Research spaces begin reopening in accordance with public health guidelines

Media Credit: Alexander Welling | Senior Staff Photographer

Vice President for Research Robert Miller said in the release that the "emotional and physical wellbeing" of students, faculty and staff is GW's first priority as officials begin to resume research activities.

GW began allowing some researchers to work in on-campus research spaces last week in accordance with public health guidelines, according to a University release Monday.

The Office of the Vice President for Research established protocols like mandating that researchers wear personal protective equipment, work inside University buildings for the “absolute minimum” time necessary to complete tasks and abide by social distancing recommendations, according to the release. Researchers can use lab and shared spaces up to 25 percent capacity, and project leaders should work out responsibilities for each researcher to “ensure a safe density of personnel,” the release states.

Vice President for Research Robert Miller said in the release that the “emotional and physical wellbeing” of students, faculty and staff is GW’s first priority as officials begin to resume research activities.

“No one should feel pressured to return to a research laboratory setting until they are fully comfortable doing so,” Miller said in the release.

The OVPR will also prioritize allotting research space to graduate and postdoctoral students near degree completion or terms of appointment, as well as principal investigators who can’t receive funding extensions for grants about to expire, according to the release.

Research projects involving direct interaction with human subjects may continue in accordance with Medical Faculty Associates, GW, federal and D.C. authorities’ guidelines, the release states.

Researchers no longer need permission to access laboratory space since D.C.’s stay-at-home order has been lifted, and members of the GW community who could access a University space before campus shut down for the pandemic can now use the buildings again, the release states. No campus buildings are open to the public, according to the release.

“GW has a diverse and growing research portfolio and a very active community of investigators,” Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research Gina Lohr said in the release. “We want to create a safe environment for them to return if and when they are ready.”

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