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Research and Creative Achievement (RCA) at UMBC during COVID-19

Latest Update – January 14, 2021

Return to Campus in January 2021 for RCA Activities

Any UMBC community members approved to return back to Campus in January 2021 are required to adhere to the health and safety requirements outlined below.

  • Any UMBC community member planning to return to campus in January must continue to symptom track using the online symptom tracker every day, seven-days-a-week.
  • Failure to adhere to these requirements may lead to a suspension of On-Campus RCA access privileges.
  • Any currently active approvals for On-Campus RCA activities will remain in effect through at least May 31, 2021, but they will be subject to changing regulations issued by the State of Maryland, USM, or UMBC.
Symptom Tracking during Winter Session
  • Any UMBC community member planning to return to campus in January must continue to symptom track over the break, since the duration of the break is shorter than the incubation period for the coronavirus. It is expected that you will complete the online symptom tracker every day, seven-days-a-week. 
Self-Quarantine and Testing Requirements after Out-of-State Travel
  • Any UMBC community member that has travelled to other US States – with the exception of Maryland’s neighboring states of Delaware, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia – are required to self-quarantine for 10 (ten) days, but can end the quarantine early, once a negative COVID-19 test result has been received and submitted to the UMBC portal using this form.
  • Any UMBC Community member that has conducted international travel is required to self-quarantine for 7 (seven) days after return back to the US, even if a negative COVID-19 test result is received earlier than that. Please keep in mind that if your return to the US is through a state other than Maryland, then you will need to comply with the prior bullet regarding domestic travel.
  • Starting January 26, 2021, international arrivals will have to have a negative COVID-19 test before arrival in the US.  Please review the CDC Requirements for Testing and International Air Travel for up-to-date information.
COVID-19 Testing after the Holidays
  • All employees, researchers, and student workers who return to campus between January 4 and 26 must submit a negative COVID-19 test result. This test must be taken between January 2 – 9 and results must be submitted by January 11.  Employees do not need to have results to return to work before January 11, as they will be following the safety guidelines outlined below.
  • You may take a test at an off-campus location of your choice and submit your results using this form.
  • Essential additional information about testing is available here. The link will be updated to include scheduling information as soon as it becomes available.
Additional Health Precautions
  • In addition to testing, we ask that our community members continue to take a number of health and safety actions to ensure the continued well-being of our entire campus community. This includes:
    • Physical distancing – all safety measures such as reduced density in labs continue to apply.
    • Wearing a mask in public and outside of your home. This includes your lab or studio area.
    • Regular and thorough hand washing.
    • Avoiding out-of-state travel and gatherings with people outside of your immediate household.
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UMBC’s On-Campus RCA Facilities are currently operating under Stage 2 RCA Mode.
  • UMBC transitioned to Stage 2 RCA Mode effective September 1, 2020.
  • Under Stage 2 RCA Mode we are requiring a minimum of 235 sq.ft. per individual in any laboratory or studio on campus. Please include those space considerations in your On-Campus RCA Activities Request.
  • Any currently active approvals for On-Campus RCA activities will remain in effect through at least May 31, 2021, albeit subject to changing regulations issued by the State of Maryland, USM, or UMBC.
  • Under Stage 2 RCA Mode team leaders of RCA activities are invited, in coordination with their Department Chairs or Supervisors, to submit the On-Campus RCA Activities Request via DocuSign to request access to On-Campus labs or studios for RCA activities. RCA team leaders need to submit a detailed plan outlining the health and safety processes proposed for RCA team members to relaunch or expand their RCA activities.
    • Any faculty with previously approved RCA projects under Stage 1 RCA Mode who are requiring a higher lab density are requested to describe their revised plans by submitting an updated On-Campus RCA Activities Request.
    • Any RCA projects previously approved under Stage 1 with no changes in protocols or laboratory density continue to be approved for the Spring semester and do not require a new submission under Stage 2 RCA Mode.
    • All individuals authorized for On-Campus RCA access under Stage 1 or Stage 2 RCA Mode are subject to mandatory COVID-19 Training, Testing, and On-line Symptom Tracking as outlined below.
    • If you have not been previously approved for On-Campus RCA Access, please coordinate with your Department Chair or Supervisor on the On-Campus RCA Activities Request.
    • Please note that this Directive is subject to changes at any time.  We will be in communication by email and will post updates on this website.
Mandatory COVID-19 Training

Each individual listed on the On-Campus RCA Activities Request is required to have successfully completed UMBC’s COVID-19 Training by going to Blackboard, choosing “Organizations” from the menu on the left, and choosing “Return to Campus.”

  • Please note that there is a similarly named training available from Student Affairs, but these two training modules are not interchangeable.
Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

If you do not have valid COVID-19 test, we strongly encourage you to explore the option of seeking testing at locations available across Maryland:

  • Information on testing locations in the State of Maryland can be found here.
  • Students and employees living outside of Maryland should visit their state health department’s website for information on COVID-19 testing available in their state. A link to each state’s health department can be found here.
  • Please complete UMBC’s Off-Campus COVID-19 Test Result Submission form to verify that you have completed a required COVID-19 test and to upload your results.
Mandatory COVID-19 On-Line Symptom Tracking

Any individual authorized for On-Campus RCA access is required to complete UMBC’s On-line Symptom Tracker every day, seven days a week, including days that you do and do not anticipate being on campus. The form takes about one minute to complete and includes a field to note your body temperature and simple check boxes to indicate any symptoms or exposure. Respondents who indicate possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure may receive a follow-up call or other instructions based on their specific responses.

  • If you plan for On-Campus RCA Activities even once during a week, it is critical that you follow the On-Line Symptom Tracker every day, seven days a week.

Individuals who are not following the COVID Testing requirements or repeatedly are missing the On-Line Symptom Tracker requirements may be subject to temporary suspension of On-Campus RCA access.

Opting out of previously approved On-Campus RCA Access
  • We realize that some of you are not planning to come to campus in the coming months or are unable to comply with the Testing and Symptom Tracking requirements.
  • The RCA team leader should use the RCA Opt-Out DocuSign form to notify campus officials of your decision to be removed from the approved On-Campus RCA access list.
  • If you no longer need to come to campus you may be removed from the testing and daily on-line symptom monitoring requirements.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE – If your needs change and you require On-Campus RCA access in the future, you will need to resubmit an updated On-Campus RCA Activities Request following the guidelines in effect at that time.
Opting out of other Access to Campus
  • The RCA Opt-Out DocuSign form will not remove you from other Return-to-Campus approvals.  
  • If you have an approved Return-to-Campus request for teaching or other activities and no longer require access to campus, please use the Return-to-Campus Opt-Out DocuSign form to notify campus officials of your decision to be removed from the approved On-Campus access list for non-RCA activities.
  • Under some circumstances you may need to submit both of the Opt-Out forms to no longer receive the daily reminder for On-line Symptom Monitoring.
Off-Campus RCA Activities and Business-Related Travel
  • If you have a need to conduct Off-Campus RCA Activities, please coordinate with your Department Chair and use the Off-Campus RCA Request.
    • We encourage you to keep your UMBC-related Off-Campus RCA activities at an absolute minimum.
    • Documentation from the host site is required to confirm that the proposed RCA activities can be conducted.
    • Carefully consider your travel plans, since a stop-over in certain states may require up to two weeks of self-quarantine. These limitation are subject to change.
    • At the current time, overnight UMBC-related business trips are not being authorized.
    • International travel on UMBC business is not authorized under the current conditions.
    • We are exploring potential exceptions for essential travel requirements.
One-Time Access to Campus
  • If you have a one-time need to visit the campus, please contact your Department Chair AND your College RCA Access Coordinator in advance.
    • Examples would be picking up documents or instruments or rebooting a computer.
  • College RCA Access Coordinators:
Previous Guidelines for On-Campus RCA Activities under Stage 1 RCA Mode
UMBC has hosted five Virtual Town Halls – on April 17,  May 8, May 29, June 23, and August 21, 2020, dedicated to the changing framework to relaunch Research and Creative Achievement (RCA) activities on the UMBC Campus.
Research Resources
  • COVID-19 – related Funding Opportunities
  • OVPR is tracking the growing number of federal and private funding opportunities related to COVID-19.
  • Faculty and administrative leaders are encouraged to check frequently on this site, and to let the Research Office know of any new relevant funding opportunities that should be shared through this mechanism.

COGR-maintained lists of COVID-19 Funding Opportunities:

Support for Proposal Submission
  • UMBC’s grant support services continue to operate although under teleworking conditions.  Federal agencies have introduced considerable flexibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For instance, NIH has built in flexibility for researchers and institutions related to grants administration, fiscal issues, and time periods for no-cost extensions, as well as delayed submissions and reporting.
  • Please reach out to your respective program director as soon as possible with concerns and questions.
UMBC joins USM COVID Research & Innovation Task Force
  • University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Jay A. Perman assembled a Task Force to leverage and mobilize systemwide research and innovations that will engage policymakers, business leaders, and the entrepreneurial community in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Laurie Locascio, Vice President for Research at both UMD-College Park and UMB, serves as Task Force Chair, with senior staffing provided by USM Vice Chancellor for Economic Development  J. Thomas Sadowski.
  • In addition to USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman, the Task Force includes UMB President Bruce Jarrell, UMCP President Darryll Pines and UMBC Vice President for Research Karl V. Steiner.