COVID-19 has impacted all of us in some way. The disruptions shut down most of our research operations in March, and I know you have been eagerly awaiting word on when you can get back. I appreciate your patience.
Since April I have been working with a dedicated team of faculty researchers, administrators and others to put together a plan for you to return to your laboratories. The task force’s main objective was to keep everyone as safe as possible, while increasing research activity in a phased approach. We also adopted several principles to keep us focused on your needs. The phased approach enhances safety and also gives the university the flexibility to scale up or down as changes in the pandemic necessitate.
If you can conduct your research remotely, please continue to do so. For others, we will begin the phased return to laboratories tomorrow, Thursday, May 21.
There will be several things you need to do before you can walk into your lab. In addition to wearing face coverings while on campus, observing physical distancing and washing hands often, there are six steps to getting access and keeping access during this time.
Everyone in your research lab must wear face coverings while on campus. This includes getting to and from your lab, inside your lab (in addition to any face coverings your research requires that you wear) and in any shared common spaces, including elevators. If your research team includes students, they, too, must wear face coverings and remain 6 feet apart from each other, while also regularly washing hands after completing each task and after touching doors and shared surfaces.
As you can imagine, personal protective equipment is in high demand. If you have the necessary face coverings for your team and cleaning supplies to ensure your lab is disinfected, we ask that you use those supplies first.
If you do not have what you need, please call 407-882-7111. UCF’s Department of Emergency Management, with support from Resource Management, is working to source PPE, track requests and disburse items based on need.
Because safety is our priority, you may not enter your lab until you can secure these basic items. With these supplies in hand, you can move onto the six steps to access your lab.
6 Steps for Lab Access
Identify the Tier Your Work Falls Into
Receive authorization from your Associate Dean to gain access to your lab. Authorization is based on the Tiers. Currently, limited activities in Tiers 1-4 have been authorized.
Complete Required Training
Any outstanding EHS training and the new training prepared specifically for COVID-19 – Research Restart EHS222, select the EHSA Login.
No More than One Person Per 200 sq ft.
Schedule no more than 1 person per 200 square feet at any given time, unless there are different safety requirements. The same is true for personnel using any office space linked to your lab.
Keep a copy of your weekly schedule of all lab personnel to help track any potential exposure, should that become necessary.
Human Subject Research
We did not forget about all of our researchers working with human subjects. Your work is equally important, but presents additional challenges amid this pandemic.