COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) for researchers have been updated to reflect planning for the Phased Resumption of on-campus research. For more detailed information about sponsored research, visit the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA)'s COVID-19 FAQs.

Guidelines for On-Campus Research

WHAT GUIDELINES ARE IN PLACE TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH?

New campus policies went into effect July 4, 2021. Here is how researchers will be affected:

  • Vaccinations: All faculty, staff and students must receive the second dose of the vaccine by Aug. 1, or to have been approved for a medical or religious exemption.  
  • Masks: Face coverings are no longer required indoors as of July 4 (and already are not required outdoors). The University expects non-vaccinated individuals (non-University employees and students such as contractors and visitors) to wear masks. Masks are required on TigerTransit.
  • Daily symptom check: Vaccinated faculty, staff and students are no longer required to use the Daily Symptom Check as of July 4. Unvaccinated faculty, staff and students must continue to use the Daily Symptom Check. Do not come to campus if you are unwell.
  • Social distancing policies and occupancy limits: These are no longer in effect as of July 4.
  • Testing: Starting July 6, all fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students working on campus will be tested once per week. Individuals who are not yet vaccinated will test twice per week.
  • Buildings will remain accessible by card access only until further notice.
  • Events and gatherings indoors and outdoors will no longer have size restrictions, and may include University faculty, staff, students and non-University attendees, effective Aug. 1. Prior review by the Gatherings Review Team is not needed, but scheduling should continue to be done through the EMS web app scheduling.princeton.edu 
  • Event attendees are not required to be vaccinated, but are expected to wear masks, effective Aug. 1. Event hosts are responsible for communicating the mask expectation to the participants, but events will not be monitored for compliance.
  • Visitors to campus departments and facilities must be sponsored by University faculty or staff and approved prior to entering campus buildings. Visitors are asked to attest that they are fully vaccinated or that they will wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in University buildings. Vaccination records are not required. View the categories of approved visitors and sponsoring procedures at Environmental Health and Safety’s Visitor Policy and FAQs.
  • University-sponsored travel remains restricted through the summer. For the latest guidance, visit the Pandemic Travel Guidelines. Fall guidelines will be released later.
  • Quarantine upon arrival will not be required except for select students arriving from certain international locations.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION OR OTHER RISK FACTOR THAT I BELIEVE WOULD MAKE A RETURN TO CAMPUS UNSAFE?

Upon providing appropriately safe working conditions in accordance with University policies and prevailing public health guidance, the University expects that all faculty and staff approved to perform research in labs will report to campus.

Faculty: Visit the Dean of the Faculty website for guidance.

Staff:  See resources for staff at the Office of Human Resources.

Graduate Students: Visit the Graduate School for Fall 2021 guidance and information.

DO MANAGERS NEED TO UPDATE THEIR RESUMPTION OF LABORATORY OPERATIONS PLANS, OR OTHER RESUMPTION PLANS?

No. As of July 4, 2021, resumption plans are no longer needed.

Vaccinations and Testing

ARE VACCINATIONS REQUIRED FOR WORKING ON CAMPUS?

All faculty, staff and students must receive the second dose of the vaccine by Aug. 1, or to have been approved for a medical or religious exemption.  

IS TESTING REQUIRED?

Faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates who are approved to return to on-campus research and are vaccinated will be tested weekly. Unvaccinated individuals will be tested twice weekly.

Visit the testing page for more information.

Public Health Guidelines

WHAT PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES MUST I FOLLOW WHEN CONDUCTING RESEARCH?

The University requires all students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings Indoors through July 3.

  • Vaccinations: All faculty, staff and students must receive the second dose of the vaccine by Aug. 1, or to have been approved for a medical or religious exemption.  
  • Masks: Face coverings are no longer required indoors as of July 4 (and already are not required outdoors). The University expects non-vaccinated individuals (non-University employees and students such as contractors and visitors) to wear masks. Masks are required on TigerTransit.
  • Daily symptom check: Vaccinated faculty, staff and students are no longer required to use the Daily Symptom Check as of July 4. Unvaccinated faculty, staff and students must continue to use the Daily Symptom Check. Do not come to campus if you are unwell.
  • Social distancing policies and occupancy limits: These are no longer in effect as of July 4.
  • Testing: Starting July 6, all fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students working on campus will be tested once per week. Individuals who are not yet vaccinated will test twice per week.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD UNIVERSITY CONTRACTORS AND VENDORS TAKE?

All University contractors and vendors who provide services on campus or in University-owned or leased buildings must comply with New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines. Learn more at the Environmental Health and Safety website.

ARE VISITORS ALLOWED ON CAMPUS?
  • Visitors to campus departments and facilities must be sponsored by University faculty or staff and approved prior to entering campus buildings. Visitors are asked to attest that they are fully vaccinated or that they will wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in University buildings. Vaccination records are not required. View the categories of approved visitors and sponsoring procedures at Environmental Health and Safety’s Visitor Policy and FAQs.
WHAT DO I DO IF I FEEL INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT COMPLYING WITH THE SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND PROCEDURES?

Beginning July 4, 2021, public health guidelines regarding indoor mask-wearing and social distancing are being relaxed. All faculty, staff and students will be required to have received their second vaccine does by Aug. 1 and are expected to wear a mask indoors until fully vaccinated. It is everyone's responsibility to be a good colleague and model the right behavior for others. If you noticed a colleague who is not complying with safety procedures, good communication is essential. If you are not comfortable speaking to your colleagues about the issue, or if behaviors or conditions do not improve, speak with a trusted colleague such as your PI, lab manager, director of graduate studies, department manager, or another person in authority. If these tactics are not successful, or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can report confidentially via EthicsPoint.

Building Access and Policies

WILL UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS BE OPEN TO RESEARCHERS, STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF?

Buildings continue to be locked and accessible only by TigerCards. Building access will be contingent upon individual completion of EHS safety training (putrain.learn.com)

See also: Section 6 Building Guidance (EHS website).

Undergraduate Research

CAN UNDERGRADUATES WORK IN LABORATORIES AND STUDIOS ON CAMPUS?

On-campus undergraduate research is limited for summer 2021. The decision of whether concentrators could resume laboratory research fell to individual departments as they are best positioned to assess what activities can resume and in what capacity, given current health and safety restrictions, laboratory capacity, and available resources. Students should contact their Director of Undergraduate Studies or independent work faculty adviser directly for more information..

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT PRINCETON PLASMA PHYSICS LAB OPERATIONS?

Information about the laboratory operations is available on their website: https://www.pppl.gov/. Specific questions can be emailed to pppl_communications@pppl.gov

Research Expenditures

WHAT GUIDANCE IS AVAILABLE FROM AGENCIES AND SPONSORS REGARDING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON RESEARCH?

Please consult the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) website for the COVID-19 FAQ on updates and guidance released by research sponsors. 

ARE TRAVEL CANCELLATION COSTS DUE TO COVID-19 ALLOWABLE AS DIRECT CHARGES TO SPONSORED PROJECTS?

The Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) continues to monitor guidance from sponsoring agencies related to charges to awards for cancellation of travel, conferences, and related expenses due to COVID-19. Please consult ORPA's website for the COVID-19 FAQ on updates and guidance released by research sponsors. 

Travel

MAY I TRAVEL TO ANOTHER RESEARCH SITE IF THEY ARE OPEN FOR RESEARCH (E.G., NATIONAL LABS, OTHER UNIVERSITIES)? WHO GIVES TRAVEL APPROVAL?

To safeguard of the University community’s health and safety, policies have been put in place regarding University-sponsored travel.

For up to date guidelines, visit the Travel ToolkitSend questions and concerns to globalsafety@princeton.edu.

Library

WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO RESEARCHERS THROUGH THE LIBRARY?

Princeton University Library continues to provide Princeton faculty and students support with virtual teaching and learning, and remote access options for using library resources.

View PUL's full list of services for remote research, teaching and learning

For additional answers specific to sponsored research, visit the Office of Research and Project Administration's Frequently Asked Questions.