I am pleased to announce that on April 5, 2021, UCI will begin transitioning to Phase 3 research. A confluence of factors makes this possible – the most important being high compliance levels with safety protocols, protective measures, and with approved Phase 1 and 2 research plans, as verified by Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) spot checks.
The Framework for UCI Phased Research Activities on the UCI Research Continuity website describes Phase 3 research in detail. All Plan Owners and Authorized Officials should carefully review Phase 3. It is different than originally envisioned and includes the following key features that set it apart from the current Phase 2:
- Encompasses all research activities (including all human subjects research and undergraduate student research) that personnel can perform safely by layering and consistently following required and voluntary safety protocols and protective measures to mitigate virus transmission;
- Eliminates the 30% population density limitation associated with Phase 2;
- Establishes a research space population density guideline of at least six (6) feet between occupants, which is based on current applicable CDC guidance and Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards physical distancing requirements;
- Permits certain invited visitors and guests without securing Authorized Official prior approval;
- Establishes additional safety and mitigation requirements; and
- Provides guidance to Authorized Officials for reviewing and approving Phase 3 research.
A cornerstone principle of Phase 3 is following applicable CDC guidance, state and local public health directives, and the Cal/OSHA physical distancing requirement of at least six feet between people, which remains in effect regardless of vaccination status. Equally important is consistent research community compliance with applicable UCI Executive Directives (especially the directive on face coverings), the Framework for UCI Phased Research Activities, and other UCI-issued requirements and guidelines (e.g., policies of EH&S and UCI Health). Because continued compliance is essential to the health and safety of all research personnel, EH&S spot checks will continue as a key component of Phase 3.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire UCI research community for the important role that it has played in promoting, fostering, and prioritizing health and safety under very difficult circumstances. I am confident that we will continue our steadfast commitment to these values as we cautiously and gradually transition to Phase 3 research.
Pramod Khargonekar, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Research
Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science