COVID-19 guidelines for ASU researchers

ASU Knowledge Enterprise is monitoring the fluid situation presented by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential to impact university research activities. We are making every effort to maintain our research operations and the valuable work being conducted in labs across campus. The health, safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority. 

Please consult the ASU Health Services coronavirus page for important tips on how to stay healthy and wellness resources available, as well as information on national and international protocols undertaken to help minimize the spread of illness.

At this time, all services provided by Research Operations, including those provided by the Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration (ORSPA) and Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA), are open for business. All ORSPA and ORIA staff are working remotely and able to assist via phone, email and Zoom. Updates on the status of ORSPA and ORIA will be posted here and Research Administration news.

The university has made the decision to extend online classes through the end of the 2020 spring semester. All other aspects of the university remain open, including activities related to the research enterprise. Faculty, staff and students retain access to university research spaces and research support services remain available. ASU badges will be required for access.

If you need to complete EHS Fire or Lab Safety Training classes, please contact Rick Bauer at rick.bauer@asu.edu for instructions on how to do so online.

We are asking you to engage in contingency planning now for the possibility that it may become necessary to ramp down all but the most essential research activities as the COVID-19 crisis continues. This includes the following steps:

Review lab ramp down guidelines and procedures for working alone.

If your department or lab elects to halt research activities, ensure you are prepared by reviewing the ASU Research lab ramp down guidelines and checklist. If you or members of your lab continue research work independently, ensure you are following the correct procedures as outlined in EHS123 Working Alone with Hazardous Materials, Process or Equipment.

Reschedule any sponsored research-related travel.

As of Friday, March 13, the university is now prohibiting all university- and grant-funded travel within the U.S. and internationally. 

In many cases, travel related fees — such as change or cancellation fees and trip cancellation insurance — may be an allowable expense with appropriate justification, unless the specific award or sponsor guidelines prohibits these costs. If the specific award or sponsor guidelines do not cover such fees, work with your departmental support to identify local funds to cover these costs. For more information, please visit ASU ResearchAdmin FAQs.

Do not conduct physical experimentation at home.

The university does not approve the use of private residence for experimental research purposes. Such work at home raises a number of health and safety, and potential building and fire code related concerns that are subject to routine health and safety inspections and mitigation measure at the university laboratories and cannot be verified in a residential setting. These potential hazards include but are not limited to occupancy rating of the building (e.g. residential vs. research), electrical hazard associated with the use of the equipment (e.g. personnel safety, overload of circuitry, etc.), presence of untrained individuals in the research area, etc., none of which have been assessed by university.

Suspend in-person data collection.

Effective Wednesday, March 25, projects involving face-to-face interactions with human subjects must be suspended until further notice. For those of you conducting research with human subjects, the health and welfare of your study participants is the top priority. 

Please visit ASU ResearchAdmin FAQs for additional human subject research guidance.

Please contact research.integrity@asu.edu with any questions. To maintain our continued focus on the health and well-being of the community, ASU ORIA has made responding to inquiries and applications which are related to COVID-19 a priority.

Designate emergency personnel.

Currently, there are no plans to restrict access to university research spaces. However, it is in the best interest of all that research groups to prepare for limited access. Designate emergency personnel in advance in case access to research spaces becomes restricted. Emergency personnel may include positions directly responsible for:

  • Building or property safety and security.

  • Research animals, specimens or equipment.
  • Information security.

  • Critical infrastructure.
  • Essential business, contractual or legal duties, such as payroll.

Plan for reduced staff.

In the event personnel cannot come to work, research group leads should discuss how to complete research activities with reduced staff. Each university research laboratory is best positioned to create its own contingency plan, which should include a communication strategy to streamline decision-making and reduce disruption to your research.

Ensure remote access to research materials and meetings.

All personnel involved in research projects should make sure they are able to access their work and information remotely. For instance, access to databases, research-related files and literature, as well as meeting software such as Zoom, should be made available to all students, staff, post-doctoral researchers and faculty. Prepare to hold meetings remotely if need be.

Prioritize experiments.
  • Prioritize experiments that can only be undertaken in your research spaces or in person and defer work that can be supported remotely.
  • Identify experiments that can be ramped down, curtailed or delayed.
  • Identify ways to communicate with your staff and have their contact information.
  • Review inventory of supplies.
  • Document instructions for key processes.
  • Save results and data for analysis.

As of now, personnel will remain available in ASU Core Research Facilities to provide services in support of ongoing research projects.

Adjust long-term experiment strategies.

If practical, freeze or capture samples at specific stages of long-term experiments in the event you cannot access your samples in-person.

Plan to submit proposals remotely.

Even in the event that personnel are working remotely, the Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration will be able to continue to submit proposals. Be prepared to work with department research administrators and your sponsored projects point of contact remotely to meet deadlines.

Keep your communication plan up to date.

If you do not have a communications plan for your research group, designate points of contact to efficiently disseminate information that impacts your work and group.

Check your funding agency’s guidelines.

The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) is collecting institutional and agency responses. For more information, see COGR's guidance.

Redirect media inquiries.

As a leading research university, news media may contact you or a member of your research group for comment on the coronavirus. Unless authorized, do not give statements on behalf of ASU. Instead, all inquiries should be directed to ASU’s Strategic Communications & Media Relations staff. Media relations representatives are trained to respond to media inquiries in a timely manner.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your research, submit them to Research Admin.