Research Guidance for “Stay at Home” Order

From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost, and Karen Kim, Vice Provost for Research

Subject: Research Guidance for "Stay at Home" Order

Date: March 21, 2020

Yesterday, Governor Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order for the state of Illinois, effective today at 5:00 p.m. through April 7.  The order’s objective is to reduce the spread of coronavirus by asking Illinois residents to stay at home as much as possible, while providing for continuation of a number of designated “essential” activities.

Last week, we asked all laboratories and research teams on campus to immediately limit the number of people physically present in the research environment to only essential individuals and to develop a plan for the possibility of a shutdown. Under this new “stay at home” order, we must begin implementing those plans.

All non-essential research activities requiring people to be present on campus must be suspended. Access to research facilities and laboratories will be limited to essential personnel only, as identified by the lab director, principal investigator, and your Dean. University buildings will remain closed and card access systems will be set to the normal after-hours and weekend access parameters that have been established by the individual departments. Please note, you should not remove any items from your office or research space, other than storage devices, lab notebooks and papers, without prior approval from your dean.

  • Those designated to perform essential research functions will be allowed access; essential research functions are defined as:
  • Critical maintenance procedures to maintain long term laboratory viability and safety. For example, providing animal support and maintaining critical equipment such as computation equipment, deep-storage freezers, incubators, mass spectrometers, and electron microscopes.
  • COVID-19 research that may mitigate the spread of the pandemic.

 It is critically important that all essential personnel continue public health practices including physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning workspaces while on campus.

We asked every unit to submit a list of essential personnel, contact information, location, and function by yesterday at 5:00 p.m. We know that essential on-campus functions may change over time and we will partner with you to adapt to unique circumstances as the situation evolves. Updated information and resources will be posted on our website:

Lastly, we ask that you consider donating any personal protective equipment you may have to help ensure the safety of our medical personnel as they screen and treat patients. If essential personnel are in labs to perform critical functions, please consider collecting any personal protective equipment you can spare. You can click here to see what is needed and where and when to drop it off. Thank you for anything you can do to help our medical staff stay safe.

The challenges that we are facing are unprecedented and the potential impact on our research community is significant. Please be safe, interact virtually with your teams and colleagues, and take care of yourself and those around you as we deal with this pandemic together as a community.