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Process

Multiple factors must be considered in the proposing, reviewing, approving, and monitoring research activities that will be resumed. The proposed process is a collaborative, investigator-driven approach.  

Specifically, the request for reactivation of research activity will be initiated by the investigator/faculty/scholar and will be based on minimizing risks using physical distancing and safe space utilization. To this end, academic units should provide discipline-specific guidance to investigators (see Resource Section below for example guidance).

Review Work Flow for New Return to Research Request

Ramp-up process flowchart
Workflow for New Return to Research Request [PDF]

  1. New Request (Faculty/Investigator/Scholar)

    • Investigators will be required to develop a ramp up plan - using the Request For Return To Research Form [XLS]

    • Requests will require investigators to provide plans for conforming with discipline-specific guidance provided by their academic units, guidelines from ORI and University general safety controls

    • Requests involving shared space or interdisciplinary resources should include input from collaborating research faculty/teams.

    • Requests can be developed in collaboration with identified points of contact/committee within their Departments and/or College/Schools/Units.

    • University support/resources will be provided to assist with planning

    • Investigator/Scholar/Faculty submits “Request” to their supervisor

  2. Review/Approval (Departments/Deans)

    • Academic Units will provide discipline-specific feedback to investigators that considers the specific space usage of research activity

    • Units will develop a review process for evaluating “return to research” plans/requests. This process should include considerations of University Guidance, policies, controls and maintaining required safety guidelines along with consideration of the specific research space being utilized and individual academic unit priorities. 

    • The College/School/Department level review and approvals should ensure commonality of principles across departments using the same research facilities to ensure that appropriate density is not exceeded. 

    • Academic units should see "General Recommendations for Colleges/Schools" section for an example of specific recommendations.

  3. University Administrative Units will support these efforts by:

    • Collaborating with academic units to:

      • Develop and update required templates

      • Monitor impact of measures intended to reduce risk

      • Review/modify guidance if necessary

      • Provide guidance for use of University CORE Facilities

      • If safety protocols are not maintained, restrict activity until remediation measures are in place

      • Ensure mechanisms are in place to enable confidential disclosure of concerns

      • Develop COVID education and training 

    • Facilitate and coordinate communication between investigators, academic units, and University administrative units (ORI, Facilities, EHS, HR, etc.) to minimize health risks and facilitate resumption of research activities.

Review Work Flow for Phase 2 “Return to Research Request”

VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION PROCESS FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

The following outlines the Research Ramp Up “Voluntary Participation” process for undergraduate students who have been identified as part of APPROVED “Return to Research” plans:   

  1. The Office of Research & Innovation (ORI) receives and reviews “Return to Research” requests and/or amendments.   

  2. If and when approved, ORI sends a notification of approved “Return to Research” plans and/or amendments to PI(s)/lab manager(s), including required next steps for all approved personnel. It is recommended that PI(s)/lab manager(s) host a group meeting to go over the “Return to Research” plans with lab group.   

  3. ORI will notify the Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs (a unit in the Pennoni Honors College) of all undergraduate students included in approved “Return to Research” plans. 

  4. The Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs will reach out to undergraduate students listed with required next steps, including:   

    1. Review and understanding of the plans for “Returning to Research” for the specific lab or research team- This can be achieved through an information session with the lab/research team and/or through requesting access to approved "Return to Research" plans from the Office of Research & Innovation (ORI) at DrexelResearchRampUp@drexel.edu.

    2. Completion of electronic COVID-19 training in Blackboard Learn.

    3. Completion of the Voluntary Participation Checklist Form. This checklist form will be emailed to the student by the Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs.

  5. Once the Voluntary Participation Checklist Form and process is completed by an undergraduate student:   

    1. If Yes to voluntary participation without any questions/concerns: The Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs notifies ORI and sends personnel approval to PI(s)/lab manager(s) and students/postdocs may return to research as scheduled/assigned.   

    2. If Yes or No with additional questions/concerns: The Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs follows up with the undergraduate student for a meeting/discussion to better understand their questions/concerns, make proper referrals, etc., and notifies ORI of status updates.   

    3. If No, the Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs notifies ORI and notifies PI(s)/lab manager(s). Please refer to the language below for recommendations on working with undergraduate students on plans for continued remote work or other arrangements during this strictly voluntary phase.

Voluntary Participation Process for Graduate Students and Postdocs

The following outlines the Phase I Research Ramp Up “Voluntary Participation” process for graduate students and postdocs who have been identified as part of APPROVED “Return to Research” plans: 

  1. The Office of Research & Innovation (ORI) receives and reviews Phase I “Return to Research” requests. 

  2. If and when approved, ORI sends a notification of approved “Return to Research” plans to PI(s)/lab manager(s), including required next steps for all approved personnel. It is recommended that PI(s)/lab manager(s) host a group meeting to go over the “Return to Research” plans with lab group. 

  3. ORI will notify the Graduate College and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs of all graduate students and postdocs included in approved “Return to Research” plans. 

  4. The Graduate College and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will reach out to graduate students and postdocs listed with required next steps, including: 

    1. Review and understanding of the plans for “Returning to Research” for the specific lab or research team- This can be achieved through an information session with the lab/research team and/or through requesting access to approved "Return to Research" plans from the Office of Research & Innovation (ORI) at DrexelResearchRampUp@drexel.edu

    2. Completion of electronic COVID-19 training in either Blackboard Learn (for graduate students) or Career Pathway (for postdocs).

    3. Completion of the Voluntary Participation Checklist Form. This checklist form will be emailed to the student by the Graduate College.

  5. Once the Voluntary Participation Checklist Form and process is completed by a graduate student or postdoc: 

    1. If Yes to voluntary participation without any questions/concerns: The Graduate College or Office of Postdoctoral Affairs notifies ORI and sends personnel approval to PI(s)/lab manager(s) and students/postdocs may return to research as scheduled/assigned. 

    2. If Yes or No with additional questions/concerns: The Graduate College or Office of Postdoctoral Affairs follows up with the graduate student or postdoc for a meeting/discussion to better understand their questions/concerns, make proper referrals, etc., notifies ORI of status updates. 

    3. If No, the Graduate College or Office of Postdoctoral Affairs notifies ORI and notifies PI(s)/lab manager(s). Please refer to the language below for recommendations on working with graduate students or postdocs on plans for continued remote work or other arrangements during this strictly voluntary phase. 

Additional Information for Research Faculty 

Please know that the safety of all community members involved in the research enterprise is our highest priority. Drexel University expects that all research personnel returning to research labs will follow all state, city, and University guidance on relevant safety measures. 

Return to on-campus, field- and clinic-based research and scholarly activities work during Phase I is strictly voluntary. We encourage any member of our community that is a member of a vulnerable population to continue to work remotely. In addition, graduate students with a documented disability or medical/health concern are being referred to the Office of Equality and Diversity to seek guidance from Disability Resources, including but not limited to requests for accommodations. Postdocs/employees should seek guidance from Human Resources. 

If graduate students elect not to return, it is understood that they will continue work in a remote setting, establishing clear expectations with the PI/research supervisor and engaging in consistent dialogue. Graduate students should be continuing to progress in their degree programs, despite remote activity. For PhD students, it is critical that committee meetings be held during this time and that there is clear and consistent communication. Drexel also expects that graduate students receiving a stipend will continue to do so including while they work remotely. If you need to discuss matters related to stipend support, you need to include your Department Head/Chair and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and/or Dean. We expect that there will be no negative repercussions to graduate students and their financial support during this time. 

Graduate students and postdocs cannot begin work until they have completed the “Voluntary Participation” process outlined above by the Office of Research & Innovation, Graduate College and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. As part of this process, it is important that graduate students be provided a thorough understanding of plans implemented to meet COVID-related safety requirements, including review of the detailed plan submitted to ORI, if requested. This may be best accomplished in an information session provided to your research team. However, graduate students may request to review the detailed plans provided to ORI to ensure a clear understanding of all steps taken to return to a safe environment.  As part of the voluntary participation process, graduate students will also receive Phase 1 COVID-19 training

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Graduate College at graduatecollege@drexel.edu or ORI at DrexelResearchRampUp@drexel.edu for any questions or concerns.