COVID-19 Information

Thayer Guidelines for Research Lab Reopening (Phase 1)

Date: May 21, 2020

From: Dean Abramson

I am following up on the document released earlier this week: Guidelines for Reopening Laboratory-Based Research: Phase I (pdf). A separate communication is forthcoming regarding ongoing protocols for non-lab-based work (e.g. course delivery) in Thayer buildings. 

For those of you working in Thayer-affiliated labs, please adhere to all the guidelines outlined in Dartmouth’s Guidelines document. In addition, please follow the supplementary Thayer guidelines and instructions below. At the end of this email are additional links to useful information and forms necessary for the reopening process.

EHS protocols 

As outlined in the Guidelines document, all PIs must complete the COVID-19 laboratory safety protocol worksheet (docx) and submit it to EHS, and CC to all lab members. Additionally, please “cc” Jon Stark (jon.stark@dartmouth.edu). PLEASE submit your form by 5:00pm on Friday, May 22 to provide our facilities staff enough time to prepare accordingly.

Access to buildings and weekly schedule

At this time, laboratory research should only be conducted M–F from 8:00am–6:00pm. Only one researcher per PI is allowed in the lab at a time. There should be a 30-min gap between researchers. For multi-PI labs, a separate protocol needs to be submitted to EHS before lab use is allowed. (Please contact Ian at ian.baker@dartmouth.edu for more information.)

In addition, we are asking Thayer PIs to enter their weekly personnel schedule on the Thayer Lab Scheduling form. For Week 1, the form must be completed by Friday, May 22. For subsequent weeks, please complete the same form on the Wednesday prior to the week following. Because our facilities staff will be using this schedule to enable key card access to the building, it is imperative that this step be completed on time. Approved researchers should only access the building during their scheduled time. Finally, note that faculty, staff, and students can still apply for exemptions for one-time visits to Thayer by completing the Use of Thayer Facility Exemption form

Thayer researchers weekly schedule can be accessed through the Lab Schedule Output.

Self-Quarantine guidance

Please remember that individuals who are returning to campus from outside of NH/VT must self-quarantine, according to State guidelines (pdf) for 14 days before returning to campus. Anyone who initiates travel domestically outside of NH/VT must follow current guidance before returning to work. 

Screening

As described in the Guidelines document, all Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students approved to come to campus must take their temperatures and check-in via Dartmouth’s online screening tool each day you plan to come into campus, and comply with any guidance provided by the tool. Researchers working in DHMC-associated buildings also may be required to participate in additional screening upon entering the building — please comply with both Dartmouth and DHMC requirements for screening.

Graduate student offices

Graduate students may not use their carrels at this time. 

Bathrooms and common spaces

Open common spaces, stairway railings, and bathrooms will be cleaned every 2 hours when buildings are open. 

Buddy system

When one person is alone in the lab (which will be the case for most research groups), he/she must use a virtual “buddy system.” You can decide what system might work best for your group, but others have had success keeping a live Zoom connection open with another person during the duration of one’s shift. We encourage you to discuss with your group what to do if a “buddy” is not answering communication, including checking in with other lab group members in the vicinity (see the Thayer lab schedule) or calling Safety and Security at +1 (603) 646-4000. 

Face coverings

Face coverings are required outside the laboratory (e.g. in hallways and bathrooms) and wherever physical distancing cannot be maintained. If you are in need of face coverings, we have a supply in the Instrument Room (MacLean 025) that you can access between 7:30am–3:30pm M–F. These are washable face coverings. Please limit yourself to no more than two, for now. We should have additional supplies in the coming weeks. If you need to enter the building without a face covering, please go directly to the Instrument Room by entering through the MacLean main entrance (near the reception desk). 

Disinfection supplies

All disinfection supplies will be provided to you and will be placed at or near each paper towel dispenser located in laboratory (and other) spaces. As a reminder, see the disinfection guidelines (pdf)

Food

To avoid contamination, food may not be consumed in the labs or typical common spaces. Instead, we are asking that everyone eat in the Couch Lab in the MacLean building. Please sit one person per table. There will be disinfecting supplies for you to clean your area before and after you eat. We also encourage eating outside when possible.  

Alternative work arrangements

Individuals scheduled to perform research on campus, but who are concerned about health risks, may request an alternative work arrangement through institutional processes for seeking disability-based accommodations. To discuss such issues further, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to contact the following people. Discussions can remain confidential if requested:

Exception requests

We acknowledge that many of you have special needs pertaining to your research that may not be specifically covered by these guidelines or differ from what we have discussed in previous communications. If you need to discuss a potential exception, please contact Ian Baker (ian.baker@dartmouth.edu). 

Many thanks to all of you for all of your efforts and hard work in making the first phase of this reopening process possible. Please continue to reach out to appropriate resources if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Alexis
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Guidelines and Information

Forms

DAILY Screening For All On-Campus Researchers