June 5, 2020 – Transition to Phase 2 of Research Ramp-Up Plan Begins Next Week
As I’m sure you all have seen, the university will begin transitioning into Phase 2 of the Return to Campus Plan on Monday, June 8. Thanks in large part to the responsibility and care around COVID-19 protections demonstrated by our pioneering researchers in Phase 1 of our research ramp-up and to the incredible efforts of our ad hoc phased research ramp-up working group in partnership with the Division of Administration, we have now been approved to advance into Phase 2 of the 4-Phase Research Ramp-Up Plan gradually starting next week.
Phase 2 will have several important components that will advance the work of our researchers and scholars inclusively across all disciplines.
Most importantly, in Phase 2 research studies involving research participants will be allowed on campus based on a review-and-approvals process similar to that undertaken in Phase 1, with an intake form accessible to all. We know that many of your studies with research participants must be resumed quickly not only to advance research goals, but also to make sure life-improving interventions for participants are not further delayed. While fieldwork off campus cannot be undertaken across the board with COVID-19 still presenting serious challenges to health safety, if your study requires fieldwork within the Metro Nashville area, please consult your dean’s office to see if an exception can be justifiably considered.
Additionally, Phase 2 will enable approved Phase 1 lead researchers to build on the plans they have already implemented to advance to no more than 50 percent of normal research space occupancy, subject to minimum 6-feet physical distancing and other safety protocols such as personal protective equipment. We have developed new RedCAP tools for easy intake form submission and rapid review and approval to reduce administrative burdens on our research community for scale-up to Phase 2 and all future phases. For example, each lead researcher’s Phase 2 Intake Form will be tailored based on whether they previously submitted a Phase 1 Intake Form, allowing those who have already created or implemented approved Phase 1 plans to simply adjust those plans for Phase 2 rather than beginning again from scratch.
Finally, in Phase 2, in addition to “ad-hoc” access, deans may also approve access for faculty members to return to their office spaces to perform research or scholarly activities if building occupancy remains at less than 50 percent and subject to building readiness as confirmed by the Division of Administration. Your dean’s office will be in touch soon with further details as they will be managing such access.
Early next week, we will be sharing the RedCAP Phase 2 Intake Form, additional guidance to help you implement COVID-19 safety protections in your research (e.g., prescreening questions for research participants), and other resources to support your transition to Phase 2. All resources will be made available on the VU Research website, and you will receive a follow-up email from me at the time of posting as well as additional guidance from your dean’s office.
In the meantime, to help you begin planning for your Phase 2 transition, we wanted to share the PDF version of the Phase 2 Intake Form. However, please note that the PDF version includes all possible items, while the RedCAP version of the form will tailor your form to your specific research activities and automatically populate certain fields if you submitted a Phase 1 Intake Form. As such, your actual Phase 2 Intake Form will likely include far fewer items and be significantly shorter than the full PDF version. Please do not submit PDF versions of the Phase 2 Intake Form for review, and instead use the RedCAP Phase 2 Intake Form when it becomes available early next week.
Additionally, I encourage you all to review the Return to Campus Plan, 4-Phase Research Ramp-Up Plan, VU COVID-19 Related Safety Guidelines for Research Ramp-Up, and other Resources for 4-Phase Research Ramp-Up as you prepare to transition to Phase 2. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
While COVID-19 does require more from all of us to ensure the safety of our community as we advance research, I remain committed to making the process transparent, accessible and as lightweight as possible. Together, let’s optimistically take this next step to advance research and scholarship with renewed vigilance to keep COVID-19 at bay. Onward!
Vice Provost for Research
Professor of Computer Science & Computer Engineering