Research Spaces

The university has developed a detailed, multi-phased plan for gradually ramping up research activity. The plan strictly adheres to all safety protocols, including population density in labs and other research settings consistent with D.C. guidance, prioritizing research related to COVID-19, and pausing research that poses biological, chemical or radiological hazards. The university is currently in phase 2.

Some labs or spaces in research may have additional requirements and/or protocols. Consult with your immediate supervisor for additional information regarding the policies and procedures in your prospective areas. The Office of Animal Research, the Office of Laboratory Safety and the Division of Safety and Facilities staff will continue to provide essential services and oversight.

Research Phase 1: Limited Reopening (began June 8)

  • Population density increased in a manner consistent with university, federal and District or state guidelines.
  • Strict observation of all safety protocols including, but not limited to, social distancing, personal hygiene, decontamination and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
  • Projects not involving chemical or radiological hazards, stopped in spring 2020, identified and prioritized for phased restart.
  • Priority given to graduate students and postdocs who are close to completing their degrees or terms of appointment. This includes students and postdocs working on analytical and computationally oriented research.
  • Priority will be given to principal investigators with grants within four months of their end dates, and/or where the sponsor is not flexible with no cost extensions.
  • Research projects conducted on campus using human subjects and involving direct subject interactions and interventions can be restarted in a manner consistent with the GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), university, federal and district guidelines.
  • Necessary core facilities reopened in a limited capacity. Staffing and operations of the facilities will be kept at a minimum and training of new users may be suspended.

Research Phase 2: Expanded Reopening (began Oct. 9)

  • Population density may be increased in a manner consistent with university, federal and district or state guidelines. Any lab and shared area may be utilized up to 50% of its capacity. Principal investigators or project leaders may determine how best to divide responsibilities or rotate team members to ensure a safe density of personnel subject to considerations in the sections below. Coordination will be essential in areas shared by multiple projects or teams from multiple departments and schools.
  • Projects involving biological, chemical or radiological hazards, stopped as part of ramp-down, will be identified and prioritized for phased restart.
  • Investigators can restart research projects conducted off campus using human subjects, and involving direct subject interactions and interventions, in a manner consistent with MFA, university, federal and district or state guidelines (to include travel restrictions). The GW Office of Human Research has provided additional guidance.
  • Most core facilities have reopened. Staffing and operations of the facilities will be expanded as needed while adhering to all safety and density guidelines. Training of new users may remain suspended.

Research Phase 3: Resume Total Research Programs 

  • All personnel may return to campus following any new and/or permanent implementation of safety guidelines.
  • New projects may be started.
  • All research facilities will be reopened.
  • Undergraduate researchers will be allowed back in laboratories subject to safety guidelines.


Find more information regarding ongoing research and the effects of COVID-19 on the Office of Sponsored Projects website.