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Division of Research - Wayne State University

UPDATE: Phased resumption of on-site activities: 

Research and Development


Key Points

The university initiated a phased resumption of limited, on-site research activities involving multiple schools, colleges and centers/institutes across campus beginning June 1, 2020. Summary points include the following:

  • Approximately 300 individual labs including ~1500 authorized individuals to date at 30 secure-access facilities and sites across campus have now resumed defined on-site operations.
  • Provision and distribution of approximately 7000 cloth facemasks, 300 gallons of hand sanitizer and full continuous supply of EPA approved disinfectant for all units and labs involved.
  • Daily health surveys and completion of the required university training module for individuals involved.  
  • Since initiating the phased resumption of limited, on-site research activities, there have been no reported COVID-19 symptoms and/or cases for individuals involved to date.

Recent specific update items –


Dear Colleagues –

This memo provides a brief update on the phased resumption of defined on-site, research activities initiated at the end of May as outlined in my memo from June 5, 2020 - “UPDATE: Phased resumption of on-site, lab-based research activities.”

The university has now “re-operationalized” activities in~300 individual laboratories authorizing ~1400 individuals for a range of on-site research and creative activities in 30 facilities and sites across campus encompassing the great majority of all programs with on-site activities receiving extramural research funding. The overall process of the phased resumption of on-site activities is provided at

Within the broad context of our university mission and a resumption of the range of on-campus activities involved with that mission – academics, research and service – the research ecosystem was the first major component of the three to initiate a broad on-site presence.

This involved the establishment of a culture and environment that fully enabled our on-site activities in a safe, secure and welcoming manner so that all felt immediately comfortable as they reengaged with on-site activities.

To do so required mobilization on multiple fronts and university-wide coordination essentially establishing new operational models and included the following.

  1. Provision of guidance and a process for individual labs, units and colleges/schools to develop an individual and unit operational plan with subsequent review and revision of plans to ensure all guidance parameters were in place.
  • Staggered shifts for personnel and operational adjustments as required for social distancing, health safety targeting a reduced level of on-site activity.
  1. A phased process for individual facilities across campus that involve resumption of activities by research groups over several days so that one could learn and adapt protocols as needed.
  • On-site visual inspections and ongoing monitoring mechanisms.
  • Surveys initiated in multiple units for feedback and input (first initiated through the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development). Key survey elements addressed the clarity of the process, availability of PPE and the overall comfort level with the environment established. Strong satisfaction was indicated on all fronts with helpful suggestions for adjustments going forward.
  1. Materials provided
  • 2 to 3 cloth face masks for each person approved to return to the laboratory
  • Provision of bottles of EPA approved disinfectant for all labs and offices
  • Provision of hand sanitizer for all labs and facilities involved
  1. Operations and support
  • Establishment of standard operational procedures for cleaning and on-site operations
  • Facility preparations and operations including custodial teams, research management and support teams, risk management and security

Of course, as we operationalized in this sector over the past 7 weeks, there were various processes or aspects of the implementation that required real-time adjustment and flexibility.

Communication and coordination across multiple units and operations across the university were central to the success to date for this resumption of on-site activities set in place by the 9 subcommittees of the President’s Restart Task Force

My appreciation to all that have been part of the process.

As always, thank you for your consideration and engagement.



The Path Ahead

We continue to learn and adapt as we go forward with a high state of vigilance on all aspects of the process. 

It is critical that we continue to take measured steps forward through the summer and into the fall and adjust as needed.   Given the operational platforms put in place for this area of on-site activity and feedback from those involved, I believe we are well-positioned to initiate the next phase of increased activity on campus.

The pace of this resumption of activities will continue to be informed through our continued interactions with those groups that were vital to the success of the initial phase. 

Each of us must continue to take ownership and personal responsibility to assure the continued success of this process with the focus on a healthy and safe environment.

The steady success with the process of a phased resumption of on-site activities over the past 8 weeks required a tremendous effort by all involved across the entire university and this will continue to be the case as we go forward.