Recent Update: May 26, 2020
As you are aware, a staged reopening of the Massachusetts economy has now begun. Since the health of our community members continues to be our top priority, our plans for re-starting the Institution’s campus will be careful, phased, flexible, and based on the needs and priorities of individuals, labs, and departments and guidance from state government and health officials.
Our institution is open, but our campus remains closed. We are currently developing plans to re-open our campus based on continuing remote work if possible, protecting at-risk staff members and those with at-risk household members, daily self-assessment before coming onto campus, maintaining social distancing, cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces, strict hand hygiene, and use of face masks in shared spaces. We will continue to align our plans with recommendations from the CDC and other governmental organizations, and we will adjust as needed, especially if new breakouts of COVID-19 occur in the future.
Our planning process is organized around 6 major areas: research labs and technical facilities, research cruises, academic programs, working from off-campus, development and communications, and travel and on-campus meetings. We have established a Re-Opening Oversight Team (ROOT) comprised of the following individuals:
- Rick Murray, Deputy Director & Vice President for Research (Chair)
- Meg Tivey, Vice President of Academic Programs & Dean
- Jeffrey Fernandez, Vice President of Operations & Chief Financial Officer
- Rob Munier, Vice President of Marine Facilities & Operations
- Sam Harp, Vice President of Advancement & Chief Marketing Officer
- Chris Land, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
- Kathi Benjamin, Chief Human Resources Officer
- Lauren Mullineaux, Chair, Biology Department
- Lee Freitag, Principal Engineer, AOPE
- Peter Hill, Director of Government Relations
- Dave Derosier, Director of Facilities & Services
- Keith Glavin, Senior Director of Information Services
- Danielle Fino, Chief Communications Officer
- Sarah Xander, Department Administrator, Physical Oceanography
- Ron Reif, Director of Environmental Health & Safety
- Liz Kujawinski, Senior Scientist
Susan Humphris, who served as interim Deputy Director and VP for Research last year, will return from retirement to serve as project coordinator for our re-opening plans. Although she will not be making decisions about specific plans, she will ensure that individual plans are consistent and that any gaps or linkages between plans are identified and resolved. For example, one lab group may develop a re-opening plan that depends on support from another group. Identifying these dependencies will be crucial to the success of our overall re-opening plans. Susan will also have support from DSK, the architectural planning firm that has been assisting with our Strategic Facilities Assessment and who has a deep understanding of our campus and facilities. DSK also has partnerships with other research institutions that are also developing re-opening plans.
We are providing guidance on developing re-opening plans to Department chairs, unit heads, and technical group leads who will distribute this guidance and work with individual research, technical, and administrative teams. The guidance includes detailed considerations for each plan, as well as the submission and review process. We will also hold a Town Hall, in the near future, to discuss Institutional plans and to gather your ideas and feedback.
Assessing and managing risks is challenging in an environment where both our understanding of COVID-19 and the types of policies and capabilities (such as testing) are changing quickly. We will need to be flexible and adaptive. We must continue to understand the impacts on our staff both in the workplace and at home. Working together, we will enable the gradual ramp-up of on-site campus activities in support of WHOI's world-leading research, engineering, and education.
Mark and Senior Administration