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USAP COVID-19 Protocol Review Process

March 10, 2023

In preparation for the 2023-24 research season, the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) will undertake a multi-step process to establish protocols to manage the continuing risks presented by COVID-19 to our deployers.

We are currently gathering feedback from the USAP community and our medical advisors to understand the effectiveness and impacts of prior years’ actions. During March and April, we will use that feedback to develop proposed COVID-19 protocols that will be reviewed by an independent panel of experts comprised of medical professionals, scientists, and community members. The panel review will take place at the end of April, and it will provide its recommendations to NSF through the OPP Advisory Committee in a publicly available report. NSF leadership will consider the Panel’s recommendations as COVID-19 protocols for the 2023-24 season are finalized at the beginning of June. 

We recognize the need to clearly communicate planned protocols as soon as possible. As we move through this process, information will be shared on the USAP website and OPP web pages, as well as through direct communications with the community. The community’s patience is appreciated as we work to resume our important scientific work in Antarctica while managing risks to our deployers.

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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