Colleagues, I  know that you have been considering how to minimize the contact of people in your labs or research spaces. Now that the Governor has decreed that everyone should shelter in place except for those carrying out essential tasks, it has become necessary to have a standardized UVM policy that specifies the process by which essentiality is determined.

This will be a two-step process. First, the PI will prepare a written document making the case for essentiality, and explaining how social distancing directives will be implemented. The PI should confirm that the PI also will be working in the lab.  Second, the Associate Dean for Research (or the Dean in the absence of such a position in a given college) should adjudicate the claim and make a decision as to whether or not the research is deemed essential.  The decision should be copied to Dan Harvey in the Office of the Vice President for Research.

As the Governor’s order becomes operative this afternoon, I urge you to start the process now if you believe that your research activities should be exempt from this wider shut down.  I expect few labs will qualify.

Richard Galbraith

VP Research
University of Vermont