Published: May 12, 2020


  1. We will gradually start to resume research and creative work on campus on Tuesday, May 26, achieving up to 25% by late June
  2. Anyone approved to return to on-campus research or creative work must first complete the Skillsoft training titled CU Boulder: COVID-19 Awareness and Safety. To access this training, visit, click on Skillsoft, then CU Boulder, then search for CU: COVID-19 Safety and Awareness—CU Boulder.
  3. To apply to perform research or creative work on campus, a Principal Investigator must fill out the Request to Return form View Request to Return Form
  4. Requests will be evaluated by chairs/institute directors, then deans/assoc. deans, and then vice chancellor for Research and Innovation, according to the Return to Research & Creative Work plan.  View the Return to Research & Creative Work Plan
  5. The approval process will consist of weekly reviews beginning Wednesday, May 20 with decisions communicated the following Monday.
  6. Any individual approved to resume research on campus or in the field must complete a daily health questionnaire and report illness if they are sick.

Dear Research and Creative Work Community,

I am pleased to report that CU Boulder is beginning the process of returning to research and creative work operations on campus starting with a soft launch May 26. 

Our plans prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, researchers, staff and community—and we ask you to do the same. Please be patient as we gradually support more research and creative work on campus. NOTE: Any work that can be done remotely should continue to be done off-campus.

A phased approach 

Our return will take place in phases. The current status of remote work has been in place since March. We are making plans to transition to Phase 1 (limited work on campus) on May 26. Phase 1 (limited work on campus) will incrementally increase on-campus research and creative work while introducing safety and monitoring processes that can evolve as we transition to less restrictive phases over the coming year. 

Planning for Phase 2 (expanded work on campus) and Phase 3 (full operations) is already well underway. A committee led by Waleed Abdalati has developed general guidance and criteria for selecting what research and creative work and field work will resume through these phases. See Return to Research & Creative Work Guidance.

General principles

As we return to campus, we will integrate guidance shown to manage the spread of the virus. These guidelines will be reinforced through a Skillsoft training that will be required of everyone returning to work on campus. This training highlights the following:

  • Maintain appropriate social distancing principles, including limiting density of people
  • Wear a required face mask
  • Clean local work area and practice hand hygiene
  • Complete daily health questionnaire and report illness if sick

To access the Skillsoft training, visit, click on Skillsoft, then CU Boulder, then search for CU: COVID-19 Safety and Awareness—CU Boulder.

Approval process to resume work on campus 

Requests to return to on-campus research and creative work or fieldwork will be initiated by the Principal Investigator completing the Request to Return form. Criteria to be considered include: criticality of the research; implications of further delay; the full range of risks associated with returning to the activities; and target occupancy densities at a range of levels (room, floor, building, campus, etc). This form will be forwarded to your chair/institute director who will evaluate the request based on the above criteria.  

Requests approved by the chair/institute director will be reviewed by the deans/associate deans and then by the vice chancellor for Research and Innovation. You will be notified by email with the decision. Requests will be reviewed on a weekly basis starting Wednesday, May 20 with decisions communicated by the following Monday. If the chair or institute director has questions about the request, it may result in a delay in completing the review. Please be patient as we work through this process.

Preparation for return to campus

  • To support returning to campus research and creative work or fieldwork, cleaning kits are being prepared for PIs to use in buildings and labs. These kits will include gloves for cleaning, cleaning supplies, sanitizing supplies for surfaces and hands, paper towels and CDC guidelines for prevention of virus spread and cleaning protocols.
  • Campus Medical Services will coordinate contact tracing based on illness reporting by the individual, supervisor or colleague. Communication and cleaning will be arranged based on their findings.
  • Campus is exploring on campus COVID-19 testing. However, at this time, if individuals who have been on campus are sick, they should seek COVID-19 testing from their primary care provider. Additionally, they must complete an illness reporting form, which will be available as part of the daily health questionnaire. 

I want to thank the team that helped develop this plan to return, which includes faculty, chairs, associate deans for research, deans, institute directors and other leaders from virtually every corner of campus. I am grateful for the considerable thought and expertise this team has contributed. This provides a starting point for returning to campus. Over the ensuing weeks and months, we will monitor containment of COVID-19 and communicate changes if needed.

Stay well,

Terri Fiez signature
Terri Fiez
Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation