Moving to ORANGE research phase
- The Dean’s office is authorized by Central to lead all phases of the Research Ramp Up, and will be handling all decisions and official notifications regarding readiness and phase transitions.
- We will be informing Central today that EMS is ready for ORANGE, has a properly vetted list of Essential Employees, and has coordinated with OPP that the buildings are safe, sanitized and ready to go.
- ORANGE conditions are authorized ONLY for Penn State locations who are in PA State Authorized YELLOW conditions; no ramp up is yet permitted for RED counties.
- ORANGE conditions are authorized only for a small group of Essential Personnel to return to campus to ensure that critical research and building infrastructure are safe and ready for the return of researchers in the later YELLOW phase
- Please note, the Dean must provide a list of Essential Employees with his affirmation that EMS is ready for ORANGE; PLEASE DO NOT return to the facilities unless you are authorized. The Deans Office is finalizing the lists today with the departments and institutes)
- My office will advocate for a rapid return to YELLOW conditions based on our readiness planning in the ORANGE phase; the sooner we complete that phase, the sooner I can begin advocating.
- OPP will need to give the go-ahead on all of our buildings before we can transition to YELLOW; my office is actively communicating with OPP in this regard
- It’s possible that some buildings may be ready for YELLOW sooner than others; depends on our plan and OPP’s concurrence and ability to adjust the janitorial and maintenance staffing levels.
- Now that buildings are locked, mail service has been modified. All Mail and packages are being delivered to and held at Mail Services.
- As of Monday, March 30th, mail services will be distributing mail (*NOT* delivering to buildings) from 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. everyday.
- *Pick up* will be held behind the Hostetter Building (Business Services) @ the Dock Door
- Each Department/Admin Area should designate one representative to pick up mail - Only one person can enter the building at a time. Reminder – depending on the needs of your unit, you may not need to pick up mail every day. They are asking that one person to pick up everything for that area.
- You will be asked to provide your Penn State ID and Building Address, they will provide you with your department’s mail at that time.
- Please limit ordering to only items needed for essential research or business.
- Please feel free to contact Diane Ault (865-7659 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if questions come up.
Building Lock/Unlock Schedules
- The Governor’s stay at home order, coupled with the guidance from the Office of the Senior Vice President for research indicates that only essential employees who are performing life sustaining functions or essential research are permitted access under these trying circumstances. The general guidance remains that if you can conduct your research remotely, please continue to do so. We recognize that under some circumstances, employees and/or students must visit their labs or offices to retrieve documents, tools and/or materials to perform their work. Likewise, we recognize that some of you may need access to specialized or configured computers and documents on campus.
To accommodate these instances, limited access is permitted. In these instances, it is strongly recommended that:Visits be short in duration and intended only to perform essential functions:
- Virus mitigation measures be maintained such as:
- Laboratory and office densities of not more than one person per 350 sq ft of space (most of our laboratories and all of our offices are sized such that no more than 1-2 people could work there concurrently)
- Maintain an 8 ft distance from other individuals (new recommendation from Eberly College of Science epidemiologists)
- Face masks should be worn while in the buildings.
- If you share offices with others you should arrange with your office mates to be present at different times, or find alternative rooms in which to perform your essential work.
- Sanitize all laboratory and office spaces prior to beginning work and at the conclusion of your work (doors knobs and latches, control panels and other surfaces of instruments, computers, furniture, and equipment. Note that if surfaces are dirty they should first be cleaned and then sanitized.)
- No meetings of any kind should be conducted in person. While working in the lab, it is okay to briefly discuss research with another colleague in the lab, but you should maintain an 8 ft distance during the conversation
- All other meetings (1 on 1, lab meetings, etc.) should be conducted virtually via Zoom or by another remote method.
- Social distancing measures must be maintained:
- The lab PI or supervisor should devise a work plan for essential personnel to minimize density in the lab, to minimize the time spent in the lab to essential work only, and to maintain strict sanitation and hygiene.
- The lab PI or supervisor should have at least one zoom meeting per week with lab personnel to ensure that essential personnel are adhering to these policies.
- Precautionary measures must be respected:
- If you know or suspect that a co-worker is sick and still working in a university building you should report this to your immediate supervisor, department head, or the college HR office immediately. Please refer to this list for more information on reporting steps.
- If you know or suspect that a co-worker is being coerced or forced by their supervisor or colleague to work on campus against their will you should report this to your department head, dean of the college, or college HR office.
- Janitorial personnel are considered essential staff by OPP and are also working on a modified schedule. They are focusing their cleaning efforts on the public areas and in areas where essential work is being done.
- OPP has changed cleaning products to a disinfectant that is even more effective in killing this virus and are being very thorough in cleaning the restrooms and public areas. There is a difference in the residue left by this new cleaner, which might be noticed as a little bit stickier than the previous cleaner.
- Janitorial services is working closely with Environmental Health and Safety on cleaning procedures for any cases of people who are suspected of being infected and have been on campus.
OPP Area Services
- OPP technicians are considered essential staff and are still responding to requests. Requests are being prioritized by importance to essential efforts.
- Construction for renovation projects has been suspended by the state and will continue when the suspension is lifted. Planning is continuing through regularly scheduled meetings through Zoom. Frank Driscoll will serve as contact for these projects. New timelines will be established as construction starts up again.
Shared Gas Tank Area (Hosler Loading Dock for Hosler, Deike, and Steidle)
- This gas bottle storage area is locked, and researchers should plan ahead for their needs. If gas bottles are required for essential research, the lab support staff in Hosler, Deike, and Steidle have a key for access, and will work with you for access.
- If new or replacement gas bottles need to be ordered, please include your contact information on the order, and plan to be available meet the delivery person to accept the new gas bottles.
- It is important that our technical support staff remain accessible and continue to provide onsite lab support and safety oversight. It is possible this can be done in somewhat reduced hours, but the decision on what is appropriate should be worked out between the technical support staff and their supervisor. Safety levels must not be compromised.
Adherence to normal safety practices and policies does not change. In fact, we need to be more vigilant. EH&S has guidance already in place for insuring safety when there are less people around: See page 39 of Laboratory and Research Safety Plan.
7.4.2 Procedures for Working Alone
No one should work alone in a laboratory. More specifically, this means that someone else should be in close proximity (down the hall) and check in periodically on the individual. When it is not possible to have someone close by, the individual should arrange to call someone every half hour to provide updates on their status. Likewise, new lab work that presents hazards should never be done alone.
If faced with a situation where you feel it is necessary to work alone in a laboratory:
- Reconsider the need. Is the work really that critical?
- Reconsider the timing and setup of the work. Can the task be accomplished another time when others will be present?
- If the timing of the task cannot be changed and you still feel it must be accomplished is there any other person trained in laboratory procedures who can accompany you?
- If not, is there anyone else within the building who could act as a “buddy” to check on you periodically during the time that you feel you must work alone?
- If no one can accompany you and you cannot find a “buddy,” do not proceed with the work. Speak to your PI/supervisor to make arrangements to complete the work in a safe manner.
7.4.3 Supervision Requirement
Everyone needs to have a supervisor, or someone acting in that capacity, at all times in order to ensure that the supervisory responsibilities listed in Section 3.0 and in SY01 are followed. If a faculty member or supervisor will be out of town, especially long term, someone else must be clearly assigned to take on those responsibilities and be familiar with the activities the individual is doing, including the potential hazards of the work.