With the fall semester at Virginia Tech right around the corner, the Office of Research and Innovation is working with colleges, institutes, and Environmental Health and Safety to safely prepare for undergraduate and graduate students to return to their research projects in laboratories and facilities.

“Our students play an integral part of unearthing new discoveries, solving challenges, and contributing to the overall strength of the research enterprise,” said Don Taylor, interim vice president for research and innovation. “As we reopen research to students, we are further reinforcing our commitment to mitigating the risk and spread of COVID-19 to keep our students safe in all environments, including labs and research spaces on all campuses. I am pleased with the progress we’ve made in reopening research using the phased approach. Part of that process is allowing students back into the labs this fall.”

Undergraduate and graduate students returning to Virginia Tech for the fall semester on sponsored research or course credit may return to established or new research projects. However, additional student volunteer research activities in labs is not advised as the density of researchers in spaces will need to be monitored to adhere to proper physical distancing guidelines.

Allowable student research activities include those involving human subjects and Institutional Review Board-approved research and animal care in Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved laboratories. All research activities continue to require the approval of deans, vice presidents, or institute directors or their designee(s).

In carefully reopening labs across Virginia Tech’s campus during the summer months, laboratory managers and principal investigators have played and will continue to play a key role in upholding safety and hygiene protocols and standards that will enable student research to continue as Virginia Tech campuses reopen in the fall, said Taylor.

Health, safety, and hygiene protocols and requirements for the Virginia Tech research community are outlined in the Phase Three: Reopening Guidance and the Office of Research and Innovation’s Research Continuity Guidance microsite.

For more information about requirements for undergraduate research, visit the Provost's website to learn more about the Plan for Reinstating Undergraduate Research.