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This page contains information ​for faculty and other researchers about UT and CNS' multi-level approach to increasing research operations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On February 23, 2021, the Office of the Vice President for Research has introduced more flexibility to the Research Level 3 (RL3) cohort and daily shift schedules. RL3 approved Principal Investigators (PIs) are now allowed to set their own schedules for group members within the parameters described below.



If you are NOT currently approved for RL3 activity, email CNS_SRI@austin.utexas.edu for information about submitting a RL3 request.

Please do not resume projects that cannot be stopped again on short notice. We should anticipate the possibility of returning to more restricted research levels, should COVID-19 infections rise again.


begin or reactivate human subjects research

Three requirments must be in place before you may reactivate or begin face-to-face interactions with study participants:

  • You must have approval through the CNS Associate Dean for Research.
  • You must have IRB-approval for the activities you will conduct. If your study procedures are already approved, no further notification to the IRB is necessary for reactivation. 
  • The study must fall within the scope of the currently approved Human Subjects Research Restart Tiers (A, B, and C). Details are available here


REQUIRMENTS AND guidelines for approved rl3 research groups


CNS PIs with RL3 approval may set unique schedules for their research groups within the following parameters:

  1. PIs must have RL3 approval of the Dean's Office. Approvals obtained at an earlier date remain valid. You no longer need to amend the approval when making changes to your on-campus research staff.
  2. Research on campus is only allowed from 6:00 AM to 2:00AM.
  3. PIs must have a concrete mechanism to ensure that room occupancy density never exceeds the allowed maximum occupation (see item e below). You may do this be setting your own cohort system or by having a dynamic system that monitors occupancy. However, you must file your occupancy plan with CNS SRI as a PDF named "research_density_plan_Feb_2021_PILastName.pdf" via email to CNS_SRI@austin.utexas.edu.
  4. PIs must mainting an accurate occupancy log for contact tracing. you must be able to access these logs quickly in the event a member of your group tests positive for COVID.
  5. Maximum occupancy is determined by the following criteria:
    1. Each person has at least 125 sq. ft. of working space.
    2. Each person is separated by at least 6 ft. from their nearest neighbor at their workplace (e.g. desk, bench space).

CNS PIs with RL3 approval must adhere to the following safety requirements and guidelines:

  1. You must follow masking and distancing guidance at all times. If at all possible, follow the new masking guidance issued by the university (https://healthyhorns.utexas.edu/images/pdf/ProtectiveFaceMaskGuidance_2020.pdf), including double masking with a medical grade disposable mask ASTM level 2 or 3 and a fabric mask, replacing disposable masks every day, and washing fabric masks every day.
  2. You must be masked in UT buildings at all times in any shared spaces. You should not eat or drink in indoor common areas.
  3. All on-campus researchers are strongly encouraged to get tested for COVID weekly. Testing on campus is free and convenient through UT’s Proactive Community Testing (PCT) program. Information can be found here: https://healthyhorns.utexas.edu/coronavirus_proactive_testing.html.
  4. Perform a symptom check every day before coming to campus. Do not come to campus if you show any COVID symptoms. The Protect Texas together App includes a convenient symptom checker and simplifies testing through PCT. Visit https://protect.utexas.edu/app/ to download.





Links and Resources


Outlines all of the information you will need to complete the CNS RL3 Restart Request Form.


Policies, best practices, and a checklist for resuming research operations in your lab.


Current Level: 3. Limited research activity has resumed on site.


Answers to frequently asked questions regarding research restart.


Resources and procedures for planning the restart of your research operations


template to capture critical information for contact tracing


Visit VPR's Research Restart page for more information and resources.