The university continues to manage the resumption of on-campus labs in phases, based on access priorities and estimated timelines presented below:
1. Critical research – May 26 (completed)
• Research where a delay would have significant financial impacts.
• Research where a delay would catastrophically disrupt the project or protocol.
2. Time-sensitive existing research – June 8 (completed)
• Research where further pause or deferral would lead to significant delay or loss of research results.
• Research where further deferral would lead to inability of students to graduate.
3. Critical new on-campus research – June 22 (completed)
• New research where a delay would have critical impact on the commitments to sponsors, on the faculty’s research program, and on the ability of students to graduate.
4. Expansion of on-campus research – August (ongoing)
• All research that must be done in-person is permitted on campus.
- WPI supports and protects our faculty and students’ research enterprises.
- WPI prioritizes the health and safety of our researchers.
- WPI works to ensure that social distancing and practices to reduce transmission of infection are implemented in labs and shared spaces.
- WPI works to ensure that there is open communication and that WPI responds to any concerns appropriately, such as compliance with this guidance and in response to positive COVID-19 cases.
- WPI must be nimble and prepared to ramp down or shut down on-campus research on short notice.
Research and lab activities that can be conducted remotely at this time should continue to be conducted remotely. Research meetings must continue to be held virtually.
Procedure for Requesting On-Campus Lab Access in Phase 4
With the beginning of A-Term, access to Campus and labs has become part of the departments’ reopening plans, and any lab access approvals and monitoring of lab occupancy is the responsibility of the department heads. The principles and guidelines used for reopening labs in earlier phases remain the same and still apply, and department heads are advised to require faculty to complete a reopening and social distancing plan similar in format and content to those required in earlier phases.
Human Subjects Research
Any human subjects research that can be done remotely should continue to be performed remotely. In order to be allowed to re-start or commence in-person human subjects research, the study director needs to complete the Research Lab Reopening process (if not previously completed) and the “Research Plan Update: Conducting In-Person Human Subjects Research During COVID-19” that outlines appropriate safety precautions.
A request to re-start or commence in-person human subjects research needs to be approved following the approval of re-opening the lab. If this has not been prior to the start of A-Term, this approval process will be handled by the respective department head.
In-person human subjects research presents unique issues. In addition to the Guidance above, all researchers conducting human subjects research on campus are required to comply with these guidelines.
External Research Partners
Research partners may only have access to WPI labs and research facilities if such access is essential. Any research that can be done remotely should continue to be performed remotely. All principal investigators (PIs) and center directors who manage on-campus labs, facilities, and centers must follow these guidelines. These guidelines apply to external research partners – collaborating researchers and corporate partners. They do not apply to visitors touring a WPI laboratory or research facility.
Scheduling Lab Space and Monitoring Occupancy
In order to facilitate lab space scheduling, occupancy monitoring, and contact tracing, we are in the process of creating booking calendars for your spaces. It has been determined that Bookings was a tool to be used for this and several other types of booking activities on campus, accessible from the web Schedule Research Lab as well as from the WPI mobile app. We have been working to adapt it to our groups of users’ needs. You will need to let your students know to use Bookings for lab access. Some departments have opted to not post the links but to give the students the link to the bookings calendar; when this is the case, it’s indicated on the website.If you want to access your calendar(s)—one calendar for each lab/space—please follow these instructions:
- From myapps.microsoft.com (or the “waffle” in the upper left corner of Microsoft web-based apps), click to open Bookings.
- Under the Bookings calendar name, choose Open and search for the name of your calendar by entering the beginning of its name. Each space will have a separate calendar.
- In the menu on the left, click to open Calendar and you will see reservation blocks. Click open the item to see details about it, including who has made a reservation. Use week or work-week view so you don’t see multiple calendars.