Carnegie Mellon University

June 25, 2020

Following our usual procedures for research communications, this message is being sent to Associate Deans for Research (or equivalents) in each college, who are asked to forward to department heads, faculty and researchers including research-related staff and graduate student researchers. A copy of this message is also posted on the OVPR Research Communications Page.

Dear CMU Research Community,

As our pilot continues for returning research activity on-site in Pittsburgh, I am pleased to share that a total of 72 Pandemic Safety and Preparedness Plans for CMU On-Premises Research and Non-Curricular Creative Work have been submitted, and so far, 54 of these have been approved. The remaining are still in the review process. We are following our roadmap to expand the number of approved plans and persons to return to on-site research. Please remember we are still in the pilot phase and that researchers should not submit a plan to return to on-site research until you are asked to do so by your dean or Associate Dean for Research (ADR).

All submitted plans have been clear, detailed and thoroughly address the university’s minimum pandemic safety requirements. We are indebted to the Associate Deans for Research, Facilities Management and Campus Services and Environmental Health & Safety in this regard.

Since the last update, we have received two rounds of weekly reports from approved projects. The feedback from research group leaders has confirmed that researchers have adhered to their approved plans and/or made adjustments to continue to meet the university’s minimum requirements. These reports have also identified gaps in process and procedures that we have worked quickly to resolve. We are aggregating some of the information from these reports and throughout this process into a best practices document for researchers as they formulate and execute their return to research plans. Examples of some implemented best practices include:

  • Using QR codes for electronic facility entrance and exit logging.
  • Leveraging group chat tools to communicate workflows and stay connected with team members.
  • Using newly developed CMU Communications resources for signage in lab areas.

In addition, EH&S has created a website specifically for Pandemic Safety Officers (PSO). This website provides additional information related to the PSO role, including how to register for the PSO training and a list of individuals that have completed the training.

We are continuing to approve activities to return on-site, working across the University as academic and administrative units also begin to return on-site. Together, we are approving activities on a rolling basis, ensuring a balanced and coordinated approach.

Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 Updates researcher resources page for the most up-to-date information, including the most recent version of the return to research plan template. Note that if you already have an approved plan in an earlier format, you do not need to update and resubmit.

Thank you again for your compliance and patience throughout this process. We all have a role in demonstrating that the CMU community can successfully return to our activities on-site, mitigating the risk of COVID-19 as much as possible.

Thank you,

J. Michael McQuad
Vice President for Research