MBL reopening working groups are making progress on reopening plans for Research, Education, Campus housing and dining services, and Administration/Operations in coordination with the University of Chicago. The research reopening plan is currently under final review by the University and we expect to begin reopening resident research laboratories sometime next week. As shared previously, resident research is our first priority with reopening of administrative departments to follow in a phased fashion approximately two weeks after research resumes.
In the coming weeks all members of the MBL community will be expected to adopt new precautions, developed by our working groups, as a minimum requirement for returning to campus. A high-level overview is provided below. Given the complexities around reopening, particularly related to safety measures, an all-staff virtual Town Hall will be held next week to review reopening plans, policies, procedures, and training. An invitation will follow by e-mail early next week.
Preparations and Expectations for Those on Campus
Our individual health and the vitality of our entire community rests on each of us taking actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and adopting a campus-wide culture focused on public health and safety. Our gradual approach to increasing activity on campus will be aligned with the phases defined by state authorities, limiting the density of people on campus in order to inhibit the spread of disease. In keeping with the fundamental need to ensure safety, any work that can be done remotely should continue to be conducted remotely.
In the coming weeks we will be expecting all members of the MBL community to adopt new precautions, developed by our working groups, as a minimum requirement for returning to campus:
- Self-monitoring: Anyone coming to campus is expected to self-monitor for symptoms and stay home if you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or have had any symptoms over the past 24 hours, including: cough, runny or stuffy nose, shortness of breath, fever, difficulty breathing, chills, body aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Anyone with symptoms should not go to their MBL destination and should consult their healthcare provider and inform their supervisor.
- Social distancing: Limiting contact among people on campus is critical. While on campus, you should remain at least 6 feet away from others. When walking in corridors and entries where you must pass someone close than 6 feet away, move with purpose. The MBL has begun to post signs to facilitate social distancing, including specifying the number of people allowed in a particular area (e.g. elevators) at one time.
- Face coverings: Per the Guidance for Using Masks policy, a face covering is a requirement inside all MBL buildings (except in individual offices) and when social distancing cannot be maintained outdoors.
- COVID-19 Reporting: Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus for at least 10 days AND must be symptom-free for an additional 72 hours before returning to work. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and has been in an MBL facility must inform their supervisor so that the health and safety of others on campus can be addressed.
- Travel: The MBL is continuing the suspension of MBL-sponsored international and domestic travel until further notice. The U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuing to advise avoiding all nonessential international travel due to widespread ongoing transmission.
- Training: Anyone returning to campus (and, retroactively, those essential staff who have been working on-campus) will be required to complete a short training program and sign an electronic form affirming that they will comply with safety precautions, including reporting of positive cases, and that they will self-monitor for symptoms related to COVID-19.
These measures will help us achieve our goal of providing a safe environment for our entire campus. Please remember that we are still in a dynamic COVID-19 environment. These policies pertain to the early stages of returning to on-campus work and could change as the situation evolves. The MBL’s Coronavirus website will be updated with reopening information regularly.
As always, thank you for adapting to these challenges, and for your dedication to safeguarding our community while continuing to advance our mission.
Chief Operating Officer