Published: July 9, 2020

Dear ICS Community Members,

By now, many of you will have read various missives about CU transitioning to Phase 2 in our Return-to-Research plans next week. The purpose of this email is to clarify what is changing, what is not changing, and how you may be impacted under the updated Phase 2 guidelines. I apologize in advance for the length of this message. 

What is NOT Changing

  • All those who can work remotely need to continue to do so. A return to general office use is not allowed under Phase 2 guidelines. 
  • Research that can only be performed on campus (think fMRI machine) or is significantly enhanced through the use of campus facilities will be prioritized. 
  • Masks are still required, at all times, even indoors. Other safety measures such as social distancing, health self-attestations, and completion of safety training prior to entering campus are all still in place and unchanged from Phase 1.
  • Our MUEN facilities are still closed and will remain closed until the end of the summer. CINC will continue to operate in our COVID zone configurations as outlined in our CINC Return-To-Research plan

What HAS Changed

  • Facility density: in phase 1, we were required to limit the people in our facilities to a density not to exceed 25% at any one time. In phase 2, we can gradually relax this density constraint to not exceed 50%. The key word here is gradually, with this expansion proceeding cautiously over the course of the next few months. 
  • Approval process to return to research: in phase 1, there was a two-step approval process where each return-to-research application was first reviewed and approved or not by the unit head, and then routed to the Vice Chancellor Of Research for final approval. In phase 2, there is only a single level of approval needed: the unit head. All of the backend machinery for handling this process is now going to be significantly more automated and streamlined. YEAH! 
  • Participant self-reports on developing COVID symptoms: in phase 1, there was uncertainty as to whether researchers can ask study participants to voluntarily report back if they develop COVID symptoms. In phase 2, we are allowed and encouraged to ask participants to report back on a volunteer basis. 

What this means for you

  • For approved study protocols

    • If you have already been approved under phase 1, you do not need to reapply. Your approval will be rolled over into phase 2.
    • Should you need to adjust your research group (add or subtract students, post-docs, etc), you will need to work directly with your zone leader who is in charge of managing your zone density, rather than submitting a new application.
  • For new study protocols

    • If you have already been approved under phase 1, and you want to introduce a new study protocol that involves the same research team, send an email to me and your zone leader so we can set up a meeting to review the new protocol for safety measures.
    • If you are proposing to bring in a new team, treat this as a set of new investigators and follow the instructions below. 
  • New Return-to-Reserach Investigators

    • Any investigators not approved under Phase 1 should follow the standard RIO process; i.e., everyone on the team needs to complete the required skillsoft safety training and then the lead investigator needs to fill out and submit a return to campus research request.
    • The RIO software will automatically route your request to me for further examination. 

As usual, if you have any questions or concerns, please send me an email!