances of less than 6 ft.) for periods of as little as 10 minutes. Restrictions regarding social distancing, use of face coverings, hygiene and sanitization outlined here are intended to permit some resumption of research, scholarship and creative activity while attending to the risk of transmission.

In specific settings or types of activity, additional practices will be required to support the safety of all of those involved in the research. Where the specific requirements of the activity necessitate exceptions to these guidelines, a risk mitigation plan must be developed and approved by department/program leadership before activity can resume (see below, p. 9).

General Requirements: Applicable to all Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activity

  • Work that can be conducted remotely should continue to be conducted remotely until normal university operations resume.

    Persons who are 65 years or older, have a chronic underlying condition, or have a compromised immune system are particular vulnerable to severe impacts of respiratory infection. During the Red phase, members of these vulnerable groups are required to have the option to work remotely; members of these vulnerable populations are strongly recommended to have that option during the Orange phase.
  • If you are sick or have any reason to believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 or any infectious disease, do not come to work.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, visit UC San Diego Health's COVID-19 website to learn where to get tested. Follow EOC protocols (available below) for reporting your positive test results if you are tested elsewhere.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars cannot be required or pressured to work on-site during the Red or Orange phases. Because research is an essential element of the UC San Diego educational experience, faculty should make an effort to support students in credit-bearing (honors, thesis, dissertation, independent study, experiential learning) research activity, while not coercing them to work on-site. Students may work on-site by exception during the Red phase.
  • All personnel must complete a symptom and exposure screening before beginning work on-site each day; those with symptoms should not enter the workplace.[i] UC San Diego IT teams will select and implement a reporting systems app which will be ready for use before we move into the Orange phase; information about that app is available on the Human Resources blink webpage.
  • Adhere to appropriate density restrictions, as required by phase (see Figure 1). Such restrictions may require implementation of work shifts to ensure that maximal density is not exceeded.
  • Follow CDC guidelines for protecting yourself and others through frequent hand washing, social distancing, etc.
  • Wear a face covering when you are on campus — on sidewalks, in common areas of buildings, etc.[ii] In most settings and circumstances, a cloth or disposable ear-loop face covering is sufficient. Surgical masks are considered ideal if available (does not have to be N95 or include a filter). Face coverings (and other personal protective equipment, as required in specific contexts) are available for purchase.

UC San Diego’s Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions is stocking large quantities of PPE and disinfecting material, which is available for purchase through Oracle Procurement. Search COVIDPPE in the Oracle search bar to see the available items. Please add PPE items to their own cart so that they can route to Procurement for review and prevent delay of processing non-PPE orders. Additionally please make sure N95 orders are in their own cart so they can route to EH&S for their Respiratory Protection Program.

These items are being stocked to meet the needs of many different campus communities. It is requested that you order only what your lab or office will need in two week increments to ensure that as many areas as possible across campus can take advantage of this supply. If you anticipate a significantly larger than normal bulk order, please reach out to IPPS through the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.

You will be required to provide a Chart of Account (COA) string or Project Number (POET) to cover the cost of supplies: face coverings and PPE can be charged to grants, while other supplies must be charged to departmental or other COVID-specific accounts. Please consult your MSO or Fund Manager for guidance on identifying the appropriate account to use.

  • Regularly disinfect your work areas. Every research, office and performance space or studio should be disinfected at the beginning and end of every day, or at the beginning and end of every shift (whichever is more frequent). In addition to surfaces, instruments, and equipment, commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs and handles, light switches) should be cleaned by those starting and finishing their work shift. Guidance is available on the EH&S blink page

    The Emergency Operations Center will make available, on a one-time basis, a free “welcome kit” of supplies, including disposable masks, cloth masks, disinfectant spray and disposable gloves (as needed) to those approved to ramp up their research. Quantities will be determined by the number of your personnel returning on-site during the initial ramp up. Request these supplies using the “Return to Research Initial Supplies Request” Form (currently being revised) and upload it at the Research Activity Reporting Platform.

    After these free supplies run out, additional supplies are available for purchase. UC San Diego’s Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions is stocking large quantities of PPE and disinfecting material, which is available for purchase throughOracle Procurement. Search COVIDPPE in the Oracle search bar to see the available items. Please add PPE items to their own cart so that they can route to Procurement for review and prevent delay of processing non-PPE orders. Additionally please make sure N95 orders are in their own cart so they can route to EH&S for their Respiratory Protection Program.

    These items are being stocked to meet the needs of many different campus communities. It is requested that you order only what your lab or office will need in two week increments to ensure that as many areas as possible across campus can take advantage of this supply. If you anticipate a significantly larger than normal bulk order, please reach out to IPPS through the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.

    You will be required to provide a Chart of Account (COA) string or Project Number (POET) to cover the cost of supplies: face coverings and PPE can be charged to grants, while other supplies must be charged to departmental or other COVID-specific accounts. Please consult your MSO or Fund Manager for guidance on identifying the appropriate account to use.
  • Many researchers share with other spaces like cell culture rooms, autoclaves, cold rooms, and waiting rooms. If you share space with others, you need to coordinate with them to ensure that these spaces are regularly disinfected, and that to the extent possible, use of these spaces is coordinated so that social distancing requirements can be maintained there. If possible, as you schedule activity in your lab, coordinate with others whose teams work on the same floor or hallway as you do. This will help to ensure that everyone can observe necessary physical distancing in common areas (e.g., restrooms, stairwells, hallways, elevators).
  • Day travel to field research sites or clinics must be conducted in accordance with specific guidelines below.
  • Develop and implement a communications plan for staff and students within your lab or research group to enhance awareness, compliance and site change requirements if needed.
  • Complete required forms and submit via the Research and On-site Activity Platform for approval by your department chair and dean. This tool should be used for on-campus research activity as well as field research, community-based activity, and activity conducted in satellite locations. Research, scholarship and creative activity cannot resume until your plan has been approved by the dean, and the campus has announced the transition into the Orange Phase.
     

[i] Effective May 10, 2020 and continuing until further notice, the Health Officer of the County of San Diego requires that employers conduct temperature screening or symptom screening of all employees. Symptom screening prohibits employees from entering the workplace “if they have a cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.”

[ii] Effective May 10, 2020 and continuing until further notice, the Health Officer of the County of San Diego issued guidance requiring that employees “shall wear the face covering whenever they are in a business or within six feet of another person who is not a member of their family or household.”

Context-specific Requirements

In certain research settings, the health and safety of researchers and research participants is best protected through adherence to additional safety practices until health risks diminish or all campus activity returns to normal (Green phase). Where the (pre-COVID) health and safety plan for the lab or facility conflicts with guidelines below, the more restrictive guidance will prevail.

The Orange Phase began on June 1, 2020.

The table below summarizes these requirements for particular settings; additional detail is available in the appendices.

 

Context

Facility startup requirements

Daily startup requirements

Density of personnel

Personal protective equipment

Disinfection

Screening of personnel

Travel

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL ACTIVITY 

(ORANGE PHASE) 

 

Consult EHS Checklist for safe re-opening of facility 

 

As per context-specific guidance 

Approximately 25% of normal  

no more than 1 person per 250 sqft

Face coverings (cloth masks or surgical masks) required for all 

Disinfect work areas, commonly touched surfaces at beginning and end of each day, shift, or use  

Symptom and exposure screening for all personnel  

Subject to university guidelines  

 

Additional requirements for specific contexts

If a facility or lab has been unused, are specific startup procedures as outlined by EH&S required for safe resumption of activity?

Are additional preparations required before work can begin each day?

Are there additional restrictions or guidance for social distancing?

Are there requirements for personal protective equipment beyond basic face coverings?

Are there additional requirements for disinfection of workspaces?

What personnel involved with activity require screening for exposure to COVID-19 before activity?

Are there additional considerations re: travel for research purposes?

Wet labs

Yes, consult EH&S checklist

As per usual

Orange:1/aisle

Yellow: 2/aisle

disposable gloves may be recommended

ensure all equipment disinfected after each use

none

None

Dry labs

Yes, consult EH&S checklist

As per usual

Orange:1/aisle

Yellow: 2/aisle

as per usual practice

ensure all equipment disinfected after each use

none

None

Human subjects research in dedicated research facilities (clinical trials, behavioral studies on campus, etc.)

Yes, consult EH&S checklist

Pre-screen staff and participants 24 hours in advance of activity

Ensure waiting areas allow social distancing

face shields may be required for staff; face coverings for participants

disinfect after each appointment; disinfect common spaces (waiting rooms) hourly

Screen staff and participants immediately before activity

None

Imaging research involving human subjects

Yes, consult EH&S checklist

Pre-screen staff and participants 24 hours in advance of activity

Ensure waiting areas allow physical distancing

Face shields may be required for staff; face coverings for participants

Disinfect after each appointment; disinfect common spaces (waiting rooms) hourly

Screen staff and participants immediately before activity

none

Animal housing facilities and procedure rooms

Consult ACP

none

none

Location-specific PPE requirements as per usual practice

disinfect common spaces every two hours

none

None

Social sciences and humanities research at public research sites (ethnographic observation, interviews, etc.)

Not applicable

Pre-screen staff and participants 24 hours in advance of activity

risk mitigation plans needed if site does not permit full social distancing

Face shields may be required; face coverings for participants

Disinfect surfaces before and after use

Screen staff immediately before activity

Carpool limited to 2 people; public transportation discouraged

Community-based research in researcher-controlled off-campus sites (e.g., schools, community centers, etc.)

 Not applicable

Pre-screen staff, and participants 24 hours in advance of activity

Risk mitigation plans needed if site does not allow for distancing

face shields may be required; face coverings for participants

Disinfect after each appointment; disinfect common spaces (waiting rooms) hourly

Screen staff and participants immediately before activity

Carpool limited to 2 people; public transportation discouraged

Performing/Visual Arts

Yes, consult EH&S checklist

Pre-screen participants in joint activity (dance, theatre, musical)

risk mitigation plans needed if site does not allow for social distancing

 Additional PPE may be required, or alternative (e.g., plexiglass barriers)

disinfect before/after each use of shared spaces, equipment (music stands), etc.

Screen staff and participants immediately before activity

 

Natural sciences field research

Consult our "Field Research: Additional Guidance"

Ships/Boating

Consult our "Field Research: Additional Guidance"

Ramp Up Procedures

Before resumption/expansion of research is allowed, you should begin planning for a gradual increase in activity and on-site work.

  • Plan to continue working remotely whenever possible (e.g., data analysis, writing, literature review).
  • Make a long-term, multi-phase plan.
    • The online Research and On-Site Activity Platform enables you to list all personnel prioritized by phase, so that when the campus moves from one phase to another you do not have to resubmit the framework unless your research plan has changed. The tool also allows you to enter information only for a single phase, and can be updated in either case.
    • It will be easiest for you to fill out the tool by gathering the information you need in advance (personnel lists, etc.). Before you go to the online platform, download and review/complete required forms which you will need to upload to the online tool for review and approval.
    • Assess what activity can be done on-site in adherence to restrictions on personnel for each phase, and the minimum number of people required to do that work.
    • PIs should work with postdoctoral scholars and students to help them balance on-site and remote activity throughout the pandemic. Encourage off site activity when reasonable and feasible.
    • Consult floor plans for your research or performance space (floor plans are available via Tririga, which department MSOs can access) and consider what adjustments will be required to meet restrictions.
    • Identify those activities and personnel who will be working on-site in Red, Orange, and Yellow Phases of activity. Personnel identified for activity in any phase will also be able to work in subsequent (less restrictive phases). See additional guidance in the appendix.
    • Visiting scholars, scientists, and researchers must secure approval for activity from the chair, and dean, and are subject to the same requirements regarding social distancing, hygiene, PPE, sanitization and accountability as others.
  • If you share space (cold rooms, cell culture rooms, etc.) or equipment with others outside your immediate research group, coordinate with them to ensure that these spaces are regularly disinfected, and that to the extent possible, use of these spaces is coordinated so that social distancing requirements can be maintained there. You will need to identify these shared spaces and plans for disinfecting in the Research Activity Reporting Platform.
  • PIs or lab leaders should review and complete the Social Distancing and Sanitization Protocol, and (if necessary) Alternative Risk Mitigation Plan. You’ll need to upload these when you complete and upload the online Activity Framework Tool.
  • Complete the online Activity Framework Tool. You will be notified when your plan has been approved. Do not commence activity before your plan is approved and the campus has announced the transition into the Orange Phase.
  • Identify PPE and disinfecting supplies that you and your staff will require. Many of these items are available for purchase. UC San Diego’s Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions is stocking large quantities of PPE and disinfecting material, which is available for purchase through Oracle Procurement. Search COVIDPPE in the Oracle search bar to see the available items. Please add PPE items to their own cart so that they can route to Procurement for review and prevent delay of processing non-PPE orders. Additionally please make sure N95 orders are in their own cart so they can route to EH&S for their Respiratory Protection Program.

    These items are being stocked to meet the needs of many different campus communities. It is requested that you order only what your lab or office will need in two week increments to ensure that as many areas as possible across campus can take advantage of this supply. If you anticipate a significantly larger than normal bulk order, please reach out to IPPS through the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.

    You will be required to provide a Chart of Account (COA) string or Project Number (POET) to cover the cost of supplies: face masks and PPE can be charged to grants, while other supplies must be charged to departmental or other COVID-specific accounts. Please consult your MSO or Fund Manager for guidance on identifying the appropriate account to use.
  • Educate your research staff about the different phases, required PPE, density restrictions, screening procedures and disinfection protocols. Discuss and create work schedules that will be required to adhere to density restrictions.
  • Consult with EH&S (as necessary) or your facility manager about steps required to re-open a space that has been unused for any length of time. EH&S’s checklist is available at https://blink.ucsd.edu/safety/research-lab/covid-19/start-up.html.

Once on-site activity resumes/increases, PIs, responsible faculty, and lab/facility managers must ensure that they and their teams observe required density restrictions, safety procedures, and disinfecting protocols. Additionally, continue planning for a change in campus phase. While we anticipate some time to prepare for movement from a more restrictive to a less restrictive phase, it is possible that shifts from Yellow to Orange or Orange to Red might happen more abruptly, so maintaining and updating plans for decreasing on-site activity is important.

Additional Resources

Campus Phase Explanation (assigning personnel to phases)

A transition between Campus Phases has the potential to occur with little warning and may necessitate the immediate curtailment of all on-site activity. To facilitate a coordinated and measured response to changing density restrictions, we ask that each PI or Responsible Faculty Member classifies personnel according to on-site access needs. An individual who is identified as requiring access in a restrictive phase automatically has access in subsequent, less restrictive phases. Determinations should be made on the basis of adhering to restrictions on density within research facilities; how feasible it is for an individual to conduct their work remotely; the criticality of the work for the success of the research program. Classifying an individual as “Green” does not imply that the individual is non-essential, it merely indicates that on-site access is not essential to that individual’s work. 

The Red Phase is characterized by a “stay-at-home” order from government officials, and campus-mandated remote work. Only essential activity is permitted on campus (or at any UC San Diego research site) during this phase. PPE, social distancing, and sanitization protocols are required. Generally, no more than 15% of personnel who normally work on campus will be approved for on-site work in the Red Phase.

Personnel guidance: Only a small proportion of personnel (no more than 15%) will be designated “essential,” with continuing on-site activity during the Red Phase. These personnel are essential to functions that cannot be suspended or performed remotely, conducting “critical activity” as defined by the campus.

Persons who are 65 years or older, have a chronic underlying condition, or have a compromised immune system are particular vulnerable to severe impacts of respiratory infection. Members of these vulnerable populations are required to have the option to work remotely during the Red Phase.

Students and trainees cannot be required to work on-site during the Red Phase. Students cannot be designated “essential” except by approval of the department chair/division head and dean. Such designation is generally restricted to situations in which on-site activity is required for the timely completion of students and trainees’ degree. 

The Orange Phase is characterized by a modest increase in on-site activity (including field research, community research, and clinical sites). “Stay at home” orders may remain in place; remote work is required for those whose work can be conducted remotely. PPE, social distancing, and sanitization protocols are required.

Personnel marked as “orange” are permitted to access on-site facilities when public health guidance and campus leaders relax restrictions to allow small numbers of personnel to work on-site. To ensure that risks of viral transmission are limited, personnel should still be kept to a minimum (generally, no more than 25% of personnel on-site at any time). “Orange” personnel are essential to functions and activities that cannot endure a period of prolonged suspension and cannot be performed remotely. Members of vulnerable populations are strongly recommended to have the option to work remotely. Students and trainees cannot be required to work on-site during an Orange Phase. During the Orange phase, students engaged in credit-bearing academic work (theses, independent study, experiential learning) may work on-site.

The Yellow Phase is characterized by a more significant increase in on-site and field activity of normal activity. Remote work is required for those whose work can be conducted remotely. PPE, social distancing and sanitization protocols are required.

Personnel marked as “yellow” are permitted to access on-site facilities once density restrictions are further relaxed by the campus in response to improving public health conditions. Personnel density should be moderate, generally no more than 50% of personnel on-site at any time. Personnel able to perform functions remotely should continue to work off-site. Vulnerable groups are recommended to work remotely.

In the Green Phase, activity may return to a close approximation of pre-Covid levels. Subject to any campus restrictions, all personnel are permitted to access on-site facilities. 

Impact on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

In light of the disproportionate impact of the campus closure on faculty with children living at home and faculty supporting other people in their homes (whether parents, relatives, or sick members of their family), the Continuity of Research Task Force urge PIs, department chairs, and deans to consider EDI issues when making decisions about ramping up research. Early career faculty, postdocs, and graduate students are more likely to have young children at home (and lack daycare during the COVID-19 crisis), potentially making both work from home and returning to campus nearly impossible. Researchers should not be penalized and, where possible, flexible accommodations should be considered.

Even with the ramping up of digitization and remote access to collections, certain kinds of research may not be able to move forward until travel restrictions are lifted (e.g., some kinds of on-site research, field work, archival visits, and community engaged research). Research with and on underserved and/or vulnerable communities will be disproportionately affected, as will faculty working with these communities. Since the implications for career development and tenure and promotion are significant, the Task Force calls on both our colleagues across campus and the campus leadership to recognize, and where possible mitigate, these extenuating circumstances when evaluating productivity. 

Ethical Considerations and Resources

As research teams return to research, they may encounter specific situations that are not addressed by policies or regulations. Some of these may be ethical questions. For example, not everyone on a team will agree on what counts as a “reasonable risk.” How should PIs or lab supervisors react if this happens? Not everyone can contribute to the research as much as they could before. Some employees may have unavoidable care-giver duties, such as home-schooling their children. Others required to work remotely may struggle with online communication. Differences in amount of work will cause inequities in workload. How should PIs and supervisors handle this? As research is modified due to the pandemic, what work is still appropriately charged to externally-funded grants? How should employees or supervisors handle non-compliance by others with COVID-19 best practices? These are just examples from a universe of possible concerns.

Research teams are always challenged by issues such as these, but the pandemic and resulting new requirements can be expected to exacerbate many of these clashes of interests and present situations that are not obviously consistent with our previous experiences. Clearly no “one-size-fits-all” advice is applicable here. However, it is useful to bear in mind the asymmetry in the balance of power. PIs and supervisors have a moral responsibility to take into account the exceptional situations many of their employees are in and to ensure that they feel that they are in a safe and healthy working environment.

In light of these potential ethical challenges, ORA has established an ad hoc committee with expertise in ethics. The committee members are available to discuss these questions when they arise, raising issues to consider and connecting the issues to existing ethical norms and practices. The role of this committee is to help articulate questions and options, and to consult or refer to additional experts as needed. However, the ultimate responsibility for decisions will rest with the PIs, Chairs, and Deans. Please contact research@ucsd.edu.

Appendices

Context-Specific Additional Guidance and Resources

Additional guidance for the following settings can be found on our Appendices page here

  • Wet Labs
  • Equipment-Intensive/Dry Labs
  • Clinical Trials
  • Social, Cognitive and Behavioral Human Subjects Research in Dedicated Research Facilities
  • Imaging Research Involving Human Subjects
  • Animal Research
  • Community-Based Research in Researcher-controlled Settings (classrooms, clinics)
  • Social Sciences/Humanities Field Research
  • Performing Arts
  • Field Research--Additional Guidance
If you need help or have questions about research ramp-up procedures, please email researchrampup@ucsd.edu.