Second phase announced for reopening UI research facilities

Phase two includes gradually reopening research buildings, laboratories, and support facilities at limited capacity beginning June 5.


Jeff Sigmund

The Old Capitol is seen on April 13, 2020.

Josie Fischels, Summer Editor

A second phase of a ramp-up effort for research will gradually begin reopening campus research buildings and facilities on June 5, according to a campus-wide email to the University of Iowa community Wednesday. 

Research buildings, laboratories, and support facilities are all included in phase two of the effort, which follows after a pilot program was announced in a campus-wide email on May 22 to begin a phased reopening of the Carver College of Medicine and Iowa’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. 

Beginning June 5, Van Allen Hall, Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories, Seamans Center, and the College of Dentistry will begin limited reopening. According to the email, researchers must meet specific criteria before reoccupying a facility, which includes completing required training by their college or program and signing an Employee Health and Safety Acknowledgement to comply with health and safety guidelines.

On June 8, the Chemistry Building, the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders in the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering labs, and the Department of Pharmacy in the Pharmacy Building and the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Building will begin to reopen. 

RELATED: University of Iowa to begin phased reopening of select campus operations

The Department of Biology and Biology Building East, as well as the Psychological and Brain Sciences Building will open on June 10, while the Department of Health and Human Physiology in the Field House, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences including Trowbridge Hall and Halsey Hall, and the College of Nursing will open on June 12. 

UI Vice President for Research Marty Scholtz provided an update on the plan and addressed questions during a research town hall provided to the UI community on June 2. During the update, Scholtz said that principal investigators will be in charge of developing a specific plan that must be approved before researchers can return to their spaces within departments and colleges. 

“You know best what your spaces are like — what your group, how your group needs to work and how to manage to do that in a safe way,” Schotlz said during the update. 

The email stated that researchers who are able to work from home should continue to do so until instructed otherwise, and research facilities should only be accessed if absolutely necessary. Phase three of the reopening plan for research is still being developed.