Dear PI Colleagues, Graduate Students, and Postdocs,
As we get closer to resuming full-capacity, on-campus research, I want to share a few quick reminders and updates with you:
- On Monday, May 17th, we will move to Research Level 1 (85% workforce density limit), and all human subjects research, including Tier D studies, may be reactivated with associate dean for research (ADR) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. If you still have a project that’s paused and you’re ready to resume it, please speak with your ADR.
- Beginning Tuesday, June 1st, undergraduate researchers will no longer be required to submit to proactive community testing (PCT) every two weeks as a condition of working in PIs’ research spaces. Participants in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) summer programs will still be required to quarantine for 7 days upon arriving in Austin, with testing on day 4 or 5 of their quarantine, but will not be required to receive periodic testing thereafter. We are able to relax testing requirements because the campus positivity rate continues to decrease as more of our students, staff, and faculty get vaccinated. However, we still highly recommend that all researchers get tested regularly if you are not vaccinated, have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you are 90 days past your last vaccination.
- And remember that as of this week, social distancing square footage requirements are no longer required in on-campus research spaces. As I mentioned in my previous email, please continue to follow all UT meeting and event guidelines, observe all masking rules, continue to keep room logs for contact tracing, and get vaccinated if you haven’t already.
Several of you have shared with me that you’re excited and ready to be ramping your projects back up as we move toward full-capacity research in July, and I’m glad to hear it. We were called to these fields because the work inspires and captivates us, and I really do believe we are moving into a new and better phase of this pandemic. I hesitate to say that things will go back to normal, but we have all learned to adapt and find creative solutions in ever-changing conditions, and for that, we will be better scholars (and humans) — I’m sure of it.
As this academic year comes to a close, I want to commend everyone for your hard work and for diligently adhering to our campus policies, which has kept us safer. And I especially want to congratulate our graduate students who may be completing their master’s or doctoral degrees this semester as well. I hope you’re as proud of yourselves as I am of you, and I wish each of you the very best in your future academic and professional endeavors.