COVID-19: Research Ramp Up, Phase 1A & Phase 1

Dear Members of the Tufts University Research Community,

We have carefully reviewed Governor Baker’s plans for re-opening the Commonwealth as it relates to research. Our current plan which we shared with you last week is in keeping with this guidance. We are working within the OVPR and with other areas in the University to meet all of the Phase I gating requirements, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols, laboratory safety standards, PPE and signage. Importantly, we continue to be in line with Tufts Medical Center and neighboring academic institutions.

Subject to additional Local guidance that may be issued in the coming days, we will initiate Phase 1A of research ramp up on May 25th. Please note that office work in Boston, with the exception of essential employees, is not allowed until June 1st per State guidance. Prior to this date, work should continue to be done remotely whenever possible.

Assuming we are able to meet all of the Phase 1 gating requirements, we are on track to initiate Phase 1 of research ramp up in early- to mid-June subject to additional Federal, State, Local and University guidance.

Below is the guidance previously shared for Phase 1A and Phase 1. Additional information will be provided at our Research Town Hall on Friday, May 22nd at noon (https://tufts.zoom.us/s/703107916). In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions.

Warm Regards,

Caroline Attardo Genco, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Research
Office of the Vice Provost for Research | Tufts University
Arthur E. Spiller, M.D. Professor | Department of Immunology | Tufts University School of Medicine
Caroline.Genco@tufts.edu | https://viceprovost.tufts.edu/

Phase 1A: Preparing for Phase 1

Timing: May 25th subject to additional Local Guidance

Basic Research: The focus will be on preparing wet labs to re-open. Allowable on-campus research activities will include limited staff to check on and relocate equipment if necessary to optimize social distancing, perform PPE and supply inventories, etc. Please refer to the guidance previously provided on animal orders and rodent breeding activities that are needed to ramp up experiments. Those Core Facilities approved for ramp up will begin to re-open in order to be available for services starting in Phase 1. We strongly encourage continued use of remote work.

Human Subjects Research: The focus will be on preparing to resume face-to-face studies in a safe and effective manner once guidance is received from the Federal government. Potential activities will include planning: which face-to-face studies to prioritize for ramp up; how to adjust research procedures, spaces and study populations for each study; how to train research teams on new procedures and safety requirements; how to modify existing studies to be conducted remotely if possible; and where to identify reliable information on local epidemiology and state/international requirements that might affect studies conducted off-campus. We strongly encourage continued use of remote work.

Humanities, Social Science, and Policy Research & Scholarship: The focus will be on researchers working with their School and Center leadership to understand who needs to be on-campus and what scheduling might look like. We strongly encourage continued use of remote work.

Phase 1: Minimal On-Campus Operations

Anticipated Timing: Early-to Mid-June subject to Federal, State, Local and University Guidance

Basic Research: The focus will be on a gradual increase of on-campus research activities, performing experiments in the labs. This phase will help us to better understand the new workflow in wet labs to ensure the health and safety of faculty and staff, while also allowing us to ramp down on-campus research activities as needed if conditions change. Additional guidance is currently being developed for projects involving human samples/tissues.

Human Subjects Research: The focus will continue to be on preparing to resume face-to-face studies in a safe, effective manner once guidance is received from the Federal government. We encourage continued use of remote work where possible.

Humanities, Social Science, and Policy Research & Scholarship: The focus will continue to be on researchers working with their School and Center leadership to understand who needs to be on-campus and what scheduling might look like. We encourage continued use of remote work where possible.