Transition and Reopening UH was announced on Monday, May 10 by President Khator in her email to the UH community. The transition begins on June 15 with faculty and staff starting to return and a full return by August 2.
The UH COVID-19 Information website has detailed information about what UH requires when you or an employee/student you supervise has been in close contact with someone who has been lab-confirmed or is suspected/presumed to have COVID-19, or if you suspect/presume or are confirmed to have COVID-19. Refer to this website for general guidelines.
On May 18, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-36 prohibiting governmental agencies and officials from mandating face coverings in response to the COVID-19 disaster. Therefore, UH no longer mandates face coverings, and no UH employee can require that another person wear a face covering. Social distancing remains in effect.
Continue the practice of routine cleaning and disinfection of workspaces and frequently touched surfaces in your laboratory spaces as those are not cleaned by UH Facilities.
Be prepared that if a COVID-19 related outbreak occurs in the building where your lab is located, your lab group may have to vacate the space for a period of time and monitor their health more closely. This type of information will come from your college and the building coordinator, and you therefore must monitor your email closely. If an COVID-19 related building closure occurs, make sure everyone in your lab is aware of it.
Research in Shared Spaces
Shared spaces are defined as spaces where members of a research group routinely interact with each other in the same space, such as science and engineering labs, core facilities, shared spaces in institutes or centers. These guidelines apply:
- Spacing: Social distancing remains in effect. This means that desks in common areas should be arranged so that individuals occupying desks at the same time are at least 6 ft apart at all times.
- Protective personal equipment may be required in the lab due to standard operating procedures that were in effect prior to the pandemic. Obtaining these items remains the responsibility of the PI.
- Meetings: Since social distancing remains in effect, routine lab/research group meetings should only be conducted face-to-face if distances of 6 ft or more can be maintained.
- Sanitization: Sanitize common research areas and frequently touched surfaces (lab benches, doorknobs, sink handles, freezer doors, fume hood sashes, keyboards, microscopes, etc.).
- Sanitizing Equipment: Minimize the sharing of equipment and devices. If they need to be shared, thoroughly disinfect the device between uses by different individuals.
Travel restrictions are posted on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) page. Please check for restrictions prior to planning any travel, whether it is business or personal travel.
Information on visitor and vendor protocols can be found on the COVID-19 page, with separate pages for Visitors and Vendors. Please familiarize yourself with the steps prior to having visitors or vendors in your lab space.
Human Subjects Research
In the current phase of Transition and Reopening of the campus, all categories of human subject research activities are now permitted. Please see the detailed guidelines on the COVID-19 Human Subjects page. We ask you to familiarize yourself with the guidelines prior to commencing human subjects research.
Note that face coverings are no longer mandatory for faculty, staff, student, or research volunteers on campus, unless required by the IRB approved study protocol.
IMPORTANT – permissions for human subjects activities may change on a day-to-day, or week-to-week basis, based on the current county/city/state or federal outlook. Ensure that you and your research team closely monitor emails from the Vice President for Research and Tech Transfer.
As a reminder, we continue to fast-track new protocols related specifically to COVID-19 as well as modifications to currently approved protocols to adjust for remote or alternate research procedures during this time.
The Animal Care Facility is returning to standard operation.