Ramping Up Laboratory and Clinical Research

June 11, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that President Bollinger has set a target date for beginning the ramping up of laboratory and clinical research on campus: Monday, June 22.

As you know, we have been working hard for the past weeks to move forward responsibly with activities on our campus once conditions make that possible. Those efforts are centered on four Working Groups: Public Health, Education, Facilities and Campus Life, and Research. 

The ramping-up of laboratory and clinical research requires satisfying two conditions: that the State permit us to take this step, and that the University deem we have processes in place so we can move forward with all the prudence required. Until this week, the State had been saying that it would not permit a broad reopening of laboratory and clinical research, beyond what had initially been considered “essential,” until the applicable region entered Phase Two of the Governor’s New York Forward Plan, which New York City has yet to achieve. This week the Governor reclassified higher education research as a Phase One activity. Since New York City entered into Phase One on Monday, June 8, the first of the two conditions is now satisfied.

Determining when the second condition is satisfied is a matter for our own judgment. We cannot responsibly ramp up laboratory and clinical research until we are confident that we have made all necessary arrangements for securing personal protective equipment, daily symptom self-checking procedures, facility readiness, training, and any other important safety measures. These steps include a mandatory gateway testing program, which we will have in place before we begin to ramp up our laboratory and clinical research activities.

More details will be forthcoming soon on how the ramping up will work, including the process for gateway testing and for daily symptom self-checking; which types of research may begin and when (as not all laboratory and clinical research will begin at once); and who may return and under what conditions. Although policies will apply to the entire University, you can expect guidance from your school or department on what precisely this next step means for you and your research. 

Please also remember an important principle that remains in place, even after we start ramping up laboratory and clinical research. If you can accomplish your work remotely, you must continue to work remotely. We must continue to observe that principle to keep density on campus as low as possible, for the protection of our community and those who will now start to come back.We look forward to this important next step in our journey back from the more severe restrictions of these past months.

Thank you and keen appreciation for all you have done and all that comes next.

Ira Katznelson
Interim Provost
Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History

Lee Goldman
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine
Harold and Margaret Hatch Professor