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Step 2: (Pilot) Research Ramp-up

Primary Goal: Reestablish the primary physical presence of research operations, specifically laboratories. Use pilot stage to stress test return implementation and identify challenges and opportunities.

Estimated Dates: Month of June, with exact dates to move into Step 3 to be determined.

Key Conditions: 

  • Research facilities are reactivated in a phased manner. 
  • Classes continue remotely.
  • Most faculty and staff are still working remotely. 
  • Travel, event and visitor restrictions as outlined in Return to Campus Policy. 
  • Impacts on segments of the population outlined below. 

People Involved in this Step

Based on the population structure below, we estimate 1,500 – 3,000 faculty and staff would be eligible to return to work on campus in this step.

Research Faculty, Staff and Students

Who is allowed on campus:

  • COVID-19 or other essential research as deemed by VPR
  • Lab personnel required to be physically onsite in order for research to progress
  • Lab density should be <1/3 normal operations
  • Other research functions required to be onsite to support research activity


  • Research buildings will be reactivated in stages. Additional detail on the dates each building will be activated was provided the week of May 25th.
  • Any research that can be done remotely should continue to be done so.
  • Non-lab based research (humanities and social sciences) will be reestablished in future phase.
  • Research involving human participants to be addressed in Step 3.

Other Faculty

Who is allowed on campus:

  • If required to be onsite in order to teach remotely
  • If required due to research status above


  • All other faculty teaching remotely until further notice.

Other Staff

Who is allowed on campus:

  • Essential on-site staff, if instructed by supervisor
  • Critical staff, if instructed by supervisor


  • All other staff working remotely until further notice.

Undergraduate Students

Who is allowed on campus:

  • Only students remaining in campus housing for spring quarter
  • Student-athletes receiving follow-up medical treatment, if instructed by Athletics


  • Pilot space is open for undergraduate students in Norris.

Graduate Students

Who is allowed on campus:

  • Students remaining in campus housing for spring quarter
  • Students involved in research labs as outlined above, only on a voluntary basis


  • Information on access to library services will be forthcoming.
  • Guidance for non-lab based graduate students to be released in Step 3.


Who is allowed on campus:

  • Only if supporting essential or critical operations


No visitors are allowed on campus.

Key Definitions

Essential On-site Staff (“EOS”):

  • Essential On-site Staff are positions that are deemed essential to be physically present at one or more locations within the perimeters of the University’s campuses or physically present, on a continuous or intermittent basis, at other University owned or leased facilities during a campus emergency or crisis, including a closure or a partial or total shift to virtual operations, pursuant to the policy on Employees in Essential Functions and Positions.
  • Essential On-site Staff preserve and protect the security, safety and integrity of members of the community, the physical infrastructure, and the integrity of the University Critical Infrastructure.
  • Essential On-site Staff include staff who are required to work in any location designated as an Emergency Operations Center.

Critical Staff (“CS”):

  • Critical Staff are individuals in positions other than those of Essential On-site Staff, who by reason of subject matter expertise or functional responsibilities, are required to be physically present to complete, support and/or oversee completion of activities that support important, but not essential, campus operations.
  • Critical Staff may be expected to be on site on an intermittent basis to provide onsite support for campus facilities, research or core financial and human resources operations.