Update: Research Activities in UCSF campus facilities - Cal/OSHA COVID-19 policy

April 23, 2021

Dear Research Community:

I am writing to announce a change in our policies for research activities in UCSF campus facilities.

Beginning Wednesday, April 28, 2021, we are removing specific density restrictions on research activities and linking UCSF research guidelines directly to compliance with Cal/OSHA COVID-19 policy (https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3205.html). Importantly, Cal/OSHA policy still requires 6-foot distancing in the workplace, regardless of vaccination status. All other existing safety protocols also will remain in place, including wearing face masks, frequent hand-washing, and completing the daily health screening before coming to campus.

Laboratory and clinical research groups are encouraged to develop strategies that will maximize research activity while still complying with Cal/OSHA regulations. We believe it is possible in many laboratories and other facilities to increase occupancy while still achieving the required physical distancing between workers.

For clinical researchers, please continue to follow all policies and practices outlined in the "Clinical Research During COVID-19" training course accessible through the UC Learning Center (https://training.ucsf.edu/).

As Cal/OSHA regulations change, so too will the allowable activities in our research facilities. We will keep you informed as new state policies emerge.

This change has been made possible by several factors. Most critically, 85 to 90% of our onsite researcher workforce has been vaccinated. These numbers include the dedicated support staff (LARC, EH&S, Facilities Services, Custodial, Parking, and Shuttles) who have maintained our research operations through the pandemic. With this high rate of vaccination, combined with continuing improvements in local pandemic metrics (https://research.ucsf.edu/return-work-decision-framework), the infection risk in our research facilities is extremely low.

Please also read this news release from the UC Office of the President that describes details of a proposed UC policy on COVID-19 vaccinations (https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2021/04/uc-encourages-covid-19-vaccinations-for-university-communities-while-reviewing-policy-requirements.html)

We greatly appreciate your commitment to safely conducting research activities during this pandemic, so that we can ensure UCSF’s ability to fulfill our mission and protect the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, patients, visitors, and the general public.


Daniel H. Lowenstein, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dr. Robert B. and Mrs. Ellinor Aird Professor of Neurology