Keep Researching

A Guide for Campus Service Interruptions 

UNCG is currently in high impact status. A stay-at-home order is currently in effect through Thursday, April 16. 

As a result of this order, researchers should suspend all non-essential on-campus research. See the revised “Preparing Your Research Program” section below for instructions.

UNCG continues to monitor the coronavirus and associated COVID-19 disease. The health and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and community is paramount. Be sure to check the UNCG COVID-19 page and the Office of the Provost page as they contain important information and are updated regularly.

If you've already skimmed through this page and just want to see what's new, go to our Updates page.

Preparing Your Research Program


Non-essential on-campus activities. PIs must suspend non-essential on-campus research activities to comply with the stay-at-home order. Download our checklist for assistance with this process. 

Essential On-Campus Activities. Determine what research activities are essential and which personnel are essential to carry out them out. To qualify to conduct essential on-campus research activities, a PI or their designee must complete the brief Essential On-Campus Research Activities online form. Filling out the form is the first step to obtaining the necessary documentation to travel to and enter UNCG buildings.

Examples of what may qualify as an essential on-campus research activity.
  • Activity that if discontinued would cause irreversible data and sample loss.
  • Activity that if discontinued would pose a safety hazard.
  • Activity that maintains critical equipment in facilities and laboratories.
  • Activity that maintains critical samples, reagents, and materials.
  • Activity that maintains critically needed plant populations, tissue cultures, bacteria, archaea, and other living organisms. 
  • COVID-19-related activity that has a timeline for deployment that could address the crisis.
  • Activity in support of essential human subjects research.
  • Clinical trial activity that if discontinued would negatively impact the patient’s care.

Laboratories. Labs will only be accessible to essential personnel who are performing essential on-campus research activities and who are listed on an Essential On-Campus Research Activities form. Do not order new research materials unless they are necessary for essential research activities.

Practice an overabundance of caution. Even essential on-campus research activities should be staggered so that minimal laboratory personnel are present at any one time.

Communications. Communicate with all laboratory personnel to ensure an understanding of essential and non-essential on-campus research activities and designated essential personnel. 

Remote access. All students, post-docs, staff, and faculty involved in research projects should ensure they have access to information they need to work remotely. Learn more about remote work tools at keepworking.uncg.edu.

Please keep in mind any special considerations with regards to data security. Learn more about this topic by reviewing the University Requirements for Data Storage.

Remote research activities.

Examples of research that can be done remotely include data analysis, literature reviews, writing proposals, reviews, or research papers, writing the background sections of theses, computational work, meetings, and discussions. Principal investigators should carry out meetings remotely, using similar approaches as for remote teaching of classes.

Remember, you're not alone. Check out "When Coronavirus Closes Your Lab, Can Science Go On?" in the NYTimes for inspiration and commiseration. 

Travel. Travel restrictions may impact your sponsored research projects. For up-to-date travel information and University-mandated restrictions please visit the UNCG Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page. 

Professional Self Care. We are an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. To support their members, NCFDD has curated a list of resources specifically for the current climate. Set up your account with NCFDD to access those resources.

Suspending non-essential on-campus research activity will keep our campus community safe and will ensure compliance with the statewide shelter-in-place order.

Updated 3-26-20 10:29 a.m.

Questions to Consider


What will the impact be to my research and sponsored programs if:

  • My team has to stay at home until the end of the semester, through the summer, or into the fall semester?
  • Members of my team become ill?

What studies involving participants, research organisms, reagents, or experiments will be adversely affected? What plans should be put in place to allow for them to continue – or stop and resume at a future date – in the least impactful way?

What standing purchasing orders or human resource issues will be impacted?

What data collection/analysis/storage activities will be impacted?

What costs might be associated with the impacts above?

What regulatory approvals will expire soon and might be impacted if they are not renewed? Can they be renewed early?

Are there any collaborators that need to be notified?

What sponsor reports or deadlines might be due during this time period?

Does the suspension of non-essential research warrant a for-cost or no-cost extension request for any of my sponsored projects?

What notice do I need to give sponsors or regulators now that my research activity(ies) is/are going to be paused or significantly delayed?

Updated 3-25-20 8:11 p.m.

Submitting Proposals


The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is open and submitting proposals as usual.

Electronic submissions. While personnel have been asked to work remotely, electronic proposal submissions are proceeding without interruption.

Mailed submissions. Should a competition require paper copies or mailing of any materials, please contact your OSP specialist well in advance (at least one week), so arrangements for proposal delivery can made and verified by OSP and the principal investigator (PI).

Communications with OSP. Please continue to maintain open and frequent communication with your OSP specialist regarding project needs.

Starting a proposal file in Ramses will allow your specialist to see that you are working on a proposal (please upload guidelines as soon as available).

Please utilize the forms found in our PI Toolkit to request approval to apply to a foundation, AORs, NCEs, subagreements, Change of PIs, etc.

Proposal deadlines. While some sponsors may extend deadlines, PIs should not assume that a deadline will be extended. If federal agencies are officially closed, proposals will most likely remain in a queue, pending resumption of agency operations – as has been the case during federal budget-related shutdowns. 

Deadlines may be extended on a case-by-case basis, so please contact your OSP specialist and OSP Director Valera Francis (vtfranc2@uncg.edu) immediately if you think your situation may warrant a late submission.

Skip to Institution- and Agency-Specific Guidance section.

Updated 3-19-20 11:41 a.m.

Managing Your Funded Project


Contracts and Grants. The Contracts and Grants Office will continue to process all incoming paper accounting forms and emails of scanned documents. Contact your grant specialist for specific grant-related questions or email grants@uncg.edu (please include your grant fund number).

Communications with Sponsors. Prior to contacting any external sponsor regarding changes to submissions, funded projects, reports, etc., PIs should first contact their OSP specialist for proposals and project pending awards, and both your OSP and C&G specialist for funded projects. Our sponsors are also responding to COVID-19, and we may be able to resolve your concerns here on campus in a more timely manner.

If you receive updates from your sponsor regarding a funded project, please forward them to your OSP and C&G specialists and OSP Director Valera Francis at vtfranc2@uncg.edu immediately.

Skip to Institution- and Agency-Specific Guidance section.

Disengagement from a Project. Should circumstances related to COVID-19 or any other reason require you to disengage for a significant time period (many sponsors consider this to be about 3 months), please notify your OSP and C&G specialists and OSP Director Valera Francis at vtfranc2@uncg.edu immediately, so we can work with you to make the proper notifications to your sponsor.

Training. Responsible Conduct of Research workshops in April have been cancelled. Information regarding a future date will be forthcoming. 

Assumption of risk

Effective immediately, please use the updated AOR Request Form found in the PI Toolkit. This updated form will allow the Sponsored Programs (OSP), Contracts and Grants (C&G), and Research and Engagement (ORE) to complete signatures electronically, enabling efficient processing of AORs should the campus close and staff are required to work remotely.

Add supporting documents prior to asking the principal investigator (PI) to sign. When files are combined in Adobe, all signatures are automatically deleted from the document.

Whenever possible, please encourage PIs to sign using their Adobe signature (vs approving through email).

Additional Adobe resources:
General Adobe Support
Setting up a signature in Adobe
Adobe App, for mobile signing

Finance and Administration. For information on unit operations during COVID-19 (including facilities like campus mail), go to https://faa.uncg.edu/covid-19.

Expenses and Revenue related to COVID-19

Tracking. To assist the university in tracking expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, immediately begin using activity code CORONA in Banner. The code can be used on requisitions and purchase orders (eMarketplace), WORKS (Pcards), BANFINs, reimbursements, journal vouchers, and invoices. See updated forms at https://acb.uncg.edu/forms. Purchases related to the pandemic made after January 20, 2020 can be reclassified. Contact Accounting at finmgmt@uncg.edu with any questions. 

Allowable costs. Costs incurred within the scope of the approved award and required due to the COVID-19 crisis can be charged to grant projects and should be coded with the CORONA code. Examples include costs to purchase equipment needed for remote interview sessions or project supplies while working at home. If you have questions about whether a cost is allowable or should be identified with the CORONA activity code, contact your grant specialist or grants@uncg.edu. If costs exceed your available budget contact your OSP specialist for assistance identifying additional funding options.

Cancellations. When funds are returned by vendors to UNCG (or by UNCG to payors), the deposit should be made to the same fund and expenditure account (or revenue account) where the original expense was incurred (or deposit was posted). Please continue to review your monthly reports and let Accounting Services at acctpay@uncg.edu know if you see any discrepancies. 

Lost revenue. Maintain this excel workbook to track lost revenue. Instructions on where to send this information will be provided at a later date.

Purchasing and contracts

We encourage you to utilize the Pcard whenever possible. It will also be important to reconcile your Pcard transactions in a timely manner. 

Contracts for the acquisition of goods and services still require prior review and approval of the Purchasing Office. Utilize the Contract system if your department has been onboarded or email purchasing@uncg.edu or Richard Fleming at rrflemin@uncg.edu.

Questions? Contact purchasing@uncg.edu or pcard@uncg.edu. 

Finance document processing

Complete documentation and approvals continue to be required. Currently, there are no changes to our process except for the item below. 

Email Remittance. You may take a picture of invoices with appropriate signatures for attachment. Approvals may be submitted from UNCG email addresses, ideally in one continuous email chain. The final approver will need to forward the email to acctpay@uncg.edu. All emails with invoices should include “Invoice” in the subject line.

Notate original documents with “emailed” and the date of the email. Departments should retain the original documents. 

Questions? For BANFINs, invoices, travel forms, contact acctpay@uncg.edu. For JV forms, contact finmgmt@uncg.edu. For payroll (not HR) forms, contact payroll1@uncg.edu

Deposits

The Cashier's office has two drop boxes. An interdepartmental envelope with return address should be used for any departmental deposits. 

Students will need to include their UNCG ID number on payments. Student payments can also be made on UNCGenie on the Student Account Center.

Do not fax your daily Departmental Credit Card Deposit Slip forms. Forms should emailed to pjclark@uncg.edu, c_nie@uncg.edu, and r_lemons@uncg.edu.

Questions? Contact cashier@uncg.edu.

Suspension of non-essential human resource actions

from a Memorandum from Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer Jeanne Madorin

We have received a memorandum from UNC System Interim President Dr. William Roper suspending non-essential Human Resources actions. This includes salary adjustments, position actions (including creating new positions or modifications to existing positions), and new hires. There are some exceptions that may be granted by the Chancellor which are related to supporting the COVID-19 response, meeting contract obligations, and when mandated by law or policy, including critical compliance obligations.

I realize that many of you have actions from your respective areas at various stages. I will be reviewing those actions for those that may be considered as exceptions. Faculty members are clearly essential to University operations so recruitments for faculty will be considered an exception.

I realize that you may have many questions but would appreciate it if you could please wait until we receive further clarification from the UNC System Office as we don't have any additional information at this time. I will follow up with additional communication before the end of the week in regards to this memorandum.

It is important to note that this is a temporary pause as we are currently in a very unusual and unprecedented situation. Thank you all for your patience as we work to understand this directive and provide clarity on how to handle those actions that meet the criteria for exceptions.

Dual employment and banner security access

Email remittance. You may take a picture of these forms with appropriate signatures for attachment. Approvals may be submitted from UNCG email addresses, ideally in one continuous email chain. The final approver will need to forward the email to budget@uncg.edu (dual employment form) or wcblum@uncg.edu (banner security access).

Dual employment checks from other universities should be wire transfers.

Questions? Contact budget@uncg.edu.

Travel. Travel restrictions may impact your sponsored research projects. For up-to-date travel information and University mandated restrictions please visit the UNCG Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page. 

Updated 3-30-20 3:55 p.m.

Human Subjects Research


Until further notice, human subjects research may not be conducted in-person whether face-to-face or by practicing social distancing. A modification can be submitted to change your in-person data collection to remote data collection if possible for your study.

Questions to Consider.

Would your data or results be affected if your participants had to self-quarantine or if they contracted coronavirus?

Do any modifications made to your protocol and approved by the IRB due to the coronavirus also need to be reflected in ClinicalTrials.gov?

FAQs.

How do I transition my human subjects research to remote data collection activities?

You will need to modify your application if the study application specifies in-person visits. Changes to data collection procedures can be described in a more generalized format or to provide additional options. For example, “you will be interviewed as part of your participation in this study” or "interviews may also take place remotely (ex: phone, video conferencing, or video chat)" or "the protocol-required exercises can also be conducted at home."

Modifications should be submitted through the regular process at UNCG. Include in the modification description section that the implementation is part of the COVID-19 guidance. Please be sure to update all applicable sections of the study application and study-related documents.

What if I am unable to perform a research visit remotely?

Research visits that cannot be performed remotely and do not provide an immediate benefit to a participant's health and/or well-being should be suspended until further notice.

Do I need to submit a modification to suspend my human subject research activities?

A modification is not needed to suspend activities, but please send an email to ori@uncg.edu if you are going to suspend human subjects research activities.

If my clinical trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, what should I do?

Please send an email to ori@uncg.edu if you are going to suspend human subjects research activities, including a clinical trial. Also, login to ClinicalTrials.gov and designate the recruitment status of the trial as “Suspended.” Suspended studies are defined as those not closed/terminating/withdrawing.  When research activity resumes, the recruiting status should be revised to “Active.”

If making changes to your data collection procedures for a study registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, please be sure to update your study record. Instructions for editing a study record can be found at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/manage-recs/how-edit.

My project involves participants from the public schools. What should I do?

At this time, local public schools are closed. Please contact Sponsored Programs Director Valera Francis at vtfranc2@uncg.edu immediately, so that we can work with you to make the proper notifications to your sponsor.

Updated 3-26-20 11:40 a.m.

Community-Engaged Research


If your scholarship involves community partners, they are likely facing many of the same challenges: how to address disruptions to programs and services, how to get accurate and up-to-date information, how to plan, who can help support them during this time of crisis, and what they can do to support others. Communication is especially important now.

Reach out and check in. Do not make assumptions - ask things like: when is a good time to check in? How do you want to connect? When should we check in next?

Plan for change. Many things are being delayed or cancelled, but not everything. How will the work of your partnership proceed given COVID-19-related disruptions? What needs to be discussed or done now, and what can happen later (timeline)? Have roles and responsibilities changed? How are project funds affected, if relevant? Are there new practices or policies that are affecting the work? Is suspending temporarily the best way to support?

Stay reciprocal. You work collaboratively as thought partners in your work – how can you extend that practice of reciprocity to this time? What issues are you and partners facing? What are some ways to support the mission of the group or organization during this time? Are there some new opportunities for shared learning and contribution? What networks can you draw from to contribute to each other? Think outside the box.

Provide information to your partners.

Provide your contact information, if appropriate, to answer questions related to your partnership.

For updates regarding UNCG and COVID-19, provide the link to the COVID-19 informational webpage.

For questions regarding COVID-19 and its impacts at the University, share this question form.

For other inquiries, direct them to contact UNCG's Referral Desk by emailing communityengagement@uncg.edu or calling 336-505-8994.

For support or consultation regarding community-engaged scholarship, please email Emily Janke at emjanke@uncg.edu

Updated 3-24-20 1:45 p.m.

Students Involved in Research


Across the University, undergraduates and graduate students are involved in sponsored research and scholarship. The safety, physical and mental health, and welfare of our students is paramount. We are committed to maintaining their financial support, ensuring learning outcomes through scholarly activity, and supporting the continuity of student projects. 

Principal investigators should explore whether there is work that can be conducted remotely by student researchers. If you are unable to identify appropriate work that can be done remotely or have any questions about restructuring or suspending externally sponsored research, scholarship, or creative activity that involves students, please contact Dr. Terri Shelton at tlshelto@uncg.edu

See the 3-13-20 UNCG Update Regarding Student Employees.

Guidance has been sent to supervisors and faculty with regard to restructuring work for students who are funded through the graduate school, federal work study, or funding sources other than sponsored grants or contracts.

Updated 3-19-20 11:59 a.m.

Environmental Health and Safety


Most considerations for environmental health and safety would only come into play should critical lab staff with unique knowledge be unavailable. 

Questions to consider.

Do you have a limited number of critical lab staff with unique knowledge? Are there others in your lab who can be cross-trained?

Does your lab operate machines that use active cooling through liquid gasses, dry boxes, or inert boxes using gas blankets? What would happen if materials like liquid gasses, CO2, nitrogen, or dry ice become unavailable?

How frequently are you saving or freezing samples of your cell cultures? Do you have long-term experiments that might benefit from more frequent preservation?

Do you have the requisite local knowledge to do controlled shutdowns of complex machines or devices such as NMRs without on-site help from the company?

Have you shared with UNCG Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) the locations and amounts of materials that are air-, water-, or otherwise-unstable for observation in case of lab closure?

Lab and office guidelines. 

Please do not bring outside visitors to the office area or lab.

Only individuals on the laboratory safety plan are allowed into the lab.

Vendors should be allowed in the lab if they are providing an instrument service. Remember: while UNCG employees have received emails about travel and quarantine periods, vendors may not be following what we consider to be safe practices. If you have a need to meet a vendor who is not providing a service in the lab, speak to your manager/supervisor prior to meeting in person.

Don’t shake hands.

Protect yourself when receiving packages to the office areas or receiving laboratory materials. Wear gloves. Wipe materials down. Clean door handles and any areas the delivery person has touched.

Updated 3-13-20

Vivarium Research


In order to minimize contagion, all those who enter a vivarium should practice social distancing and proper hygiene, and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that is normally required in the vivarium. If any staff or study personnel are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms (including but not limited to fevers, chills, sweating, dry coughs), they should not enter the facility.

It is primarily the responsibility of the principal investigator to adequately maintain their colonies and experimental organisms

Cross-training in care techniques and procedures is crucial to make sure there is continuity with research activities. If investigators do not have the personnel to manage their activities, assistance from the main facility staff may be provided for a fee, depending on availability.

Researchers should avoid beginning new projects involving a vivarium until the current situation stabilizes.

Main Facility

Staff will continue to maintain responsibility for husbandry within the main facility, which is still operational with slightly reduced hours. 

Researchers are encouraged to reduce research activity, within approved protocol requirements, to reduce manpower demand during this sensitive time. If you need to modify your protocol, please check in with the Office of Research Integrity. You may continue to monitor study progress via telecommunication as well as in person when necessary.

Hours of operation

M-F 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sa-Su 8:00am – 10:00am 

Flexibilities for Assured Institutions for Activities of IACUCs Due to COVID-19. See NIH NOT-OD-20-088 for flexibilities applicable to implementing a pandemic plan for vivarium programs. Additional guidance for preparing for a pandemic can be found on the OLAW website in the Frequently Asked Questions section, under Institutional Responsibilities, FAQ G9.

Updated 3-23-20 10:46 a.m.

Institution- and Agency-Specific Guidance


See also Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19 from the Council on Government Relations.

Prior to contacting any external sponsor regarding changes to submissions, funded projects, reports, etc., PIs should first contact their OSP specialist for proposals and project pending awards, and both your OSP and C&G specialist for funded projects.

Department of Commerce (DOC)

No specific guidance on grant activities yet available. Follow the DOC's News page for updates.

Department of Defense (DOD)

No known agency-wide guidance at this time. Seek information from individual branches/offices within DOD. Find general information and latest news on the Coronavirus: DOD Response page. 

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). COVID-19 FAQs for Grant Applicants and Recipients.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Frequently Asked Question about COVID-19 for DARPA Performers.

Department of the Air Force (DAF). 3-17-20 Memo Potential Contract Impacts due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

National Security Agency (NSA). Notice to Contractors Regarding COVID-19 Update – Re-Release with Downgraded Classification

United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA). USAMRAA’s COVID-19 FAQs

Department of Education (DoED)

COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel offers general guidance for educators, with updates on grant applications and award management expected in the future. 

Department of Energy (DOE)

3-3-30 Memorandum for Applicants and Awardees for LOI information and more.

No specific guidance on grant activities yet available. Updates and resources available at DOE's Coronavirus Hub page

Department of Justice (DOJ)

No known agency-wide guidance at this time.  Seek information from individual branches/offices within DOJ. 

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). Grants Page. Has extended the solicitation deadline for several open grant programs. 

Office of Justice Programs (OJP). 3-16-20 OJP Grantee Update #1 COVID-19 Impacts.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Deadline Extensions to Funding Opportunities. A 2-week closing date extension on solicitation applications originally scheduled to close between March 16 and March 31, 2020. 

Department of Labor (DOL)

No specific guidance on grant activities yet available. General information available at the DOL's Coronavirus Resources page

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

COVID-19: Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding. Umbrella site for NIH guidance related to COVID-19.  

Guidance for NIH-Funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19. For details on expanded flexibilities, such as mid-project period extensions and administrative supplements for unanticipated costs, see NOT-OD-20-087.

General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Proposal Submission and Award Management Related to COVID-19. NOT-OD-20-083.

NIH Late Application Policy due to Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). NOT-OD-20-082. Currently UNCG is open, therefore we will not be eligible for the NIH deadline extension described here.

NIH Message to Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funds on Flexibilities Needed for COVID-19. Excellent video summarizing some of the FAQs and some wonderful flexibility from NIH.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Coronavirus Information Page. Umbrella page with guidance on RAPID research, deadline dates, and more.

Impact on Existing Deadline Dates Memo. Extensions on specific deadlines, link updated periodically.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Coronavirus Information Page. Umbrella page with guidance on RAPID research, deadline dates, and more.

Impact on Existing Deadline Dates Memo. Extensions on specific deadlines, link updated periodically.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

No specific guidance on grant activities yet available. Coronavirus (COVID-19) page offers information for providers and others. 

US Agency for International Development (USAID)

No specific guidance on grant activities yet available. Follow the agency Novel Coronavirus page for future updates. 

Helpful (and calming) video from Dr. Mike Lauer, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research.

Updated 3-23-20 6:23 p.m.