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Activation of Research Resumption Plan Stage 3

In October 2020 we advanced to Stage 3 of SCU's Resumption Plan which allowed for the safe expansion of research activities, including more faculty and students returning to our laboratories. The December 3, 2020 regional Stay at Home Order has required us to temporarily scale back most on-campus research activity. We anticipate our research activity resuming to Stage 3 levels upon cessation of the Stay at Home Order.

Impact Summary - Effective October 19, 2020

On June 21, 2020, SCU entered Research Resumption Stage 2 (RR Stage 2) with laboratory occupant densities limited to a maximum of 1 person per 250 square feet of laboratory space and a limit to building wide laboratory activity at 25% of normal capacity. Since then, Santa Clara County and the State of California have issued updated guidance on occupancy limits, our campus COVID-19 case rate has remained relatively low while our on-campus testing capability has increased.

The overall campus-wide emphasis on maintaining a reduced campus population remains in effect as does the continued emphasis on remote research. However, starting October 19, 2020, SCU will advance from Research Resumption Stage 2 (RR Stage 2) to RR Stage 3. The advance to RR Stage 3 applies to all laboratory research, support and core spaces in approved open buildings.

RR Stage 3 will allow for increased building and laboratory occupancies and increases the eligible population of graduate and undergraduate research students that may resume laboratory activities. RR Stage 3 requirements also apply to student project and capstone work in research laboratory environments. RR Stage 3 building wide laboratory activity will be increased to 50% of normal capacity and laboratory occupancy densities will double to a maximum of 1 person per 125 square feet of laboratory space. RR Stage 3 occupant densities might still prevent a return to normal laboratory occupancies in research laboratories until we advance to RR Stage 4.

Laboratory occupancies should continue to be maintained as low as possible however and requests to increase laboratory densities must demonstrate why the increase is necessary to advance stated research objectives while still placing an emphasis on remote research where possible.

Revised RRPs must be submitted with updated floorplans and lab occupancy schedules that demonstrate compliance with the new laboratory density limits for RR Stage 3.

New RR Stage 3 laboratory occupancy limits:
  • One laboratory occupant per 125 sq. ft of lab space
    • PIs must submit a revised laboratory floorplan with their desired new occupant densities prior to any increase in personnel being approved. Increased laboratory densities must be approved by the Dean’s Office.
    • Dean’s Office is responsible for verifying the density limits of each space based on floorplans submitted by PIs. PIs are responsible for enforcing compliance with laboratory occupancy limits.
  • No more than one person in rooms less than 125 sq. ft at any time
  • No more than two people in rooms less than 250 sq. ft at any time
  • Minimum of 6 feet of bench space between occupants
Research Resumption Plans (RRPs)

As with RR Stage 2, PIs must submit an RRP and obtain approval for the resumption of on-campus research activity. PIs with approved RR Stage 2 RRPs must submit an addendum to request an increase in laboratory occupant density with a demonstrated need for why it is necessary to advance their research objectives. Requests for student projects and capstone work must also be submitted with an RRP. Many RR Stage 2 requirements remain in effect for RR Stage 3. The SCU COVID-19 Research Resumption Plan has been updated to reflect the new changes as has Appendix A which outlines RRP requirements.

All approved laboratory personnel must be tested via SCU’s COVID-19 testing protocol prior to resuming laboratory activity. Returning laboratory personnel must be approved via the current campus Essential Access process overseen by the Deans for each unit. PIs are responsible for adherence to all RR Stage 3 requirements and SCU’s overall COVID-19 protection protocols for their laboratory spaces and are responsible for ensuring approved personnel comply with their RRPs.