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U-M Research Ramps Up

June 23, 2020

Rebecca Cunningham, M.D. Vice President for Research, William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine has announced the research ramp up plan.  The following is a letter from Dr. Cunningham, June 19, 2020.

Over the past month, more than 4,000 researchers across the University of Michigan have safely ramped up laboratory, studio and field research and scholarship. I am excited to announce that U-M research leadership has now developed protocols and procedures to safely re-engage in-person human research activity.

A majority of in-person human research led by U-M has been paused since March 14 in order to protect employees’ health and safety, and so the university will reactivate this activity through a tiered approach, in accordance with state regulations. The order and timing of these activation tiers is based on the proposed research benefits provided to individual participants, balanced with the risk for COVID-19 community transmission.

Beginning June 22, research studies that are classified as Tier 0 or 1 can apply for reactivation to the Human Research Activation Committees charged by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

We anticipate study teams to be notified within one week on their activation status. Applications for studies classified as Tier 2 will be accepted July 13. Learn more about the U-M human research reactivation tiers.

Please refer to our Research Re-engagement webpage for further details as it relates to human research re-engagement, including more information about the COVID-19 risk stratification process, human research activation checklist, human research training module and new FAQs. The human research activation checklist and human research training module can be previewed today, and will be available to complete on June 22 on our Research Re-engagement webpage. I also am pleased to announce that more than 60 buildings across the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses opened their doors this week as part of our third wave to safely re-engage research and scholarship. U-M will transition next week to its final wave so that more researchers can safely ramp up activity.

It is important to remember that researchers resuming activity must continue to practice social distancing and wear face coverings. All lab or human research work that can be done remotely should continue in that manner.

It is paramount that employees who are ill not present to the workplace. We require professionalism on the part of supervisors, managers and senior research staff to insist on this practice of not presenting to the workplace when ill — regardless of the perceived importance of work that will be missed by employees, graduate students or postdoctoral fellows when absent.

Employees who are symptomatic, based on the questions above, are required to call U-M Occupational Health Services’ COVID-19 Hotline at 734-764-8021 (Option 1). Please refer to the Workplace Contact Tracing Protocol for further guidance on how to respond in the workplace when an employee is waiting for test results or tests positive for SARS-CoV-2.

The sections below outline important research re-engagement information. If you have any further questions about your research and scholarship, please work directly with your research associate deans.

Human Research: Activation process begins June 22

● Research leadership from across U-M will host a virtual town hall June 25 to answer questions and provide guidance on human research reactivation plans amid COVID-19. The town hall is scheduled from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and will be conducted via the Zoom videoconferencing platform. A U-M uniqname and password is required to access the town hall, and the university community is encouraged to submit questions prior to the event. ○ Access the research town hall ○ Submit human research questions in advance ○ Human research reactivation guidelines (protocols and procedures to safely re-engage in-person human research activity)

Animal Research Update

● Breeding colonies can now be re-established to produce animals for future projects, and requests will be accepted for the importation of animals from collaborating institutions. Beginning June 29, animal orders will be accepted for delivery. For more information about animal-related research amid COVID-19, please refer to the Animal Care & Use Program website.

Field Research Update

● Field research re-engagement has now expanded so that principal investigators can submit safety plans for domestic field activity beyond Michigan. PIs must account for local health guidance before they submit their safety plans. Please refer to our field research re-engagement guidelines for more information.

Undergraduate Students

● The governor’s latest executive order (No. 2020-114) states the following: “Suspend all non-essential in-person visitors (including undergraduate students) until further notice.” Therefore, undergraduate students are unable to participate in research at this time. We will continue to monitor research-related updates to the governor’s executive order.

Daily Health Screen: Updated questions for use across all U-M job categories

● Effective June 22, employees (including researchers) across all three campuses will be required to answer updated questions as part of their U-M daily health screen before entering buildings for research and scholarship. This includes employees working off campus for field and human research. Employees without a mobile device can complete the daily health screen at home and then print their green dated check mark for presentation upon entry.

● Updated Questions

○ Do you have symptoms of:

■ Fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C) or feeling feverish

■ New shortness of breath ■ New cough

○ Do you have two of any of these symptoms:

■ Chills

            ■ Muscle aches

■ New runny nose, nasal congestion, or sore throat

■ New loss of sense of smell or sense of taste

■ New headache

■ New diarrhea

■ New rash

○ Have you had close or household contact in the last 14 days with someone diagnosed with COVID-19? (Close contact is being within 6 ft for ≥15 minutes) (If your close contact is providing clinical care for Covid positive patients while following appropriate health system protocols, answer No)

○ Have you traveled internationally by airplane in the past 14 days?

Third Wave of Lab Research

● Started June 15

● Participating Units: Architecture and Urban Planning; Art and Design; Dentistry; Engineering; Kinesiology; Life Sciences Institute; LSA; Medical School; Music, Theatre & Dance; Pharmacy; Public Health; School for Environment and Sustainability.

● Participating Buildings: Please refer to The University Record for a complete list of U-M buildings approved for research re-engagement.

Fourth Wave of Lab Research

● Begins June 22.

● Participating Units: Same as the third wave.

● Additional Participating Buildings: Additional buildings participating in the fourth wave are now reflected in The University Record listing.