University of Miami
Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost logo
July 6, 2020
Dear Colleagues:

With the dramatic increase in COVID-19 incidence throughout South Florida, we need your support in making sure we achieve complete compliance with the Research SOP. By working together to consistently follow these guidelines, we can advance our individual research and scholarship, while also assuming responsibility for the collective health and safety of our University community.

The Research SOP is based on our robust, evidence-based strategy to reduce disease transmissibility, which was devised by UHealth clinical leadership and public health experts, and relies on five T’s—testing, tracing, tele-vigilance, tracking, and teamwork—to minimize new exposure and spread of infection.

As a reminder, faculty, staff, and students should:
  • Continue to work remotely, only coming to campus to complete tasks that otherwise cannot be performed off-site;
  • Always wear a protective face covering on campus and in University buildings, including in personal offices when others are present;
  • Maintain physical distancing at all times, especially in shared spaces, such as hallways and breakrooms;
  • Avoid coming to work if awaiting test results for COVID-19 and/or when sick under any circumstance, even if symptoms are mild and/or perceived to be inconsistent with those commonly reported for COVID-19;
  • Work remotely if you identify as a “close contact” to someone who is COVID-19 positive. The CDC defines a close contact as someone who you have shared more than 15 minutes of time with, in less than 6 feet of space;
  • Report COVID-19 positive test results to UTrace, our contact tracing team, at, if conducted outside UHealth, to initiate contact tracing required to reduce potential transmission of infection;
  • Quarantine for 14 days after any international travel.

We also encourage faculty, staff, and students to consider:
  • Reducing population density in laboratories, studios, and other workspaces by being more conservative with staffing than the recommended 1 person/200 square feet allowance;
  • Implementing shift work to minimize the number of team members present at any one time, even if space requirements enable multiple people to work simultaneously;
  • Developing a plan for how ongoing work may be scaled back if University, government, and/or public health recommendations necessitate doing so given increasing local burden of infection.

We request that faculty, staff, and students engaged in SOP approved non-critical, clinical research:
  • Seek IRB approval to employ online strategies for participant recruitment, informed consent, data collection, and follow up, when possible;
  • Coordinate new enrollments and follow-ups with existing clinical visits; new enrollments and follow-ups that involve bringing community members/potential research participants to campus outside of clinical visits are currently not allowed to keep population density in our buildings and on campus low.

Critical research and scholarship, including clinical trials, can continue as approved at the outset of epidemic-imposed restrictions. Community-based data collection that involves face to face interactions and/or home-based encounters is still not permitted to avoid unknown exposures to infection that may occur in such settings.

In the coming days and weeks, there will undoubtedly be faculty, staff, and students who test positive for COVID-19, including those you know personally. As unsettling as this news may be, we are taking all possible precautions—this includes disinfecting areas as they become known and contacting all close contacts for follow-up or testing, when indicated by CDC criteria. If you learn about a positive case in your work area but are not contacted by the UTrace team, you have been determined to not be a close contact with the positive case and are at extremely low risk and can continue your activities on campus.

Our number one priority remains public health and mitigating the risk of COVID-19 within our University community to the best of our ability. Following the Research SOP guidelines consistently and correctly will help protect you and others. We are all key partners in ensuring the success of this program.
Jeffrey L. Duerk signature
Jeffrey L. Duerk, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Erin Kobetz signature
Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., MPH
Vice Provost for Research
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