Virginia Tech®home

General Research FAQs

Updated: Dec. 21, 2020

  • Develop a plan to address a significant reduction in workforce. 
  • Research staff should have altered work schedules to meet the demands of the laboratory while limiting close contact with others.
  • Gain remote access to information such as literature, existing databases, and research-related files to work remotely should social distancing be required.
  • Use remote work technologies such as VPN (for work at home) and video- and tele-conferencing as alternatives for in-person meetings (prepare multiple options for communication).   
  • Prioritize work now that can only be carried out in the research facility, leaving tasks that can be conducted remotely with regards to social distancing requirements by the governor.   
  • Submit research plans that require modifications to an Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), or Institutional Biosafety Community (IBC) approved protocol, to the appropriate protocol management system or contact the specific committee office to get the review process started for required modifications.
  • Cross-train research staff or colleagues who conduct similar activities to fill-in for personnel who are unable to come to work. Ensure proper training and submit necessary personnel amendments to the appropriate review board (IRB, IACUC, IBC).

Students who need to complete their research project as a graduation requirement should discuss the project with their advisor/chair and committee.

Undergraduate and graduate students returning to Virginia Tech for the fall semester on sponsored research or course credit may return to established or new research projects. However, additional student volunteer research activities in labs is not advised as the density of researchers in spaces will need to be monitored to adhere to proper physical distancing guidelines.

Travel, aligned with federal and state regulations, is allowed with approval from the dean or vice president.

No. Conferences, symposiums, and meetings should be held virtually.

Programming (or research) that typically involves visitors should consider means to continue virtually to the extent possible. Where programming cannot remain virtual, mitigation strategies should be implemented to conduct the programming elements consistent with phasing guidance, including physical distancing. Strategies should seek to minimize gatherings, decrease exposure potential, and track participants.

All visitors are expected to comply with applicable guidance and requirements herein, public health requirements, and any policy or guidance that applies to Virginia Tech students and employees.

If the university has to shift out of its current mode of operations, research efforts may have to be scaled back, based on current public health guidance.

Graduate students who hold teaching or research appointments should discuss available options with their supervisor. Supervisors are asked to be as accommodating as possible. Both the student and supervisor should come to an agreement on the decision. Unresolved issues may be addressed through the Graduate School Ombudperson’s Office.

Graduate teaching or research assistants with an underlying medical condition and/or a disability that places them at a higher risk should contact ADA and Accessibility Services.