Guiding Principles: Staged Sunrise Laboratory Back to Work Plan

Within the parameters of the Governor’s announcement and President Gabel’s email, we intend to reopen labs. The guiding principles that we will use to slowly sunrise our laboratory staff back to work include:


  • Safety remains our top priority.
  • This will be a staged sunrise, with the most critical to re-open first (based on immediacy of project, strategic value, funding requirements).
  • At this point in time, return to work is voluntary. Some employees will remain uncomfortable returning to work and this should be addressed on a case-by-case basis with supervisors.
  • This policy does not impact current policies for the conduct of clinical research. Those remain in effect, including the adherence to policies around conduct of research in each of the 5 tiers.
  • Lab staffing will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  
  • If work can be done from home, it should continue to be done from home.


  • Those with medical conditions associated with increased risk of severe infection should not return to work until all restrictions are lifted and they feel safe returning to work.
  • Please see the Human Resources Toolkit for information on what to do if an employee has a known exposure to COVID-19 or a positive test.
  • Any employee who is symptomatic should get tested and remain home in quarantine until they can safety return to work.

Lab Logistics

  • Any lab or space that is dedicated to COVID-19 work (clinical or research) will continue to do that work as priority
  • Social distancing must be maintained at all times. That means always maintaining a distance of 6 feet from colleagues and wearing masks is encouraged. We recommend consideration of staggered scheduling. Each person (up to 2,000) returning to work will be given a mask from the stock made by IEM meant to be used as a surgical mask.
  • Every person coming to work must sign in to the building they work in and attest to the fact that they have no symptoms of COVID-19, have taken their temperature and it is <100˚F.


  • We know that many asymptomatic people are shedding the virus. This means that even with these precautions, we will see an uptick in cases with even a limited return to work.
  • When the capacity is available (pending the MDH priorities), we will offer dual testing to UofM employees returning to work
  • MRF 1 and MRF 2 will not reopen for normal activities until the molecular diagnostic lab has moved to a different location.