Resumption of On-Campus Operations Planning

Spring 2021

The ongoing pandemic has required Princeton to pursue its mission in ways that require flexibility and necessitate new ways of doing business.  The University’s public health approach depends on campus dedensification. In order for those who must return to campus to do their work safely, our entire community must take responsibility for following Princeton’s public health protocols. When you work from home, you are contributing to a safer work environment for the faculty, staff, and students that must be on campus. All individuals that are approved to return to campus are expected to:

  • Work remotely whenever possible. Limit in-person work to as much as is essential.
  • Stay home, away from campus, when sick.
  • When on-campus, follow social distancing practices – keep at least 6 feet between people.
  • Wear a face covering at all times on campus, except when alone in an office or workspace.
  • Practice frequent and thorough handwashing and other public health measures to reduce risk of COVID-19.
  • Comply with mandatory testing protocols.
  • Complete mandatory safety training. Individuals who fail to complete the mandatory training will be prohibited from accessing campus buildings. This training must be completed before you return to campus.
  • Complete a daily Symptom Check each day individuals are scheduled or plan to come to work in any University building or worksite, including those on and off campus. The web-based form is available on the TigerSafe app or can be accessed directly at If you do not have regular access to the internet, you may print paper copies or obtain a supply from your manager.

We have significant constraints on campus space and our public health approach requires a significantly reduced number of staff on campus.  As a manager, you are responsible for identifying which members of your staff need to be on campus.  No one in your area of responsibility should be working on-campus unless you can articulate why their function cannot be done remotely.


  • Princeton Playbook: Phased Resumption of On-Campus Operations provides guidance for preparing and managing workspaces and workers.
  • Workplace Strategies provides guidance for arranging work and common areas in a manner that supports social distancing.
  • FAQs on the Resumption Planning Process


The following guidelines will help you determine next steps as you plan for the spring in a way that contributes to campus safety and meets the University’s public health protocols. Please follow these steps so that we can reach our goals:  

Step 1: Review your department’s Continuity of Operations Plan and regular operations. Identify functions that cannot be completed in the current remote status (but do not include teaching and research plans, which are reviewed through other processes) and plan to meet the following conditions:

  • Dedensification:
    • Continue to allow remote work whenever possible.
    • Reassign responsibilities when practical to minimize the number of individuals required to come to campus.
    • Gatherings (including meetings) and events, other than those associated with approved teaching and research plans, with more than five expected attendees must be approved and organized centrally by an Event Review Team being put in place. These events must follow all University public health protocols, including social distancing and the use of face coverings.
  • Social Distancing:
    • Maintain six feet of distance from others in all in-person settings.
    • Continue using Zoom or other online/telephonic conferencing for meetings, even when on campus, to minimize unnecessary gatherings.
    • Assign workspaces and schedules as described in Step 2.
  • Facilities:
    • Classroom use is allowed only with permission of the Office of the Registrar.
    • Use of tents is not permitted except for those approved for centrally managed functions (e.g., campus dining)
    • Cleaning of breakroom appliances and office equipment (e.g., microwaves and printers) is the responsibility of the user/department.

If there are no operations in your department requiring in-person, on-campus staff work this spring, there is no need to complete or submit a plan. If you need to make changes to an approved Academic Research Infrastructure Plan (ARIP) please use that process.

Step 2: Determine which of the identified functions can be completed with social distancing. 

  • Limit occupancy to be only for work that cannot be done remotely.
  • For workspaces (other than private offices), plan for at least 100 sq ft per person. For desk spaces with no partitions providing separation, plan for a minimum of 8 feet between chair space.
  • For non-office spaces, plan to maintain personal separation of at least 6 feet, with no operations that require individuals to be less than 6 feet of each other for more than a few minutes (less than 10 minutes maximum).
  • Reassign spaces and stagger work schedules to reduce the number of people in the space at any one time or to meet these conditions.
  • If some work functions cannot be conducted with social distancing, contact EHS for evaluation and recommendations on how to complete this work safely.

Step 3: Using the template provided, enter the required fields in the Resumption of On-Campus Operations template provided to departments managers. Confirm that your plan that meets the conditions set forth in Steps 1 and 2 and have it approved via email by your cabinet officer or chair. If you find that the form does not address all of the challenges you foresee, please contact EHS at or 609-258-5294 to consider the need for a small working group to prepare your plan.

Step 4: Submit your completed plans to the Office of the Executive Vice President at Requests for the resumption of on-campus activity will be reviewed on a rolling basis through December and January; however, please note that departments are expected to give staff four weeks' notice before returning to campus operations. Reviewers from relevant central offices (e.g., Provost’s, Human Resources, Dean of the Faculty’s), and EHS will review the plan and contact you with any questions or follow-up. You will be contacted within two weeks with questions or if it is approved and if physical modifications to your space are necessary.

Step 5: If approved, make the necessary preparations and resume limited, approved operations.