The School of Medicine leadership team is meeting regularly to assess the latest developments with COVID-19 to modify how we fulfill our educational, research, clinical care and advocacy missions. The school also actively engages with University leadership to coordinate our response with that of the University. We communicate regularly to our faculty, staff, residents, fellows, students and clinical affiliates on changes that affect their participation in School of Medicine programs and activities.
Directives for CUSOM Basic Science Research Labs
March 20, 2020
The university remains open, and SOM research labs should continue their research. Faculty, staff and students are expected to continue to work, with important limitations necessary to ensure the health and continued productivity of our research community. Faculty, staff and students should work from home whenever possible. It is expected that much of the departmental office staff likely could conduct most of their work from home and should do so as much as possible. Undergraduates may not be present in SOM research labs during the current crisis. Laboratories must now move to shift scheduling so that no more than one individual from a faculty member’s lab is present in a lab, room, or defined research area (to be determined by the faculty PI) at the same time. The same principle applies to the use of facilities or spaces shared by multiple labs (cores, etc). Please be mindful of social distancing when interacting with CUSOM core or ARF personnel as well. Chairs will coordinate with faculty PIs to make arrangements to ease the situation as necessary for faculty who have difficulty safely maintaining their research activities given their lab’s space constraints. Each individual must disinfect laboratory doorknobs, refrigerator handles, benches, equipment panels, etc with 10% bleach (prepared fresh weekly) or other disinfectants before departing the lab/room. Careful consideration should be given to managing cleaning and use of shared equipment like computer keyboards. Faculty, SOM core facility directors, lab staff and students should confer through email or other distance means to plan work schedules that allow for research to continue with strict social distancing. A 24-hour period could be segmented in many ways to accommodate all participants.
Personnel who become ill should not come to work but should consult their physician. Personnel with exposures to others’ with COVID-19-like symptoms should not come to work until cleared by consultation with supervisor and health professionals. Our infectious disease experts remind us that a sore throat, cough, fever, or shortness of breath are the most common symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, although some cases present with other symptoms.
Our expectation is that everyone can work their normal workload with these modifications. If any of you know of an employee who cannot work their normal workload (due to scheduling limitations or due to health), please contact HR for assistance in how to handle impacts to compensation and benefits. We want to do our best by everyone. Our generalist is Melissa Martinez. You may also contact Lynne Caruso if Melissa is unavailable.
Everyone is encouraged to be mindful of their daily interactions and how they could affect the CUSOM research mission. Should the COVID-19 virus infect our research community, all SOM research would likely be closed down for some indeterminate period, as has happened at other institutions. We each owe it to the health and safety of our colleagues, friends, family and community – but also to the continued progress of our research - to be smart and careful.