Research Working Group

Research Ramp-up Begins

As of Monday, June 22, eligible persons gradually begin to return to campus as part of the ramping-up of laboratory and clinical research with the following conditions: 

  • Work that can be done remotely must continue to be done remotely to maintain density limitations on campus.
  • Plans must be approved in advance at the department and/or school level prior to resuming on-site research.
  • If you are eligible for return and plan to do so, please pay particular attention to the testing, training and symptom self-check requirements, and compliance outlined on this website below.  Access to University premises is not permitted unless you are in compliance with them.

Currently at Columbia, essential research, both in the laboratory and with human subjects, is ongoing.  Only such essential research may take place at Columbia until the University confirms that we will move to the first phase of the ramp-up.  When we move to the first phase, some individuals involved with laboratory and clinical research that must be conducted on site may be allowed to resume these on-site activities, but only in accordance with the plan developed by the principal investigator and approved by the relevant department and/or school.

Work that can be done remotely must continue to be done remotely, to maintain density limitations on campus.

No non-essential staff or administrators should be returning at this time.

This is not a judgment you are to make on your own.  All schools and institutes have prepared for the ramping-up of research by establishing priorities and procedures.  That includes a determination of which research can resume on site, and when.  Unless permitted by your school or institute’s ramping-up plan, you’re not returning.

The Research Ramp-up Framework communicates principles and considerations to assist schools and researchers as they plan to restart research and provides an overview of the phases in the process.  The initial phase of return allows up to a maximum of one third of normal occupancy at any point in time, and advises using that capacity as efficiently as feasible by staggering work hours, working in shifts, and the like. Of course, all the parameters specified in the framework are subject to revision in response to public health requirements.

Please reference the Coronavirus Resource Center, which provides information on COVID-19 for patients and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center community.

Preparation for Resuming On-site Research

The following actions are required for a safe research ramp-up:

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1. Review your team’s ramp-up plan

Each PI has been required to develop a ramp-up plan that meets public health requirements and is approved by the relevant department and/or school.

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2. Complete COVID-19 Training: Safe Research at Columbia University

All personnel returning to on-site activity must complete training. Researchers must complete this training in Rascal and sign the related attestation.

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3. Schedule a SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Test

Newly returning researchers are required to obtain a baseline SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test

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4. Daily COVID-19 Symptom Self-check

As required by New York State, and effective June 22, 2020 all faculty, staff and students will be required to complete a daily 3-question symptom self-check each day before entering campus premises. 

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5. Review available University resources

Consider University resources for specific needs such as transportation, childcare, and other needs.

Daily Routine Before Arrival

Stay Home if You Are Sick

Notify your supervisor that you will be staying home.

Daily COVID-19 Symptom Self-check

As required by New York State, and effective June 22, 2020 all faculty, staff and students will be required to complete a daily 3-question symptom self-check each day before entering campus premises. 

Stay Safe on Your Way to Work

Wear a face covering and practice physical distancing and other health and safety measures while traveling to work. 

Daily Routine At Work

If you get sick while at work, notify your supervisor that you will be leaving and update your COVID-19 symptom self-check.

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Face Coverings

A face covering is required at all times on-site.

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Density Considerations

Follow the plans for your laboratory, including occupancy limits and schedules.

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Your supervisor will provide instructions on how to receive face coverings and PPE for use on-site.  

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Physical Distancing

Maintain 6 feet of physical distance between each person at all times.

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Clean and Disinfect

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as appropriate.

Where to Go With a Concern

To discuss a concern, if possible, first contact your supervisor, department or the office of the dean of your school or institute.

Office of Academic Affairs (CUIMC)

Supporting over 9,500 faculty and researchers across the four health science schools of the medical center

Office of Faculty Affairs

Responsible for administering University policies and processes governing academic appointments, managing tenure review, and maintaining fair processes in handling grievances from academic officers

Human Resources

A full range of services, including recruiting, interviewing, placing and guiding employees; maintaining benefits and payroll; mediating conflict; hosting trainings; and, offering learning and development programs

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Supporting and assisting postdocs in their professional training and development, and offering in-depth guidance and resources on all matters pertaining to postdoctoral affairs

Compliance Hotline (Anonymous Reporting)

The hotline serves as a channel for employees to report or seek guidance on possible compliance issues.

Ombuds Office (Confidential)

A confidential place to discuss workplace issues, academic concerns, issues relating to administrative paperwork and process, explanation and interpretation of policies and procedures, and other issues or concerns.

Research Ramp-up Ambassadors

The Research Ramp-Up Ambassadors provide support on issues such as: (1) pressure to come back to on-site work at a time where this is voluntary; (2) concerns from individuals who want to come back but have been told to wait; or (3) concerns that individuals or labs are not following the required safety and public health measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19. 

Planning Tools and Guidance

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Research Ramp-Up Framework

Guiding principles, considerations, and an overview of the research ramp-up

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Planning Tools

Checklists for schools and principal investigators to assist in planning for the ramp-up of on-site research

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Guidelines and Form for Field Research

Resumption of any field research requires adherence to research guidelines and prior approval by the relevant dean, director, or vice president; with a report to the Office of the Provost. State and University travel policies must be followed.

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Roles and Responsibilities

A quick reference on the roles and responsibilities of individuals at all levels who are resuming on-site research

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EH&S Ramp-up Checklist

Environmental Health and Safety checklist to help researchers safely resume activities

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Research Administration and Compliance FAQs

The Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research answer frequently asked questions, including on human subjects research.

Recent Communications