Next Steps in Pilot Phase of CoE Research Ramp-Up

Dear Michigan Engineering,

We are now proceeding to re-start our on-campus research activities in a limited number of CoE buildings, and I would like to share with you the process and timeline for on-campus activity as we enter into the Pilot Phase of the building reopening.

Initiation of the Pilot

We will begin the gradual re-opening of research laboratories in GGB and EECS on Thursday and Friday (May 21 and 22).  We are limited to ~30% of the lab capacity in the Pilot Phase.  I have been working with the Chairs of CEE, ECE, and ME to identify a subset of laboratories that will be reopened in this first step.  The faculty members conducting operations in these labs have been notified, and they are working with their departmental and CoE safety committees to develop the necessary Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) required to operate with COVID-19 safety protocols.

We are working with those already identified to participate in the Pilot Phase to access their labs this week. This initial access is meant to allow them to evaluate and prepare their labs, as well as enable us to test the new ingress and egress procedures. The full-scale pilot will comment on Tuesday, May 26 after Memorial Day.

I will be sending a follow-on message to those faculty members, post docs, and students who have been granted access to this Pilot Phase with specific instructions and guidance.

Access to Campus for Those Not Included in the Pilot

We will still grant access to those faculty, students, and staff who are not listed as participating in the Pilot Phase but who need access to closed campus buildings. Those of you who had been given these permissions to operate during the ramp-down will still maintain them.  There are two groups who will be granted such access:

  • Researchers who have been granted permission to conduct COVID-19 related research by CoE and UMOR under the process initiated during the ramp-down; and
  • Persons who need access to closed campus buildings to perform safety and mission critical operations who were approved as part of the ramp-down.

I will be sending a follow-on message to those faculty members, post docs, and students who have been granted permission to operate during the ramp-down with specific instructions and guidance on how to continue their operations going forward.

If you were not approved to enter during the ramp-down phase, there will be very limited access to the buildings after 5 pm Wednesday, May 20.  We will have an additional process for persons who request limited access to closed buildings and who are not already listed on the COVID-19, safety, and mission critical lists.  You will need to seek permission from your Department/Division Chair or Unit Director, with exceptions made only for the most pressing needs. I will be sending a follow-on message to Department /Division/Unit leadership on that process shortly.

Training Requirements

Faculty, staff or students who wish to enter open or closed campus buildings are required to complete COVID-19 safety training.  A COVID-19 personal safety course has been developed by the University and is available via your My Linc training account:

COVID 19: Working Safely in U-M Research Areas

You are required to complete the training before re-entering campus buildings.  It is recommended you print and/or save your completion certificate to a PDF file for later documentation.

MCard Access:

As we move into the pilot phase, we will continue to restrict and monitor the activity (card contacts) at the entrances of our open and closed buildings.  Moreover, as part of our UM and State compliance process, we will begin limiting access to buildings based on their open/closed status and the access permissions granted to the card holder. 

We have already begun to reprogram the access points with the approved lists for our CoE buildings, and we expect the process to be completed by Thursday, May 21.  We are striving to complete this process without inadvertently locking out persons with permission to enter specific buildings.  If you are denied access but believe you have permission to enter, please contact Joanne Navarre (email: (Cell – 734.657.6410) in the ADR’s office during regular business hours.   If you are listed on the Pilot, COVID-19, and/or safety/mission critical operations master list we will restore your access the next working day.  If you are not on this list, you will need to seek permission through the leadership of your Department/Division/Unit. 


As we move forward with the reopening of our laboratories, I ask that you all strive to maintain the COVID-19 related safety measures reviewed in the training, and that you work to comply with the new requirements that we need for safe, socially distanced operations in our buildings. It is critical that we are successful in this phase in order to continue to increase future access. 

We will work together to sort out any issues that arise as we develop these new procedures during the Pilot. Please feel free to provide any feedback you have about the process using the COVID-19 Action Teams feedback form

As always, your patience and cooperation is appreciated.