Dear Colleagues,

As announced by Governor Baker earlier this week, the state of Massachusetts has released a Four-Phase Reopening Plan aimed to methodically allow businesses, services, and activities to resume while avoiding a resurgence of COVID-19.

Each phase of the plan will last a minimum of three weeks and could last longer before moving to the next phase. If public health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions, and/or the entire Commonwealth may need to return to an earlier phase.

Although laboratories and office spaces are among the businesses permitted to reopen starting May 25, each industry is required to comply with a complex set of safety regulations and workplace guidelines before it is allowed to reopen.

MBL reopening working groups are continuing to make progress on reopening plans specific to Research, Education, Campus housing and dining services, and Administration/Operations, in coordination with the University of Chicago. Resident research remains the first priority for reopening with administrative departments to follow in a phased fashion. As I discussed at the State of the MBL, the MBL Research Plan will be completed by the end of next week. It is likely that we will then be submitting it to the University for review. Our intent is that labs can start to open sometime in early June.

Until such time that we (a) have certified our readiness based on state requirements and (b) have received approval on our reopening plans, MBL operations will remain unchanged.

All of us are anxious to get back to campus, however it is the MBL’s legal and societal obligation to ensure we are following workplace safety standards and protecting our staff and our community. The path ahead to our new normal will be slow, with measured steps that will require patience from all of us. I appreciate the careful thought that the reopening committees have put into reopening planning. Specific, detailed reopening guidance, instructions, and training for each MBL sector will be shared upon plan approval.

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer