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. 

Current status: Phase 1, Stage 2/3.  Bringing equipment back online began June 8th, 2020.  Staff is currently bringing equipment back on-line, testing equipment stability, and testing effectiveness of safety procedures.  Select COVID-19 Orientations are being provided as initiated by Staff contact to selected users.  Please await contact from NFCF Staff for your slot in this training.

Phase 1

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 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 users 

In stage 3, all the NFCF users will be allowed to come back to work at the facility after completion of COVID Orientation training. Social distancing protocols will still be in place. NFCF staff will resume one-on-one tool training. New users training will resume.

Phase 2 is in design, further details to follow.  Please refer back to this website for updates.

Please note that all stages listed in Phase 1 are for existing trained users only.  New access requests, new equipment training for existing users, and expired access protocols are still being determined.

If your access to any equipment expired during the COVID-19 shut down, your experience level will be assessed by staff, and if experience is sufficient, remote viewer software will be used to refresh your training.  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.