May 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues,
As Vice President for Research, I have been impressed and inspired every day by the drive and ingenuity of our researchers since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. University of Maryland research has actively addressed the pandemic, finding new and innovative ways to provide protective equipment to healthcare workers, analyzing data to help decision makers and shedding light on health inequities, offering resources to help design emergency clinics, and mitigating the spread of the virus, among many other contributions. I am thankful to our faculty, staff, and students for the seamless efforts to sustain research productivity remotely.
Today, I write to you with a few important updates about what is coming in the next two weeks.
First, on Wednesday, Governor Hogan announced easing of restrictions allowing low-risk activities to begin while cautioning that those businesses and activities that do open must observe all of the critical public health guidance to limit the further spread of the disease. The following day, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that the county will remain under strict stay at home orders through June 1, 2020.
To comply with local guidance, we must continue operating under Severe Research Restrictions through at least June 1, 2020. For those who were previously granted an exception to operate under severe research restrictions, that approval remains in effect until June 1.
Second, the COVID-19 Research Advisory Task Force completed its work and proposed a comprehensive plan to phase in research on this campus. We will now move into a new phase of planning and preparation for the gradual and deliberate reopening of on-campus research activities with a tentative, proposed start date of June 1, 2020, provided the county adjusts its restrictions at that time. We will need the cooperation and support of the entire research community over the next two weeks to successfully transition from severe research restrictions to some on-campus research presence. More details on the requirements for planning and preparation to open research spaces on a limited basis will be shared next week.
Finally, I will host a virtual Research Town Hall next week to discuss the comprehensive plan for phasing in on-campus research activities. An invitation to that event will be sent out on Monday, May 18, 2020. In that Town Hall, I will describe the building and laboratory preparation required to ready ourselves for reopening. I will also discuss tentative dates to phase in campus research and the guidance that we will put into place to prioritize your safety. Your physical and emotional wellbeing and safety is at the heart of every decision that we make.
I look forward to seeing you soon at the upcoming virtual Town Hall.
Laurie E. Locascio
Vice President for Research
The Flagship Institution of the State of Maryland
College Park MD 20742-5035, USA
Phone: 301.405.1000