Research Continuity

The University has approached reopening its laboratories, core facilities, and studios in a phased manner in accordance with a key principles. Currently, Notre Dame is operating in Phase 3 for research labs, studios, and facilities. However, given the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus outbreak, the University may make changes to this guidance, either moving forward to wider reopening, or backwards towards tighter restrictions, possibly at short notice. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to check this page often and to sign up to the update mailing list here.

The University is currently in Phase 3 for Labs, Studios, and Cores.

Phase 3 for laboratories and studies is limited to approximately 50% of nominal laboratory, studio, and core facility capacity at any given time. For situations where a density standard is difficult to apply, this standard translates to approximately 200 feetper person and six feet spacing in the laboratories, studios, or core facilities. Specific requests for variances to these guidelines should be directed to your appropriate Associate Dean for Research or Assistant Vice President for Research.

ABOUT THIS PAGE

This page provides information on the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to research laboratories, studios, and core facilities. It is organized into the following key sections:

For information on the Hesburgh Libraries, please visit here.nd.edu/academics/hesburgh-library-operations

PHASE 3 GENERAL GUIDELINES

This information is provided to help answer questions researchers may have about critical laboratory and facility functions or the impact to ongoing or forthcoming research projects during the Phase 3 response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Only people with a need to access physical locations to advance research should be on-site. Even those people should minimize time on campus. All others should remain off-site to help maintain physical distancing. In addition:
    • People should not come to campus if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Maximum occupancy signage must be prominently posted on each research space, indicating the maximum number of people for that space in the current phase.
    • Laboratories, studios, and core facilities with limited space that cannot ensure six-foot physical distancing requirements or appropriate PPE must remain off-limits. Please consult your appropriate Associate Dean for Research or Assistant Vice President for Research should you have questions on this guidance.
    • All researchers who come to campus are required to adhere to the University's COVID-19 policies, including wearing a face mask, physical distancing, and completing the daily health check. For full guidance, please visit here.nd.edu.
    • Virtual meetings are encouraged whenever possible. If an in-person meeting is required in order to advance research progress, please adhere to the guidance on conducting research group meetings here.
    • Shared equipment and furnishings, including keyboards, door handles, multi-user equipment, etc., should be routinely and regularly cleaned and disinfected. 
    • Individuals working with flammable materials are not required to wear a mask while working at a negative pressure hood. When leaving the area of the hood, please resume wearing a face mask. A flame retardant mask is encouraged.
  • All eating and dining must adhere to the University's Campus Dining Policy. While kitchenettes are available to store and heat meals, they must not be used for dining and must be cleaned after use. Conference rooms are not approved locations for eating. 
  • Research Directors have the responsibility to train their research team members in these processes and procedures and ensure that guidelines and University directives are followed.

Important note: As training materials and protocols are made available from central University offices, these processes may supersede examples listed in this plan. Laboratories and studios will be expected to maintain flexibility and adhere to the latest information provided. Please check this page regularly for updates.

ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC INFORMATION

Additional guidance and information that relate to Phase 3 research can be found below.

Latest Guidance Changes

Below are significant guideline changes since the fall semester:

  • Log sheets: Log sheets are no longer required for labs and studios due to changes in contact tracing and surveillance testing policies. 
  • Disinfecting surfaces: Guidance has changed from being frequently required to focusing on ensuring shared equipment and furnishings are disinfected before and after use.
  • Occupancy: Guidance about occupancy limits has been updated and now suggests 200 feet2 per person and six feet spacing in the laboratories, studios, or core facilities. 

FORMS

Relevant forms for Phase 3 can be found below.

LAB/STUDIO REOPENING 

RESEARCH TRAVEL 

Before submitting a request, please review the guidance for Travel-Based Research, as well as the University's Travel Policy.

VISITORS TO THE ACADEMY AND GROUP GATHERINGS

Before submitting a request, please review the University's Visitor Policy.

Before submitting a request, please review the University's Gathering Policy, which applies to any University-sponsored business that may require in-person gatherings larger than incidental meetings, on- or off- campus. Research applications that may apply include activities and events such as workshops, seminars, forums, sponsor meetings and more.

Report a Reopening of Research Concern

REPORT A RESEARCH CONCERN

The above form can be submitted anonymously, if preferred. All feedback will be reviewed and addressed by the Research Ombudsperson for Reopening, Melanie DeFord.

Individual persons who are identified as not adhering to distancing or PPE protocols will receive a written warning. Subsequent infractions will be reported to his or her Research Director or Chair. If additional infractions occur, individuals will be reported through the process appropriate to his or her appointment with a possible penalty of suspension of access to the laboratory, studio, or core facility.  

Laboratory/Studio/Core Facility scale infractions (e.g., overcrowding) will be reported to the requisite Dean. Expected sanctions for a first infraction are a warning and review and potential modification of the plan submitted. Subsequent infractions include the possibility of suspension of laboratory, studio, or core facility access for all members of the unit.

Need More Information?
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For the latest information regarding the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit here.nd.edu.

Announcements of research reopening updates are emailed to a lab reopening Google Group mailing list. To opt-in to this mailing list, please subscribe here. Your ND email address must be used in order to opt-in. 

For additional guidance, please communicate with your Department Chair or, if needed, a relevant member of the Subtask Force on Research Laboratory Operations. Members include Jim BrockmoleSteve CorcelliMelanie DeFord, and Mark McCready.

If you are unsure who to contact, please email research@nd.edu and your query will be forward, as appropriate.