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Message Sent To:All Faculty
Message From:Message from the Office of the Provost
Date Sent:Thursday, March 19, 2020 11:45 PM CDT

Research Continuity at LSC and WTC

Dear Loyola University Chicago Research Community,

The Office of Research Services on Lakeshore campus is in the process of taking necessary precautions and implementing plans to keep our research community as safe as possible and helping to minimize the potential spread of coronavirus. These precautions are consistent with steps being taken by other academic institutions.

After consulting with University leadership and with the imminent University-wide closure (effective for Lakeside Campuses at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20), ORS is planning for the local and statewide possibility of “shelter-in-place” orders. We made the decision to ask all researchers limit their on-campus activities and direct person-to-person contact immediately.

Below is specific guidance to Principal Investigators to share with their research teams:

1.) Ensure those who will absolutely require “on-site access” from time-to-time make an official request immediately (ORS will need this by 1 p.m. on Friday, March 20). These individuals will be referred to as “on-site essential” personnel and will have the opportunity to:

a. Complete ongoing experiments ASAP.

b. Come to campus to periodically assess function of critical equipment (to include, but not limited to, HVAC and other animal welfare systems, freezers, database servers, etc.)

2.) Instruct the research teams to work from home, effective no later than the end of the day on Friday, March 20.

3.) Communicate plans to the research teams.

a. Principal Investigators should discuss the situation and implement a plan to complete ongoing experiments ASAP, and with very limited staffing.

i. Under the direction of the PI, research personnel should stagger their schedule of activity so that no more than one person is in the same general work area at any given time to practice social distancing (standing/sitting 6 ft. away from another individual).

b. For those research personnel working from home, be sure to assign tasks they can work on from home* (e.g., analyzing data, preparing manuscripts/abstracts, conducting literature searches, etc.) and direct them to a remote communication plan allowing teams to quickly and easily communicate (Zoom, Skype, email, etc.).

c. Do not plan or begin new lab research activity.

d. For those involving animals, stop orders for new animals and do not place new orders.

i. For animal studies that cannot be completed within a reasonable amount of time (the end of this week), consider maintaining the animals until a future date, or terminating the study in advance of the original schedule, collect biospecimens and store accordingly. The scope of work should remain consistent with that stated in their approved IACUC protocols. If changes to an IACUC protocol are needed, please contact Andrew Ellis in ORS for assistance with the amendment process.

ii. The staff responsible for animal care will deploy their plan to ensure animal care and welfare is managed. The ACF leadership should have already identified those who will come in to care for the animals within the facility. Those research teams with animals outside the facility should ensure staff is properly identified (see procedures above) to have access to the animals for their basic welfare needs. No research nor experimentation should continue. Identify at least one back-up person to care for the animals in the event the PI is not able to due to emergency or illness.

iii. The fish in the greenhouse aquaponics facility in the IES greenhouse were harvested and filleted on March 18, 2020 and frozen for later sale, and the aquaponics facility will be emptied, cleaned and closed down. The aquaponics facility in the IES lobby will remain functioning with a timed food release for fish and the plants to filter the water. This facility is mechanically reliable and requires little servicing, with two time per week visits by Kevin Erickson.

iv. The fish in the basement research facility of the IES building belonging to Dr. Tham Hoang will need to be maintained on an every-other-day basis.

e. All human subject research projects are to minimize direct person-to person contact. No new project should be initiated during this time and only those activities that do not involve face-to-face contact are allowed to continue unless the exception below applies. Data collection that occurs through online interaction may continue. In addition, human subject data processing of identifiable information will still be allowed; this includes the publication and grant proposal activities. The IRB will continue to review applications during this time. PIs should submit amendment applications to adjust approved procedures as quickly as possible.

f. All controlled substances on campus are to be inventoried and secured no later than the end of the day on Friday, March 20. No additional orders of controlled substances should be placed.

i. The inventory should be submitted to ORS as soon as possible (if no changes recently please submit with a zero change so we know you checked).

ii. All regulated materials should be placed into their locked containers (safes) in the labs. If any materials cannot be secured contact Andrew Ellis as soon as possible to transfer them to his facility.

g. All activity with radioactive materials should be ended as quickly as practical. Any orders of new materials should be suspended. Please properly dispose of any radioactive waste and store any radioactive materials by the end of the day on Friday, March 20.

h. International Research Sites: Any projects that involve international sites should immediately be reported to the Principal Investigator’s Dean for guidance.

As the University transitions to minimal shift coverages in certain support areas, please note that those named “essential personnel” for labs will be responsible for receiving deliveries that are essential for research integrity. All orders for non-essential items will be suspended.

Note there may be more government, funding agency, or University requirements that would supersede the ORS guidelines being provided.

Please contact the Office of Research Services with any questions or concerns. Contact information for the ORS staff is available online and the ORS staff will be returning messages as quickly as possible.  In the event you have problems reaching someone, please email  ors@LUC.edu . More information will be provided by the ORS as additional details are available, please consult the  FAQ for Researchers.

Work from home resources:

  • Ensure research personnel have the ability to work from home and have been encouraged to do so. The supports a number of online conference tools, including Skype, Zoom, etc. Additional resources are available online through ITS: LUC.edu/its/keepworking, ITSServiceDesk@LUC.edu, 773.508.4ITS

Monitoring the COVID-19 situation:

For the most up to date University information regarding the activities, which will continue on campus, the University is maintaining a  Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

For general inquiries, you can submit questions to COVID-19support@luc.edu.

More research specific information will be provided by the ORS as additional details are available, please consult the  FAQ for Researchers.

Sincerely,

Norberto Grzywacz, PhD, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Jo Beth D’Agostino, PhD, Associate Provost and Chair of Academic Continuity Working Group
Kana Henning, MBA, Associate VP for Facilities and Chair of Operations Continuity Working Group