Reopening Phases


Labstudiocores Reopening Graphics C2 Phases Phase3

Phase 1 - Previous Phase

“Hibernation” phase, where only critical research activities may occur. Exceptions granted by the Vice President for Research based on recommendation by the Deans. View details of Phase 1 here. Please note that this content contains archived information.

Phase 2 - Previous Phase

On-site personnel limited to approximately 25% of nominal laboratory, studio, and core facility density at any given time. View details of Phase 2A and 2B here. Please note that this content contains archived information.

Phase 3 - Current Phase

Gradual expansion of research (e.g., longitudinal research and other time-sensitive studies) that presents a compelling rationale for physical access to campus.

Please see for full details on Phase 3 guidelines and forms. 

  • Research Directors, including those who reopened in Phase 2, must submit the appropriate formal request to reopen at Phase 3: 
    • For cases where there are no changes to a Phase 2 Lab/Studio Reopening plan, notification is required using this no change form
    • For cases where a Phase 2 Lab/Studio Reopening plan will be updated for Phase 3 capacity, please use this updated plan form. It is not recommended that labs double current density unless it is absolutely necessary and safe.
      • An expedited review is anticipated for requests that include only minor changes to a previously approved Phase 2 plan.
    • For first-time submission of a Lab/Studio reopening plan, please use this new plan submission form, which must include a detailed plan for physical distancing, PPE requirements, cleaning and sanitation between shifts, and laboratory, studio, and core facility safety and hygiene. In addition, some Departments may require laboratory or studio operating plans in conformance with Department-specific operating and safety practices.
      • Associate Deans or the Assistant Vice President for Research will review all new plans for their respective College or unit. Risk Management and Safety, Department Chairs, and Deans will review final plans and recommend approval to the Vice President for Research (VPR). Final approval will be made by the VPR or his designee.
  • Undergraduate students are allowed in research laboratories/studios in Phase 3. Research Directors must implement the guidance provided here
  • Face-to-face human subjects research can begin with implementation of the guidance provided here.
  • Faculty or staff whose age or health condition falls within one of the CDC High Risk Categories or who have other special circumstances may seek a workplace adjustment through the additional accommodation process by utilizing this form. Graduate Students should submit any requested accommodations through the Sara Bea Office.
  • Plans for a sudden return to Phase 1 or 2 should be in place.  

Once approved to resume research, it is advisable to utilize this Resumption of Research Checklist to check laboratory/studio/core facility condition and supplies before starting research work.

Researchers should document the impact of COVID-19 on their research in progress reports and are encouraged to stay in contact with their sponsor program officer or contract officer. For specific award questions, please work with your Notre Dame Research Administration (NDRA) grants program manager or contact

Phase 4 - Possible Future Phase

Return to full research operations. The return to a new normal will be gradual and, in some cases, may require additional phases. In some cases, protocols for phases beyond Phase 3 may be locally defined under the guidance of Deans and Department Chairs in consultation with the VPR. Plans for a sudden return to Phase 1 should be in place and submitted. 

Transitioning Between Phases

Please note that this content contains archived information.

The phases described above apply campus-wide and represent a maximum density of any laboratory, studio, or core facility during that phase. For example, an individual laboratory, studio, or core facility may choose not to reopen in Phase 2, but may open in Phase 3 at the density for that phase. Conversely a lab or studio may remain at the density of Phase 2 even though the campus has moved to Phase 3.

The timing of transitions between Phases 2, 3, and 4 is decided by University Leadership with input from the Research Task Force, Building Services, and RMS and announced by the VPR. 

It is possible that the University research community might have to move backward between phases if conditions warrant (e.g., community or campus outbreaks), including a return to research hibernation (Phase 1). It is recognized that those whose research involves animal studies would be particularly impacted by a return to hibernation. Thus, it is strongly urged that those research programs with animal studies begin new experiments with caution and deference to the potential need to ramp down again.

Need more information?

For additional guidance, please communicate with your Department Chair and if needed, relevant member of the Subtask Force on Research Laboratory Operations. Members include Jim Brockmole, Steve Corcelli, Melanie DeFord, and Mark McCready.

Click to report a reopening of research concern