November 9, 2020
CSUN’s Phased Approach to RSCA Adaptation and Restart
The IRB will soon be issuing streamlined guidelines for restarting in-person procedures when California moves beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy on June 15, 2021. Researchers will be responsible for following all Los Angeles County Health Officer Orders, as well as California state and CSU-systemwide guidance. Common sense health measures such as masking, enhanced sanitation, and adequate ventilation will be required for in-person research; all projects must have an IRB approved modification before restarting in-person procedures.
The CSUN Phased RSCA Restart Plan was developed to restart research and creative activities in a phased manner in support of the health and safety of CSUN personnel and surrounding communities, continuity of essential research and creative activities, and the re-initiation of other research and creative activities as quickly as feasible within the public health and safety guidelines. Based upon these priorities, a four-stage process for restarting and recovering RSCA has been developed. Lower-numbered stages are more restrictive, higher-numbered stages less so.
During "Safer at Home" lockdown orders, referred to here as Stage 0, only approved RSCA projects deemed essential by the Dean and Provost can continue operations on campus. Additional RSCA projects will be added in Stages 1 and 2 as public health conditions improve. Stage 3 is the resumption of all RSCA projects in all RSCA spaces. Moving between the phases will be based upon the ability to effectively comply with local, state, and federal public health recommendations, including social and physical distancing between personnel, availability of proper PPE, and implementation of sanitization and handwashing practices. Importantly, all PIs must be ready to scale back to an earlier stage if needed, in conjunction with revised public health orders.
The process to obtain approval to resume in-person RSCA during Stages 1 and 2 is as follows:
- Each PI requesting access should complete the Priority Research Access Request Form with a justification of why their on-campus work should be prioritized, and submit this to their Dean for review/approval. Deans should forward approved priority access forms to Linda Noblejas-Sapuay for processing.
- PIs, Department Chairs, Deans, and any delegated employees and laboratory techs must complete the COVID-19 Laboratory Coordinator Training offered by EH&S.
- The PI then completes the Research Assessment Plan or Field Research Plan and obtains the necessary written approvals for the plan.
- Note that field research (and any project that involves reimbursable travel) will require an approved Essential Travel Application, which is a separate process from approval to resume research. Complete your Field Research Plan and obtain the necessary approvals first, as this documentation will be needed to submit your Essential Travel Application.
- For on-campus projects, the PI must schedule a lab walkthrough with EH&S; during the walkthrough, EH&S will work with the PI to complete the Laboratory Coordinator COVID-19 Checklist.
- The Provost will review all complete applications and authorize approved projects to resume.
- RSP will issue door tags for each approved project/location to the PI. Door tags must be posted on the lab door or carried in the field.
Only RSCA that has been approved by the Provost may resume during Stages 1 and 2. Only essential RSCA with Provost’s approval may continue during a reversion to Stage 0.
The restart and continuation of RSCA projects during each of the stages will be gradual to ensure health and safety for the entire campus community. We need to ensure adequate custodial support is available to provide necessary hygiene and sanitization of physical spaces during the ramp-up. Until the campus returns to unrestricted operation, all RSCA projects that can be done remotely must continue to be done remotely. In addition, approved project personnel should be on campus only for the minimum time needed to carry out the work in order to support the approved project to reduce the risk to themselves and to other members of the campus community.
Planning for use of shared library facilities will be overseen by the Library Dean and the Provost following campus protocols for health and hygiene. Faculty who require access to special collections or archives are asked to contact Ellen Jarosz. Access protocols for other spaces with shared facilities will follow the library access model, pursuant to identification of the respective administrator (typically a college Dean) with institutional oversight of the space.
COVID-19 testing and contact tracing may also be required depending upon university policies and access to testing.
Please be aware: If public health conditions demand, there may be a need to rapidly ramp down to an emergency pause or return to Stage 0 at any time.