New protocols to address rising infection rates on campus

November 23, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Due to a marked increase in positive tests for the COVID-19 virus on our campus in some of the science complex buildings this past week, along with increases in positive cases in Massachusetts (see the Brandeis COVID-19 Dashboard), the university, out of an abundance of caution and care, is taking the following steps. First, we are ramping down to Phase 1b protocols in all science labs effective immediately. Second, we are instituting stricter rules regarding eating on campus.

Phase 1b for science labs

Ramping down to Phase 1b in all science labs means reducing the number of people allowed in labs to one-third density (down from the up to 50% we were allowing up to this point). Under Phase 1b, we will allow up to one-third of the usual number of principal investigators, graduate students, postdocs, undergraduate students, and other technical staff who work in a lab. Any researcher who can continue to work remotely will be required to do so. This ramping down only applies to science labs, not the library or art studios.

Principal investigators must file updated rosters and schedules reflecting the lower one-third density, and provide further updates to their previously submitted protocols, which describe in detail how each lab will implement safety procedures and guidelines. The new rosters and updated protocols must be submitted to their department chair and the vice provost for research at c19labs-group@brandeis.edu by this Wednesday, November 25.

Consuming food and beverages on campus

Across the entire campus, we are instituting more strict rules for consuming food and drink, which poses additional risks, as masks cannot be worn while dining: 

  • Dining services will be take-out only; no dining in will be permitted.
  • If you bring your own food or beverages to work, it should neither require refrigeration nor warming up in a microwave.
  • It’s okay to socialize and eat outdoors with more than one person if you maintain social distancing. Eating with others in the same room indoors is not permitted.
  • Masks must continue to be worn at all times, indoors and out. Masks may be removed to eat. When consuming a beverage, you may pull down your mask to quickly take a drink, but do not fully remove it. This way, it can be most efficiently replaced over both your nose and mouth. 

Both the move to Phase 1b and the new restrictions on consuming food and beverages will  remain in effect until at least December 7. We will be monitoring infection rates on campus and in Massachusetts and will provide additional guidance to the community on any updates to these restrictions.

A reminder: If you are on campus, wear a mask at all times, indoors and out. Wash your hands and maintain physical distancing when around others at all times.

Brandeis has done a remarkable job of keeping our infection rates low compared to the general population. Our commitment to social solidarity and data-driven decisions have served us well, and we appreciate your continued patience and dedication to successfully navigating this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Lisa Lynch, Provost

Stewart Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration