City Tech Reopening Plan

Attachment I. Resuming Bio-Sci Research

Biological Sciences Department: Re-opening Plan for Research Facility

Biological Sciences research facility includes rooms A401 and A402 on the fourth floor of the Academic Building.

Rationale: Strategies to minimize exposure to respiratory or airborne droplets or high touch surfaces in order to prevent transmission of COVID-19 virus are necessary to ensure health and safety of all research personnel working in the designated research space.

Phase 1: Pre-entry Procedures Training

Individuals allowed to work in the designated research space will be required to watch the return to campus video and review safety and infection control procedures developed by the EHS office.

Utilization of Research Areas:

Each laboratory room will have a maximum of 8 personnel to ensure social distancing.Rooms A401 and A402 are approximately 2,340 sq ft. and a maximum occupancy of 8 individuals at a time will allow for adequate social distancing. Each room will have the daily schedule of all personnel posted. A sign-in sheet will be available to monitor lab utilization.

Biological Sciences Research Area Schedule Fall 2020
9:00am - 5:00pm
Name Room Tuesday Thursday
Jeremy Seto (PI) A401 X X
Chris Blair (PI) A401 X X
Mimi Zeng A401 X X
Jeevanie Liliah A401 X X
Erika Crispo A401 X X
Joanne Weinreb (PI) A401 X X
Ralph Alcendor (PI) A402 X X
Olufemi Sodeinde (PI) A402 X X
Zongmin Li (PI) A402 X X

Pre-screening at Home:

Prior to reporting to work, all personnel will use NY.GOV to determine whether it is safe to report to the workplace. Employees will answer daily COVID health screening questions and record their temperature based on a mechanism established by the college.

Building Entry:

  • Daily temperature will be recorded of all personnel entering the building
  • At the entrance of the Academic building, the only designated entrance, there will be COVID-19 monitoring stations that will do a thermal scan temperature check.
  • Personnel with temperature lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and with proper face covering will be allowed to access the building and research areas.
  • Access to the fourth floor research area will be using escalator only. Social distancing (6 feet) will be observed during the use of escalator and the handrails of escalator will be disinfected every two hours by the building staff.
  • Freight elevators will be designated to stop at each floor for handicap accessibility.
  • All personnel arriving on the fourth floor will sanitize their hands using mounted hand sanitizing liquid.
  • All research personnel will proceed to the designated laboratory space.

Inside Rooms A401 and A402

  1. Social Distancing:
    • Social distancing between individuals will be maintained at all times according to CUNY guidelines
    • Due to social distancing requirements, there will be no more than 8 individuals per research room at any given time. Students will be allowed only under the supervision of their PIs.
    • Each person working in the research area will be assigned a lab bench and will maintain a distance of 6 feet from any other individual in the laboratory.
  2. Face Covering:
    • All laboratory personnel must wear protective face covering at all times.
    • Biology laboratory personnel are well trained in the use of personal protective equipment and will use those as required including disposable nitrile gloves, lab coats, safety goggles or face shields.
  3. Personal Hygiene and Disinfection Guidelines:
    • College will establish cleaning and disinfection policies handled by Buildings & Grounds.
    • Buildings and Grounds will ensure cleanliness of bathrooms, availability of soap, and use of appropriate signage. They will also provide soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectants in the laboratories.
    • Laboratory personnel will be reminded of proper hygiene and disinfection techniques according to CDC and CUNY guidelines; all personnel will wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before commencing any work, wear gloves where needed, discard gloves and wash hands for at least 20 seconds at the end of the shift, and to wear face coverings at all times during their stay in the lab and in the building.
    • All computer keyboards, computer mouse, and other equipment must be disinfected by the laboratory personnel after use.

Campus and Laboratory Specific Pre-entry Guidelines

Campus will implement health and safety measures in buildings containing laboratories.

  • Laboratory waste removal will be scheduled with EHSOs. All laboratory waste containers should be empty before lab resumption. This was the case prior to the shutdown.
  • The EHSO will complete a health and safety inspection for the designated research areas, A401 and A402, and report findings to Chair and Dean prior to resumption of research activities by laboratory personnel.
  • Campus personnel (Buildings and Grounds) will determine the functionality of the infrastructure, elevator, HVAC, gas line, water supply and drainage. Along with EHSO, they will ensure proper ventilation, air flow, air exchanges and air quality in laboratories and shared research spaces.
  • Campus personnel will also check the functionality of safety equipment including fire safety systems, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, high-level alarms, safety showers, eye washes, and spill kits. They will inspect storage tanks, boilers, generators, cooling towers, chemical and waste storage areas, and other potential hazards.

Laboratory-Specific Guidelines

EHSO will set up a meeting with each PI or a group of PIs/laboratory personnel prior to restarting work.

Laboratory personnel will review the chemical hygiene plans and other health and safety protocols to address potential lab hazards and specific PPE needs (www.citytech.cuny.edu/health-safety/health-safety.aspx; andwww.cuny.edu/research/student-resources/laboratory-safety-manual/)
EHSO will place signage based on COVID-19 guidelines in labs before resumption.

Laboratory personnel will perform only essential laboratory work, which cannot be done remotely. These include wet lab experiments in biology that requires use of reagents, live biological samples, and specialized equipment to collect data. Laboratory personnel will only work in the designated areas noted above.

The number of laboratory personnel/students in laboratory spaces will be limited. At most, there will be 8 laboratory personnel in a shared research room. Each laboratory personnel will have an assigned laboratory bench. A schedule will be posted, listing the days and time laboratory personnel will be in the lab. A sign in sheet will also be posted in each lab to keep a record of lab utilization. Upon entering any research area, laboratory personnel must wash hands immediately and in accordance with CDC guidelines, before touching any surface or equipment.

Any laboratory work by vendors will adhere to current policy in place. No more than two technicians will be in one room at any given time.

EHSO will complete and document that a lab safety inspection of all lab spaces was performed before re-entry. This inspection will follow the CUNY Lab Safety Manual checklist.

PIs will provide to the EHSO a current list of inventories, if needed. EHSO, PIs or college laboratory technicians will complete a lab equipment check, which includes an assessment of the functionality of fume hoods, glove boxes, refrigerators, freezers, gas, vacuum, and all electrical equipment. Compressed gas and chemical storage areas will be checked prior to resumption.

EHSO and college laboratory technicians will also check all safety equipment. They will flush all eye wash stations even if annual checks have been completed.

Phase 2 - Restarting Biology Research Laboratories

Establish Safe Research Guidelines

PIs will implement updated lab-specific protocols and training based on COVID-19 lessons learned.

Research schedules will be posted within each research areas.

Each PI will be responsible for maintaining a clean and safe working lab space. PPE will not be shared.

Any shared equipment will be disinfected after each use.

Each PI will complete the self-audit using CUNY Lab Safety Manual checklists for their research area (www.cuny.edu/research/student-resources/laboratory-safety-manual/)

Each PI will complete the Blackboard training course “Welcome to NYS - Covid-19 Response: Return to Work Training”.

Each PI was provided with the following training and resources web links, in preparation on research resumption.

Each PI will check for proper chemical segregation, container conditions, expiration dates, labeling and signage.

The list below includes items that will be checked and if there are any issues, consult with EHSO. EHSO will assist PIs with appropriate procedure. The following will be checked.

  • Laboratory and chemical inventories and note discrepancies.
  • Electrical cords (should be in good condition before reconnecting to power)
  • Startup of equipment, one at a time.
  • Turn on water in lab and check for leaks (if there are leaks, water will be shut off immediately and Public Safety notified)
  • Test compressed gas piping systems for leaks before using.
  • Check freezers and refrigerators in case there was a power outage during the shutdown.

Phase 3 - Continued Research Operations

All guidelines and steps implemented in Phase 1 and 2 will be continued and updated as necessary and maintain compliance with Federal, New York State and New York City public health updates.

  • Review schedules and ensure continued social distancing
  • Make sure that all laboratory personnel continue to wear face coverings/masks
  • Ensure that any laboratory personnel who develop COVID-19 symptoms do not come to campus until cleared by physician