University of Southern California


Experimental Lab‐Based Research Guidance

As of May 21 from Office of the Provost: We are now in Phase 4, while continuing to adhere to physical distancing, PPE, and testing guidelines. For more information, please see our table on Phases of Research Under COVID-19 (USC Single Sign On required for access).


This section applies to lab‐based research across USC campuses, including science, engineering, the health sciences, and more, defined by shared spaces, equipment, and other infrastructure. Because of the vast variety of lab research environments, research ramp‐up have required individual restart plans.  For Phase 4, activities are still restricted to those laid out in a PI restart’s plan on record with their school, with lab capacity now controlled only by physical distancing.  Undergraduate researchers as well as visiting summer students are now permitted.

Most importantly, PIs must still ensure that personnel adhere to specified conditions of social distancing. masking and hygiene.

Basic Infection Prevention Measures

Workplace Practices

  • Lab capacity is now simply limited by physical distancing.  All personnel workstations must be 6 feet apart. Activities requiring close contact should follow EH&S guidelines.
  • Physical distancing is required in all workspaces, including offices. PIs should indicate to their staff what desks should not be used to ensure appropriate distancing.
  • Face masks must continue to be used in all settings, except for a single person working alone in a single occupancy office.
  • Researchers can eat in indoor spaces as long as they eat alone, or in a group maintaining a spacing of 6’ at all times. Groups eating together should not be larger than 4 people with proper 6’ distancing. More than 4 people eating together at the same time should take place outside.