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COVID-19 Research Resources for Laboratories

This page contains Division of Biological Sciences guidelines as well as collections to campus resources.

Campuswide Guidance for Research Laboratories

  • Masks/face coverings must be worn on campus at all times (indoors or outdoors), unless an individual is working in a private office with the door closed or actively eating/drinking while socially distanced. 
  • All researchers working on campus are required to wear a mask, socially distance, complete daily symptom screenings, and participate in mandatory asymptomatic testing regardless of vaccination status. 
  • As of April 1st, 2021, UCSD has started the gradual repopulation of campus. Phase 1 of the repopulation is focused on faculty and research staff. This process aims to increase access to campus laboratories, offices, and other spaces for academic and research work. With this in mind, density restrictions based on square footage or number of individuals per aisle/lab bay are no longer in place. Instead, labs should strive to have no more than 50% of their personnel (includes red, orange, yellow, and green phase personnel) on campus at one time and ensure researchers are following social distancing and mask/face covering protocols.
  • No labs should reduce access at this time. For labs where 50% of personnel would result in a decrease in laboratory access, the density guideline of 1 individual per 150 sqft may be used instead. 
  • As of March 2021, laboratories must fill out a Research Lab Visitor Form [DOC] for all essential visitors to lab spaces (including technicians, collaborators, film crews, etc.) who are not on their Research Ramp Up plan. Neighboring labs should also be notified of any visitors who will be coming to your laboratory spaces.
  • All laboratories are required to post the EH&S mandated “Room Entry Requirements” signage at each lab door. Each lab occupying a space must post this sign with the PI name, PPE requirements, and maximum room occupancy. Horizontal [PDF] and vertical [PDF] versions of the sign are available for download.
  • Upon returning to working on campus, all individuals must complete the online “COVID-19 Return to Work” training course. This course is available on UC Learning. Individuals planning on returning to work on campus must complete this course to comply with Cal/OSHA return to work guidelines.
  • In accordance with county symptoms tracking guidelines, all faculty, staff, and students working in laboratories must complete the COVID-19 symptoms checker before coming to campus each day. Registration for the symptoms checker and a direct link to the checker can be found at the COVID-19 Symptom Screening website. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms on a day you are planning to come to work, please complete the symptoms screener in order to alert the EOC of your symptoms, contact the nurse hotline phone number provided, and stay home.
  • As of December 21, 2020, staff, faculty and students who are coming to campus must participate in weekly, mandatory asymptomatic testing for COVID-19. More testing details can be found on the Return to Learn testing document
  • As of February 2021, the CDC recommends "double-masking" to decrease the possibility of COVID-19 transmission. It is suggested to wear a surgical mask with a proper filter underneath a well-fitting fabric mask. The filtration and fit of your mask  are equally important to effectively prevent COVID-19 transmission. 
  • In person events, including lab and research meetings, have been restricted through May 31st, 2021. This includes both indoor and outdoor meetings, and meetings that are on or off campus. All laboratory meetings should continue to be conducted in a virtual format until further notice, regardless of the vaccination status of meeting attendees. More information on in person events can be found online
  • As of February 2021, campus is in the process of vaccinating campus employees, including BioSci researchers working on campus. If you are currently approved to work on campus and have not received a vaccination invitation email, please reach out to the BioSci Safety Office ( lam023@ucsd.edu).
  • Each individual in a lab must review their lab’s research ramp up plan prior to returning to work on campus. The plan must be adhered to at all times.
  • If an individual is sick and/or believes they have had exposure to COVID-19, they must stay home from work.
  • Regularly disinfect your work areas with an EPA approved disinfectant. This includes disinfecting lab benches/equipment/desks/etc at the start and end of each shift.
  • If an individual in a laboratory tests positive for COVID-19, the laboratory PI/leader will be contacted by the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) to plan the next steps. These next steps will always include disinfection and contact tracing.
    • EOC staff will evaluate and gather information on the case. With this information the EOC staff and Facilities Management will execute a disinfection plan.
      • During disinfection, affected areas will be “Out of Service” for cleaning and occupants must vacate these areas. Access may be restricted until cleaning has been completed.
      • Disinfection would typically take 24 hours during the work week, but could take up to 48 hours.
    • The Department of Family and Public Health’s Contact Tracing Team will review and lead the contact tracing effort.
      • Patient confidentiality will be maintained and all “close contacts” of the positive case will be contacted.
      • Additionally, all positive COVID-19 cases are required to be reported to San Diego County Public Health Services by the testing center. Close contacts will likely be contacted by both the county and the UCSD team, in order to ensure the health and safety of the county and campus communities.
      • If there is a positive case within a lab and additional staff are not contacted, they are not considered a close-contact and can continue to work on campus, following the general precautions recommended to all individuals and making sure to closely monitor their health.

Research Ramp Up Plans

  • The Research Ramp Up Blink web page provides a comprehensive overview and guidance for research ramp up
  • As of April 2021, 50% of a laboratory's personnel (as indicated in their research framework) can be on campus at one time. 
  • As of March 2021, the Research Ramp Up team is encouraging PIs to update their plans to include all personnel working remotely and on campus.
  • As of March 2021, Teaching Faculty who would like access to campus to utilize their private offices should submit a Work Health Management Form.
  • More information on current research ramp up developments can be found on Blink.
  • The Guidelines for Research Ramp Up at UC San Diego [PDF] is a guidebook developed by the Research Continuity Task Force guided by recommendations from infectious disease experts, the World Health Organization, the CDC, and state and local public health experts.
  • Before a laboratory can being on campus operations, they must complete their research ramp up plan.
  • After submission, all research plans must be approved by a lab’s section chair and dean. Plans may also be reviewed by the Office of Research Affairs and campus EH&S. When a lab’s plan is approved, they will receive an email from AVC Faith Hawkins. Only once a plan has been approved may labs proceed with their proposed plan.
  • Amendments to plans may become necessary. Guidelines for making minor or major revisions to a research plan have been outlined.
  • Once a plan has been approved, labs are eligible to receive a one time supplies kit of PPE and sanitization supplies. Submit a Return to Research Supplies Form [PDF] to request this kit

Division Guidelines

  • The Division of Biological Sciences requires all faculty, staff and students to wear a face covering/mask at all times when they are on campus (indoors or outdoors), unless they are working in a private office with the door closed.
  • Social Distancing must be observed at all times. Individuals should stay at least 6 feet apart. When outside near lab buildings, individuals must continue to socially distance and wear face coverings.
  • Division controlled conference rooms are currently available for individuals to use. Please sign in using the posted sign-in sheet if you utilize a conference room. Rooms must be sanitized by the user before and after use. Masks must be worn at all times while using the conference rooms. Sanitization supplies and instructions have been provided. Conference rooms should not be used for laboratory meetings at this time. 
  • The Biology Safety Office will be conducting biweekly, unannounced building walkthroughs to ensure everyone is maintaining social distance and everyone is wearing masks/face coverings. These walkthroughs will be documented and repeated violations will be communicated to section chairs.
  • All standard safety practices must still be observed, including the continued use of standard PPE (lab coats and safety glasses).
  • All division safety policies apply to researchers working on campus regardless of vaccination status. 

Campuswide Forms and Resources

Questions or concerns? Contact your Division Safety Officer at safetyofficer@biology.ucsd.edu or (858) 333-9791.