COVID-19 Update: Face Coverings, Human Subjects Research and More
05/26/2021, 12:30:01 PM
From the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston. View this message in browser.
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Dear Research Faculty,

The Governor’s Executive Order No. GA-36 of May 18 prohibits governmental agencies and officials from mandating face coverings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a state university, we are required to follow this order. UH, therefore, added a banner to its COVID-19 website stating that face coverings are no longer required on the University of Houston campus and has started to update its websites accordingly. We updated the DOR COVID-19 pages to reflect the current status.

What does this executive order mean for your research?

Face Coverings and Personal Protective Equipment

Face coverings are no longer mandated on the UH campus. This also means that individuals on campus cannot be asked to wear a face covering. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must continue to be worn if required by laboratory standard operating procedures.

Since face coverings are no longer required on the UH campus, they can no longer be charged to federal awards unless they are necessary and directly related to the activities in the award, such as approved by the IRB for use in a specific protocol.

Physical Distancing

The physical distancing remains in effect. Specifically, desks in shared areas should be arranged to allow for at least six feet of distance between individuals. Occupancy in offices and seminar rooms should be kept at a level to allow for physical distancing.

Other Health and Safety Guidance

The daily health assessment should continue, and symptomatic individuals and those who test positive for COVID-19 should not come on campus. Consult the UH COVID-19 website for processes and procedures in place. The enhanced cleaning procedures should continue. Sharing of equipment or devices should be minimized, and they should be cleaned in between uses by different people. While you cannot ask anyone about their vaccination status and do not have to reveal your vaccination status, I want to emphasize that research has shown that the best way to reduce the risk of infection to yourself and others is to get vaccinated.

Human Subjects Research

With the number of daily new cases continuing to decline and the change in threat level in Harris County, all human subjects research is now allowed. We do ask everyone to conduct the research in a safe manner. The Human Subjects Research page has been updated with new guidelines. We will send a separate and more detailed email to those of you who conduct human subjects research.

Best regards,

Amr S. Elnashai, FREng  
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer

Amr Elnashai | VP for Research and Technology Transfer | | 713-743-4736

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