This message has been distributed to all UT employees with Principal Investigator (PI) status, as well as all UT graduate students and postdocs.
Dear PI Colleagues, Graduate Students, and Postdocs,
The Fall 2020 Planning Executive Committee and university health experts continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions on campus. Infection rates, particularly among faculty and staff, remain very low, which is encouraging. At the same time, however, we are also aware that projections for the greater Austin area from our own COVID-19 Modeling Consortium show a potential upswing in infections and hospitalizations over the next month, so we can’t be complacent.
As we proceed cautiously into the remainder of the fall semester, I have a few updates to share. This will be relevant to those of you conducting research on campus.
Animal Resources Center Changes Those of you who use Animal Resources Center (ARC) services should have received a memo from director Glen Otto this morning. Because we’ve been able to increase on-campus workforce density, the ARC is adjusting in parallel its restrictions and guidance for allowable animal studies. If your research includes live animals and ARC services, please refer to Dr. Otto’s memo for important information. Among other things, you’ll see that animal studies lasting longer than 6-8 weeks or involving more complex procedures may now be allowable on a case-by-case basis. Please direct any questions you have to your associate dean for research — as approval of the overall scope of animal research performed by each lab is still handled at the CSU level — or ARC Director Otto.
Extended Hours and Custodial Courtesy Additionally, we’ve received approval to extend on-campus research shift hours from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. nightly. I hope this will be more accommodating to researchers who are running longer experiments or whose work extends across several weeks or months. Please note that no one is required to be on campus until 2 a.m., and that this expansion of hours may not be relevant or necessary for you or your team. But if it is, you can now extend the hours of your evening cohort until 2 a.m. so that those who need the extra time on campus have it. And as Graduate School Dean Mark Smith and I detailed in a recent memo to UT graduate students, several options are available for students (and all researchers) to travel safely to their parked vehicles or homes at night.
Additionally, please be aware that our custodial teams continue to work very hard to keep our campus buildings clean — especially now. I ask that you be respectful of their time and effort by doing the following:
If you have trash that needs to be collected from your office or lab, place the trash can outside your door each evening by 6 p.m. or else it will not be collected until the next night. Custodians are not entering individual research spaces and offices and will only collect trash that is placed in a hallway or outside a door.
Restrooms are closed periodically for cleaning throughout the day and evening. If a restroom you are trying to access is closed for cleaning, please honor the closed restroom signage and find an alternate open restroom nearby. This is important not only so that our fellow UT employees can finish their work on schedule but also so that they can maintain the required 6' distance while cleaning.
As we carefully track viral activity in our area, please continue to follow Research Level 3 social distancing guidelines, strictly adhere to cohort assignments, and get tested regularly.
And just as important, I want to add how much I appreciate everything that you have been doing to keep our research spaces as safe as possible during the pandemic. It is precisely because of your continued vigilance that we can provide more flexibility and bring more research protocols back online. The research community has a lot to be proud of.
Alison R. Preston, Ph.D. Interim Vice President for Research
This communication is from Principal Investigators – Official. View this email online.