Reopening Principles

The plan for the phased reopening of on-campus laboratory research and studio-based creative work was guided by the following five principles:

  1. Notre Dame's commitment to a gradual ramp-up of research and creative work that unfolded as public health conditions and University support services permit.
    • The University's protocols were designed to keep individuals safe, even if someone has been directly exposed to a COVID-19 positive person.
    • Notre Dame recognizes that scholarship and creative endeavors are an integral part of the University’s Mission and the University wished to restart these enterprises. However, Notre Dame would not compromise health and safety in pursuit of expediency.
  2. The health and safety of the research community and human subjects was paramount.
    • The gradual ramp-up of research was strictly guided by protocols that protect the health and safety of Notre Dame's faculty, students, and staff. 
    • For travel-based research, conditions must be healthy and safe for travel to the destination site and at the destination site for the duration of the stay. 
  3. Notre Dame adhered to local, state, and national directives and implemented social distancing.
    • The governmental directives were viewed as minimum standards. The University adopted more stringent guidelines to protect researchers.
    • Travelers were required to follow local, state, and national directives for travel at both the origin of travel, as well as at the travel destination and any intermediate locales. 
    • The University was prepared to scale back reopening plans, including associated travel, if warranted by public health considerations and revised government directives.
  4. Trainees (i.e., graduate students and postdoctoral scholars) were not compelled to work on campus or engage in research-based travel if they were uncomfortable doing so. 
    • Trainees were given a choice to opt-out.
    • The University established structures for research personnel to report unsafe conditions.
  5. Notre Dame implemented a fair and transparent process to approve the resumption of research and creative work both on campus and in the field.
    • A compelling case for why research activities were urgently needed was required.
    • Detailed plans for physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation, and safety were required.

In addition to these principles, a list of general research continuity protocols exists to help answer questions researchers may have about critical laboratory and facility functions or the impact on ongoing or forthcoming research projects as a result of a crisis. 

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