GC Reactivation Plan

In alignment with New York State Guidelines, CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening, and in coordination with the campus COVID-19 and Reactivation Committee, The Graduate Center has developed a comprehensive reactivation plan. We recognize that the threat from COVID-19 is not over. Our ultimate goal is to be together in person again when it is safe to do so. Our plan involves a phased approach to increasing on-campus activities.

Read the complete Graduate Center Campus Reactivation Plan

We are coordinating our planning closely with CUNY leadership and are following federal, state, city, and CUNY policies and guidelines.

Our campus reactivation plan includes multiple precautions to protect the health and safety of everyone at The Graduate Center and limit the risk of infection, including social distancing, restricted building access, occupancy limits, staggered work schedules, required PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. The plan is a living, breathing document that we expect to evolve over time and in response to local, state, and federal developments.

If you have questions or comments about the plan, please visit our comments page

Read the complete Graduate Center Campus Reactivation Plan or summaries of the key points of the reactivation plan below: 

Five-Phased Plan

On-Campus Requirements

Building Essentials


Classes and Public Spaces


Tracing and Tracking


Five-Phased Plan

The Graduate Center’s five-phased plan has been designed to not only scale forward, but also to scale back should The Graduate Center have to reduce operations or close in the event of an outbreak on campus or if COVID-19 conditions worsen in the region and tighter operational restrictions are put in place by New York state or New York City.CUNY’s Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening will guide the implementation of The Graduate Center’s phased reopening. 

Read more about the Phased Plan for Re-Engagement and Return to Campus ActivityPhased Campus Reactivation | Staged Reopening; and Facilities Information.

Phase 1

In addition to essential personnel reporting for critical operational tasks and/or urgent facility matters, limited personnel may report on site to prepare spaces for phased reopening. This includes general facility maintenance and site safety checks, supply checks, shipping/receiving, accounting, purchasing, and administrative tasks that cannot be done remotely.

All faculty and staff should continue to work remotely during this phase, unless a job-related essential task must be completed onsite. If so, absent an emergency, supervisory approval must be obtained and the plan/schedule reported to John Flaherty (jflaherty@gc.cuny.edu) at least 24 hours in advance, for approval.

Limited personnel may, by appointment, come to campus to pick up materials needed to complete work remotely. Reporting personnel must be authorized for access to The Graduate Center.

Faculty and staff who need to come to The Graduate Center must follow our Building Entry Policy.

Timeframe: Spring 2020-Fall 2020

Maximum Occupancy: 5% of building capacity

Faculty and Staff: Remote

Students: Remote

Phase 2 (Current Status)

Ramp up of critical, time sensitive Graduate Center operations that pose minimal risk of infection to personnel. Preparation for Phase 3.

Projected Timeframe: Current Status

Maximum Occupancy: 15% of building capacity

Faculty and Staff: Restricted: Open only to those unable to work remotely or essential to preparation for Phase 3.

Students: Remote

Phase 3

Gradual increase of on-site academic and administrative personnel and services. Phased and staggered scheduling for faculty and staff, limited departmental access for students. Preparation for Phase 4. 

Projected Timeframe: Fall 2021

Maximum Occupancy: 40% of building capacity

Faculty and Staff: Restricted: Open only to those unable to work remotely, essential to operations scaled in Phase 3, or essential to preparation for Phase 4

Students: Restricted: Approval necessary from Provost & SVP, VP Student Affairs, or Executive Office/Director

Phase 4

Continued gradual increase of on-site academic and administrative personnel and services. Continued phased and staggered scheduling for faculty and staff, expanded, by limited, departmental access for students, Preparation for Phase 5. 

Projected Timeframe: Spring 2022

Maximum Occupancy: 80% of building capacity

Faculty and Staff: Restricted: Open to those unable to work remotely, essential to operations scaled in Phase 4, or essential to preparation for Phase 5

Students: Restricted: Approval necessary from Provost & SVP, VP Student Affairs, or Executive Office/Director

Phase 5

Full campus operations - All Graduate Center students, faculty and staff will have access to the building under new campus and building policies and procedures. These policies and procedures will focus on the health and safety of the community and will include continued social distancing measures.

Infection prevention measures, such as staggered hours, physical contact barriers, continued use of PPE, restricted capacity limits throughout the building, closure of pantries continue to be in place.  The continuation of remote options for classes, programming and administrative functions under new University policies & procedures.

Projected Timeframe: Upon approval of New York State and The City University of New York.

Maximum Occupancy: 100% of building occupancy 

Faculty and Staff: On-Campus

Students: On-Campus

Requirements of All Personnel on Campus

Prior to coming to campus, all personnel must complete and submit a COVID-19 self-assessment. The COVID-19 self-assessment questionnaire is completed each day prior to coming to campus.

While on campus, personnel on campus are required and expected to:

  • Maintain social distancing, a minimum six-foot radial distance from all others, at all times, unless absolutely essential for laboratory safety and only with the use of additional PPE for protection;
  • Wear a face covering or mask while in public or shared spaces on campus; it is mandatory that students, faculty and staff wear masks and/or face coverings while in areas of high congestion of people or where social distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained;
  • Wash hands frequently;
  • Return home if you begin feeling unwell or start experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19.

The Graduate Center’s coronavirus campus coordinator will work with the Office of Human Resources to notify faculty and staff of new workplace policies prior to the start of each phase in the plan, including awareness training on cleaning and disinfection along with proper use of PPE and other precautionary measures.

Read more about Screening and TestingPhysical Distancing GuidelinePersonal Protective Equipment (PPE); Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection; and On Campus Isolation, Transportation, and Tracing


Building Essentials

Floor Plans and Occupancy Limits: Spaces have been reconfigured and occupancy limits have been adjusted to allow for individuals to stay at least six feet apart in all directions. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting: The Graduate Center’s Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning will ensure that daily (or more, depending on use patterns) cleaning and disinfecting takes place.

Restrooms: The restrooms have been reconfigured for appropriate social distancing with the reduction of functioning sinks, stalls, and urinals to ensure appropriate distancing. A number of restrooms within the facility have been reduced to single-use occupancy. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly and more often depending on frequency of use.

Read more about Restart OperationsPhysical Distancing GuidelinesReconfiguration of Floor Plans and Occupancy LimitsHygiene, Cleaning and Disinfection; and Facilities Information.

Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE)

Masks and/or face coverings must be worn inside The Graduate Center at all times, except in closed private offices (when occupied only by assignee) and for as little time as possible while eating, drinking, or changing mask/face coverings when needed. If on-campus personnel do not have masks or gloves, The Graduate Center will supply them.  

Read more about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Classes and Public Spaces


As the pandemic evolves, the campus community will have to work closely together to determine exactly when in person classes will resume. Likewise, when the public programs and events The Graduate Center is known for can return, and the general public can be welcomed back to campus.

Read more about Phased Plan for Re-Engagement and Return to Campus Activity and Phased Campus Reactivation | Classes, Public Spaces and Activities



In Phase 2, faculty/researchers may begin to return to campus to complete research that cannot be done remotely, on a schedule coordinated with their supervisor according to plans approved by Graduate Center leadership. The most urgent and critical experiments should be prioritized, for example, research that is time sensitive because of:

  • Seasonality
  • Approaching deadline (contract, grant deadline/ending, article resubmission)
  • Graduate student nearing completion of their degree
  • Externally funded research

Researchers should clean laboratory benches and equipment used several times throughout their scheduled lab time and must be wipe the area down at the end of each scheduled lab session. Lab schedules must allow for a minimum of one hour between the scheduled start and end times as these spaces must be cleaned before and after every use.

Read more about Phased Plan for Re-Engagement and Return to Campus Activity.


Tracing and Tracking


Any time a student, faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, The Graduate Center will investigate, and follow the University’s reporting policy that includes notifying the state and local health departments and notifying the chancellery/chief operating officer's office and the appropriate campus personnel. The individual will be asked to provide a report of spaces visited and persons they interacted with at The Graduate Center in order for appropriate decontamination and contact tracing or notifications to commence. Further actions will be measured and decided upon by The Graduate Center's Office of Facilities and Public Safety, as well as the associated department. 

Read more about Screening and Testing, and On Campus Isolation, Transportation, and Tracing