Lab Re-opening in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The University has begun repopulating campus in phases. It is critical that we do so carefully and while doing everything we can to maintain the safety of our community. In the King Lab, we will operate by the following guidelines and principles below.
- Our lab will be an example of best practices no matter what is happening in other labs. If the university community rushes to repopulate campus, the likelihood of a resurgence is high. We all want to go back to “business as usual” and you might hear about or witness people coming to campus who could complete their work remotely, or other careless actions contrary to our shared goal of limiting possible spread of COVID-19. While this will feel unfair, our lab will not contribute to this risk and we will continue to operate according to our guidelines even if others do not.
Anyone who is able to work remotely must do so. This minimizes the risk both to those of us working remotely and to those of us that must be in the lab to complete our work. If you are encountering limits to your productivity due to technology, please communicate those to the lab so we can identify solutions.
Transitioning to working remotely will be challenging for most of us. We will set up regular meetings via Zoom and check in with each other via Slack often. Let's plan to take some time each week to discuss strategies for reaching our goals during this time and to think creatively and collaboratively about how we can continue to do great science and keep those around us as safe as possible.
In Person Work
Performing in person work is purely voluntary. If you wish to return to in person work, you must communicate this to Dr. King, and work with her to submit a formal request for approval. We will strictly follow the University of Missouri Behavior Guidance During Pandemic.
Anyone beginning experiments during this time should have a plan in place for if campus shuts down again. I hope we all remember how quickly this occurred in March. If the rate of new cases rises and/or cases emerge on campus, a shutdown will likely occur again. These scenarios are real possibilities and are part of why it is so important that we all do our best to ensure that those of us working in person are doing so out of real necessity and not simply because it would be inconvienent for us to work remotely.
Under no circumstances should you come to work (or go anywhere) if you are sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms. You should also not have any contact with other lab members. This is always the case but is especially important as we try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
If you do need to come to lab to perform work, wash your hands before and after doing any lab work. Disinfect any shared surfaces you have used with 70% ethanol including door and cabinet handles. You must wear a cloth mask in any shared spaces outside of the lab, including the elevator, the bathroom, etc. You may wear your own mask provided it follows CDC guidelines, otherwise, the lab will provide one for you.
We will not have more than three people in the same lab space at a time. Our schedule is on the google sheet pinned in our Lab Slack as well as detailed information about the lab spaces. No one is allowed to be in Tucker Hall if it is not on the schedule. We will also coordinate with other members of the 4th floor Tucker to ensure we do not have too many people in shared spaces. Anytime that more than one person is in the lab, they must wear a cloth mask and maintain a minimum of 6 feet apart, preferably further if possible.
If you are responsible for any lab work and you become ill, become aware of exposure, or are concerned about an increased risk to yourself or someone you have regular contact with, do not come to the lab and please communicate with the lab so we can cover your lab work (back up people are on our schedule). I know we are all committed to helping each other through this. Please ask for help before trying to take care of labwork yourself if any of these things are true for you.
I hope we all feel we can talk openly about this and how it might impact us or our work. Let's support each other, remain flexible in our plans, and to be ready for changes to the situation. Remember, prepare, don’t panic.