Message from Gillings Associate Dean for Research to Gillings Faculty Members

Sent to Gillings faculty members on Friday, May 29, 2020

Dear Faculty,

We are still in the process of finalizing Gillings Phase I Return to Campus guidance. We acknowledge that this process has been evolving quickly and has been quite complex. We are still waiting for some key details from campus (e.g, PPE distribution, cleaning products, details on parking, buses, and more). However, we want to get our draft guidance to faculty so you will know what to expect and will be able to prepare.

This guidance is only for faculty who aim to resume research operations in facilities and labs on campus at reduced capacity as part of the Phase 1 return to campus (for Gillings this is largely research lab programs). Individuals who can effectively conduct their work remotely should continue to work remotely so as not to place themselves or others at unnecessary risk.

I attach the current draft guidance document. There remain several unknowns, so the attached document should be considered a living draft. The document was jointly crafted by Brent Wishart (Facilities Planning & Construction), Taya Jackson Scott (Vice Dean), and the Gillings Research Unit.

The Research Unit is recommending following (in large part) the guidance from SOM in terms of opening basic science labs and we will rely on campus guidance for the human subjects research ramp up. The attached document lays out this guidance in a section starting on page 8, entitled, “What information do I need to provide in my safety plan?”. Please note that these are guidelines only. We cannot envision every circumstance and each lab is unique. Please use your best judgement in developing your safety plan.

Each lab must provide a lab safety plan to their department chairs for review. Once the lab plan has received departmental approval, the plan should be sent to the school (to all of the individuals listed on the CC line). Once each lab that has not been working on campus has been approved to work on campus, they may then return following their lab safety plan. The attached document provides guidance for the elements to include in the safety plan and, again, our recommendations follow SOM recommendations closely.

As the university moves towards ramping research activities on campus, we want to point you towards the directions and guidelines that the Office of the Vice Chancellor for research has developed for Human Subjects Research: https://research.unc.edu/covid-19/resuming/human-subjects/

For those of you who are conducting Field-Based Research, please reference these guidelines: https://research.unc.edu/covid-19/resuming/field/

Additionally, the Office of Human Research Ethics (OHRE) will be hosting a webinar on Monday, June 1st from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. call “Resuming Human Subjects Research on Campus”. The zoom information is below:

https://unc.zoom.us/j/94441813400

Meeting ID: 944 4181 3400

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Please feel free to reach out to me and Alexia Kelley (alexia_kelley@unc.edu) with any questions.

Best,
Penny

Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD
Professor of Nutrition
Associate Dean for Research
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health