COVID-19 Reopening Plan - Phases

The NFCF Facility will Reopen in phases, ramping up over time.

Dates of implementation of the following phases are pending approval from the appropriate University of Pittsburgh authorities. 

After completion of COVID-19 protocol training, with relation to any equipment access expiry, you may request your experience level to be assessed by staff, and if experience is sufficient, remote viewer software will be used to refresh your training.  Our equipment access does expire automatically at 6 months no-use, for protection of our equipment.  Experienced existing users will need to communicate their needs at the time of their COVID-19 trainings- this will include assessment of eligibility for this type of retraining, and if applicable will be followed with scheduling with staff.

Current status: Stage 3/3

Stage 1 - bringing facility/tools back up and establishing hygiene protocols to eliminate cross contamination.

 During this initial phase, the 6 technical staff will work in two teams (Team A and Team B). The teams will work on different days; Team A (M-W) and Team B (Th-Sat). As the equipment will become operational and qualify, NFCF “advance users” will be able to start getting access to the tools. In addition, NFCF staff will start to perform remote user work (fee for service). 

In order to get access to the facility users will need to participate in “COVID Orientation training” through Zoom/TEAMS, the times will be provided to selected candidates by direct email contact. 

NFCF created new tool booking/usage protocols that will control number of users in each space to comply with social distancing guidance. During Zoom orientation training the new tool scheduling protocols will be reviewed and they will be posted on PINSE website (

No one-on-one equipment training will be provided at this stage.

Stage 2: Admittance and COVID protocols training of advanced internal users 

In stage 2, the staff will continue to work in shifts providing operational support to advanced users and performing remote user work (fee-for-service), number of advanced users back to the facility will gradually increase.  No one-on-one equipment training will be provided at this stage. This stage will continue until all advanced users are able to access the resources. 

The decision as to which users are granted access to the facility in Stage 1 and Stage 2 will be decided by NFCF staff in cooperation with the PI's. We will be considering a number of issues, including the research group's/PI's dependence on the facility (based on group monthly/yearly usage), the impact on a junior faculty members research progress, the proximity of a student's graduation date, and the type of equipment demands. The staff is committed to working with the PIs so that we can help the research of everyone get back on track.

Stage 3: Admittance and COVID protocols training for all internal users 

New Protocols education

NFCF facility staff will create a document with the new COVID-based protocols for safe resource usage. Users will be required to attend a ZOOM orientation training to review new rules, this way we will ensure that the users were informed in person on the changes, and outcomes if they were not to follow the new rules. Only after attendance of the orientation training will users be granted access to tools reservation and usage.

In addition to ZOOM orientation, COVID protocols will be accessible on the PINSE/NFCF website. A new COVID webpage will be created will all the new protocols.