Jul 1, 2020 | Atlanta, GA
As the Georgia Tech community prepares to phase in a return to in-person teaching, learning, and working this summer and into the fall, we’re providing guidance on the changes that you can expect in IPaT’s research labs and spaces.
By and large, we’ll continue to operate as we have been since the March research ramp-down with IPaT faculty and staff working from home during phases I & II of the research ramp-up this summer — you might also hear this referred to as “recovery.” We appreciate having a dedicated set of folks who work on campus as needed to support our remote research operations. Thanks to Matt, Don, Faith, Shawn, Brian, Peter and Cynthia for supporting us all!
Efforts are underway to develop the protocols for activity on campus, including human subjects research. Please consult these Georgia Tech guidelines for conducting research studies during the summer. We will also be developing resources and examples for conducting field research based on these guidelines.
Summer changes to our research laboratories and spaces
With phase I of the ramp-up, we are primarily focused on restarting Aware Home projects and on-site research operations activities, which were deferred during ramp-down. We are also coordinating with the GVU Center to allow projects requiring the Prototyping Lab to restart.
Before visiting IPaT spaces
Access to our spaces (TSRB, the Aware Home, Centergy, 828 W Peachtree, and Coda 17) is now limited to faculty and staff on our essential personnel list. During ramp-up phases I & II, we will need to coordinate access to all IPaT spaces at least one day before your arrival. If you need to visit our campus spaces, please contact IPaT’s Faith Sumpter, Don Schoner, and Matt Sanders (via Microsoft Teams or email) or reach out to IPaT leadership directly. We will be coordinating to minimize simultaneous visits, assisting with tasks that require access, and ensuring that visitors take appropriate safeguards (cleaning, etc.) when accessing our spaces. These safeguards include assisting with deliveries of supplies and equipment for remote work and field research in order to reduce the overall number of people in spaces and visits to campus.
Inside IPaT spaces
TSRB, Centergy, and Coda are all on the list of buildings that require face coverings. Face coverings are also required in the Aware Home. While each employee and student will receive one face mask from Georgia Tech, the Institute highly recommends that everyone acquire their own cloth facemasks.
All of the common areas in our spaces have been cleaned, and these areas will continue to be cleaned with higher frequency going forward. Offices and labs are our responsibility to clean. We are in the process of providing hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies in each location. We have issued hand sanitizer and a mask to those on the essentials list who are coming to campus often.
We have posted signage to indicate room occupancy and reminders about daily self-checks. Where possible, you will see signs to indicate which doors you should use for exit/entrance as well as directional and wait location signage in congested areas. For example, we’ve marked the Centergy suite glass door as the entrance, and the side doors on either end of the suite as exits.
Fall semester considerations
As Georgia Tech announces details for the return of students (courses, research, VIP, CIC, etc.), human subjects research, and fieldwork, we will need your help to understand how research and facilities needs will change in the fall. We expect to see activities around cleaning, personal protective equipment (PPE), occupancy, and signage evolve in preparation for the fall semester when in-person student activities resume. IPaT will work to develop cleaning protocols specific to each of our spaces as well as acquire and manage required PPE for on-campus and fieldwork.
We anticipate needing to more closely manage our open collaborative areas and closed labs in support of these research and academic needs. Be on the lookout for a future meeting in mid-July to collect information and brainstorm how we should prioritize and proceed.
While we will not be providing in-person tours of the Aware Home, we plan to create virtual tours for students, researchers, and community partners.
If you have questions, please reach out to the facilities team or directly to IPaT’s Beth Mynatt, Matt Sanders, Leigh McCook, and Cynthia Moore.
For IPaT staff
We will continue to utilize teleworking, split shifts, staggered shifts, and other measures that promote physical distancing. We’re working with team members to identify the appropriate return to work options based on the needs of our community and of each individual.
Employees may utilize appropriate leave options as necessary. Contact IPaT’s Cynthia Moore and Georgia Tech Human Resources to identify appropriate leave options. Individuals who fall into Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categories for higher risk of severe illness with Covid-19 may request alternate work arrangements.