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Resuming research

Alan Flurry

Under Phase 1 reopening protocols, the UGA research enterprise is up and running, marking the end of three anxious months for researchers across the university who had to suspend their work as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic:

With its 17 schools and colleges spanning hundreds of scholarly and creative disciplines, UGA’s research enterprise is nearly as varied as its faculty. Anticipating the issues and concerns of every type of research space was the work group’s biggest challenge, Lee said. The good news is that—social distancing notwithstanding—complying with health and sanitation requirements should be fairly routine for many of UGA’s bench scientists.

“People who work in labs spend a lot of time thinking about cross-contamination, keeping things clean, wearing personal protective equipment—these are all things we normally do anyway,” said Nancy Manley, Distinguished Research Professor and head of genetics in Franklin. “In many ways, this is the easy part.”

However, the story in other disciplines is quite different. For example, according to department head David Saltz, UGA’s theater program is staring down the prospect of a 2020-21 season with no live audiences, no costume fittings or sets to design, and no face-to-face interaction for actors and directors. Other companies might despair, but Saltz said the UGA theater community is preparing to turn crisis into opportunity.

“We see our role in a research-intensive university as to explore the concept of theater,” Saltz said. “Particularly, our department has been at the leading edge of experimentation with digital technologies in live performance. So we’re planning to do this season entirely online, and we’re taking advantage of the resources in our department, which are considerable, in things like computer animation and special effects.”

We are extraordinarily proud of the many ways Franklin faculty, department heads and directors are once again leading the way during this important transition to a new reality on campus, in our laboratories and classrooms. Pressing work continues with the dedication and commitment to creative research across the five divisions of the Franklin College.

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