Research Continuity Overview

Researchers will be allowed to return to limited activity.

Limited Activity

  • The research return outlined below is Level 3 (Limited Activity) of the Research Continuity plan currently in effect.
  • Limited activity includes Essential, Critical and/or Time Sensitive research.
  • Research Plans must be approved Department/Unit Chairs and Deans.
  • All approved activities must be planned to minimize person-to-person interactions and adhere to distancing and face covering guidelines.
  • Details are included in the university’s Research Continuity plan, developed based on recommendations from the COVID-19 Response Team and Research subcommittee.
  • The potential initiation of Level 4 (Normal Operations) will be determined at a later date based on guidance from the CDC and Arkansas Department of Health.
  • Researchers should be prepared to adjust, including returning to previous levels, if the situation changes.

Level 0: Shut-Down
Temporary access for mission-critical, specifically approved tasks only.

Level 1: Essential Activity
Essential research tasks only.

Level 2: Limited Activity
Essential, Critical and Time-Sensitive research tasks only.

Level 3: Limited Activity
Tasks requiring physical presence only.

Level 4: Normal Operations

Research Staffing Categories Level 0 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4

Building executives

I.T. professionals charged with maintaining remote-operation capability

Technicians charged with maintaining critical equipment

Research Assistant/Associate

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Graduate Assistants, without whom Essential Research Activity cannot be performed

Other technicians and labor without whom Essential, Critical and/or Time Sensitive Research Activity cannot be performed

Other technicians and labor without whom Essential, Time Sensitive, Critical, and other on-site research activity cannot be performed

Undergraduate Students

Please Help Keep Everyone Safe

Face covering or mask appropriate to activity.

Wash hands frequently.

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.

Maintain at least 6-feet of distancing.

Limit to one person per each 100 square feet of space.


Essential Research Activity

Essential research activities could include basic animal and plant care, maintenance of cell lines, and maintenance of equipment or building infrastructure that could not be shut down during a restriction on research. Also included are mission-critical research activities deemed essential, such as projects addressing the COVID-19 crisis and human subject research that would endanger research participant lives if stopped.

Critical Research Activity

Critical research activities are identified and prioritized at the Unit level, to be those activities with the greatest time and research productivity constraints. These can include, but are not limited to, seasonal data collection such as field and agricultural work, experiments close to completion, or projects whose continued restriction or deferral would lead to catastrophic delay or loss of research results and subsequent success. Limited core facility access may also be granted depending on the nature of the activity.

Time Sensitive Research Activity

Time sensitive research activities are defined at the Unit level, to be those activities with elevated, but not critical, time and research productivity constraints. These can include activities for graduate students and postdoctoral associates close to completing their degree/term of appointment and research for completion of grants with end dates within 3 months, where the funding agency has not granted leniency. These activities also include field research and extension activities that are highly dependent on weather and other seasonal constraints.

Continuity Plan

The research continuity plan only covers the phased return of research active personnel and not the general campus population, who should follow the recommendations and directions provided by the Human Resources.