Return to Research
Frequently Asked Questions

Mandatory Policies Regarding In-Person Research and Creative Activities, including Travel

Q: How long should a CSU employee isolate after out of state or multiday travel?

A: The recommendation is to monitor symptoms for five days after travel then test if the individual is not symptomatic.

This Centers for Disease Control link provides specific guidance about travel, including how to prepare and what to consider before travel, as well as post-travel recommendations. The University follows CDC guidance. Additional information is available here.

Q: How long should a CSU employee manage their exposure when traveling in state? For example, if a person wants to ski, do they need to isolate or stay away from campus until they get a negative test? Is this only important if the person stays overnight in ski country?

A: National, state, Larimer County, and university guidance is to minimize group gatherings, maintain physical distancing, monitor symptoms, and screen or test regularly. University guidance is to work remotely whenever possible to minimize the risk to others.

Students, faculty, and staff are not required to screen or isolate after travel or other personal activities, such as skiing. Stay home if you have symptoms or have a reasonable belief you have been exposed, and regularly participate in CSU screening options.

Q: When is it recommended that a CSU employee demonstrate a negative test before returning to work?

A: We do not have any requirements on demonstrating a negative test before returning to work. Students, faculty, and staff on a university campus will be required to test on a regular schedule (schedule to be announced in January before classes start).

Q: What research or other activities are currently allowed on-campus?

Only high-priority projects that have been approved by the college Research Associate Dean and the Proposal Pandemic Team (PPT) are allowed on campus. Examples of high-priority projects include:

  • Seasonal data collection such as field and agricultural work
  • Experiments close to completion, or deadline-driven, whose pause or deferral would lead to catastrophic delay, loss of research results or loss of funding. For example, non-federal sponsors, including contract-based studies with deliverables on a firm schedule such as SBIR/STTR phase I where phase II, depend on phase 1 progress and industry contracts).
  • Animal, cell, or plant experiments where a delay would result in euthanasia or loss of a colony, loss of a cell line, or loss of plants at critical growth periods
  • Time-sensitive access for graduate students and postdocs close to completing their degree/term of appointment
  • Research or other activities for completion of grants with end dates prior to May 31, 2021 (where the funding agency has not granted leniency)

Q: Can investigators conduct research/activities off campus?

A: Employees already working from home do not need to cease work. Only prioritized research and activities can continue within research facilities and in the field. Please see the Research Continuity Guidance during COVID-19 Pandemic for further details, specifically detailing research personnel and operations designations. For university international and domestic travel, visit the CSU Return to Campus web page to review the travel exception authorization process.

Q: Can I continue my fieldwork?

A: Research and other activities that are deemed very low risk because they are performed in remote locations and thus are consistent with social distancing guidelines may be conducted while essential-in-place orders are active if approved by the college Research Associate Dean and Proposal Pandemic Team (PPT). All mandated public health safety restrictions must be observed, and university travel approvals are required. Visit the CSU Return to Campus web page to review the travel exception authorization process.

Q: If I support research or creative activities, do I still need to do my work virtually?

A: Yes! President McConnell has moved most operations online and virtual. Please see her message to campus on this topic. Only laboratory and/or fieldwork that has been approved can continue. Only investigators whose work fits the prioritization criteria may conduct such work.

Q: How do I get permission to resume in-person research and creative activities?

A: Investigators must complete a Research Request form that details personnel and safety plans for returning to in-person operations. Plans should be developed in close partnership with departmental and college leadership. No work should begin until the form is approved by the Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT) and facilities are prepared for occupancy.

Q: What information will I need to provide on the Research Request form in order to resume in-person activities?

A: Investigators will need to provide a rationale for returning to work, the names of all returning personnel, and a safety plan. Depending on the department or college, additional documents and information need to be provided as attachments to this form. Talk to your Department Head or Research Associate Dean for further instructions.

Q: I already have permission to resume in-person activities. How do I add people or projects to my current request?

A: To make minor modifications to an existing, approved research request (e.g., add new staff, change location, or add/change CORE facilities), follow the guidance for an Amended Research Request. Plans for expanding projects and personnel should be developed in partnership with college Research Associate Deans.

Q: I am approved for in-person research, other activities, or travel. Will the University provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)?

A: To facilitate effective and efficient PPE ordering by University departments, CSU has developed a central supply store for select PPE products and safety supplies (www.ppe.colostate.edu). All purchase requests should be coordinated through the department or unit.

Q: What does it mean to be at 50% occupancy?

A: Per county guidance, this means that our buildings and rooms within the buildings cannot exceed 50% of their fire code occupancy at any given time.

Q: How does 50% occupancy affect my graduate student progress or effort?

A: The 50% occupancy corresponds to the number of people in the building and NOT to the % effort or time spent on research or other activities. Investigators and graduate students continue to work on projects at full productivity capacity. All work that can be done remotely should continue to be done remotely (i.e., reading and writing manuscripts, analyzing data, etc.). Work with your advisor to determine the tasks to be done remotely versus on-campus.

Q. Aspects of my research require distancing of fewer than 6 ft. What should I do?

A: For circumstances where 6 ft. distancing is not possible, a face mask and a face shield are required. Include plans for providing appropriate PPE in your Research Request form.

Q: If a researcher reports symptoms or a positive COVID test to their advisor/PI, what should the advisor do?

A:  The PI should do the following:

Research and Creative Activities – Personnel

Q: How does 50% occupancy affect my graduate student progress or effort?

A: The 50% occupancy corresponds to the number of people in the building and NOT to the % effort or time spent on research or other activities. Investigators and graduate students continue to work on projects at full productivity capacity. All work that can be done remotely should continue to be done remotely (i.e., reading and writing manuscripts, analyzing data, etc.). Work with your advisor to determine the tasks to be done remotely versus on-campus.

Q: Can GRAs be funded if they work remotely and produce results?

A: Yes! You can still get paid if you work remotely and produce results. Please consult the Office of Sponsored Programs website for further details if you are paid on a sponsored program (Federal or non-Federal). Wherever possible, we encourage everyone to engage on work activities that can be performed remotely. Talk to your supervisor about any ideas you have that are not your usual work but would still advance your work or university functions.

Sponsored Projects and Grant Administration

Q: How does 50% occupancy affect my graduate student progress or effort?

A: The 50% occupancy corresponds to the number of people in the building and NOT to the % effort or time spent on research or other activities. Investigators and graduate students continue to work on projects at full productivity capacity. All work that can be done remotely should continue to be done remotely (i.e., reading and writing manuscripts, analyzing data, etc.). Work with your advisor to determine the tasks to be done remotely versus on-campus.

Q: Will foreign research assistants continue to receive stipends if they are still working virtually and still in the United States?

A: In regards to your specific case, please consult the Office of Sponsored Programs, and also the HR website for specific information that may be relevant to your case. Specific information for graduate students can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

Q: Our lab was notified that our research sponsor is unwilling to change our project timeline. What should we do?

A: Consult the Office of Sponsored Programs for more information regarding sponsor COVID-19 guidance. For sponsors unwilling to change a project timeline, send the information to Ashley Stahle, Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at Ashley.Stahle@colostate.edu.