Published: July 2, 2020


  1. We are transitioning to expanded research and creative work (Phase 2) on campus and in the field starting on Monday, July 13.  
  2. If you have previously been approved to return to campus or to the field, you will receive instructions on how to apply to increase your hours.  
  3. If you are applying for the first time to perform research or creative work on campus or in the field, a Principal Investigator must fill out the Request to Return Form.
  4. The weekly approval process will communicate decisions each Monday. 
  5. Any individual approved to resume research on campus or in the field must complete the COVID-19 Awareness and Safety Skillsoft training and a Daily Health Questionnaire and report illness if they are sick. 
  6. UPDATE: Details on the new process for our expanded return to campus and field work are now available.  

On-campus research or creative work, or field work, should only be resumed by those who:

Research and creative works community,

Starting on Monday, July 13, CU Boulder’s research enterprise will begin transitioning to “expanded work on-campus and in the field” (Phase 2) from the current limited on-campus and field work (Phase 1).

In this new phase, our plans continue to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, researchers, staff and community—and we ask for your continued support in keeping our community safe. 

Developing careful safety plans for buildings, wearing masks, social distancing and cleaning/sanitizing are and will continue to be effective mitigation strategies. 

NOTEAny work that can be done remotely should continue to be done off-campus.

Expanded work (Phase 2) will include a gradual transition to increased research, scholarship and creative work activity on-campus and in the field. Like the previous limited phase, the expanded phase involves a multifaceted set of criteria for determining what work resumes and when it will resume.

Those returning to on-campus and field work will continue to follow practices designed to minimize risks, taking into account the types of research or creative work, the locations and environments in which this work takes place, and the individuals or groups involved. Increasingly, with fall approaching, the return to on-campus work is being coordinated with other groups planning to return to campus in varying degrees.

A phased approach 

The representative research and creative work committee has developed and updated general guidance and criteria for selecting what research and creative work and field work will resume through a phased return. The specifics of the expanded work phase (Phase 2) can be found in the updated Return to Research & Creative Work Plan.

Approval process to resume work on campus 

Those who have already been approved for on-campus work or field work will receive an email next week with instructions on how to increase their hours on campus or in the field. New requests to return to on-campus research and creative work or field work will be initiated by the Principal Investigator completing the Request to Return Form. Criteria to be considered for both new and increased requests 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.) New requests will be evaluated by the unit and college before final approval. Requests for increased time will only be reviewed by the unit before communication of final approval. 

General principles

As we return to campus, we are integrating guidance shown to manage the spread of the virus. These guidelines are being reinforced through the COVID-19 Awareness and Safety Skillsoft training, which is required for everyone returning to work on campus or in the field. 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

Preparation for return to campus

  • To support returning to campus research and creative work or field work, cleaning kits are available for PIs to use in buildings and labs. These kits 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.
  • 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 is available as part of the daily health questionnaire. 

I want to again thank the amazing team of leaders across campus that has developed and evolved this plan to return, including 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. Over the ensuing weeks and months, we will monitor containment of COVID-19 and communicate changes as needed.

Stay well,

Terri Fiez signature
Terri Fiez
Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation