Research & Clinical Work

BU Research

On-campus research remains limited to those research groups that have submitted recovery plans and received formal approval from the Office of Research. Safety guidelines outlined in the Research Recovery Toolkit—including six-feet physical distancing, sanitation protocols, etc.—remain in effect for the safety of our faculty, staff, and students.

OCCUPANCY LIMITS

Research groups have increased lab occupancy, in accordance with state advisories, following approval from the Office of Research. We are still encouraging remote work when practical. All plans and schedules should strive for de-densification of the workspace whenever possible. In labs, this means limiting on-campus work to critical use of bench/lab space or equipment (ensuring students and staff are not in close proximity for extended periods and avoiding unnecessary congregating).

Experimental labs (“wet” or bench research that requires on-campus equipment): Occupancy limits continue to be set by the PI, following approval from the Office of Research. These limits may exceed 50 percent, provided all University and research-specific requirements continue to be met, including regularly sanitizing shared surfaces, maintaining cleaning logs, six-feet distancing, and appropriate de-densification, as defined above.

Office Spaces:  Offices associated with research, including administrative spaces and nonexperimental labs (theoretical, computational, observational, and all other “dry” or non-bench research) are subject to capacity and gathering limits set by the state.

FIELD AND OFF-CAMPUS RESEARCH

We have guidance and a special planning template available for PIs ready to request approval to return to field or off-campus research using our web form. PIs previously approved to resume on-campus research must submit separate recovery plans for any planned field or off-campus research.

GUIDANCE FOR HUMAN SUBJECTS, IN-PERSON TRAININGS, AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

In addition to the guidance available for field or off-campus research and the master guidance for research groups returning to campus, we have also established guidance for human subjects research on the Charles River Campus, in-person lab trainings, and off-site experiential learning placements. Please review these resources as relevant to your work and incorporate into new or revised plans as needed.

ACTION REQUIRED TO ACTIVATE RESEARCH GROUPS

PIs submitting recovery plans and personnel lists for the first time should follow instructions in the Research Recovery Toolkit. PIs amending a previously approved plan must revise and resubmit their recovery plan and personnel list using our simplified form. Please submit all personnel lists using the streamlined Research Personnel Template.

We will work with chairs and associate deans of research to review and approve submitted plans, with lab occupancy changes above the previous 30 percent limit. New and revised plans must be approved by the Office of Research prior to any new personnel returning to campus.

As a reminder, the required survey via Healthway and regular testing as determined by testing category are mandatory for all research personnel in Categories 1–3. Failure to abide by required health and safety protocols may result in revocation of laboratory access privileges and corrective action under the University compliance protocols.

Health & Safety posters for research labs are available on the Research Support website. PIs are encouraged to download, print, and post these flyers in their lab space. If you need to report non-compliance with BU protocols and expectations, you may do so by submitting a hazard observation in Environmental Health & Safety’s ObservNow tool (Kerberos log-in required).

Clinical Work

The University has approved the resumption of additional in-person healthcare services, following guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Health for reopening clinical care.

Most of the BU healthcare clinics and clinical training centers have reopened for some in-person services, while remaining remote for all services that can be provided remotely in a satisfactory manner. In addition to the GSDM Dental Health Center and Patient Treatment Center, Physical Therapy at the Ryan Center, the Center for Neurorehabilitation, Speech clinic, the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, and the Danielsen Institute have reopened for some in-person treatment and/or testing. The reopenings have been reviewed and approved by the BU Medical Advisory Group and the Research and Clinical Workgroup to ensure all public health guidance is followed for patient screening, use of PPE, maintaining physical distancing, and other COVID-19 health and safety measures. The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center and the Faculty & Staff Assistance Office have found their services can continue on a remote basis for the time being.