For up-to-date information on the UW response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit the University of Washington Coronavirus website. Please note that we are working to update this information in light of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” executive order on 3/23/20.

Last updated 3/26/20

Research teams should have a health and safety plan in place. These plans should be written documents that detail what the research team is doing to maximize health and safety of all research team members in cases where more than one person is using laboratory space (e.g., wet lab, dry lab, office).  Plans should be adapted to the particular situation, and should include the following:

  1. Keep your communal spaces clean and ensure appropriate social distancing behaviors, e.g.,
    1. Allow employees opportunities to opt out and provide alternative coverage plans for essential services.  Ask individuals who are sick, or are in high risk groups, to access remotely.
    2. Find ways to give people more physical space.  Make sure the work space is configured to allow for social distancing, or a 6 foot distance between people.
    3. Practice good hygiene.
      1. Stay home if you feel sick.
      2. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
      3. Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
      4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    4. Make tissues, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies available.  Please announce the availability and location of supplies to all team members.
    5. Make sure personal protective equipment (e.g., lab coats, eye protection) are individually assigned (i.e., not communal) and are laundered as appropriate. Consider purchasing gloves for the use of community equipment (e.g., microscopes).
    6. Identify all high touch surfaces in the lab (e.g., table tops, chair arms, door handles, light switches; lab equipment, keyboards, laptops) and disinfect them before and after meetings or use. Standard cleaning products are effective against COVID-19.
    7. Schedule communal use equipment such that appropriate cleaning can take place before and after use.
      1. Cleaning computer equipment = removing the built up finger gunk/grime on your keyboard, mouse, or trackpad.  A typical and recommended cleaning solution to use is Windex.
      2. Disinfecting computer equipment = removing the possible germs and virus on your keyboard, mouse, or trackpad.  A typical and recommended disinfecting solution is lab grade alcohol.
      3. Apply cleaner/disinfectant to a clean paper towel.  A few simple dabs directly on to the power towel is fine; do not saturate.  Using your finger against the paper towel, clean the keys, mouse, external surfaces of a laptop and other areas.
      4. Do NOT use cleaner/disinfectant on your screen.  Most chemicals will actually destroy a screen.  If screens are regularly touched and need to be disinfected, use iKlear.
  2. Communicate when you will not be working. Individuals do not have to share private health information, but you do need to tell your supervisor and employees if you will not be working as you would under normal circumstances to ensure essential services are covered.

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