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Office of Research

Information for Researchers


Phase 1 Expansion of Research Activities at Florida State University
Effective May 6, 2020

Goals: To maintain health and safety, while increasing on-campus research activity in a phased approach; to follow federal, state, and local guidance.  

This document covers research conducted in spaces on FSU’s campuses and also in spaces owned or leased by FSU.  It also covers direct contact by FSU employees with individuals (human subjects) anywhere. It does not pertain to research that can be done remotely. On-campus research refers to activities requiring a physical presence in FSU buildings, including accessing materials and equipment such as machines and instruments located on campus.

Phase 1

Very Limited Access.  Buildings will remain locked, with swipe-card ingress.  All meetings should remain virtual.  Chairs and Center Directors, with the approval of their Deans, will be responsible for implementing this guidance. 

When deciding how to grant access, think about specific physical spaces and who will be in them.  Aim for no more than 25% of the normal occupancy of any one space.  Ensure more than 6 ft. 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 except when the situation dictates this is not practical (e.g. eating, drinking, play musical instruments).  Before leaving their spaces, all employees should clean surface areas according to protocols provided by FSU Facilities.                            

FSU Libraries will begin to be open in a limited way; check https://www.lib.fsu.edu/ for updated information. 

The following are some considerations you may want to take into account as you prioritize; in all cases there should be minimal personnel on campus: 

  • Projects that can be completed within thirty days in the event there is a spike in COVID infections and we have to ramp-down research.
  • Seasonal or short-term projects, i.e. those that will take less than two months from start to finish.  
  • Work that will allow a graduate student to finish a thesis or dissertation.
  • Work that will allow a post-doc to finish a project.
  • Projects that are critical to faculty careers, e.g. significant for promotion, or for obtaining or renewing a grant.
  • Core facilities that cannot operate remotely may begin minimal operations.
  • Faculty in disciplines that use studios may do so, coordinating schedules to minimize density.
  • Undergraduates should remain away from campus.
  • No face-to-face human subjects research may be conducted unless it has already been approved.
  • Any visitors must follow the safety procedures outlined above (but visitors should be kept to a minimum, and coordinated by chairs).

Some guidelines about spaces in general, including office spaces:

  • Clearly mark floor where visitors should stand to keep 6 feet from the fronts of desks.
  • Consider installing plastic screens/sneeze guards at front desk locations.
  • Provide staff with cleaning supplies and prominently post instructions on how to clean surfaces.
  • Continue to use technology for meetings as appropriate, especially for larger meetings.
  • Consider how you will get mail delivered, especially packages.
  • Consider staggering work times to allow distancing.
  • Consider other methods of creating appropriate physical spacing of six feet or more, for example, removing chairs from waiting areas or rearranging furniture. If you will be making these changes, have a storage and relocation strategy.
  • Consider removing common area seating to discourage congregating and reduce the need for cleaning.
  • Consider visually specifying how many people may be in a given space at once, e.g. through a sign on the door.
  • Allow no more than two people in an elevator at any one time.

EH&S offers this guidance about individual interactions: 

  • Keep your distance: Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. This is especially important when sharing laboratory equipment, like fume hoods.  Whenever possible, plan activities to avoid close contact with others.
  • If you plan to conduct high hazard work, make sure someone else is available to work with you. Let someone know where you are and how long you plan to be.  Establish scheduled check-ins with other laboratory members. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day:
    • Before and after eating or touching your face
    • After touching common equipment like computers, doorknobs, etc, and after removing gloves
    • Before and after using common areas, like break rooms or kitchens
    • After touching your cell phone or headphones or door handles
  • Clean and disinfect your cell phone: cell phones are notorious for harboring germs. The CDC has posted general cleaning guidelines for personal electronic devices at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html
  • If you’re sick, stay home: Contact your supervisor immediately and let them know. Additionally if you live with those who are ill or come into close contact with anyone who is sick, you should avoid coming into work.
  • Practice good hygiene with PPE
    • Don’t share PPE, especially items like face shields and safety eyewear.
    • Clean and disinfect non-disposable PPE both before and after using.
    • Keep up with your lab coat and send it out for frequent cleanings.
    • Be mindful of surfaces you touch with your gloves (i.e. keyboards, cell phones) and change them out frequently.

There may be spot-checking of spaces to ensure compliance.  Please consult the OVPR if you would like advice/assistance relative to implementing these guidelines.