Over the last several weeks, MBL working groups, in coordination with the University of Chicago, have been making steady progress on reopening plans specific to resident research, education, campus housing and dining services, and administration/operations. Throughout this process, getting researchers back on campus has been our top priority. I’m pleased to report that Phase 1 of resident research resumption commenced on June 12 and is progressing smoothly. Most MBL faculty labs are open and research staff are conducting experiments.
A safe and successful research reopening will serve as a critical first step toward increasing activity across the entire MBL campus. By design, research is not operating at “back to normal” levels or capacity and plans have prioritized thoughtful and safe re-opening of laboratory operations.
As our campus ramps up operations, limiting the density of and contact among people within our facilities is one of the most effective ways of protecting our community and employees whose jobs allow them to work effectively remotely are continuing to do so. All staff, regardless of whether they are working on-campus or remotely, are required to complete a workplace safety training program and attest that they will comply with all MBL safety precautions.
I’d like to thank the many scientific and support staff across the institution for their diligent and careful planning. As our resident labs begin to reopen, the effectiveness of plans will be studied, and adjustments made as needed with the primary objective of minimizing potential COVID-related risk to the MBL community always at top of mind. Plans for resumption of Whitman Center labs as well as administration reopening are currently under review.
Although our on-campus operations are by no means reflective of a typical MBL summer, I’m pleased to share that we have planned a full slate of virtual events that are designed to connect our community to the outstanding research and education that are the hallmarks of a MBL summer. The 2020 Friday Lectures Series begins one week from today with a special lecture on workplace diversity that will be delivered by Dr. Hannah Valantine, Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the NIH. In addition, our Education department has organized a robust schedule of virtual education events that kick off July 6 and include offerings from many of our summer programs including the advanced research training courses and the Logan Science Journalism Program. You can read more about this programming in today’s newsletter.
While I regret that I won’t be seeing many of you in Woods Hole this summer, I hope that you will continue to engage with the MBL virtually through our events and in our news updates.
As always, thank you for continued support of the MBL.
Nipam H. Patel