23April Update: MDM Information Regarding Covid-19

Thursday, April 23, 2020 9:40 AM

An update on operations has been issued by the Director of Mid-Scale Observatories.  As a tenant to Kitt Peak, we default to following decisions made by the mountain management.  In summary, it looks like we will not be getting back to science until at least 15May (although there will be another update going out on 01May).  If special considerations become a possibility for MDM operations, I will make them known here.  Keep watching for updates.  Stay safe.  Stay well.

Official Statement from the Director of Mid-Scale Observatories below:

Given the ongoing coronavirus threat and evolving US federal and Chilean government guidelines, NOIRLab base facilities will remain closed through at least 15 May and staff will continue to telework. Science operations at the summit sites also remain suspended at this time. We are, however, monitoring the situation closely and will send another update on Friday, 1 May. 
We are developing plans for the restart of our science operations and it seems clear that the restart process will be complex. Some facilities may open before others depending on the level of infection, local regulations, and other circumstances at each site. Our first priority, as always, is ensuring the safety of staff, their families, and others that we work with during the course of operations.
Currently we are consulting the US Center for Disease Control and other official health guidelines to ensure that when we do return to the mountains, we are equipped with the proper protection and ready to implement clear and effective safety procedures. We are likely to take a phased approach with a subset of staff returning to our sites while others continue to telework. Rest assured that we will not reopen our buildings and observatories without proper safety measures in place. We are working closely with the local leaders and safety professionals at each of our sites as we develop our plans.