Research Lab and Non-lab Operations Plans

PIs and facility directors must submit a Research Lab Operations Plan (experimental labs) or a Research Non-lab Operations Plan (computational/theoretical groups) indicating how research groups will comply with density and hygiene metrics and practices, how social distancing will be enacted, and how hygiene practices (personal protective equipment, cleaning) will be followed and enforced.

New plans must be submitted to department chairs and/or institute directors for review, with a copy to the academic manager. Once approved at the chair/director level, the plan must be submitted the Office of the Dean for Research for final review and approval. 

Revised plans may be submitted directly to the Office of the Dean for Research with a copy to the department chair and academic manager. Skip to the revised plans section.


General Instructions

1.    Principal Investigators (PIs) and facility directors must prepare a plan for the resumption of on-campus research activities (Research Lab Operations Plan (RLOP) or Research Non-lab Operations Plan (RNOP)). 
2.    Complete all sections with sufficient detail and clarity to enable researchers in your lab or research group to conduct communications, transition activities, and implement the phased resumption plan.
3.    For Research Lab Operations Plans, provide brief explanations for how all proposed personnel and activities in Level 3 and Level 4 are aligned with the criteria. Activities proposed for Level 3 and Level 4 will be reviewed and approved separately from the activities for Level 2 (current level). 
4.    You may include additional information at the end of the document in an appendix as needed.
5.    Submit your plan via the process below. The complete plan must be reviewed and receive approval from the Office of the Dean for Research prior to implementing the plan or making any changes to the approved plan.

Submission and Review Process 

1.    PIs/facility directors must submit their plans by email to the department chair or institute director with a copy to the academic manager for review, feedback and iteration.
2.    PIs/facility directors with space in multiple academic units must share their completed plan with each of the relevant units in which the lab space is located.
3.    The top of the form contains a space for the chair(s)/director(s) to indicate approval. The chair/director will then return the plan to the PI/director, who then submits it to the Office of the Dean for Research by emailing it to [email protected].
4.    Research Lab Operations Plans (RLOP) should be maintained in the PIs laboratory account in SHIELD. Research Non-lab Operations Plans may be maintained in the department account in SHIELD, if so desired by the department, and will be available to academic managers in a shared Google Drive once submitted to DFR for review.  

Revisions to plans

1.    PIs/facility directors will determine whether a revision submission is necessary.

  • Changes that require submission of a revised plan include: increasing occupancy or density, changing space utilization, or substantive modifications to hygiene and safety protocols.
  • Changes that DO NOT require submission of a revised plan include: substituting names of personnel affiliated with the lab.
  • If you are unsure whether your revision requires a submission, email [email protected].

2.    View the information on revising your plan under the new density guidelines issued Nov. 2, 2020: Revised Density Guidelines.

3. Make revisions to your previously approved plan, clearly indicating all changes.

  • Place the revision date at the top of the form.
  • Revisions should be clearly marked within the document to facilitate review (e.g., track changes, text in different color, or highlight). 
  • Substantive changes (e.g., changes to occupancy, space utilization, hygiene or sanitation practices) require review and approval.
  • Other updates, such as to communication plans or personnel lists, do not require review or approval, but should be up to date and communicated within the research group. 

4.    Notify the Office of the Dean for Research of the revised plan by emailing to [email protected]. Send a copy to the department chair and academic manager. RLOPs must also be uploaded to SHIELD for review.


1.    Upon approval, the Office of the Dean for Research will email the PI/facility director with a copy to the department chair/institute director and academic manager.
2.    PIs/facility directors should communicate the plan and approved revisions to members of the group. 
3.    After receiving approval, academic departments must submit the names of all research personnel approved to be on campus to the Office of the Executive Vice President at [email protected]

Submit your plan

  • Download the Research Lab Operations Plan (RLOP)(.doc) or Research Non-lab Operations Plan (RNOP)(.doc), or prepare a revision of the previously approved plan.
  • Complete the plan and obtain department chair/institute director approval for new plans.
  • Send an email to [email protected] with RNOP attached, or with the confirmation that the RLOP has been uploaded into SHIELD. For revised plans, copy the department chair and academic manager on the email.
  • The Office of the Dean for Research will review and approve the plan.