Stage 2 Process for Resuming Research

The goal of Stage 2 is to resume all laboratory-based research that can be conducted pursuant to government, public health, and University guidelines and is consistent with building density constraints and other COVID-19 necessitated precautions and restrictions. Faculty who have submitted and received approval for lab plans in Stage 1 must update these plans if the research will incorporate Stage 2 parameters, such as additional personnel or increase in number of people working in the lab at the same time. Faculty not previously approved in Stage 1  should provide a Lab Density Sheet (link to template) and a Justification narrative to their department manager and chair, who will submit it to OVPR for approval. 

Key Resources:

Stage 2 of Resuming Research Process Overview 


Stage 2: Step 1

Step 1a: For PIs approved in Stage 1, collect updated individual lab density sheets and any needed addenda

  • For PIs approved in Stage 1, most only need to submit updated room density information. OVPR suggests doing this by asking your PIs to update their individual Stage 1 lab density sheets. 

  • A link to the Google Drive folder with the lab density sheets from your department was included in the email from [email protected]  titled “Instructions | Resuming Research Stage 2 and Resuming Field Research Stage 2.”

  • Some PIs may have minor additions to their existing lab safety justification. If they need to provide new information, please have them write a short addendum document titled “Department/Center Name_PI Last Name_Stage 2 Addendum.”

Step 1b: For PIs submitting for the first time, collect lab density sheets and justification documents

If anyone in your department was not already approved in the Stage 1 process, they will need to submit both a Lab Density Sheet (template available here) and compose a Narrative Justification. Instructions on completing these can be found in the Stage 2 guidelines document. 

Step 1c: Collect the information you will need from the PIs in your department - Personnel List

In accepting updates from your PIs, separately compile a list of personnel who will be returning to campus in Stage 2. They will need to receive and complete the Social Distancing and Return to Campus Guidelines for Employees training from HR, as they will have not already received it as part of Stage 1. You can contact HR with questions about the HR requirements if needed.

Stage 2: Step 2

Step 2: Obtain Chair/Director approval for plans

Once you have collected the updates, please remove the hyperlinks (if present) from column E (PI LAST NAME). Then submit the updates to your Chair/Director for review and approval. When approved, please enter the date in column A and fill the cell in green in each individual PI’s lab density sheet to indicate they are approved.

Stage 2: Step 3

Step 3: Upload Chair/Director-approved lab density sheet information to appropriate building density sheet

  • Once you have collected your Department/Center’s updates and received Chair/Director approval for them, open the email from [email protected] titled “Instructions | Resuming Research Stage 2 and Resuming Field Research Stage 2.”

  • Open the link to the first building in which your PIs’ labs are located. Double click the ‘Building Density Sheet’ file to open the Sheet.

  • The first tab you will see is instructions, reiterating much of which is also found in the “Instructions | Resuming Research Stage 2 and Resuming Field Research Stage 2” email. The next tab is called ‘Stage 1 Density Plan,’ and the small padlock means that this sheet is locked and will not accept any edits. It is there for reference only.

  • The next tab is called ‘Stage 2 Density’ and this is where you will paste the information each PI will have submitted for Stage 2. Copy and paste each line from your PIs lab density sheets into this sheet. Each sheet will start out blank but as Departments/Centers fill in information, be sure not to overwrite any other entries.

  • As mentioned before, the green date in the ‘Chair’ column indicates the date that your chair/director reviewed and approved each plan. The Building and OVPR approvals will be added by the appropriate staff as they come in.

  • Repeat this process with each building in which your PIs’ labs are located.

Stage 2: Step 4

Step 4: Upload justifications and addenda to appropriate departmental folder

Once completed, you will now upload each PI’s justification narrative (for those not approved in Stage 1) or addendum (to the justifications of those approved in Stage 1) in the Department/Center’s folder.

  • Open the email from [email protected] titled “Instructions | Resuming Research Stage 2 and Resuming Field Research Stage 2.” You will find a link for your Department/Center’s justification folder. Click on it. The folder ‘Stage 1 Supporting Documents’ contains files related to Stage 1 of resuming research; they will be kept here for reference but will not be actively used in Stage 2.

  • Double click on the ‘Stage 2 Supporting Docs’ folder to open it. If this is the first time you are uploading justification narratives and addenda, it should be empty.

  • To upload justification narratives and addenda files, click ‘New’, then select ‘File upload’ from the menu that appears. Please ensure all documents follow the following aning conventions:

    • New Justifications: “Department/Center Name_PI Last Name_Justification”

    • Addenda: “Department/Center Name_PI Last Name_Stage 2 Addendum”

  • Locate the justification narrative or addenda file saved on your computer or network that you wish to upload, and click ‘Open.’

  • After a short wait, the uploaded files should appear in the folder. Repeat this process as needed until all justification narratives and addenda are in this folder.

Stage 2: Step 5

Step 5: Notify OVPR via [email protected] that your department plans are ready for review

By each deadline for which you have any labs who have submitted Stage 2 plans, whether new or updated from Stage 1, Departments/Centers should notify OVPR via an email to [email protected] to initiate the review process. Reviews will occur every two weeks and take 3-7 days following the submission deadlines below.

Materials will be reviewed by the Research Continuity Committee and appropriate offices, and Chairs/Directors and administrators will be notified of approval via an email from [email protected].


  • Noon (12:00 pm) Friday, July 10

  • Noon (12:00 pm) Friday, July 24

  • Noon (12:00 pm) Friday, August 7

  • Noon (12:00 pm) Friday, August 21


Stage 2: Step 6

Step 6: Upon approval from OVPR, coordinate with HR for launching and tracking completion of Social Distancing and Return to Campus Guidelines for Employees training

After notification from OVPR, you will work with HR to assign Social Distancing and Return to Campus Guidelines for Employees training to any personnel not previously approved in Stage 1. Once the justifications and lab density pans are approved, and newly added personnel have completed these trainings, Stage 2 can be implemented.

Requests to Use MRI Facility

Under Stage 2 of Resuming Research, all requests to resume ongoing use of the MRF must be approved by both OVPR and the MRF. PI’s must submit a narrative justification via email to [email protected] and to [email protected]. Please use the subject line “MRF User Request | PI LAST NAME”.  Detailed Requirements are in Section VIII of the Stage 2 Resuming Research Guidance.

Additional Resources:


Archived Stage 1 of Resuming Research Process Overview

*Please note that submissions closed on Tuesday, June 30th, at 5 p.m. 

For Stage 1 of resuming research at Brown, as announced by Provost Richard M. Locke on May 18 and on June 18 for field research, individual faculty or researchers must submit a written work plan. In Stage 1, research is eligible to be resumed in Brown-controlled laboratories only if the research cannot be conducted remotely and the research is governed by a research resuming work plan that has been approved in accordance with the process outlined below.  Resources and links to submission materials are below. Any questions please email [email protected].

Stage 1: Step One

Part One - Justification 

Part One is a 1-2 page narrative description of the research work to be performed and justification for resuming work. For already approved essential or COVID-19 related work with no changes to your work plan, you can resubmit your previous narrative. For already approved essential or COVID-19 related work with additions or changes, please submit an updated description and justification. These materials will be shared with your chair, the building subcommittees, OVPR and EHS. The description and justification must include the following sections. The file must be named DEPARTMENT/CENTER_PI LAST NAME_JUSTIFICATION:

  • Description of the research to be done.

  • Justification for resuming work in the research space.

  • List of personnel who will work in the research space.

  • Lab Safety Plan

    • Description of the social distancing plan for your research space consistent with the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy. You can find a checklist to help you consider what to include in your lab safety plan on the EHS website.

    • Safety plan for any personnel who will work alone.

    • Contact Tracing plan (log, shared google sheet, etc.).

    • All plans submitted to OVPR requesting to resume in-person, on-campus human subjects research activities during Stage 1 must include these minimum requirements.

  • Any additional information related to safety for the research space.

Part Two - Lab Density Google Sheet 

Part Two is completion of a Lab Density Google sheet. Chairs and Research Continuity subcommittees will use these lab density plans to ensure that safe building population densities are not exceeded. Approved lab density plans will be shared with all the building occupants. 

These two documents (Justification and Lab Density Google Sheet) will be submitted via Google Form.

Stage 1: Step Two

Department Chairs and Center Directors will review the plans in their areas to ensure coordination among labs in their department and to adjudicate conflicts among access requests. Chairs and Center Directors will notify OVPR via [email protected] when their department/center aggregate lab plan is ready for review.

Stage 1: Step Three

The Research Continuity Building Subcommittees (see Appendix A in the Resuming Research Guidance for membership) will review the plans for all labs in their assigned buildings to ensure proper floor by floor and overall building density for work shifts. Research Continuity Building Subcommittee leads will notify OVPR via [email protected] when their building plan is ready for review.

Stage 1: Step Four 

A committee chaired by the Vice President for Research, and including representatives from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management, University Human Resources, the Department of Public Safety, Office of General Counsel and others with expertise and responsibility in health and safety will review each department and building plan for conformity with social distancing and other safety requirements. The Vice President for Research will present recommendations to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, who will have final approval on each plan.

If a plan is approved, OVPR will notify the appropriate chair or center director. Researchers approved to work in labs will be required to sign the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy Acknowledgement Form and complete any required training associated with the Policy. Access to campus will not be permitted prior to official notification from the Office of the Vice-President for Research and signing by each individual researcher of the Acknowledgment Form.

EHS and OVPR will maintain copies of all approved research resuming work plans.