Frequently Asked Questions
OCAST Application Review and Award Contract Management issues related to COVID-19
Last Updated: 2020-03-26
This FAQ intends to address general questions associated with OCAST award contract management and application review that may arise as a result of the COVID-19 situation. Please be aware that as COVID-19 and associated impacts continue to evolve, OCAST award applicants and recipients are strongly encouraged to monitor this page for updates.
- Where can I find information about the current status of COVID-19 in Oklahoma?
Go to https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/ for the latest statewide test results, resources, recommendations, news, and reports.
- How has OCAST responded to the COVID-19 situation?
All OCAST staff have successfully transitioned to a telework arrangement, continuing core OCAST administrative functions while working from home, with the exception of those few needed to support minimal office operations. This means that we no longer have the ability to have in-person meetings; the preferred method to contact us is by email. These steps have been taken by OCAST to minimize community spread of this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and helping to minimize the burden on our health care system. Our decision to move to the telework arrangement is consistent with the declared State of Emergency issued on 3/15/2020 by Governor Stitt which included a directive for all state agencies to move to full time telework status.
OCAST Award Recipients
- I have been quarantined for a period of time, preventing submission of my annual or final progress report by its deadline. May I receive an extension to my report deadline?
When delays occur because your organization is officially closed due to a natural disaster or other emergency like the current COVID-19 public health emergency, or because you or other key staff is/are quarantined or involuntarily unable to come to their work locations, OCAST will takes these circumstances into preferential consideration for approval of late progress report submissions on a case-by-case basis, under the following circumstances:
You, as the project PI/PM, must submit your report as soon as possible after reopening or end-of-quarantine by your organization, not to exceed the number of days your organization/institution was officially closed, or your key staff including but not limited to the PI/PM was quarantined.
If requesting a progress report submission extension, submit the request to OCAST prior to the report due date. You must include a justification statement outlining the fact that your organization/institution was closed due to effects of COVID19, and how this affected your ability to submit the report by its due date. Note: If the public health emergency-related delay prevents submission of your request for a progress report submission extension to OCAST prior to the report due date, then you must provide a well-documented statement of cause.
- I am registered with a conference that has been cancelled, and have nonrefundable travel, registration, and/or hotel costs. Can these be charged to the OCAST award contract?
OCAST recommends first reaching out to the conference organizer or host. They are best equipped to understand the guidance at the location of the event. They may recommend having contingency plans if the event is ultimately cancelled or re-located, or might be planning to provide options for virtual participation.
- My institution/organization asked that my staff stay at home for an undetermined period of time, delaying work on my OCAST project. May I receive a no-cost extension for my current year contract?
When delays occur because your organization is officially closed due to a natural disaster or other emergency like the current COVID-19 public health emergency, or because you or other key staff is/are quarantined or involuntarily unable to come to their work locations, OCAST will takes these circumstances into preferential consideration for approval of no-cost extension requests on a case-by-case basis, under the following circumstances:
You, as the project PI/PM, must continue work on your OCAST project as soon as possible after reopening or end-of-quarantine by your organization, not to exceed the number of days your organization/institution was officially closed, or your key staff including but not limited to the PI/PM was quarantined.
If requesting a no-cost extension, you are required to submit the request prior to your current contract end date. No-cost extension requests will not be considered after the current year contract end date. You must include a justification statement outlining the fact that your organization/institution was closed due to effects of COVID19, and how this affected your ability to perform project-related work according to originally proposed timelines. If applicable, include any information addressing how the COVID-19 situation caused other disruptions to your research project that may contribute to delayed work (e.g. delays receiving supplies and reagents, inadequate care for live organisms, interrupted time-sensitive data collection, equipment issues, etc.).
- Will I be able to use OCAST funds to cover expenses related to telework?
No. OCAST recommends contacting your organization/institution for guidance.
- How will the COVID-19 situation affect the review of my application?
Applications within the Intern, OARS, and Plant Science program will be evaluated, scored, and funded in the same timeframe referenced in the funding opportunity announcement. Project start dates are on track to begin on July 1st. Applications in the Basic Health Research and Postdoctoral Fellowship program will unfortunately be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We haven’t yet identified a date these will be prepared for contract.
- If awarded, should I expect a change to the proposed start date of my project?
Applications submitted in the Intern, OARS, and Plant Science programs should prepare for contracts to begin as outlined in the original funding opportunity announcement (July 1st, 2020). Applications submitted in the Basic Health Research and the Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship programs should expect delays in the FY2020 contract. We will provide an update when more information becomes available.
Contact Laura at Laura.Sohl-Smith@ocast.ok.gov for assistance with your award contract, contract modification requests or requests for payments (RFPs).