Further relaxing requirements for KU's research community

From: Simon Atkinson, Vice Chancellor for Research
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2021, 4:52 p.m.
To: KU Lawrence faculty and staff; KU Lawrence postdocs

KU Research Community:

Earlier today, KU’s top leaders announced that the university is rescinding its mask requirement and moving to Level 2 on its continuum of operational states, which means shifting from “low density” to “moderate density” for the first time since the pandemic began. In light of these developments, we are also relaxing some of our required procedures for research operations:

  • Researchers are no longer required to create, maintain and submit individual lab and fieldwork COVID-19 safety plans that are approved by deans, department chairs or center directors and kept on file with the Office of Research.
  • Research facility managers are no longer required to track vendors or other visitors to buildings.
  • Human subjects researchers should contact the Human Research Protection Program if they have questions about how this new phase affects their studies. Protocol modifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

As the chancellor and provost said, our continued success in preventing COVID-19 transmission in teaching and research settings relies on each of us assuming personal responsibility for our own health and demonstrating care for our colleagues and students. Although KU’s mask requirement has been lifted and documented lab and fieldwork safety plans are no longer being collected, investigators may choose to continue following some of the measures they put in place during the past year — including masking and social distancing in certain situations — to protect their research groups. Certainly, individuals who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks and social distancing, and to get vaccinated as soon as possible. For more information, visit the Protect KU website.

I want to reiterate the chancellor and provost’s gratitude for your efforts to keep KU healthy. Some of you were among the very first employees to return to on-campus work last spring and to pilot and model the types of safety protocols that have optimized the health of the entire Jayhawk community during the pandemic. Approximately 550 lab safety, field work and travel plans were submitted, reviewed and tracked over the past year; thank you to everyone involved in that process. With your continued commitment, we get closer every day to an environment that will support the fullest range of research, scholarship and creative activity at KU.



Simon Atkinson
Vice Chancellor for Research