COVID-19 FAQ for Researchers
Last Updated 9 A.M.. MONDAY, May 26
What are the latest communications from the Office of Research on COVID-19?
Are there any upcoming events/meetings being held virtually?
The Office of Research will hold an all-campus Zoom meeting on research activity at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 26. Vice President Ostrander and AVPs Fulkerson and Peluso will provide updates and take questions from participants. Click here for Zoom information.
Is there any overarching guide for how we should handle moving our research operations to a remote work space?
The Office of the Vice President for Research has published "Guidance About Research Continuity" to help researchers working to move some of their operations to remote work.
The governor announced Phase 1 to re-open the state. What does that mean for research?
Beginning May 6th, the university will allow increased – yet still restricted – access to research facilities. Labs may have no more than 25 percent of their normal occupancy and must be arranged to allow for 6 feet between workers and less than one person per 100 square feet to allow for social distancing. Masks should be worn when in any campus building. Additionally, all meetings must continue to take place virtually. Click here for more specifics on Phase 1.
Can we take equipment home?
Research equipment (other than computers), organisms and samples should not be taken off-campus.
I have extra PPE for experiments. Is there a way to donate it?
Any investigators who have excess PPE that they would be willing to donate in case of need are encouraged to click https://www.safety.fsu.edu/form/PPE_donation.php to provide information.
Should we ship essential purchases to our homes?
The university strongly suggests the delay of purchases or entering into contracts that are not absolutely essential. For those essential purchases, FSU is relaxing normal protocols regarding where orders can be shipped. If you are working remotely from home, you can get items delivered to your home address with appropriate departmental approval and documentation. More information on that process is available here.
How can I find out about COVID-19 funding opportunities and other related resources for researchers?
The Office of Research Development has created a database of funding opportunities and other helpful COVID-19 research related information. You may access it here.
Will we still have access to the libraries and other campus resources?
FSU's physical libraries are closed until further notice, but they are still delivering assistance online. Please click here for more information.
Will mail and supplies continue to be delivered?
Will veterinary care for animals remain intact?
Yes. The Laboratory Animal Resources team will continue with its normal operations. LAR also has a long-standing emergency management plan that we will activate should the necessary circumstances arise. Should our workforce be reduced due to illness or caregiving needs, LAR will limit services to essential husbandry tasks, including provision of food and water and changing excessively soiled cages.
I have a grant application due soon. Will SRA and the Research Foundation still help me to submit?
Yes; we will continue all operations as normal.
Should my graduate student RA still come to work?
Graduate Assistants are considered students first and should follow travel restrictions for all students. Because Graduate Assistants are expected to perform their assigned duties and meet expectations of their roles and responsibilities, they should refrain from leaving the Tallahassee area if their duties are required to be performed on campus. Teaching Assistants are expected to host their sections online and, if feasible, should work remotely. Teaching Assistants who are not instructors of record should continue to work with their faculty mentors/supervisors to provide ongoing TA support either in person or remotely based on the duties of the assignment. The same applies for students who are working as a research assistant or in another graduate assistant role. Graduate assistants who have left the local area but are required to perform duties on-campus should notify their supervisors and consult with Human Resources.
What if graduate research assistants have to self-quarantine or isolate because of travel? How will they do their jobs?
Any faculty, staff or student who travels internationally or takes a cruise during the spring break will be asked to self-quarantine or isolate for 14 days upon their return. Supervisors are asked to show flexibility in how student workers perform their jobs if they are affected by self-quarantine or self-isolation requirements; please be flexible with work arrangements.
Can our graduate research assistants be paid from our federal grants?
We are still waiting on guidelines from many agencies.
Can undergraduate researchers come into the laboratories?
Will faculty and staff who are unable to work remotely receive their salary?
Through April 30, the salary of all FSU faculty and staff will continue to be charged to the funding source as identified in OMNI (regardless of the work location or work schedule). Faculty and staff should record their hours utilizing Regular Pay, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion, and Administrative Leave, as approved and directed by HR. As in the past, pay distribution will continue to reflect the effort previously recorded (unless a departmental administrator submits a personnel action to change the funding distribution).
For individuals engaged in research, effort should continue to be recorded at the current or planned levels. The NIH, DOJ, NASA, HRSA, DOE, EPA, NSF and DOD have issued statements allowing for the continued charging of salaries at the same level, regardless of the work schedule or location. They have noted that requests for additional funding will be considered on a case by case basis. Guidance on allowability from other sponsors is pending.
In the event that any sponsor does not allow for the charging of salaries when effort in support of the grant is not possible (i.e. Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion, or Administrative Leave), the salaries will later need to be removed from the sponsored project.
- If the individual is working remotely and contributing to the project, then salary can be charged to the grant.
- If an individual cannot contribute to their current project but can contribute to another sponsored project, the salary must be moved to that funding source.
- If an individual cannot perform job functions related to any sponsored project because of requirements to work remotely, the individual should follow HR’s guidance for requesting emergency leave as applicable. Salary associated with emergency leave may need to be later removed from the sponsored project based on future sponsor guidance.
Questions regarding options and determining eligibility for leave should be directed to HR. More information is available here. Questions regarding allowability of costs to sponsored projects should be directed to your SRA or FSU Research Foundation Administrator.
Events and Travel
Can others come to campus?
Applications to the visiting scholar program from international scholars have been suspended. At this point, other visitors are allowed; see https://fda.fsu.edu/faculty-employment/appointments/procedures-for-inviting-an-unpaid-visiting-scholar-researcher for the most up-to-date information.
Should I cancel my travel plans?
Yes; as of March 12, the FSU has banned all domestic and international travel.
I am hosting an event in the spring semester. Shall I cancel or postpone it?
Events scheduled through the end of the spring semester should be canceled, postponed or moved to a virtual platform if possible.
If we have to cancel scheduled university travel, will it be reimbursed?
How shall I handle unexpected grant-related expenses due to the virus?
At this time, national organizations (AAU, COGR, APLU, AAMC) are having discussions with federal representatives regarding these concerns. The concept of automatic extensions with additional funding has been discussed, but to date, no federal (or other) sponsor has stated that they will take this action. Current guidance from sponsors has been that they will review any requests on a case-by-case basis. FSU Research leadership is heavily engaged at the federal level and will forward any additional news or guidance on this topic to the FSU research community when received. All researchers and departments should be tracking any expenditures that were incurred related to the COVID-19 situation (charged to grants or otherwise).
I have a CRC grant involving travel or other activities being affected by the coronavirus. What do I do?
You may file a request for a budget amendment or time extension by visiting the online request form located at https://www.research.fsu.edu/research-offices/ord/crc/forms/time-extension-and-budget-amendment-request/. Decisions may be delayed, and your patience is appreciated.
Ongoing research projects
Can I continue/start a long-term experiment?
Every faculty member must decide what is in the best interest of their lab moving forward. Critical research activities may continue with the permission of the Office of the Vice President for Research. For more information, click here.
Will research involving human subjects continue?
FSU Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander and the Office for Human Subjects Protection (OHSP) announced the immediate cessation effective March 24, 2020, and until further notice of some research activities that involve in-person interactions or interventions with human research participants. Click here for more information.
My colleagues or I would like to conduct research related to COVID-19; what are the FSU IRB review requirements?
All proposed research involving human subjects must be submitted to the FSU Office for Human Subjects Protection (OHSP) to determine what federal regulatory and FSU policy human subject protection review requirements will apply. OHSP and the FSU IRB will as feasible try to ensure fast-tracking of such proposed research.
Will international users still be allowed to use the facility? What about users from other locations from within the United States?
The Mag Lab has discontinued its visitor program for the time being. They are still hoping to receive samples but will not allow new domestic or international visitors. For more information regarding the status of the MagLab please visit here.