Research continuity update

Dear Colleagues,

As SMU takes precautions to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I’d like to offer additional information on how to continue our academic work and protect our research during this unusual period.

The move to online instruction for the two weeks after Spring Break and other cautionary actions announced in Dr. Turner’s March 12 email do not affect Ph.D. dissertation defenses, nor do they prevent faculty, staff, and graduate students from conducting research in laboratories. Scheduling and the conduct of Ph.D. defenses should continue without change unless notified otherwise. Likewise, faculty, staff, and graduate students may continue conducting research in laboratories currently.

Research is an essential component of SMU’s mission, and the University’s emergency response planning must ensure the security and continuity of essential laboratories and research facilities if it becomes necessary to promote remote teaching or limit campus access. Consequently, it is prudent to prepare continuity plans to ensure that mission-critical laboratories and research facilities are maintained with no substantial risk or harm to ongoing research.

To ensure this happens, please work with your Department Chairs and appropriate faculty to prepare a list of all mission-critical research labs and facilities in your school, and then complete this on-line questionnaire no later than March 20, 2020.

Responses should include:

  1. Facilities within which on-going research cannot be interrupted
  2. Facilities with equipment or animals that require continued attention or oversight
  3. Facilities requiring environmental monitoring
  4. Facilities for which continued operation is essential to meeting grant obligations
  5. Facilities that are operating under security protocols or that contain hazardous materials

The situation around the Coronavirus remains fluid and can change rapidly. Please check emails and the blog for frequent updates and answers to other questions.

Peter K. Moore
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim