Email Print Share

Antarctic Sciences (ANT) and Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL) Sections Virtual Office Hours FAQ

Virtual office hours presentations

General Questions
Upcoming Antarctic Field Season

General Questions

  1. Where can I find more information related to NSF and COVID-19?
    Please visit coronavirus page ( as well as the NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) Announcements page ( This is where the NSF-wide and OPP-specific information is being posted, and it is updated as new information becomes available.

  2. What is NSF's current operational status?
    While the NSF building remains closed, NSF is continuing its operations virtually. We are available to answer your questions and hear your concerns. We've been proactively working in close contact with NSF's Division of Grants and Agreements (DGA) and other groups within NSF to answer questions we are receiving. Programs are still holding panels and reviewing proposals. Antarctic Sciences is still accepting proposals at any time (NSF 20-568). Your program officer is available to help if you have questions. Make sure to reach out to them. If they can't immediately answer your question, they will look for an answer.

Upcoming Antarctic Field Season

  1. What can be expected for the 2020-21 Antarctic field season? When will more information be available?
    We are continuing to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020-21 Antarctic field season. Currently, all Antarctic stations are operational and will be operational over the 2020 winter. Please refer to NSF's recent statement, “UPDATE: How USAP is responding to COVID-19 challenges and planning for the upcoming season” ( We do anticipate a reduced capacity of support science in the 2020-21 field season, and we are actively re-evaluating the activities currently planned and proposed. We will have a better understanding of the situation by the end of May 2020.

  2. What drives the May 31 date for NSF guidance on the Antarctic season?
    This date is primarily driven by the need to develop an implementable program and to hire support staff plan for the 2020-21 season. This is a complicated and lengthy process that must be completed by June 1. In developing this plan, NSF's prime directive is preventing the transmission of COVID-19 to the continent. Currently lengthy quarantine periods are required for all U.S. Antarctic Program participants, which could greatly limit the number of personnel that we will be able to transport to the continent if quarantine requirements continue.

  3. What is the likelihood of isolation prior to deployment (either New Zealand or in Chile) for the 2020-21 season?
    Currently, isolation is required prior to deployment through either gateway city. In the 2020-21 season, all deployments will be implemented using the best testing, treatments, and other techniques that are known and available to us at the time.

  4. Is it on the table to cancel the 2020-21 Antarctic field season and focus resources on the McMurdo Station rebuild?
    No. This is not being considered.

  5. Does NSF anticipate scheduling new field projects in the 2020-21 Antarctic season?
    The 2020-21 season will be significantly impacted because of COVID-19. It is highly unlikely that new projects will be scheduled for fieldwork for this season. However, Antarctic Sciences (ANT) and Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL) are reviewing current and proposed research to develop a plan for the 2020-21 season. We expect that this plan will be complete in early June.

  6. Will 2020-21 fieldwork be canceled indefinitely or deferred to future years? Will field work be de-scoped?
    Our goal is to preserve as much 2020-21 fieldwork as possible. NSF's plan is to defer and not cancel field projects. We also hope to avoid de-scoping any funded research. Program officers will be reaching out to investigators to discuss their projects as more is known about 2020-21 plans.

  7. Does ANT encourage proposals focused on non-field activities?
    ANT always encourages proposals that utilize existing samples and data and/or that are focused on modeling studies.