Dear PI Colleagues, Graduate Students, and Postdocs,
I hope you are enjoying your summer — whether that’s staying in and around Austin or traveling safely. I’ll be among the many researchers returning to campus this summer, which is a fitting way of reminding everyone that on Monday, July 5th, we will move to Research Level 0 (no workforce density or restrictions on types of research conducted).
Please keep a few things in mind as your labs and research spaces return to full occupancy:
- You must continue to maintain room and lab sign-in sheets, either digital or printed, for contact tracing purposes.
- Notify the Occupational Health Program (OHP) if you or someone on your team has symptoms of COVID-19 or is tested for COVID-19.
- Square footage social distancing is no longer required.
- Follow campus meeting and event guidelines.
- Domestic research travel no longer requires exceptions by deans or vice presidents. International travel is still prohibited unless exception is granted. Refer to campus travel guidelines for more information.
- Masks are optional inside university buildings and outdoors but are still recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated or who have weakened immune systems.
- As of Tuesday, June 1st, undergraduate researchers are no longer required to submit to proactive community testing (PCT) every two weeks as a condition of working in PIs’ research spaces.
- If you still have a project that’s paused and you’re ready to resume it, please speak with your associate dean for research (ADR).
I want to say again how much I appreciate everyone’s commitment to protecting our research community during these last 16 months. We couldn’t have known when this all began last March just where the road would lead or how far it would go, but your willingness to wear masks, work in shifts, work remotely, postpone studies and travel, get tested (repeatedly) — it all mattered. It kept us safe until we could be vaccinated and return to campus together.
I also want to thank the ADRs for all the work they did to establish college-level policies and protocols, from reviewing and approving every single research request (no small feat) to identifying and logging lab damage after the February freeze. Their partnership was invaluable.
And last, I need to thank OHP, Environmental Health & Safety, and the team in the High Throughput Testing Core. They’re just three of the hero units at UT whose efforts allowed us to keep going at all this past year. We couldn’t have done it without them.
I really am looking forward to returning to campus a few days a week beginning this month, and I hope I have a chance to see many of you and catch up soon!