Last updated: June 3, 2021 at 5:29 PM
Brandeis is scaling up its research activities in a careful and gradual process consistent with our commitment to campus health and safety. This includes separate plans for scaling up research in the sciences and creative arts activities.
Brandeis is currently in Phase 2a. This means the number of people allowed in labs (including principal investigators, graduate students, postdocs, undergraduate students, and other technical staff) stands at 60% of the usual density in the labs. Safety rules, including maintaining a six-foot distance, and partitions, must continue to be observed. Any researcher who can continue to work remotely will be required to do so. This only applies to science labs, not the library or art studios.
As a further reminder, Brandeis will continue to operate under a strict no-visitor policy until further notice.
The campus research guidelines and policies summarized here reflect recommendations from our COVID-19 Task Force and are continually evolving as we follow state guidance and evaluate our own operations.
Scaling Up in Phases: Stage 2a
Science Lab Density
Currently, the allowed number of authorized personnel in a lab stands at 60% of the usual density, so long as proper social distancing requirements can be maintained. Each principal investigator is required to update their currently approved protocols accordingly, and all personnel must complete an online COVID-19 training course, even though they have already completed COVID-19 training as part of Stage 1 Scaling Up.
Research lab personnel will be notified of the appropriate time to return to campus by their principal investigator or supervisor. Until then, those working remotely who have not been asked to return to campus should continue to work remotely.
Students who are not employed in the science labs but are conducting research or creative inquiry for credit will be permitted to return to the labs and studios within this 60% density constraint and subject to all other protocols in place.
Faculty Return to Offices
Each school and unit has protocols in place to allow faculty and research scholars to return to campus. These protocols include items such as how each building ensures appropriate occupancy density; signage and foot traffic controls in place to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet; and additional new cleaning protocols. These protocols have been communicated by the appropriate dean or department head.
Faculty who have been authorized to return to campus must complete a mandatory COVID-19 safety training module. In addition, faculty must:
- Complete the mandatory Daily Health Assessment each day they come to campus.
- Wear a mask at all times outdoors and indoors (except when in the office alone, with the door closed).
- Undertake mandatory COVID-19 testing (depending upon frequency of your campus visits).
The return of faculty or research scholars to their campus offices is subject to the approval of their school dean or the vice provost for research.
Graduate Student Return to Offices
Graduate student access to campus facilities is governed by the student’s appropriate dean. Grad students admitted to campus will be required to complete mandatory COVID-19 training and follow the process for accessing office space on campus, including the mandatory electronic Daily Health Assessment and regular testing.
The Brandeis Library is open to Brandeis students, faculty and staff, with reduced hours. There are special precautions for handling materials. When visiting the library, please follow campus guidelines as well as any signage and staff directions. Library services also will continue to be delivered via Zoom, chat and email.
How the Scaling-Up Process Has Unfolded
Currently, Brandeis is in Phase 2a, which allows face-to-face research to continue, with permission from the provost, and personal protection policies in place.
The Research, Labs and Studios Advisory Group to the COVID-19 Task Force will continue to conduct periodic evaluations of the scaling-up activities in these areas to ensure that all safety policies are carefully followed; implement new or updated guidelines, as needed; and ensure that all local and state reopening plans and public health guidance continue to be followed.
|Essential Operations||Through May 26||Essential maintenance and labs working on COVID-19 research.|
|Phase 1a||May 25 per state guidance, May 26 at Brandeis||Ramp-up of science laboratory research not involving human subjects, including faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and associates, and other technical staff.|
|Phase 1b||Began June 22 following review and approval of protocols and administrative approval
|Phase 2 (current)||Began July 30||Potential face-to-face research involving human subjects, as approved by the provost, with space staggering, social distancing and personal protective equipment.|
|Phase 3||To be determined||Use of offices, meeting spaces for inquiry that could be conducted remotely.|
More information about scaling-up activities in the sciences and the arts can be found at the following websites (a Brandeis ID is required for viewing):
Safety Is Paramount
We have always prioritized safety precautions in the operation of our research, labs and studios. COVID-19 has led us to add additional layers of precaution. Some of these include the following that apply to all spaces. Additional, customized safety precautions for individual spaces and activities have also been developed and implemented.
Training: Mandatory COVID-19 safety training conducted by environmental health and safety for anyone returning to campus during Phase 1.
Space-Specific Protocols: Each individual lab, shared facility, studio and library must develop a protocol to be reviewed and approved by members of the Research, Labs and Studios Advisory Group detailing the specific activities in which they will be engaged and how they intend to follow all safety guidelines.
Mandatory Scheduling and Attendance Logs: All personnel who come to campus will schedule their time on campus to ensure that the research and creative inquiry areas adhere to the de-densification policy. Additionally, all personnel must log in upon arrival and departure from campus to aid in contact tracing, should an outbreak occur.
Mandatory Health Self-Assessment: Each day an authorized person comes to campus, they must take the Daily Health Assessment and be cleared to come to campus. All individuals who do not pass the self-assessment must stay home until cleared by Environmental Health and Safety.
Mandatory Use of Masks: All individuals on campus must wear a mask at all times. The exceptions are when eating or drinking in designated areas with appropriate physical distancing; alone in personal offices with the door closed; and conducting an activity that has been approved in a protocol that requires the removal of a face covering.
Physical Distancing: Maintaining physical distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals whenever possible is a required practice.
Engineering Controls: Facilities Services has helped personnel authorized for on-campus activities in Phase 1 make physical modifications to their spaces to ensure safety; conducted HVAC evaluations and modifications to ensure proper airflow; and provided guidance for other modifications to campus spaces to ensure distancing and safety.
Signage: Signs were placed throughout campus reminding personnel of the physical distancing requirements, directing traffic one-way when practicable, and reminding personnel of proper face-covering use and hand-washing techniques. Hand-sanitizing stations have been strategically placed throughout the buildings for additional measure.
Intensified Sanitation Protocols: Additional cleaning protocols have been developed and implemented by Facilities Services to focus additional resources on high-frequency cleaning and sanitation of common spaces. Authorized personnel in Phase 1 will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing their spaces prior to and after use to allow for further de-densification between cleaning staff and researchers/staff/artists. All cleaning will be logged by personnel per state guidelines.
Additional Safety Policies: The following additional policies have been put into place to limit risk and exposure:
We encourage personnel to bring food/beverages to campus that do not need to be refrigerated or heated (to avoid the use of common refrigerator/microwave spaces). Food or beverages may only be consumed in individual offices and designated areas, with proper physical distancing. Food or beverages may not be shared.
No pets are allowed on campus.
Brandeis has instituted a strict no-visitor policy.