Letters to the UMB Community

Update: COVID-19 Research Guidelines

March 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Earlier this week I sent out a final UMB policy regarding basic, animal, and clinical research. UMB remains at a Moderate Research Restriction level for the moment. However, the pandemic continues to produce major disruptions, illness, and deaths in the U.S. Governor Hogan has continued to appropriately add new restrictions to the Maryland community. The National Institutes of Health has now announced that it will scale down its intramural basic and clinical research activities early next week.

I am in daily -- and sometimes hourly -- conversation with my dean colleagues, Provost Roger Ward, and Dr. Laurie Locascio, our VP for Research, and I benefit greatly from their advice on many COVID-19 related issues. With their support, I have moved all educational activities to remote learning programs for all professional and graduate students, instituted telework, and downscaled all research activities. I will be monitoring the situation very closely over the weekend, but will have a low threshold to move to a highly restricted research program. It is likely that I will make the decision to move to Severe Research Restrictions early next week, if not sooner.

Thus my advice to you is to prepare your laboratory effort for this eventuality. For those of you involved in human subjects research, I ask that you further scale down those protocols as described in my earlier policy. I emphasize that only protocols described in the policy will be permitted.

UMB has special programs in virology, immunology and related topics. I have asked Dean Reece to develop a plan over the next several days to maintain and strengthen those research programs critical to impacting the COVID-19 virus and expect to have that guidance available by Monday.

I remain committed to keeping UMB safe while focusing our strong virology programs to attack this virus -- and we will attack it. I urge each of you to be responsible members of our community and help me to impact this problem while keeping all of us safe.

Sincerely,

Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS
Interim President


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