Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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Field-Based or Off-Campus Research

Forestry students do research work in the field.

Forestry students do research work in the field. Photo by Kristy Keel-Blackmon.

Before commencing any planning for field-based or off-campus research, check university restrictions for domestic travel outside Tennessee and international travel. If circumstances exist where you believe university-related out-of-state travel must occur but is not presently allowed, you may submit an exception request to travelexception@utk.edu. However, it is recommended that persons wishing to conduct field-based or off-campus research consult with their department head or center director, and associate dean for research to decide which studies are necessary and which can be postponed. If approved, the exception request must be submitted for review by senior university leadership. If approved, such travel may be conducted.

For in-state or approved out-of-state domestic or international field-based or off-campus travel, researchers must submit a plan for review before field activities commence that recognizes and incorporates current health-safety guidelines.

For approved field research activities, personnel must practice social distancing for all activities, including travel to and from the research field site. Personnel should also work with a partner if at all possible and inform their supervisor of their location and when they will return.

Planning and preparation recommendations to minimize risks are:

  • Continue to monitor federal and state orders relevant to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and comply with university guidelines available at utk.edu/coronavirus.
  • Maintain robust communication to receive updates or get assistance. Develop and implement a frequent check-in schedule.
  • For overnight trips, ensure lodging allows researchers to maintain social distancing, i.e. single rooms.
  • Identify transportation options that allow individuals to maintain social distancing; avoid public transportation and other venues that may conflict with CDC guidance.
  • Blending travel in vehicles and maintaining social distancing practices can be complex, so please be thoughtful about approaches to minimize exposure and risks.
  • If field-based or off-campus research include the use of university vehicles, please contact UT Fleet Management (fleetmanagement@utk.edu) once the plan has been approved. They require an approved plan for use of a university vehicle.