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Research Town Hall Updates & Fitzpatrick CIEMAS Reopening May 26

May 22, 2020

Dear colleagues,

Thank you to all who attended the Pratt Research Reopening Town Hall this week.  We have gathered answers to many of the questions submitted, and have posted these updates and the slides from the Town Hall on the Pratt COVID-19 webpage along with other helpful Duke resources.


As we continue our phased reopening of Duke research labs, the next building to open will be Fitzpatrick CIEMAS on Tuesday, May 26.  

The information below provides key points about what to expect for those returning to campus.  Although a few points are specific to those working in Fitzpatrick, the general guidance applies to those returning to other labs in the coming weeks. If all goes well with the current reopenings, Hudson, Gross, North and Teer will reopen June 1.

When should lab members return to the lab?

Each lab has prepared a list of personnel who need lab access to do their work, which will be checked against door access information and via routine walk-throughs.  Faculty will need to complete a survey from the Office of the Vice President for Research to add the names of approved personnel before any individuals return to their labs. The link will be distributed after approval of each lab’s reopening plan (please look for an email from George Truskey).

Lab members should follow the shift schedule in their approved lab plan to ensure that each person working in the lab is separated from others by 6 feet, with at least 250 sf per person during any shift.  Individuals should be in the lab only when they need to perform work using the laboratory facilities (e.g. standing at the bench or in front of hoods, using lab equipment). Data analysis, computing activities and other desk work that does not require a lab presence should continue to be done remotely.  Undergraduates are not permitted to be in Duke research labs until further notice.  

What protective measures will be in place? What protocols do I need to follow?

Duke has created specific protocols to protect the health and safety of employees and graduate students who are approved to return to research laboratories. Please carefully read and follow the Policies for Returning to Research Labs. Labs are responsible for following these guidelines.  As noted, the three most important measures are to 1) wear a face covering, 2) regularly wash your hands and 3) keep your distance from other people.  Duke will provide disposable masks for individuals to wear if needed; cloth face coverings may also be used. We have installed additional hand sanitizer stations in and around Duke research labs in the building.  

Duke Employee Occupational Health & Wellness has also developed a tool to enable everyone coming in to record their health condition before leaving home, and to notify us when they leave the lab. Details will be provided to each lab once their shift plan is approved.  

How can I get masks?

 Individuals approved to work in the lab will receive one mask for each day they are in the lab. Pratt Facilities will distribute surgical masks for individuals approved to work in Fitzpatrick CIEMAS from Tuesday 5/26–Friday 5/29 from 8:30–11 a.m. in Twinnie’s. We are asking labs to send a representative to get masks for a two-week period for now.  We will log receipt.

How will deliveries be handled?

Beginning Tuesday 5/26, deliverers will be granted access to the Fitzpatrick back dock by an Allied Security Guard and to the Fitzpatrick building only.  All deliveries are expected to be delivered either directly to the lab if that was the process before COVID-19, or to a receiving point in the BME Administrative Suite, Fitzpatrick 1427. A small number of BME staff will manage this process 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The staff there will accept packages on behalf of Pratt and notify the recipients or business offices for pickup. 

BME staff will notify recipients and provide them with 45-minute windows when pickup may occur.  A photo ID will be required in order for the package to be released.  If someone other than the intended recipient is designated to pick up the package, the recipient needs to convey this via reply email to the BME staff member who initially contacts them about the delivery, stating the name of their designee, since no other record of the delivery will be maintained.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you will be expected to pick up deliveries on the same day.  BME has limited storage capacity, and no way to refrigerate perishable deliveries.

Whom should I contact if I have questions? 

Many questions are answered in the FAQs posted at:  For additional questions:

  • The Pratt Facilities team will be on site between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. You may contact Ben LoCascio (719-250-6866), Kevin Wood (919-667-4611), or Mitchell Vann (919-452-6221) by email or the listed mobile numbers.
  • If you have a question related to Duke research policies, please contact me at


Thank you for following these guidelines to protect everyone’s health and safety as we reopen labs for research. 


George A. Truskey
Sr. Associate Dean