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Phase III+: The University is open for expanded research operations; only authorized personnel will be admitted on campus. More info here.

This message was sent to the Rockefeller community from the Office of the Executive Vice President on October 21, 2020 at 12:50 p.m.
Subject: Phase III+ policy reminders

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to remind you of the importance of compliance with the University’s COVID-19 Phase III+ policies. In the past week, cases have surged across most of the country with case numbers at or near all-time peaks in most states. We have been fortunate that owing to our collective diligence, New York City continues to have a low infection rate, despite several worrisome outbreaks that have thus far been confined to a few communities. There is nonetheless concern that with cooler weather in the Northeast and many suffering from “pandemic fatigue,” cases can surge here as well.

Thanks to the careful adherence to protective measures among the Rockefeller community, we have prevented community transmission on campus to date. However, just in the past week, there have been a number of complaints and concerns about inappropriate group gatherings on campus.  Specifically, on several occasions groups have assembled for hours without social distancing or wearing a face covering, including groups that are eating and drinking together both indoors and outdoors.

There is increasing evidence that even smaller gatherings of people who do not live together, especially indoors, contributes to the national surge of cases. Our continued diligence is essential. When eating or drinking with others, please limit the number of people in the group, maintain appropriate social distancing and absolutely avoid meeting indoors without masks, particularly in close proximity to one another.

There are also reports of non-compliance with face covering by individuals working alone in enclosed rooms. The only exemption to the requirement for face covering is for single occupancy in a private office. This exemption does NOT apply to other enclosed areas that are shared by different occupants over the day, e.g., microscope rooms, computer rooms. You are expected to wear face covering when using shared equipment even when you are the only person in the room at the time you are using it.

We expect that Phase III+ operations are likely to remain in place largely as-is at least into the spring of 2021. The coming months will undoubtedly present challenges, and our best chance to maintain our excellent record of safety is to continue to comply with the common-sense policies and practices for social distancing, face covering, hand hygiene and environmental cleaning that have helped keep us safe to date.

Please feel free to remind others on campus about our policies and to send concerns or questions to  Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campus safe.


Timothy P. O’Connor, PhD
Executive Vice President
The Rockefeller University