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COVID-19 Research Update: March 22, 2020

Memo from Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Matthew Mench regarding research continuity during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. 

Main messages for today March 22, 2020:

The contingency plans are in, and the results from over 500 labs are being sorted through, analyzed and discussed.  I want to thank the entire community for mobilizing in this important effort. The timeline was short and the online interface was not ideal, but you all made it happen and because of it, we are in a much better place to handle the evolving situation. We are not yet moving to implement those plans and remain at a draw-down status which has not changed from Friday.  The next step in planning is working with facilities services, EHS, and lab leaders to develop a procedure for  implementation of the contingency plans should this become necessary in the future. This effort will be occurring in the EOC tomorrow morning and throughout the day.  Individual lab leaders may be hearing from the committee for clarifications or other communications regarding their plans.

As most of you know, there is a University Policy Committee (UPC), and an Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) committee that have been dedicated to this crisis for several weeks now. We have all met daily, first at the UT Police Department and then at the Student Union to make the decisions involved, and implement and communicate them.  I serve on the UPC, and Bill Dunne is serving as the lead for the EOC research group. Due to expanding needs, we are growing the EOC research group to include David White (ADR and Associate Director of Ag Research) and Hollie Raynor (interim ADR in EHHS). Hollie will join and help us immediately and remotely at this point, to provide continuity in case Bill, David, or I become sick. I am extremely grateful for the leadership in the UT Institute of Agriculture and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (EHHS) as well as Drs. White and Raynor for stepping up and making themselves available at this critical time.

Matthew Mench
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research

Read the latest COVID-19 research updates from the Office of Research and Engagement.