The health and well-being of PME’s community both on- and off-campus is our top priority. This page contains the latest news and information specific to the PME community regarding the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The University is providing information on planning the resumption of programs and operations on campus on the UChicago Forward site. You can also find extensive information about public health, how to protect yourself, travel advisories and guidelines, and support resources on the online coronavirus information hub. The University asks that everyone who is returning to campus commit to protecting our community by following the UChicago Health Pact.
PME Guidance for Phase 5 Transition
PME’s updated processes in response to the University’s transition to Phase 5 are outlined below. Aspects of our plans may continue to change in alignment with University, federal, and local public health guidance.
Due to privacy concerns, we remind you to avoid asking individuals their vaccination status. We understand that many members of our community will choose to maintain distance and use face coverings for various reasons, and we request everyone acts with consideration and understanding regarding these choices.
PME Amendment 2 has been approved and Return-to-Research plans are no longer required for in-person research in laboratories, research group offices, and theory/computational offices. However, masking is still required unless an individual is alone in a private room/office.
Individuals can be unmasked while dining indoors. When eating or drinking, those who are unvaccinated must maintain 6 ft distance from others, while those who are vaccinated need not.
Building Access Requests
Building access remains restricted. Building access requests and issues should be routed to department administrators or building managers, where appropriate. Requests no longer need to be routed through the Research Resumption Plan process.
Return to Other In-Person Activities and Work
PME’s guidance for convening in-person is below and described here. Groups of over 25 people require approval via an In-Person Programming and Event Request. Organizers must include this express written statement in communication to all invitees:
“This event is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.”
Long-Term Hybrid Work Arrangements
PME has convened a working group that includes representatives from across business units to plan for the transition back to in-person work for staff. Through this process, we aim to develop a flexible and equitable approach to alternative work arrangements that can accommodate the diversity of roles at PME. Once PME’s plan has been approved by the PME executive committee, we will communicate it broadly.
For all work-related domestic travel, regardless of funding source, individuals must complete the Travel Exception Request Form. These requests will now be approved by chairs and directors or their designees. It is expected that domestic travel will be approved for most research and academic activity.
For information and processes for international travel, please see updated guidance on UChicago Forward.
University Guidance for Phase 5 Transition
Read the full announcement and see the highlights below:
In alignment with the City of Chicago’s guidance, the University is revising our social distance guidance.
- Outdoors – Social distancing restrictions, including capacity and density restrictions, are no longer in effect for outdoor spaces.
- Indoors – Social distancing restrictions are being lifted for indoor spaces as well in the University’s Hyde Park campus and other Chicago area facilities.
- Dining – Unvaccinated individuals should maintain at least 6 feet distance while eating or drinking indoors; distancing restrictions are no longer in effect for vaccinated individuals while eating or drinking indoors.
- Moving and Gathering – Members of the University community are encouraged to move with purpose in common and congregate areas with large groups of people.
- Outdoors – As announced in May, the University has eliminated the masking requirement for people who are outdoors on campus grounds, though face coverings may still be required at certain outdoor events and programming.
- Indoors – Everyone is expected to continue wear a face covering over the nose and the mouth at all times while in University buildings, with narrow exceptions.
- Private spaces – An Individual can remove their face coverings if they are in a private room/office alone with the door shut, or while eating or drinking.
At this time, the University of Chicago will require all students to get vaccinated at the first opportunity, whether through the University of Chicago Medicine’s vaccine clinic or other providers. All vaccines approved by the FDA or WHO will be considered suitable to fulfill the University’s requirement. Read the full announcement as well as steps to fulfill the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
The University is continuing to evaluate whether the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff. We strongly encourage members of the University community who have not been vaccinated to do so. To make a vaccination appointment, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org and employees can call UCM at 773.834.8221.
Plans for Autumn Quarter
The University intends to invite our full population of students to be in residence, classrooms and labs for the 2021 Autumn Quarter, if the state of the pandemic and the health of our community allow. Read the announcement.
COVID-19 Research at PME
Researchers at Pritzker Molecular Engineering have dedicated their labs and resources to pressing research questions surrounding the global pandemic of COVID-19.
These multidisciplinary projects focus on approaches to detecting and treating the virus, screening vaccines and antibodies, determining the efficacy of protective equipment, and more.
UChicago Technical COVID-19 Response Team
The UChicago Technical COVID-19 Response Team is composed of faculty, staff, and students from across campus working together to solve urgent technical engineering problems to improve COVID-19 outcomes. If you need help or would like to propose a project, please contact them.