We are writing to brief faculty, staff, and graduate students operating under Research Stage 1 (RS1) guidance on our plans for current and future research operations on campus. As we are sure you are all aware, the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Harris County has made clear that we are experiencing another wave of infections in our region. The surge in cases requires us to carefully consider our current and future plans regarding research activity on campus. We will continue to operate under RS1 for now, but we must emphasize that as conditions change, this decision could be reversed quickly and move us back towards dramatically reducing all research activities on campus. We do not foresee moving forward to Research Stage 2 until the local situation has stabilized and outbreak mitigation strategies show clear evidence of flattening the curve back towards reasonable containment.
It would be wise for all of us to be ready to shut down operations with 48 hours notification if conditions continue to worsen. In the meantime, it is critically important that all of us adhere strictly to RS1 guidance to maintain the safest possible operations of our on-campus research activities.
Overall, it appears that the vast majority of us are doing a great job adhering to our PPE guidelines, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing. However, we do receive occasional reports of personnel that are not compliant with these recommendations. If we are to continue operating under RS1, we absolutely must follow the safety recommendations. Each of us should follow these safety recommendations; not just in the workplace, but in our lifestyle as a whole, both on and off campus. We are only as strong as our weakest link, and therefore, each of us plays an essential role in our public health strategy. Public health is a team sport — we will succeed or fail as a community. As conditions change, we will update everyone with news as we have it. Updates can also be found on the Research Reactivation Blog.
Stay safe and good luck,
Yousif Shamoo Reginald DesRoches
Vice Provost for Research Provost