Next stage in opening up science labs

June 16, 2020

Dear Science Colleagues:

This week, the COVID-19 Task Force conducted a review of the first three weeks of Phase 1a: Scaling Up in the Sciences.  I know that finally getting back into the labs with the new guidelines in place has been a challenge and adjustment, but your commitment to safety by rigorously applying these guidelines is impressive and most appreciated.  

The three week evaluation showed that there is opportunity for improvements in the following areas:
- Ensuring that all lab members rigorously adhere to the logging procedures (logging in AND out)
- Ensuring masks are worn at all times (outside of the authorized exceptions)
- Collaboratively working with Facilities to continue to refine cleaning procedures
All in all the three week review and the continued improving conditions in the state will allow us to enter Phase 1b on June 22.  This will permit the following new activities in the science labs:
 
1. To clarify a Phase 1a guideline: effective immediately new rotation students, postdocs, and staff are allowed in the lab if they have completed all necessary training including the COVID-19 & Lab Safety Training.  They must be written into your protocol before they will be authorized to enter and adhere to all other elements of the Phase 1a Scaling Up Guidelines.

2. Trained, paid undergraduates (including those on fellowship) can commence in-person activities in the labs on Monday, June 22.  These personnel must complete the COVID-19 & Lab Safety Training and be written into your protocol before they will be authorized to enter.  They must adhere to all other elements of the Phase 1a Scaling Up Guidelines.  Unpaid undergraduates, including those working on their thesis, are not permitted yet into the labs.

3. External collaborators may be allowed into the lab on a case-by-case basis.  Explicit permission from the Provost is required, as is a Waiver of Liability.

All other guidelines outlined in Phase 1a remain in full effect including:
  • Only lab spaces are included in phase at ~⅓ density; offices are NOT open for work that can be conducted remotely.  I encourage those PIs who have approved protocols to come to their labs occasionally to ensure that all protocols and guidelines are implemented and followed.
  • In-person work in the labs during this phase continues to be voluntary
  • All Authorized personnel must:  
(1) be in the lab of a PI with an approved COVID-19 Scale Up protocol
(2) be named in the protocol
(3) have completed the COVID-19 training and done the assessment
(4) complete the health self-assessment every day before they go to campus
(5) fill out the lab log form every time that they arrive at and depart from campus
(6) follow the work schedule set by the PI
To modify or submit a lab protocol, please email a PDF of the protocol to c19labs-group@brandeis.edu with the changes highlighted.  

We will again be conducting a review of Phase 1b after 3 weeks’ time.  We value your feedback as we enter this new phase, so please do not hesitate to share with me directly or with the COVID-19 Science Lab group, who can help to resolve many concerns.

Best regards,
Lisa

Lisa M. Lynch
Provost and Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy
Brandeis University