University opens limited research, gives update on opening campus

Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 12:18pm

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On May 16, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced in an email to the University community that laboratory research will begin to resume, citing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020-90 Executive Order which allows research activities with some limitations. 

“As the largest public research university in the nation, this is a significant development for our state and our university as we continue to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic,” Schlissel wrote. “We’re beginning to see how certain activities can resume in a public health-informed manner, while also understanding that work will be very different in the months ahead.”

In the email, Schlissel said all lab work that can be done remotely must continue to be done remotely. As Whitmer detailed in the MI Safe Smart Plan, some economic work can begin in phases. The University plans to follow a similar plan with a gradual return, beginning with some in-person lab work. 

The opening research labs will need to follow strict public health guidelines that can be found in detail published in The University Record. Schlissel outlined some of the main guidelines in his email. 

“Guidelines will include such things as monitored entry into buildings, a requirement to wear a face covering and maintaining a low density of people in a lab at any one time,” Schlissel wrote. “We’ll track performance metrics for each wave, and that will determine how and when we open additional labs.”

In addition, Schlissel mentioned University preparations for the fall and hopes to deliver a public health-informed fall semester  “with in-person instruction on our campuses.”

“I know this is difficult,” Schlissel wrote. “We all want to be back to in-person work. I very much miss seeing the vibrancy of campus each day and look forward to being able to walk into the office again.To help us reach the day when we can all be together, shared responsibility is essential, not just for our mission but for each other, our families and our future health.”

Daily Staff Reporter Brayden Hirsch can be reached at braydenh@umich.edu.