VP of Research Bernhard letter on phased reopening of labs and studios

Author: Andy Fuller

Note: Dated communications are archived here for reference, but may not reflect the most up-to-date information available.

Dear Colleagues,

As Fr. Jenkins wrote in his letter earlier this afternoon to the faculty, the Research Task Force is working on the procedures to gradually reopen research laboratories, creative arts studios, and libraries. We look forward to the reopening of these very important facilities while being very mindful of the safety of the faculty, students, and staff as our very first priority. I write to provide details about both the labs/studios reopening plan and the library reopening plan. This letter will provide high-level details with reference to more detailed information for those that are utilizing laboratories, studios and libraries.

Labs/Studios Reopening

When the labs and studios that require physical access to facilities on campus are reopened, they will be limited to 25% of nominal density. The details for a specific laboratory reopening will be proposed by the research director in a lab reopening and operations plan. The plan will require information about the operations of the lab/studio, how density of less than 25% of nominal density will be achieved, and how physical distancing and cleaning/disinfection will be managed. Details of the lab/studio requirements are posted in a Lab/Studio Reopening Playbook and also available on the Research Continuity webpage. The Playbook includes forms and templates that are required to prepare a request to reopen. Research directors can begin immediately preparing their reopening plans and submitting them using forms from the Playbook for review by department chairs and associate deans. 

Labs and studios will begin reopening at a very limited level during the week of May 26, 2020. Lessons learned in this process (including training of personnel and provisioning with PPE and cleaning materials) will be applied as we continue to reopen labs and studios more generally starting June 1 in a predetermined sequence of buildings posted here. Completion of the building reopening sequence will depend on the capacity of the reopening team to manage the reopening process, but we expect the reopening of all buildings with research labs and creative arts studios to be completed by mid-June. 

We expect there will be a significant amount of relevant information, updates, and announcements to communicate during the reopening process and the eventual transition to full lab/studio operation. We have created a Google Group email list that will be used only for lab/studio reopening information and announcements. Please sign up to receive these emails here: Lab/Studio Google Group mailing list

Hesburgh Libraries Reopening

The Hesburgh Library will accept return of materials from undergraduates May 22 through June 14 to coincide with the planned move-out of the undergraduate student population. 

Faculty and graduate students may begin submitting requests for physical circulating materials through the library catalog beginning May 28.  The Libraries will determine the process and timing for the pickup of requested materials, and communicate those details on the Hesburgh Libraries Covid-19 Service Continuity website.  Users can continue to request scans of hard-copy materials from the libraries via electronic document delivery. 

The Hesburgh Libraries will also begin accepting the return of borrowed materials from faculty and graduate students on June 15.  Those needing to return materials prior to that date should contact  Circulation Services to make arrangements to return materials to Notre Dame Central Receiving.

The Hesburgh Libraries are in discussion with various offices of the University about opening physical access to the library building, reading rooms, study spaces, stacks, and branch libraries. An announcement about the details of these plans will be made by June 15 on the Hesburgh Libraries Covid-19 Service Continuity website and through the subject librarians.

The Research Task Force looks forward to continuing to support the additional reopening and restarting of other aspects of research, scholarship and creative endeavor impacted by the coronavirus crisis. We wish you the very best in your scholarship during this challenging time.

Bob Bernhard