Research and scholarship activity, which has been ramping up from previous COVID-19 restrictions, can safely expand further across the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

As of Feb. 16, laboratories and research spaces may increase to an operational capacity of 75 percent density if teams can maintain social distancing on any given shift, Vice President for Research Rebecca Cunningham said in a message to U-M’s research community.

“We have been closely monitoring virus transmission rates throughout our research community dating back to last spring,” said Cunningham, the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“This data demonstrates that our labs and research spaces are safe and controlled environments, and they are not a source of virus transmission when our teams wear face coverings and follow social distancing protocols.”

The university has also expanded its human research by allowing a subset of observational studies to resume in-person activity. Observational studies categorized as Tier 2 were paused in November to protect researchers and study participants amid a statewide spike in COVID-19 cases.

“COVID-19 has transformed how our research enterprise operates, but our shared commitment to public health practices has allowed us over time to gradually increase research and scholarship activity,” Cunningham said.

“With this limited expansion, we all must remain vigilant in order to reduce virus transmission so that we can continue our work in serving the world through research and scholarship.”

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