Return to Research Spaces/Labs in CoE

Dear CoE Faculty:

Following the VPR’s town hall yesterday (06/02/2020) and the email earlier today, I am writing to provide clarity as to the way in which we are approaching the return to research spaces in the college of engineering.

First, please note: You should NOT return to your spaces until you have received your individual email approval from the Dean’s Office with your authorized date of return. The college has to ensure that PE and cleaning facilities and materials are in adequate supply before your return. Therefore, the college’s operational timeline on staged return may not align with the nominal OVPR timeline (which does not take account of such actual implementation issues).

As we implement the return to research spaces particular to CoE, there are a few things to emphasize, pointedly, and I am doing that in the following bullets:

  1. The return to research spaces at this time is ONLY for those units/labs that NEED to be in physical spaces to conduct their work. This is consistent with University and OVPR guidelines of continuing to work remotely if that is possible.
  2. As you know, we have established three Groups for return to research. By now you all know which group you belong to. Your workflow forms are being reviewed and you will hear from us in the next day on so regarding approval or otherwise of those plans. Please note that if you have not submitted the workflow forms, we will assume that you will be accepting assignation to the default Group 3, which has an anticipated return date of late summer or early fall. All PIs must adhere to the workflow. That is the only way in which we can assess and plan for re-entry. The workflow for submission of your Space Occupancy Planning Document is here:
  3. We will in short order (i.e. by end of this week) inform those investigators who are approved of their date of return to research spaces once we receive the go-ahead to do so from OVPR. Tentatively, the returns will be staged building-by-building for Group 1 over the next week to 10 days, i.e. in the period of June 5-12 (this is a tentative timeline, still awaiting approval from various central administration committees and is intended at this time to just give you a ballpark idea on when returns may happen so you can prepare yourself and your personnel for such return). Investigators will be informed individually via email on their specific date of return by the Dean’s office.
  4. When your return date arrives PIs and their employees for their labs will be provide PE kits by CoE (sourced from central supply). These PE kits can be picked up in the Dean’s office suite (particular details will follow in a future email).
  5. There will also be supply of cleaning materials and supplies to your labs and instructions on use, disposal, and reuse of non-disposable cleaning supplies (details will follow in a future email).
  6. Everyone returning to the spaces (PIs and employees) will need to do the following:
    1. All personnel must sign an Employee Heath and Safety Acknowledgement in which they agree to comply with health and safety guidelines. This will be available next week in your self-service.
    2. All personnel must complete the COVID-19 Course for Researchers (#H02139).  This is an ICON course available in My Training:  Although it was developed by CCOM, its principles apply for CoE as well.

Please note that while the OVPR is setting general guidelines for return, it is the college’s responsibility to implement the safe return to research in CoE associated labs and facilities. We will be coordinating closely with central administration but please look for messaging from the college as we plan a staged return to research, keeping safety and productivity in mind.

Thanks for your cooperation and here’s to continued research productivity and progress in the remainder of this challenging year.


chemicals going into a beaker