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Spring 2022 Research Guidance

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Updated Jan. 19, 2022

NOTE: ALL RESEARCH GUIDANCE IS EVOLVING.

Visit the Ready site for information on:

Core facilities are at full operation.

Research with human subjects is allowed as permitted. IRB guidance can be found here.

All approved undergraduate paid, for-credit, and volunteer research and instruction may be in-person, provided appropriate approvals and protocols are in place (i.e., PPE use, lab hygiene, IRB approvals, etc.).

All graduate paid, for-credit, and volunteer research and instruction may be in-person provided appropriate approvals and protocols are in place (i.e., PPE use, lab hygiene, IRB approvals, etc.). This includes students participating in project/thesis/dissertation work.

Research conducted in labs must have approval from the appropriate lab manager and principal investigator. It is the responsibility of the lab manager or principal investigator to determine appropriate protocols in the laboratory, depending on the vaccination status of individuals in their lab.

Masks are required when indoors in designated public areas, regardless of vaccination status. These include lobbies, foyers, atriums, hallways, and elevators accessible by the general public, as well as auditoria, arena, theater, museum, concert hall, or other areas used for a performance or an exhibit. Classrooms, instructional laboratories, and training rooms are also designated public areas.

With the higher transmissibility of emerging variants, it is recommended that a better fitting mask, such as a KN95 or equivalent, be worn to improve protection for you and others. More information about masks is available on the CDC website.

The masking requirement does not apply to private workplaces that are not accessible to the public such as research laboratories, offices, work areas, or employment meeting space that is not open to the public in the normal course of business. Principal investigators and laboratory managers may determine mask requirements based on unique work-related circumstances. In such cases, team members should discuss specific circumstances under the guidance of their supervisor or unit head.

Principal investigators should consult current CDC and university guidance regarding masking and physical social distancing requirements, taking into account factors such as research location (e.g., inside or outside), building and room ventilation, and duration of in-person interaction.

Travel, aligned with federal and state regulations, is allowed with approval from the department heads. More information on university international guidelines.

Cleaning and sanitation procedures developed for COVID-19 laboratory standard operating procedures should be retained to the degree possible, based on CDC and university recommendations. This applies to shared equipment and commonly touched surfaces. More information on university ventilation and HVAC initiatives.

Safety Requirements

Get a COVID test and stay home if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (temperature >100.4°F)
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

If you have a positive COVID test result, contact Virginia Tech’s case management team: reportacase@vt.edu to help you with information, guidelines, and support.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID, get tested. If you are vaccinated and boosted or vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster and you do not have symptoms associated with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine but should wear a mask at all times.

Visit the CDC website and the university Ready site for guidelines on vaccinations, testing, ventilation and HVAC, and positive cases, isolation, and quarantine.

Non-laboratory Based Research Work

Virginia Tech faculty represent a variety of disciplines that have different research practices and in various research spaces. The same safety requirements and considerations performing non-laboratory research include: proper physical distancing, personal hygiene including wearing masks when indoors in designated public areas, and contact surfaces cleaning as described under key safety expectations.

Visitors

All visitors to research spaces and labs must adhere to the guidance listed above and in accordance with lab specific protocols.

For questions regarding other health and safety concerns, contact Virginia Tech’s Environmental Health and Safety office: 540-231-3600.