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Conduct of research under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive

As mandated by Governor Jay Inslee, WSU is taking steps to limit on-campus research activities based on public health considerations: extreme social distancing and rigorous sanitization of shared spaces. It is important that we do this job carefully and well so that the University will continue its land-grant mission of supporting the citizens of Washington state, support the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and be ready to resume all activities underway before this crisis.

In this spirit, first and foremost, we want to remind everyone that

  • WSU is not closed;
  • All research currently being conducted via telework should continue; and
  • All research that can be safely conducted under the guidelines below should continue.

The set of activities below are approved to continue on campus under the governor’s directive as long as they are conducted under mandated safety standards, including extreme social distancing and disinfecting.

WSU-approved research activities:

  • Research involving the coronavirus and efforts to mitigate COVID-19 disease and the current pandemic, including work that will support Washington state and national recovery after the pandemic eases. Any of our researchers and scholars who can pivot their work to more directly address COVID-19, pandemic responses and needs, and the aftermath should do so.
  • Research that is essential to support students planning to graduate this spring.
  • Laboratory or field research where immediate discontinuation would generate significant data and sample loss, or significant harm to the long-term WSU research enterprise. This includes work focused on preserving key plant, tissue, cell-line, environmental, or other samples.
  • Work that maintains critical infrastructure, facilities, and equipment in a safe and secure mode, ready to resume operations when the crisis has passed. This includes facilities and infrastructure required to support the other items in this list.
  • Work that maintains critical samples and animal populations, including the well-being of research animals, and distinguishing between novel animal populations and commercially-available animal populations.

We will continue to update this guidance through the WSU Office of Research webpage and FAQs as specific research activities required to fight the coronavirus and ensure a prompt recovery are identified.

Researchers whose on-campus work will be discontinued under the guidance above should arrange for an orderly stop to their work by 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 27. No new experiments should be started, nor longer term experiments continued, unless they meet the guidance above.

Individuals shall not be pressured to come to work to conduct research on campus at WSU. Guidance regarding required approvals for graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdocs has been provided separately.

Individual researchers with questions regarding their specific research activities should consult their immediate supervisor, college, and campus leadership as appropriate.

Please contact the Office of Research with any questions about this guidance at or 509‑335‑5238. Guidance specific to certain WSU research activities is regularly updated on the Office of Research COVID-19 webpage.

Thank you for your cooperation as we implement these measures. With your help, we will continue to fight this disease while maintaining WSU’s capability to quickly bounce back and play a key role in Washington state’s recovery from the coronavirus.


Bryan K. Slinker
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President

Christopher J. Keane
Vice President for Research