Your Experiences and Best Practices: How Has COVID-19 Affected Your Work?

People walking around with masks and viruses showing the effects of Covid-19

APS encourages psychological scientists around the world to share how the new coronavirus outbreak has affected your work, as well as the solutions helping you manage the disruption. What are you most concerned about? What do you want others to know about what’s happening in your lab, with your research, in your classes? What solutions, best practices, or other positive outcomes are helping you carry on?

Please use the comment box to respond. We encourage you to include your location and university or place of employment in your commentary, but this information is optional. All comments are subject to approval and may be featured by APS in other formats, such as articles.

Thank you for participating in this effort to foster thoughtful dialog among the worldwide community of psychological scientists at this challenging time.

Graphic inviting user to visit APS's COVID-19 Coverage page

Your Experiences

I am a young PI funded by a prestigous early career group grant. My lab consistes of currently 2 post-doc’s, 3 PhD students, 1 master student and 2 full time research interns. In Germany, schools and nurserys have been closed since monday 16th. I have 3 young kids – aged 2, 7 and 10. My father, who is 79 and lives 600+ km away was visiting us right before things escalated. He stayed with us as it was not safe to sent him home where he is all by himself in a very rural remote area. My husband, who holds a PHD in infection biology is specialized in lung diseases. He has worked hard this week to set up Corona diagnostics (of course together with his colleagues). What happend this week for me was that I was tranformed from a fully committed PI working long hours into a house wife doing home schooling for a first grader, a 4th grader (believe me they have lots of work sheets to do) while taking care of a toddler, my elderly dad (who is not even cooking himself a cup of coffee), cooking, cleaning and at the same time trying not to let my lab down completely while my husband works long hours. It is hard but I manage somehow to stay sane (so far) and get the minimum of work done to support my lab.
I manage and I have lowered my expectations. I’ll be ok but it will have a long lasting effect on my productivity. There are people that are much worse off than scientists having less productivity, of course. What is bothering me is those posts and mails by (typically male) colleagues that can either share responsibility with their partner or even have a partner that is currently on maternal leave (attention seekingly) complaining about home office being really hard. Let’s swap lives for just a couple of hours. I am trying to survive my days as basically single mom of three with the kids being basically grounded at home. I read posts with advice on how to run your lab remotely and organize home office with kids and even worse on how to use that huge amout of time. None of this is of any help in my situation but also this I can handle and swallow. What is important is that we need to find a way to account for such situations in the life of individuals in my situation (non permanent position) but make sure that this cannot be exploited by those that actually have their partner home on parental leave and backing them up (as is often happening for claiming extension of elegibility periods for ERC grants). This would aggravate the differences due to personal situations even more. Thank you

I’ve had to shut my research down entirely (human subjects). I’m mid-career, so I’ll be ok (although I’ll have to put off the promotion application), but it will extend my students’ timelines and their ability to find postdocs. I’m worried about the lab in general and our productivity, but mostly I’m worried for my students’ careers.

We need guidelines from for taking safe, responsible outdoor walks during the quarantine. I think that APS in agreement with health authorities can create those guidelines.

Yes, we should stay home as much as possible. Yes, going out increases the risk, but we are social animals, we crave greenery and the outdoors, and as we have already seen it, people will break the rules. People didn’t stop having sex because of AIDS, therefore condoms. Prohibition failed, the war on drugs failed. If the only place we can go are supermarkets, soon we have excuses to visit one everyday and soon these will become foci of infection.

Many Americans currently in lockdown live in areas of low urban density that allow for RESPONSIBLE walks outdoors while keeping social distancing. Going out for a walk can help reduce stress and give us hope when we need it the most, increasing wellbeing. The risk could be kept to a minimum by following proper guidelines.

Currently, the authorities guidelines limit to a short paragraph open to wide interpretation. For instance:

City of Santa Monica “Everyone else should limit activities outside your home and practice “social distancing” by putting six feet of distance between you and others.”

City of Los Angeles: “[You can] Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others in the community.”

Appealing to common sense may not be enough. We need a foolproof list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for taking walks.

My husband and I have been going out for walks everyday. Los Angeles has never looked more beautiful!

We avoid beaches, crowded parks, commercial streets, touristic areas, sitting on public benches, basketball courts, touching anything, etc.

We choose “boring” empty residential streets. We step down to the pavement when someone comes in the other direction and sometimes just walk in the middle of the street (we watch for cars). We say hi to neighbors, from afar.

American neighborhoods are beautiful! Flowers, trees, interesting architecture, and blue skies. Safely admiring all that beauty while doing some exercise can have a positive effect on our psychological health. It also reminds us of how beautiful this planet is. We’re doing a sacrifice for humanity but our sacrifice is also helping the planet by reducing pollution. That alone, seeing Earth take a respite, is enough to lift one’s spirits.

Let me thank Sarah for getting connected to APS at this hour of COVID-19 global crisis. Interesting experiences all across India. I am fully devoted to the pure and applied research work both in social and applied sciences at University of Patanjali, Haridwar, Uttara khand state, India . I guide a dozen Ph.D students in the university in the field of Yoga applicability in social sciences. At present due to Covid-19, the University is shut down till 14th April.2020. Because of shut down, I am all alone doing research in mathematical modelling of COVID-19 and also in the community spread of the virus. I am single brahmachari and therefore I could devote my entire time for research work. No lab. Its only theoretical research and of course with Yoga practices.

Prof.Paran Gowda
University of Patanjali
Haridwar – 249405, Uttarkhand state,
India

Inactive licensed Psychologist and Professor Emeritus: Fully retired now but very appreciative of APS update that can help us to help others. Hope that we can forward this information to friends and family. LM founding fellow of APS, University of San Francisco

At the moment I am working from home. And my students and I have pivoted our research focus. Presently, we are conducting a short (10 to 15 minute) on-line survey aimed at assessing how COVID-19 is impacting peoples lives. We hope to collected a VERY large international sample. That being said, we have a couple of asks.

1. Please take the survey yourself.
2. More importantly, please post the advertisement (see below) to ALL of your social media and pass this email on to your friends and colleagues on your contact list.

This is the link to the google-forms survey:
https://forms.gle/b3nUskKALBsGHPDz7

And here a link to an advertisement for the study:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1iFmJamold-nowQCuwJEmnu_eQ2OwzlO5

Thanks for your help with this.

Norman R. Brown
Professor
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, Canada
T6G 2E9

+1 780 492-4604

I’m an undergraduate student. I had had two projects accepted for poster presentations at the APS and CPA conferences schedule for May of this year. As both events are cancelled, I’ve lost a valuable part of my CV. Of course this is far from the most serious thing to occur as a result of this pandemic, but it still worries me.

Hi Camille,

You can still put the conferences on your CV. The US Council on Undergraduate Research has released guidelines for how to list conferences cancelled due to Covid-19 on CVs and resumes. Your acceptance to those conferences is still a major achievement and even though you will not get to present your research in person and will lose the networking opportunities, you have still earned the right to include your achievements in your professional documents and application materials.

Piper,

Thank you for that comment, as I was also accepted to the APS conference that was cancelled and was concerned about not being able to include it on my CV. I was also in the middle of completing my undergraduate honors thesis when school was cancelled (I was supposed to start data collection the week that school was cancelled). We are in the process of trying to find a way to collect data virtually but with the nature of the experiment, the technology we were using may not be able to be sent to participants to complete virtually. Do you have any idea for how I could still include the thesis on my CV, even if we are unable to fully collect data and finish the project?

I’m a first year master’s student assisting with two research projects (well, I was until COVID hit). Thankfully, I’m still getting the tuition remission through my fellowship but it’s been disappointing to pause data collection (and of course presenting at the APS convention) for however long this will last.

I’m a first-year Ph.D. student and I live on campus. My parents live in another country. When everything shut down, I was not able to fly abroad in a hurry, so I couldn’t go home. I stayed in housing and I live alone. No roommates. I feel incredibly alone. Zoom meetings and online chatting are not the same as talking to live human beings. It’s not even comparable. Sometimes I go 2-3 full days without seeing a person from head to toe. And I haven’t been productive at all. I have a hard time focusing on anything. I mostly just stare out of the window, go on walks, or do nothing at all.

Since I work in mental health field, i focused on providing telephone counseling. Staying at home gave me the opportunity to run a research related to COVID-19 in Qatar.

I’m an undergraduate junior interested in social and health psychology. My research with Tulane University focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with cancer. As NOLA quickly became a hot spot for COVID-19, we were told to stop in-person research and classes in the second week of March. My lab has adjusted projects and grants to include COVID-19 contingency plans to address how our studies may change during the COVID-19 threat, especially given that cancer patients are a vulnerable group for adverse effects of infection with this virus. Generally, I have been really lucky because I was able to return home, continue with my Zoom classes, put together a COVID-19 psychosocial survey from home, and write a few grants for summer research. This pandemic has made me appreciate my lab more because I have access to archival data to work with while human subjects research is infeasible. Additionally, the PI of my lab has been very flexible and understanding of RAs individual circumstances. Because I’ve been very fortunate, I have spent most of my time assisting other researchers, specifically putting together a survey for a professor at my university.

If anyone ages 18-35 is interested in participating, the survey link (IRB-specified language) is included below:

My psychology research lab at Loyola University New Orleans is conducting a study on young adults’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in participating, please click the link! Please do not comment on this post regarding your participation in the study or lack thereof. Sharing of this study link is voluntary and any risks associated with sharing of this link are assumed by any individuals who choose to do so.
https://loyno.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_07e2KkQlDsGAT3f

My students and I have prepared a “self-help” document for the general public to manage fear and sadness caused by the covid crisis.
See http://www.PsychRescue-COVID19.com
We are trying to distribute this as widely as possible.

Tina, I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I hope your university and your grant sponsor display an appropriate level of understanding, and I hope your husband is soon able to step in to share parenting responsibilities with you. Unfortunately, your situation exemplifies the disproportionate toll the pandemic is taking on women researchers (and indeed women employees of all types). I wish you all the best.

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