Last Updated: August 10, 2020
Please check back regularly for updates.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused significant changes and challenges to our daily and academic lives, including unprecedented disruption to the University of Illinois’ pursuit of its research and educational missions. The Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research is committed to supporting the University, and its students, faculty, and staff in these uncertain times.
Best Practices for Academic Year 2020/21
In accordance with the State of Illinois’ and CDC guidelines, the University began its phased reopening of research on its campuses as of June 1, 2020. With guidance by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, and their respective departments or units, researchers have created local safety plans that have been approved by their units.
Below you will find guidance and resources offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research (in accordance with University protocols) to ensure safe research practices for students and their mentors. Information on this page will be updated continuously, as we respond to the situation and new resources and information are made available. Please also see the University of Illinois’ COVID19 webpage for the latest campus updates.
For Student Researchers
Faculty and research staff have been instructed that participation in on-campus and in the field research projects should be limited and should be carried out remotely whenever possible. You should only participate in on campus or in the field research if you feel you are able to do so safely and in accordance with University and State of Illinois policies. If you are concerned about your working environment, please bring these concerns to your research supervisor immediately. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory solution, you should then contact your academic advisor, department head, or college dean. Should you require help with this process, please contact OUR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All students conducting on-campus or field research are required to follow safety guidance developed by the lead faculty or research staff. Ask your research supervisor to share their locally-approved plan with you. Typically, such plans include:
- continuing to follow all standard safety procedures;
- wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in all university buildings and field work sites, or other protective equipment as required by your lab or other research setting;
- observing hand sanitation through frequent hand washing (soap and water) or use of hand sanitizer, to be supplied by the University;
- regularly disinfecting workspace, equipment, field site, vehicles for transportation, and office surfaces (cleaning supplies will be provided by the University);
- practicing physical distancing, and;
- completing mandatory COVID-19 online training and participation in mandatory COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
We encourage you to discuss and set mutual expectations with your research supervisor. Discussion topics on COVID-19 safety can be found below:
- Plan for moving non-essential in-person activities to virtual platforms (e.g., in-person meetings)
- Plan to observe above hygiene and sanitation protocols, including physical distancing;
- Expectations for disinfecting shared work, office, and other common areas, including location of cleaning supplies;
For Mentors and Supervisors of Undergraduate Researchers:
Please provide opportunities for undergraduate students to work remotely whenever possible. Any ‘in-person’ participation should be in accordance with appropriate safety and health precautions as provided by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, and the Division of Research Safety. Researchers should have created local safety plans that have been approved by their departments or units.
Safety Plans. Guidance and more information about safety plans, including all relevant trainings, (i.e., COVID19 Safety Training), guidance for shared facilities and space readiness, may be found at:
Mutual expectations. We encourage you to discuss and set mutual expectations with your undergraduate researchers, including:
- Safety plan
- Plan for moving non-essential in-person activities to virtual platforms (including in-person meetings)
Questions, Concerns, or Feedback:
Should you have any questions about any of the foregoing, please contact our office at email@example.com.