Over these past months, as we have dealt with unprecedented challenges, I have been impressed again and again by the creativity and fortitude of this community. Now, as we work together to reopen our facilities, I know we can count on each other to do everything necessary to protect our health and keep our workplaces safe.
After these difficult weeks away, we’re all eager for a return to our buildings and facilities that will enable us to resume our research, confer with our colleagues, and settle back into our normal work routines. Unfortunately, it is increasingly clear that our return will be very different from our previous day-to-day experience.
When we began to reopen our sites last month, we looked forward to phasing in a cautious but steady ramp-up of operations. Those plans were predicated on our expectations of diminishing prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in our surrounding communities. Instead, infection rates are holding steady, and even increasing in some areas. This means we are likely to remain in Phase 1 for an extended period–or even, as we are doing in Pasadena, return to telework for all non-essential employees–in compliance with current guidance from public health authorities. Throughout this process, we will need to remain flexible in our on-site operations in line with the protocols developed by our directors for each site.
The COVID Task Force continues to meet every week to review the status of our phased reopening plans, and they will be sending you more detailed information on our current situation very shortly. Notably, we are seeking to provide concierge medical support to include rapid access to COVID-19 testing for all of our staff and their immediate families, on request and without symptoms.
Throughout these uncertain times, please know that we are keenly aware of the disruption that this shutdown has inflicted on our postdocs and students, especially those who are relocating. We will continue to look at ways to ease the burden imposed by lack of access to facilities and labs on our sites, and we will do everything we can to get you back to work swiftly and to keep your careers on track as our return-to-research plans evolve. The directors and I are working closely to ensure that you have a successful tenure at Carnegie, despite these challenging circumstances.
As I indicated in my June 23 memo, it is deeply disappointing that, in the midst of this turmoil, the federal government is still restricting new visas for foreign scholars. These restrictions are cruel, and they are antithetical to the principles of openness and collegiality that are central to Carnegie Science and the entire U.S. scientific enterprise. We have been in contact with all current and incoming postdocs who may be affected by these restrictions, and we are giving them our full support. Please don’t hesitate to contact your local visa administrator or your site’s business manager if you have any questions or concerns related to these new restrictions.
I want to thank all of you, once again, for your commitment to your work and to this institution. As ever, I am very proud to be part of the Carnegie community.
Eric D. Isaacs
President Carnegie Science