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May 29, 2020
Dear Colleagues,

As a follow-up to the May 21 message on ramping up non-critical research and scholarly activities on campuses, we want to remind everyone that Phase I requires that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) be submitted no later than June 1, 2020. The current SOP is designed for use in faculty/unit planning and provides easy-to-implement guidelines for the first phase of ramp-up. It can be accessed here.

The document must be reviewed and approved by your research dean and/or dean, and the vice provost for research prior to being able to re-initiate non-critical, on-campus work. The SOPs submitted to will be distributed to each research dean/dean based on a faculty member’s primary academic appointment. Below are frequently asked questions about “ramping up research/scholarship guidelines.”


1. Is the SOP final and does it have an expiration date?
The SOP is a living document and will likely need to be revised to accommodate changes to institutional guidelines regarding COVID-19 risk mitigation. These guidelines are fluid, given rapidly evolving knowledge about COVID-19 and the local risk of disease transmission. Updates to the SOP will be communicated to the University community as needed.

2. If I share space with multiple faculty members/PIs, do we each need to submit a SOP? Can we submit one that we all sign off on?
If you work in a shared laboratory/studio/workspace, you may submit a single SOP for the group, detailing how you will coordinate with each other to ensure that the requirements for physical distancing and population density are met, including any shift work necessary.

3. Are offices included in the SOP?
Personal office space does not count toward the square footage for open laboratory/studio/workspace to avoid potentially over-estimating the number of team members who can work simultaneously. However, the limit of one person for every 200 ft2 does apply to offices and must be considered when using this space to carry out non-critical research/scholarship-related tasks that cannot be performed remotely.

4. Does this SOP apply to work being done at Jackson, the VA, or other offsite locations?
SOP guidelines apply to all critical and non-critical research/scholarship being conducted by University faculty/staff, regardless of the site for implementation. The only exception would be for faculty whose salary is primarily paid for by these other entities and who may have to take on certain tasks sooner than the SOP allows, given that it is part of their job function. The SOP can always be shared with research partners so that they may consider adopting the guidelines themselves.

5. Where do I get PPE and disinfectants?
Laboratories should reach out to their normal suppliers for PPE and reagents before returning to the laboratory. If the materials are not available through the typical procedures, laboratories across all campuses can utilize the supply chain for assistance at

Limited supplies of face coverings and EPA-approved disinfectants can be requested through the online form. On the medical campus, protective face coverings (1/day) are available at the security desks for buildings.

6. Can I charge my grant for PPE?
Grants typically cover supplies like gloves, surgical masks, alcohol, etc., required to fulfill study aims. If you need these supplies to safely conduct your work, you should be able to purchase them using grant funding. However, always check with Research Administration to ensure that this expense is allowable for a given funding agency. Further, the UHealth Supply Chain is centralizing PPE in an effort to simplify the ordering process and ensure all employees, researchers, medical students, and patients have the required PPE. You should try your normal supply distributor first. If your normal distributor is out of stock, orders can be placed using the following link: See instructions below:
  • Supplies are limited. There is a maximum quantity for each item. Please only order what you need for one week.
  • Orders can be submitted once a week for the required PPE. Orders will be fulfilled once weekly.
  • This form does not have a built-in approval flow. Therefore, orders must be placed by the Cost Center Manager or, if the task is delegated, an email from the cost center manager must be forwarded to when the order is submitted.
  • Use the departmental PG/cost center numbers. The COVID account number should not be used.
  • Delivery will occur within two business days or the department will be notified of any delays if supply is not currently available.
  • Departments will be charged the average price the University paid for the products over the past eight weeks.
  • Contact if you have any questions.
7. What other measures will be taken to ensure the safety of our buildings?
Currently, the best evidence-based practices for reducing the risk of COVID-19 include: maintaining physical distance (> six feet); consistently and appropriately wearing protective face coverings, even while practicing physical distancing; placing greater emphasis on personal and environmental hygiene; and avoiding coming to work when sick, even if symptoms seem inconsistent with those reported for COVID-19 infection. The University’s custodial provider will clean and sanitize high touch point areas nightly following CDC guidelines and using EPA approved products. For any specific requests related to cleaning in your spaces, please contact Facilities and Operations:

Gables/Marine: Submit a service request via or for any urgent matters please contact Facilities Work Control at 305-284-8282

Medical: Submit a service request via or by calling Facilities Work Control at 305-243-6375

8. Who do I contact if the sanitizing stations in my building are empty?
Please submit a service request via the online form: Gables/Marine:; Medical:

9. Do I need to fill out a SOP if I only do field-based research?
Yes. SOPs are required for all faculty who plan to resume some level of non-critical research, even if it primarily occurs in off-campus settings. Most of the SOP fields can be left blank; faculty can add a text box (or longer addendum) to indicate how they will successfully achieve the SOP guidance for field research.

10. Who do I contact to with concerns or to report observed violations to the SOP guidelines?
Faculty or staff with concerns and/or observations about SOP non-compliance should feel comfortable contacting Erin Kobetz, vice provost for research, via email at or by phone at 305-243-6185. If you prefer to make an anonymous report—via the web or by telephone—please contact the University Hotline here or at 877-415-4357. Anyone who is non-compliant with SOP guidelines will have their on-campus privileges temporarily suspended.
Jeffrey L. Duerk, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
John L. Bixby, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Research
Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., MPH
Co-Vice Provost for Research
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