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Research To Move Forward For Approved Operational Plans

August 6, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I am very pleased to report that we are continuing our rollout of the research relaunch. Tomorrow, Friday Aug 7, we will re-open SSM and ACS for those of you with approved research operational plans.

We are solidifying our capacity to handle testing for a complete relaunch of research. We look forward to very shortly re-opening SE2, SRE, and COB2, and will let you know as soon as we can when those buildings will open. Please note that COB1 and BSP are still under construction.

In order to keep to this schedule and to reduce the risk of having to shut down a lab, floor, or building later, we ask that you please help us by reinforcing our messages within your research teams . Adherence to the rules for physical distancing, face coverings, health screening and personal practices such as handwashing, coughing etiquette, etc. are our primary defenses against COVID-19.

Beyond this, it is very important that everyone follow the posted signage. The campus has spent a great deal of time and energy designing signage and utilization of spaces consistent with county guidance. For this reason it is imperative that your teams not make any changes to protocols. If something doesn’t work for you we will modify it if we can, but we must maintain compliance with county guidelines.

We have had problems with people ripping down caution tape, removing signs, using bathroom stalls/sinks that were marked as unavailable, moving furniture, eating in breakrooms, etc. Let me reiterate that breaks and meals must be taken outside and you need to follow signage for use of restrooms, hallways and other shared spaces. Also, do not let anyone “tailgate” you into a building or lab. If someone’s Cat card isn’t working, this is possibly because the person has been exposed to COVID-19 and their building access has been temporarily removed; if that isn’t the case they should contact the COVID Response Center at (209) 228-0000 or find out why it isn’t working but they may not enter the building until the matter is resolved.

We ask anyone who has not been using the health check app/email for 14 days to complete the health check attestation located at before entering the building. And remember, encourage anyone with symptoms to go home, and speak up if you see someone who is not wearing a face covering or maintaining physical distancing.

We must all work together to keep our research sites open.

Please post a sign-in sheet outside your door and have lab members sign in and out for their shifts (using their own pens, of course) every day. This way the monitors do not have to enter the lab to see who is there. Save these sheets—they will be collected on a weekly basis and are critical for any necessary contact tracing.

And, if all members of your research team have not yet signed attestations that they will follow the guidelines (this was part of the relaunch operational plan), please upload those via InfoReady before that person comes into the lab. The link to upload the signed forms can be found here .

Finally, I ask that you continually plan for how you would shut down your research operations quickly if required to do so , either because of an outbreak in your lab or because the situation in Merced County deteriorates. We would work with you so that you can come in and safely shut things down, but for the foreseeable future you will need to have a plan in mind and know that this is a real possibility. I hope it won’t come to this, but we must be prepared.

For more information on COVID-19 and the campus response, please visit

Thank you! Here’s to a smooth relaunch!

My best to all,

Marjorie S. Zatz

Interim Vice Chancellor for Research