Published: March 16, 2020

Dear research community,

As concerns about COVID-19 heighten, we are intensifying measures to protect CU Boulder students, faculty and staff, as well as the Boulder community.

The Research & Innovation Office is currently working with our research institutes, colleges and schools, and laboratories to identify critical laboratory operations and staff, and suspend all non-essential research activities on campus as soon as practical.

By the end of Wednesday, all labs will be closing except where there is a critical risk of disruption, catastrophic loss, or animal care requirements. Exceptions beyond this requirement must be approved by the Dean or Institute Director and the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation. Access to research spaces will be limited to individuals who have been identified as critical to those operations.

We anticipate reevaluating this guidance by April 1, but anticipate this guidance could remain in place significantly longer.

Additional details 

  • Critical research operations and personnel: Initial determinations about what operations and staff are critical are being made within institutes, schools and colleges, and then shared for review by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation. If your determination is not clear, or if you wish to seek an exception, please reach out to your college or institute leadership. Non-critical operations will ramp down by the end of Wednesday.
  • Safety and social distancing: Safety is of the utmost importance. Reacquaint yourself with your lab’s safety protocols, ensure your space and equipment are properly cleaned and sanitized, and adjust as appropriate to account for any impacts to normal safety measures and cleaning procedures. Additionally, please follow social distancing practices during and outside of your time in the lab to keep yourself safe, including throughout your travel to and from labs.
  • Grant guidance: For specific impacts on your federally-funded grants, please refer to the appropriate agency guidance. The Council on Government Relations (COGR) is compiling Federal Agency Guidance, Institutional Guidance and Additional Resources.
  • Graduate and undergraduate student research: Faculty advisors are the best resource for graduate and undergraduate researchers who have questions or may need to adjust research-related protocols or operations.
  • Human research / IRB: Changes to research studies may necessary to protect participants, staff and yourself. Federal regulatory and CU Boulder policy requirements must still be met. Changes in the ways in which you interact with study participants must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before being implemented. Please direct any IRB inquiries to
  • Vivarium and animal research: Basic research animal care (health checks, feeding, watering and husbandry) will continue. New animal orders, imports and transfers are suspended, and no new technical service requests will be accepted without strong justification to the Director of OAR. Requests should be directed to Dr. Sara Hashway at or (303) 492-3411.

The situation and guidance continue to evolve rapidly. Campus guidance and resources are updated regularly at RIO is also providing additional details specific to research operations at RIO's COVID-19 Resources page.

Be well,

Terri Fiez signature
Terri Fiez
Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation