Dear PI Colleagues, Graduate Students, and Postdocs,
Thank you for your continued patience as we finalized a plan to help undergraduate students return to on-campus research this semester. As I mentioned in my email to you on September 18, their contribution helps the university fulfill its core values of learning and discovery while laying the groundwork for their professional and academic development. I’m glad to let you know that beginning Wednesday, October 14, undergraduates may return to campus labs and research spaces.
A few important things to note:
- Not all colleges, schools, and units (CSUs) will be resuming on-campus research for undergraduates this fall. PIs in the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and the School of Architecture are not accepting undergraduate student researchers for Fall 2020. Additionally, PIs from any other CSU may decide for themselves whether to admit undergraduates into their research spaces this month.
- The Undergraduate Research Restart process is outlined on our website. Necessary steps to take are listed for both undergraduates and supervising PIs. Please read this carefully and ask your students to do the same.
- The 50% workforce density cap applies for all researchers occupying a PI’s assigned space, including undergraduates. In addition, the Research Restart social distancing guidelines of one researcher per 200 sq. ft. of research space still apply. If you do not have sufficient space to add undergraduates to your research team and maintain this distance, then you may not invite undergraduates to return at this time.
- Undergraduate researchers need to be assigned to a lab’s shift or cohort schedule and must abide by all Research Level 3 guidelines and policies. PIs and undergraduates should be clear about a student’s availability given their current course schedule when assigning them to a shift.
- Undergraduates selected to resume on-campus research must consent to regular proactive community (asymptomatic) testing at UT. They need to be tested prior to entering campus research spaces or performing other in-person research activities, and they must get tested at least once every 14 days thereafter. Undergraduate researchers are required to show proof of their test results to their supervising PIs. Additional details are provided on the Undergraduate Research Restart page.
Undergraduate research is not typically a degree requirement. Therefore, if an undergraduate student does not consent to participating in regular proactive community testing, they will not be required or permitted to conduct research on campus this fall.
PCT Update: Get Tested Once a Week
It’s just as important that the rest of us continue to get routine proactive community tests as well. And now, you can get tested once a week. Upcoming walk-up clinics and appointment-only locations are listed as soon as they’re available.