Current Research Operations

Last updated: June 15, 2021, 1:15 pm

Starting June 16, 2021, the UC Berkeley campus will expand access permissions for staff and researchers, based on lifting of state COVID-19 restrictions.

Information on overall campus plans was shared in a Friday, June 11 Calmessage and is included on the campus Coronavirus website.

Note that as of June 15, fundamental questions remain about 6-foot distancing and wearing of facial coverings in the workplace, pending updating and further clarification of CalOSHA guidelines.  We expect further announcements from CalOSHA and the governor this week, but likely not before Thursday. Please stay tuned for updates. For now, as of June 16 researchers can drop the occupancy limit of 1 person per 125sqft, but must continue 6-foot distancing indoors and out.  Facial coverings must continue to be worn at all times except when alone in the office - regardless of vaccination status. 

The following is a summary of changes to campus access permissions effective June 16, 2021. Further updates will be posted on this website. Please email with questions.

What is the difference between June 16 and July 12 for research?

  • The June 16-July 12 period is the voluntary campus opening period for members of the campus community who have not been able to return to campus thus far.
  • Most research activities can resume (please read further below), however staff cannot be compelled to come to campus to support them, so activities that require more staff presence (events, workshops) should be scheduled after July 12.

Occupancy and distancing / Phase 4 Recovery SOPs & Density Management Plans

  • As of June 16, the Phase 4 requirement of 1 person per 125 square feet will go away, replaced with a requirement that all individuals must stay 6 feet apart pending further updates from CalOSHA.  
  • Researchers and departments/units do not need to update or submit new SOPs/Density Management Plans; although some guidelines will likely remain for managing in-person human subjects research (more information coming later this week).

Vaccines and facial coverings

  • UCOP has announced that a vaccine mandate will be in effect for all employees and students coming to campus after August 4, 2021. The final policy will be announced July 15.
  • Until new guidelines are announced by CalOSHA and campus, please assume that everyone must continue wearing facial coverings while on campus, unless they are alone in a room with the door closed; masks are also required if they are outdoors and less than 6 feet apart.
  • Here is a cheat sheet from the Recovery Operations Committee of what is allowed in each time period.

Required training, symptom screener, etc. before coming to campus

  • Employees and students in research settings are still required to take the EH&S 207 training, fill out the symptom screener each day, get tested (or upload their vaccine card), etc. Please have them review the Return to Campus Checklist circulated on Friday. Contractors/visitors must still take the training and complete the symptom screener for each day (instructions on the VCRO COVID19 website).
  • It is true that we need everyone who uploads their vaccine card to get one COVID-19 test at UHS before their campus access badge will turn green. If they got a test at UHS at any time since COVID began, that counts.
  • It is the supervisor’s responsibility to confirm that their employees and research students are compliant with campus requirements for being on campus. Supervisors can use PeopleCards to view status, or ask employees to show a green campus access badge (download Berkeley Mobile app to access the badge).

Buildings locked or open?

  • Campus buildings will remain locked/on card key status as of June 16.  Many research buildings have also indicated that they plan to remain locked after July 12. Please consult your building manager or Building Oversight Committee members for specifics for your building.
  • If your research team needs access to other buildings, please coordinate relevant building managers to request access, as you would have pre-pandemic (see below).

Building access after June 16

  • Starting June 16, the campus will revert to its pre-pandemic process for granting building access, and employees should contact their building manager or building key card access controller for access. The only change is that key card access control has been moved from UCPD to Facilities Services. 
  • Employees will no longer need to request “authorized access” to come to campus - they only need to make sure they have card key access or metal keys to get into buildings that will remain locked. Building managers/BOCs will no longer request approval through VCRO or JPCAB.  

Implications for University-controlled and leased spaces “off campus”

  • Campus guidelines around 6’ distancing, wearing of masks, etc. apply to UCB employees regardless of where you work (in California) - as do the options for voluntary return on June 16 and subsequent return on/after July 12. 
  • Research units seeking to get back into leased office spaces should contact their landlord/building manager to determine any building-specific rules, and then follow other campus-provided tips for getting back to the office (flush water fountains, check for dead electronics and wifi, clean out old food/check for pests, etc). 

Updates to campus access permissions

Meetings and seminars

  • While we await further updates from the state and CalOSHA, researchers can begin to hold 1:1 meetings in their offices after June 16, as long as all parties remain 6 feet apart and wear facial coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Larger meetings are not yet allowed, unless approved as Collaborative Research Activities (see p6 of Phase 4 Guidelines).

Other symposia and events

  • The implications of state and proposed CalOSHA guidelines on events and gatherings remain very unclear, particularly as they relate to verification of attendees’ vaccination status.  Please continue to monitor the campus COVID-19 Events web page. As much as possible, we encourage research units to delay events until after July 12 when guidelines are clearer, more buildings will be unlocked, and more staff may be on campus to support them. 

Undergraduate volunteers

  • Undergraduate volunteers will be allowed starting June 16, including those from other universities. All must be over 18, and supervised at all times.  Since many campus buildings will be locked, students will need to be granted card key access; non-UCB students will need an appointment that grants them a card key (eg visiting student researcher), or they will need to be escorted in/out. 

Visitors, Visiting Scholars

  • Visiting Scholars can come to campus. If Scholars need access to campus facilities, please check with the facility to confirm their reopening dates and how to request building access if the building remains locked. Libraries will not open until September 1. 
  • June 16-July 12 is really about campus starting to reopen: buildings will be locked and many departmental/unit staff may still be working remotely.  We encourage researchers and facilities to postpone short visits by non-affiliated researchers until after July 12 .

Human subjects and Industry partners

  • We are reviewing the Phase 4 Human Subjects guidelines - some requirements will remain in place to ensure symptom screening of participants. For now, Phase 4 guidelines will remain in place until modified.
  • Both affiliated and non-affiliated human subjects will be allowed (without a cap of 50 per day), but a) all individuals must be escorted into buildings, and b) no staff can be compelled to come to campus to manage expanded access until after July 12.


  • CDC recommends that individuals do not travel either domestically or (particularly) internationally until they have been fully vaccinated.
  • Domestic travel is allowed as long as travelers follow CDC guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, and follow any health restrictions in place at the destination. 
  • International travel is allowed *unless* the destination is designated as CDC Level 3 or 4, or State Dept Level 4, in which case travel *does* need prior UCB campus approval by the dean and Global Engagement Office (if there is no pre-approval, travel reimbursements will not be paid out). Until UCOP changes its guidelines, we don't expect this pre-approval to change any time soon. 
    • All international travelers must follow CDC guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, and follow any health restrictions in place at the destination.   
  • Point travelers to the UC Berkeley COVID website, Travel page (Travel is under the Faculty & Staff tab).  

Field Research

Please review the VCR Review Process for Off-Campus & Field Research for reviews required.

Please visit the campus Coronavirus website for other general updates, and send additional questions to


COVID-19 Funding Opportunities

COVID-19 related funding opportunities are listed here.

You can find highlights of the COVID-19 related efforts of UC Berkeley's research community here.  

The university has also launched an online video series, Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 to connect our leading experts with the public they serve, and each other.

Please see the UC Berkeley COVID-19 Resources website for general campus-wide information and updates.