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Sustaining Safe, Research-Related Activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. In March 2020, we rapidly reduced on our-campus research-related activities, and in May 2020, we began a gradual increase in these activities. Now, we must be prepared to reduce activities again, if needed. It remains critical that all researchers and units have a responsive and responsible plan for conducting research that ensures a balance of safety and health while also continuing research developments, with the former outweighing the latter. The document below provides guidelines for the creation of unit-level research plans. Again, these instructions will be updated regularly.

Please visit Office of the Senior Vice President for Research website for frequent updates → →

Getting Back into the Labs

You Must Make a Reservation to Use ANY Lab and conference rooms (as overflow office space) in the MSC Building!

Click here to get started

(For lab and conference room reservations, you will be directed to authenticate through PSU Web Access and redirected to the online portal for details.)

General Considerations:

  1. The number at the end of the lab name in parentheses is the maximum allowable number of people in that room at any one time.  We anticipate that this number will go up as social distancing restrictions are eased.

  2. Please reserve all time you anticipate being in a lab.  The reservation is for time in the lab not time the experiment may run.

  3. When signing up for time, please be conscientious of others who need to accomplish work as well.  Do not sign up for more time than you need or overlap time with another.  Be conscientious to fellow researchers and negotiate with fellow researchers if time conflicts occurs.  It is not appropriate to dominate time utilization. 

  4. It is critically important that if you feel ill at all, then you should not go to work.  Work at home and let your supervisor know.  Remember that you are responsible not only for you own safety, but for the safety of every other occupant in the building. 

  5. When entering the lab or using any space in the building, you are required to clean the areas where you will be working with provided spray.  You are also required to re clean upon exiting.  

  6. Researchers should be in the building only when they are conducting experiments in labs.  If you are doing computer work, please do that at home. If you are waiting for an experiment to run, please communicate with office/cubicle mates to make sure they are aware that you are in a desk.  No more than 1 person in an office or cubicle at a time. For overflow office space, please reserve commons space or conference rooms as needed.

  7. If using a core facility, you must reserve your lab time first and then make a reservation on equipment via RIMS. This is done because in some labs there are more than 1 piece of equipment and we want to maintain safe distancing. 


Lab Reservations Process and Requirements:

  1. Researchers can only make reservations for approved research.  Verify with your PI and insure all appropriate project paper work has been submitted and approved before reserving.

  2. Click on the link to the room calendar for your lab.

  3. Pick the time you would like to reserve.

  4. Fill out the reservation information, including your buddy if working in the building with no one around and PI’s email address. Your information is auto populated by your login. In the description, please include the project you are working on and a brief description of the work you will be doing and the equipment you will be using.

  5. If your needs change, please cancel or edit the time for your reservation ASAP. Note, reservations changes are disruptive to other researchers and staff. If no shows or cancels are misused, there may be consequences for researchers.

  6. Dynamics behind sharing lab space - we realize that many of the labs in the building are shared space and expect that sharing will continue in a positive aspect with great communication.

  7. When you arrive at the lab, you will be required to swipe into the lab room. Please do not use the service corridors as pass throughs to other labs as all of those doors are locked and will remain so.

  8. Consequences of an outbreak - In the even that someone within the building is diagnosed with Covid-19, the university has established the protocol that the lab will be cleaned and the room will be off limits for 7 days.

MRI is taking making the safety of people working in the building a number one priority. The conditions that have been implemented are meant to push research forward and protect all from potential spreading of the virus. It is everyone's responsibility to report unsafe practices such as not wearing required PPE and not sanitizing appropriately. Please use MRI's safety reporting tool to help us keep research active in the building and to protect us all.
Reporting unsafe practices can be submitted anonymously:
→ Safety Infraction Reporting Form

Due to social distancing requirements, conference rooms are being converted to overflow offices space that can be used by reservation.  If you share an office and one of your office mates will be in the office, you can reserve a conference room temporarily while you are in the building doing experiments.  Swipe card access will be on for these rooms.  They are not available for meetings until notified otherwise.