COVID-19 Faculty Resources & Policies

A one-stop website with information and resources of specific interest for TU faculty. Additional resources of interest to the entire campus community can be found at the university’s COVID response and planning website.

Task Force Recommendations

Information and Resources 

Research Resources

Laboratory Research 

Restarting Research Activities

Here are the proposed set of public health preparedness measures to restart TU research activities for Phase 0 and Phase 1:

Phase 0: Research Laboratory Preparedness

  • Laboratory PI must file a Laboratory Re-Occupancy Planning Form to be approved by Dept Chair and Dean. The template form will be provided to PIs and includes the following:
    • Name of PI/Supervisor of Lab and contact information
    • Type of research conducted in Laboratory (brief phrase)
    • Number of personnel working in lab
    • List of all individuals conducting research in lab (Faculty/Staff/Student)
    • Maximum occupancy number that ensures social distancing measures of 200 sq. ft. separation (PI will be sent square footage listing for all rooms)
    • Research Laboratory Schedule for personnel to ensure social distancing guidelines; this is a schedule template to ensure that personnel will not exceed maximum density
    • Amount of appropriate PPE for Laboratory Personnel (Dean will forward request to Campus Safety)
    • Laboratory notebook to monitor daily lab activities and to record daily health screenings of personnel

If Phase 0 approval granted, then PI moves to Phase 1 below:

Phase 1: Restart Research Activities

  • Testing of all Lab personnel is recommended but not required
  • Daily Logistics and Screening for Lab personnel:
    • Daily sign in log of who is in the Lab
    • Monitoring of Individual Temperature at beginning of day and end of day (Use thermometer or Health App)
    • Monitoring of any symptoms and recording this information
    • Social Distancing within Lab environment
    • Cleaning of lab surfaces at end of day to prepare lab for next day.
  • Wearing of appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for research
    • Minimum: Must wear a “surgical” like mask inside of Lab
    • Other PPE may be required for some research activities 

Field Research

Prior to Initiating Essential Field-Based Research

Engaging in field-based research necessitates that students, faculty, technicians, and staff conducting field research adhere to safety practices that limit risk of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus. If at any time, field researchers are concerned for their health or the health of others, they should report this immediately to the research advisor/supervisor and should feel free to stop research activities.

These safety practices pertain to field-based research that does not involve human subjects and/or does not occur in areas of high human density. Sampling streams, surveying and monitoring wildlife populations, and collecting environmental samples represent examples of field-based research covered by the safety practices outlined here.

Is this Essential Field-Based Research?

Must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Research activity is seasonally dependent and/or longitudinal and if discontinued would result in data or sample loss that would adversely impact the overall project.
  • Research activity and progress is time sensitive and critical to the progress of undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, or faculty toward career goals to include graduation and/or promotion and for which the funding agency is not likely to grant leniency.
  • Work involves planting, tending, and/or maintenance of plants, animals, or research infrastructure (e.g., autosamplers), and prevents damage to research operations.

Prior to Initiating Field-Based Research

  • Review current Maryland and Towson University policies on workplace and travel regulations related to COVID-19.
  • Ensure all research team members have completed COVID-19 training modules.
  • EACH DAY, perform self-health check (below) and sign log or notify research supervisor of your planned activity for the day.
  • All research team members will receive a letter stating approval of research activities from your Dean– please keep this letter with you in the field as proof that you are conducting essential research approved by TU.
COVID-19 Safety Practices for Conducting Essential Field-Based Research

Social Distancing

  • All field research teams will consist of <10 people

  • To the extent possible, all researchers must maintain a distance of 6 feet at all times

    • If research necessitates close proximity, use appropriate PPE and provide justification as well as safety precautions

    • If indoors (e.g., greenhouse; field stations), density of individuals may not exceed 1 person/200 ft2

    • Minimize time conducting field research; work efficiently and perform only approved tasks and return to working in isolated locations as soon as possible. Loitering at field sites is inconsiderate and potentially unsafe.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and researcher safety and health

  • Masks covering nose and mouth must be worn at all times when working with other researchers or when there is the potential to encounter other people or contaminated surfaces.

  • Gloves must be worn when nature of the work allows.

  • Hand sanitizer should be carried with you and used regularly, especially after removal of gloves. If you think of it, use it. 

  • Avoid sharing equipment unless thoroughly sanitized.

  • All equipment used in the field must be disinfected BEFORE and AFTER use using disinfectant wipes.

  • It is strongly recommended that signs are used on vehicles that indicate university research and that researchers wear high-visibility vests.

  • All clothes should be washed after use.

  • Thoroughly wash hands as soon as possible after completing the day’s tasks.

  • If possible, quarantine all material, samples, and deliverables from outside sources for at least 4 days.

Travel: In-state, Daily Travel to Field Sites, Use of Boats
  • When more than one researcher is headed to a field site, if possible, separate vehicles should be used.

  • If researchers are carpooling, all researchers must wear masks and use gloves and disinfect high-touch areas in vehicle after use.

    • If possible, keep windows open.

    • Only one person should be seated per row of seats.

  • If research involves use of boats:

    • All researchers must wear masks at all times and gloves, when possible.

    • Vessels 16 ft or less will be limited to crews of 2

    • Vessels 16-24 ft will be limited to crews of 3

    • Vessels > 24 ft will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Travel and Lodging: Out-of-state and/or Overnight Lodging
  • Travel regulation will closely follow Maryland State regulations.

  • If traveling out of state, express permission must be granted by the college Dean and Provost.

  • If traveling long distances, limit stops to those for refueling and restroom use. Wash hands and use hand sanitizer after any of these activities.

  • If researchers are carpooling, all researchers must wear masks and use gloves and disinfect high-touch areas in vehicle after use.

    • If possible, keep windows open.

    • Only one person should be seated per row of seats.

  • If research involves use of boats:

    • All researchers must wear masks at all times and gloves, when possible.

    • Vessels 16 ft or less will be limited to crews of 2

    • Vessels 16-24 ft will be limited to crews of 3

    • Vessels > 24 ft will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

Human Subjects Research

Guidance from Institutional Review Board

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research is the first point of contact regarding human subjects research at (or involving) Towson University faculty, staff or students. Review these guidelines related to preparation and review of applications for research involving human subjects during periods when COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

 

Faculty Teaching Resources

Other Resources

  • Faculty Staff Emergency Fund 
  • PTRM
  • SabbaticalFaculty on sabbatical do NOT need to complete the Tigers Care QuickScan unless they plan to come to campus during their sabbatical. Faculty should plan to share their sabbatical reports using Zoom or Webex.