Research Intensification Plan: Summer 2020

Updated: July 2 at 9:00 a.m.

As Arizona eases restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, ASU Knowledge Enterprise recognizes that our community is eager to increase on-campus research, experimentation and study.

While ASU continues to recommend telework as the preferred option for personnel, we are beginning a measured approach to ramp up research activities that cannot be completed remotely. These research activities are in addition to the ongoing, on-campus critical tasks related to research facility management and security, animal care and COVID-19 testing and research efforts.

Process for increasing on-campus researchprocess map

To ramp up on-campus research activities, responsible faculty members will:

Responsible faculty members will be asked to submit lab safety plans to increase on-campus work. Lab safety plans must include schedules and occupancy plans to minimize the number of people in any one room at a time in accordance with the COVID-19 Research Facilities Guidelines and additional plans and associated assignments to ensure compliance with all applicable policies and guidelines. 

The research projects and associated labs ramping up activities first will be determined at the college, unit, department level. Proposals will be reviewed and approved by the appropriate chair and dean or institute leadership. 

Once activities are approved, a plan to implement them will be developed by the On-Campus Research Oversight Committee. Though lab safety plans are an important part of this implementation, the committee will ensure that the building and common areas are ready for occupancy based on university guidance for cleaning protocols, signage and other required facilities modifications. 

Responsible faculty will receive a date to increase on-campus research and activities will be continuously monitored to remain aligned with the most recent public health guidance.

As the health, safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority, please review all guidelines and procedures included here prior to on-campus research.

General guidelines

Stay up to date on safety guidelines.

Review guidelines for appropriate use of face coverings, respirators and other PPE. These guidelines will be updated based on CDC and other public health recommendations, so please review periodically.
Adhere to the following guidelines and checklists to help keep our community healthy and safe:

All faculty, staff and students participating in increased on-campus research must attend ASU Community of Care training. This training is designed to:

  • Discuss personal wellness, self-health assessments and reporting COVID-19 exposure.
  • Provide information on ASU’s efforts to prepare the campus for return. 
  • Provide steps you can take to do your part, including social distancing and wearing cloth face covers.
  • Provide information on personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfection.

Upcoming trainings include:

Wednesday, July 8, 2-3 p.m. | Register in advance for this webinar
Friday, July 10, 11 a.m. to noon | Register in advance for this webinar
Tuesday, July 14, 11 a.m. to noon | Register in advance for this webinar
Wednesday, July 15, 2 to 3 p.m. | Register in advance for this webinar 
Please note that the Zoom links are unique for each training and attendees MUST REGISTER in advance for these live, Zoom-based trainings. Additional training slots can be found at ASU Events by searching "ASU Community of Care training."

Ensure adequate supplies are available to safely conduct research.

The protocol for regular cleaning of lab surfaces and equipment can be found here. Labs will be provided with appropriate cleaning supplies and materials to perform regular cleaning during and between shifts.
Verify availability of required Personal Protective Equipment, chemicals, and other lab ware prior to work.
Plan for limited PPE, including face covers, face shields, and gloves (and – where needed for research purposes or animal allergies – N-95 respirators).
If you have questions about supply availability, or if you encounter issues finding certain items, please contact ASU Procurement.

Proceed with a measured and cautious approach.

Given the need for staggered schedules and reduced personnel, please maintain reasonable expectations for the level of research activities and outcomes.

Research group leads should maintain plans for reverting to a more restricted level of activity in the event that public health guidance is updated.
Communicate with other research teams regarding shared equipment and spaces to ensure consistency in scheduled use and cleaning protocols.
Continue following all other applicable lab safety protocols. If research is conducted by a single individual in a lab situation where, under normal circumstances, two or more people are present, notify at least one person outside the lab as a safety precaution prior to beginning that work and upon finishing.
Review Chemical Hygiene Plan, chemical SOPs and biological SOPs, and ensure all lab members have reviewed and signed them.
Ensure availability of Safety Data Sheets for any cleaning and disinfecting chemicals being used.

Develop digital methods for training and monitoring.
Make use of available digital tools and remote strategies to maintain appropriate physical distancing. For instance:
  • Demonstrate and supervise lab activities through Zoom.
  • Record yourself performing lab techniques and narrate using Zoom for asynchronous training.
  • Use webcams to monitor use of equipment.
  • Remotely access instrumentation when possible to reduce occupancy in lab areas.
Review status of lab equipment.

Prior to resuming research activities:

  • Check that all incubators, refrigerators, freezers, liquid nitrogen freezers and other alternative storage methods are functioning correctly.
  • Review equipment manuals for safe startup instructions of equipment that was powered down.
  • Review equipment status and safely release or mitigate any stored-up energy sources.
  • Check your biological safety cabinet (BSC) certification date. Assure that, prior to use, your BSC has been certified within the last year. 
  • Check your chemical fume hood (CFH) certification date and the functionality of your fume hood monitor. Assure that, prior to use, your CFH has been certified within the last year. Report any issues to your maintenance provider.