Frequently Asked Questions About Reopening Research Laboratories

 

How do I know when I’m approved to return to campus?

You will receive an email from the Vice Dean for Basic Science’s office notifying you of your approval.

What do I need to do to get approved?

First, wait to be notified by your Chair/Director that you are eligible to return to campus. That notification will include detailed instructions for information needed from you, including a listing of your lab personnel and a detailed ramp-up plan that adheres to the General Principles of working onsite. After you submit both of these, your unit and the Dean’s office will review and take steps to ensure your lab may return to work.

Can lab employees do their desk work at home instead of spending time in office space?

Yes. All employees can and should continue to work offsite for all tasks which do not require an on-campus presence. Office use is permissible while onsite for laboratory activities, but should not be the purpose for coming to campus.

Will the School of Medicine supply face masks?

How do I get some? The School of Medicine will provide a supply of face masks to reopening labs once approved. Labs should contact their assigned building coordinator. Cloth face masks are an acceptable alternative in non-clinical settings, and must be laundered after each use.

Can I begin new experiments?

Yes, as long as you are approved to re-start lab activities.

Can I restart my animal program?

Yes, once your laboratory restart is approved.

Can I resume breeding programs as part of my research restart?

Yes, you may re-establish matings for the work that can be achieved under the shift work. In some cases, this will not be a full re-establishment of the colony to pre-COVID levels as the work will be reduced by shifts.

How will FedEx/UPS access my building to pick up shipments and make deliveries?

Delivery drivers can access research buildings through loading docks during business hours by contacting the building’s loading dock coordinator. Labs shipping packages should request a pickup when printing the shipment label to ensure the package is on the driver’s route. Unofficial pickup locations managed in pre-COVID times are no longer regularly monitored by FedEx or UPS.

I need to use a piece of equipment in another building. How do I request access?

All lab members approved to return to SOM research labs should have badge access to general access SOM research buildings. If you need access to a restricted location (e.g., SORF, Carmichael, etc), please email VDBS@duke.edu, and provide your name, Duke Unique ID, lab PI, requested location, and a justification for the request. Please allow 2-3 days for full review and activation, if approved.

My student needs to use a core facility (microscopy, flow cytometry) for the first time. How can my student receive training?

Training practices vary by core facility. Please contact the core directly to discuss training needs and options.

How can I request access for my collaborator to come to my lab?

All building access requests should be submitted by the department (or Center/Institute, if appropriate) responsible for oversight of the lab whose members need to access another location. Lab members approved to return to SOM research labs should have badge access to general access SOM buildings. If a SOM lab member needs to access a restricted location (e.g., SORF, Carmichael, etc), please email VDBS@duke.edu, and provide your name, Duke Unique ID, lab PI, requested location, and a justification for the request. Non-SOM labs (e.g., Pratt, Arts & Sciences, Environment) should follow their management center process for requesting access to SOM research buildings, and may contact their departmental leadership for assistance.

What are vendors being told when coming onsite?

Procurement and Supply Chain Management has provided the following policies and procedures for all vendors:

  • In-person sales calls are permitted only by appointment and encouraged to take place remotely via teleconference if possible
  • If a vendor has symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat, they are not to enter any Duke University building and should contact their primary care doctor for evaluation or referral to a COVID-19 testing site.
  • Vendors are required to wear masks at all times on campus. Any vendor violating this policy will be asked to immediately leave the premises and will be reported to Duke University Procurement for further disciplinary action.
  • Vendors must maintain social distancing at all times on campus with the exception that certain deliveries may require 2 employees to handle the shipment. In the event vendors are observed not maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet, they should be reported to Duke University Procurement for further disciplinary action.

I need to schedule an onsite visit from a vendor to do repairs on equipment. What is the process for doing so?

We understand the need for external equipment maintenance and repair personnel to visit Duke labs as we ramp-up research activities. It is the expectation that all outside service providers will follow Duke’s established sanitation and distancing standards during their time in our facilities and leased spaces. While we have been advised against requiring symptom attestations for external visitors, a good practice would be to ask the service company to provide you with some details regarding the checks/monitoring they are doing with their employees. Keep this information in your records of the repair visit. The following general practices should be employed with outside service personnel:

  • When scheduling the service visit, ask that the technician wear a face mask before entering Duke buildings or leased facilities.
  • Ask your service technician to call you when they arrive at your building and meet them at the entrance or loading dock to let them in.  
  • Have a face mask ready in case the technician is not wearing one.
  • Orient the technician to the location of sanitizing stations.  
  • Explain the safety and distancing practices that must be observed while on campus (i.e., proper mask usage, 6 ft distancing, sanitization practices, etc.).
  • Escort the service technician to the work area; orient them to the location of sinks for hand washing, sanitizer spray or wipes for clean-up, etc.
  • When work is complete, escort the technician out of the building.
  • Report any concerns with contractor behavior to your departmental business office.

Can I have new equipment delivered to my lab?

If so, what instructions should I give the delivery drivers? Yes, deliveries are permitted. Delivery drivers must wear face masks before entering Duke buildings or leased facilities. The following general practices should be employed with outside service and delivery personnel:

  • When scheduling the service visit, ask that the technician wear a face mask before entering Duke buildings or leased facilities. 
  • Ask your technician to call you when they arrive at your building and meet them at the entrance or loading dock to let them in.
  • Have a face mask ready in case the technician is not wearing one.
  • Orient the technician to the location of sanitizing stations. 
  • Explain the safety and distancing practices that must be observed while on campus (i.e., proper mask usage, 6 ft distancing, sanitization practices, etc.).
  • Escort the technician to the work area; orient them to the location of sinks for hand washing, sanitizer spray or wipes for clean-up, etc.
  • When work is complete, escort the technician out of the building. 
  • Report any concerns with contractor behavior to your departmental business office.

How do I add new lab members to my lab profile and get them building access?

Ensure all new lab members are incorporated into your lab’s approved restart plan. Work with your departmental leadership to obtain approval of any new additions. Once approved, forward email backup of that approval, together with the new lab member’s name, Duke Unique ID, email address, and job title to VDBS@duke.edu. Once approved and building access is activated, that individual will receive email confirmation. Please note: building access cannot be established for new hires until they have received a physical Duke Card.

My badge has stopped working to grant me building access. Who do I contact to get the access reinstated?

If you have been approved to return to on-campus lab activities and received an email from VDBS@duke.edu with instructions for returning to work, but your badge has since stopped working, please email nancy.barber@duke.edu the following information:

  • Photo of the front and back of your Duke Card
  • Building location(s) at which you experienced difficulties – please include the card reader number 
  • Date and approximate time of the difficulties

How can I teach new techniques to trainees and new lab members while maintaining appropriate physical distancing?

If you cannot delay the teaching or demonstrate and supervise it virtually, use chemical splash goggles or a face shield for both the trainer and trainee, along with other recommended PPE such as gloves and face masks.

I have a new hire starting soon. How can I get them lab access?

Access to SOM research buildings cannot be established without an individual having a physical Duke Card. In recognition of this detail, new hires are permitted to enter research buildings during the first few days of employment while waiting for access to be programmed. During this initial onboarding, the new employee should enter the building at the loading dock or staffed entrance during normal business hours. Once a Duke Card has been issued, send the new lab member’s name, Duke Unique ID, email address, and job title, along with departmental confirmation that the new hire has been incorporated into the lab restart plan/schedule, to VDBS@duke.edu. Once approved and building access is activated, that individual will receive email confirmation. Importantly, new hires must participate in the daily symptom screening and departure logging for every on-campus visit. Registration for this tool may be done in advance, so departments are encouraged to provide registration information to new hires in advance of their first day onsite.

Can my paid/work-study undergraduate students return to the lab?

Undergraduate students may return to the lab after August 17, 2020, once they have been incorporated into their lab’s approved reopening plan and with approval from departmental leadership. To work onsite, undergraduate students must adhere to Duke’s Guide for Returning to the Workplace and the General Principles implemented by the School of Medicine. Lab reopening plans and schedules should be modified as needed to accommodate the addition of student employees, with special consideration paid to any additional oversight or training needs.

Can I accept undergraduate students for independent study?

After August 17, 2020, in-person independent study will be allowed for juniors and seniors in laboratories that can accommodate undergraduates under the current laboratory reopening plan. This may require revision of the plan and lab schedule, and consideration should be paid to any additional oversight or training needs. To work onsite, undergraduate students must adhere to Duke’s Guide for Returning to the Workplace and the General Principles implemented by the School of Medicine. No restrictions exist for remote independent study, however, please ensure that the proposed research plan meets the guidelines for independent study for the home department of the student.

What do I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?

Duke policy, as well as local and state law, requires the wearing of face masks in public spaces. At Duke, all employees working on-site must wear a face mask or face covering unless the individual is working alone in an office or eating, drinking, or using the bathroom. If you see someone not complying with this requirement, you may ask the individual to wear a mask, contact your building coordinator to report the concern, or contact the anonymous helpline (1-800-826-8109 or use the online form, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). If possible, please include your location (building, floor or general area) and the date and time.

How long will my temporary parking pass be valid?

Where do I park after that time? Temporary parking passes are currently valid through July 31, 2020. Any updates to this timing will be communicated by Parking and Transportation Services. Please contact Parking and Transportation Services at 919-684-7275 or tranpark@duke.edu if you have specific questions about your parking permit, lot, or Duke transportation.

My lab created a detailed schedule as part of our lab restart process. Is there flexibility in this schedule?

Yes, as long as it is approved by the department/institute. For some labs, a standard daily or weekly schedule that does not change over time may be feasible, while others may find the need to vary schedules to accommodate the changing activities occurring within the lab.