Phase 3 Research Recovery for Experimental Laboratory Research
Building on the UC Berkeley campus’ success in ramping up COVID-19 testing capacity, and the diligence of on-campus personnel in adhering to campus guidelines for distancing, disinfecting and wearing masks to keep positive cases on campus low, the campus received approval from the City of Berkeley for a gradual Phase 3 increase in density in experimental laboratory space in October 2020.
Phase 3 permits laboratories and core facilities with approved Phase 2 Density Management Plans to seek a limited increase in population density. Adjustments may be required, including reverting to Phase 2 density, if COVID-19 cases rise, or once in-person instruction is allowed to resume.
During this phase, all research that can be conducted remotely must continue to be conducted remotely. All meetings and seminars should remain remote.
What is allowed under Phase 3?
Phase 3 currently applies to experimental laboratory spaces only, for PIs who were approved to resume limited research with a density budget in Phase 2.
- Under Phase 3, experimental lab PIs are able to request up to a .5 increase in their approved Phase 2 density budget. In other words, if you have a Phase 2 density budget of 4 persons, you can request up to 6 persons under Phase 3.
- PIs will need to submit updated density management plans explaining how the additional density will be accommodated and managed.
- The maximum allowable density is 1 person per 200 square feet. If a lab or room is not able to accommodate this density, the PI must work with their Building Oversight Committee to discuss alternatives. If no alternatives are possible, then the density will be capped.
Phase 3 recommendations were determined by our Research Recovery Committee lab subcommittee, with important input from graduate students, postdocs and laboratory staff currently working in research spaces. Phase 3 recommendations have taken into account feedback from a survey of these groups that garnered over 900 responses.
We are acutely aware of the challenges that researchers are facing in theoretical and computational disciplines, the social sciences, arts and humanities that are not yet approved to come to campus under state, county or City of Berkeley public health orders. We will continue to advocate for creative solutions that could allow for such researchers to return, alone or in small groups as public health conditions improve and additional activities are allowed to resume in the workplace under shelter in place orders.
Maintaining all health and safety standards, including physical distancing and wearing of masks will remain critical requirements. If there is a rise in positive COVID-19 cases in campus buildings, we will revert back to Phase 2. Please be sure to review all campus guidelines before returning to campus.
Current Status and Next Steps:
- The VCRO hosted a Town Hall on Wednesday, October 21st from 4-5pm to provide more information to PIs and research groups. View the slide deck and watch the recording here.
- Faculty/PIs and Core Facility/Unit Directors should review Phase 3 guidelines and density management forms. Please work with your Building Oversight Committee (BOC) to confirm the appropriate Phase 3 density for your lab/facility, and submit completed forms to your BOC leads for review and approval. The BOC will forward approved forms to the Vice Chancellor for Research for final building-level review by the VCRO and JPCAB.
Note for Academic Buildings:
- Since August 2020, researchers in academic and other campus buildings are able to seek limited campus access if their research requires access to critical on-campus assets (secure servers, etc). Please see guidelines on the Joint Planning Committee for Academic Buildings website and consult your department chair for access. VCRO units should contact email@example.com.