Stage 2 of Scaling Up at Brandeis

July 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As the state of Massachusetts opens up more activities as part of its Phase 3 Reopening, we continue to proceed cautiously with our own scaling up of campus access and activities. We are writing today to share with you next steps for increasing on-campus access. We have also attached a more detailed document about safety protocols and procedures associated with Stage 2 of Scaling Up at Brandeis.

Science Lab Density
Beginning July 30, we will allow the density of authorized personnel (principal investigators (PIs), graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and associates, other technical staff, and paid undergraduate researchers) in a lab to increase from the current level of one-third density to no more than one-half density. Each PI will need to update their currently approved protocols accordingly and all personnel will need to 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 PI or supervisor. Until then, if you are currently working remotely and have not been asked to return to campus, you should continue to work remotely.

Starting August 26, 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 50 percent density constraint and subject to all other protocols in place.

Faculty Return to Offices
While faculty can currently briefly access their office to collect materials, we appreciate the difficulty of not having regular access to offices and university resources. At the same time, we must balance these needs with the continued importance of public health of the community. Therefore, beginning the week of August 3, we will allow greater access to campus to faculty and research scholars on the basis of protocols established by each school and unit. These protocols will include items such as how each building ensures occupancy less than 50 percent, signage and foot traffic control in place to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet, and additional new cleaning protocols. These protocols will be 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 which became available today. In addition, faculty will need to complete the mandatory electronic daily health assessment every day you come to campus, wear a mask at all times outdoors and indoors (except when in your office alone and the door is closed), and undertake mandatory COVID-19 testing (once or twice a week, depending upon frequency of your campus visits).

The return of faculty or research scholars to their campus offices is subject to the approval by their school Dean or Vice Provost for Research (VPR). More information on office access protocols will be developed in the coming week and will be shared with faculty by their respective Dean’s office or from the VPR (for those faculty and scholars in the Centers and Institutes that report to the Provost). Until you have received notification from your Dean’s office or VPR about the new protocols for accessing your office you may not return to your office. 

Graduate Student Return to Offices
Graduate school student access to campus facilities is governed by the student’s appropriate Dean.  Graduate students will receive information on the level of access they will have and the procedure for gaining access to campus in the near future. Those admitted on to campus will be required to complete mandatory COVID-19 training and the process for accessing office space on campus including the mandatory electronic daily health assessment and regular testing.

The University Librarian Matthew Sheehy earlier this week shared the process for making an appointment to access library resources in-person starting August 3 and plans for opening the library up to the campus community at the start of the semester, albeit with lower density and reduced hours. 

We hope to be able to open Gosman as a fitness facility the week of August 10. Machines in the cardiovascular and weight rooms have been relocated and plexiglass and other physical distancing measures in the facility are being completed in the next two weeks before re-opening. More details on hours and how to schedule access to the facilities will be posted on the Gosman website once finalized.  Please note that there will be no locker room access.

Staff Return to Offices
During Stage 2 of Scaling Up at Brandeis, some staff will be invited back to campus once they have satisfied all scaling up requirements.  Other staff will continue to work remotely until further notice. If you have any questions on this, please talk with your department chair, Dean, manager or supervisor.  

If you have been asked to continue to work remotely and need to return to campus to access information or documents, prior to when you have been asked to return, you must notify your department chair, Dean, manager or supervisor. We strongly encourage you to make these returns as short as possible.  Even if on campus a short time you will need to wear a face covering and practice physical distancing of 6 feet at all times and in all places, although you are not required to wear a mask when in your office alone and the door is closed. This is a required practice and an important way to help minimize the transmission of COVID-19 onto the campus.

Given changes in testing protocols and updates in other campus wide policies we are requiring all members of the Brandeis community accessing campus, including individuals who went through Phase 1 training, to complete a new online training module. For those who are already working on campus we ask that you completed this training no later than August 9.  For all others the training must be completed before you come onto campus.

All faculty and staff are expected to fully comply and model compliance with the protocols outlined or referenced in the attached guide and policy as part of Brandeis’ workplace expectations.  Faculty and staff who violate any of the requirements of this policy may lose their ability to come to campus and be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Conduct Standards and Corrective Action policy and/or the Faculty Handbook.

Faculty and staff who observe others not following these policies, or have specific health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, should immediately notify their department chair, Dean, manager or supervisor.  Concerns may also be reported confidentially using EthicsPoint (the Brandeis anonymous reporting tool), by contacting the Office of Human Resources or the University Ombuds.

If there is any dispute involving these policies or protocols which cannot be resolved by the faculty or staff member and their department chair, Dean, manager or supervisor, either party may contact the Office of Human Resources, Provost, or the University Ombuds.

To reiterate: As we expand our campus operations, we will need to double down on hygiene and frequent handwashing, physical distancing, daily health screening, mask wearing indoors and outdoors, with the addition of high-frequency testing for those living or working on campus. As we enter this next phase for our campus, we ask you to adopt a culture of social solidarity. In other words – if you are not feeling well, don’t power through and come to work.  If we see someone who is not following the new standards and protocols, let’s agree to respectfully remind each other when we see a standard slipping.  At the same time let’s agree to accept reminders graciously, as it’s likely each of us will need to give and receive reminders at various times.  We are all learning how to live and be safe in this new world of COVID-19 so that we all can still enjoy working, learning, and creating together.

Lisa Lynch, Provost
Stew Uretsky, EVP for Finance and Administration