Critical research activities and agricultural operations are allowed under the stay at home order and should continue. 
Critical research includes:
  • Sponsored research supported by a grant or contract.
  • Ongoing research that requires multiple years of data collection.
  • Research with living organisms that require regular maintenance or care.
  • To ensure the health and safety of our faculty, students and staff are maintained, principal investigators (PIs) are expected to develop functional safety guidelines for their laboratory and field operations to include safe social distancing and infection control protocols.  
  • Graduate students, scholars, and other researchers are expected to continue to perform their critical research-related activities under the supervision of their supervisors.
  • Our field research stations (i.e. AAES Outlying Stations) remain open to support critical field research. Please note that most of our field stations and other research facilities have established staggered/rotational schedules and separate shifts for their employees for social distancing and to safeguard against the potential disruption of an entire crew. Many of these units (e.g., Plant Science Research Center in Auburn) are operating with skeleton crews.
  • Faculty PIs are requested to work with the relevant station/unit director in advance to discuss their research plans and allow ample lead time for project execution.
  • The Research Office staff continues to deliver proposal development and contracts/grants administration support to faculty remotely. To ensure timely submission of your proposals, please follow the proposal development timelines including submission of your final proposal to the Research Office at least 72 hours prior to the proposal submission deadline.
  • We are continuing our colloquium series and other faculty team building activities, albeit virtually. The Research Team Leaders (Sushil Adhikari, Art Appel, Yucheng Feng, and Ken Macklin) will be contacting the faculty with announcements about upcoming colloquia and other team building activities.
  • According to the university guidelines, we are expected to continue to pay student workers (even if they are currently non-working) until further direction is received from upper administration. While many departments are currently charging these wages to departmental accounts, certain funding agencies (e.g., USDA NIFA) may allow PIs to continue to charge wages for budgeted non-working students to a grant. PIs are encouraged to check and confirm with the relevant funding agencies.
  • Incoming international students/scholars arriving Auburn this summer may be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Due to expected backlog with visa processing and other factors, some international students/scholars admitted for fall 2020 may arrive late. Faculty advisors are encouraged to plan accordingly and develop a contingency plan for late arrivals.
I am grateful to our faculty, staff, and students for their flexibility and creativity during this challenging time. I appreciate all you are doing to respond to the current situation and how you are adapting your operations to safely continue our critical research mission during this period. Thank you for all you do for the betterment of the citizens of Alabama and the country.