Texas Tech researchers are encouraged to work from home to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Tech Office of the President asked the Office of Research and Innovation to carry out this precaution and have researchers start working remotely, according to a message from Joseph Heppert, vice president of research and innovation at Tech. 

Principal investigators and other research leaders, according to the message, must suspend all new experiments and data collection, try to safely conclude all existing experiments and studies and suspend orders for experimental animals, biological samples and research supplies except those needed to sustain current animal and plant populations and maintain appropriate laboratory safety.

Research leaders must secure research data, transfer data to storage and make arrangements for members of a research group to have remote access to data, according to the message. They also must figure out who will maintain necessary laboratory functions, share contact lists with one's research group to ensure communication with laboratory personnel, identify which laboratory functions that cannot be left unattended and make sure personnel maintain appropriate social distancing when working in a lab.

Some acceptable research activities, according to the message, include:

  • Critical human subjects research involving immediate health and welfare of the subjects. Although, any in person-activity that does not consist of administering drugs or the use of monitoring devices should be shifted to remote contact. Researchers must suspend non-critical human subjects research.
  • Critical laboratory research consisting of maintaining living organisms, live animal studies that include longitudinal data collection, long-term medical research, maintaining tissue culture lines until they can be securely stored and maintaining instruments and storage systems that require cryogens.

Experiments that can be paused or suspended without any severe long-term impact are not allowed, according to the message. No new short-term or long-term experiments should be started until one is notified to do so.

A limited number of laboratory personnel may be designated to each lab to complete permitted research activities, according to the message. The individuals should spend as little time in the lab as possible, practice social distancing and stay home when they do not feel well.

Regarding grant submissions, necessary accounting functions, intellectual property disclosure and patent filings, Tech grant personnel will work remotely to ensure certain needs are met, according to the message. One can go to the Officer of Research Services website, Accounting Services website or the Office of Research Commercialization website for more information. 

Questions regarding other aspects of research should be directed to department chairs, according to the message.

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