Guidelines for COVID-19 Research & Teaching

Rules for use of Department of Chemistry facilities: Research Protocols for Stage 3/Fall Restart, 08/26/2020

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  • Buddy up for safety.
  • Maintain 6 ft or more physical distance
  • Wear a mask.
  • Do not exceed one person per 150 sq ft. The department is targeting a maximum occupancy of 15 people/floor on most floors, with exceptions granted for research needs.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Follow hallway and elevator and stairwell signs. Some hallways allow two-way traffic, as indicated by posted signs.  Elevators may be occupied by 1 or 2 people.
  • No more than 1 person in a bathroom or most offices with 15 minute intervals between uses.


  • All work that can be done remotely must be done remotely.
  • No person in any position (faculty, staff, postdoc, student, etc.) is required to return to research or to the facility during Stage 3/Fall Restart. Researchers who do not return now will have opportunities to return at later times. Please confer as you choose about your comfort level and concerns. You may speak with your research advisor / supervisor or with Char Horsfall, the department HR specialist. You are not obligated to share health concerns if you are uncomfortable doing so, and any discussions are confidential. If you have specific health concerns that preclude return or require special accommodations, please contact Char Horsfall.
  • You must self-check daily for symptoms. If you are unwell, do not come to the Chemistry building.
  • Please use the COVID Symptom Tracker on the Smart Restart website every day.
  • Please send any suggestions or comments to the Anonymous Suggestion Box at

Facility Details

  • The building is open to researchers approved by the Chair. No unauthorized visitors may enter.
  • You must use the Marauder’s Map ( to register for building entry at all times. Please access this map for our policies to request special permission and to admit visitors.
  • You are only authorized to be in the area of the building for which you have been approved. If you need to use equipment held by another group, you must contact them and follow their safety rules. Do not enter a lab of any other group without permission and prior arrangement.
  • Building hours are 6 AM – 10 PM Monday – Thursday, 6 AM – 5 PM Friday, and 8 AM – 5 PM Saturday and Sunday.
  • Enter and exit the building only through the locked Shain Tower on Charter Street using your key. Use the keyed entry door to Daniels on Johnson St only during extended hours (weekdays after 5 PM and weekends) because undergraduates will use the Daniels entry doors during regular hours.  In case of an emergency, exit out of any open exit door.
  • ‘Racetrack’ corridors in Mathews and Daniels will be designated with a preferred direction of travel (counterclockwise). Floor members may adopt two-way traffic with instructions to minimize close encounters, but only when indicated by appropriate signage. In case of emergency, move to the nearest exit immediately regardless of direction.
  • Restrict your movement to the area immediately adjacent to your laboratory as much as possible. During evening hours, please be respectful of our custodians and avoid close encounters by walking in the opposite direction.
  • Stairwells in all buildings will be designated with a preferred direction of travel (up/down). In case of emergency, use any stairwell regardless of direction.
  • Elevators may also be used to access floors.  All elevators may be used to transport chemicals or dewars. We recommend no more than two occupants per elevator cab even if University signage allows more than two occupants. In case of emergency, do NOT use the elevators and exit via the stairs.
  • Use the elevator in your building. Shain elevators are primarily for use of Shain building occupants (and construction crews, as needed). Mathews elevator and Daniels passenger elevators are for the exclusive use of Mathews/Daniels building occupants. The Daniels freight elevator is primarily for use of construction crews.
  • Access to the Daniels sub-basement is via stairs or Mathews elevator except when transporting materials that cannot be carried down the half flight of stairs from Mathews elevator to Daniels sub-basement.
  • Use of the Daniels freight elevator is limited to situations requiring movement of unusually large objects or movement into the sub-basement where stairs are not an option. Such use must be coordinated with Jeff Nielsen to ensure that there is no overlap with construction crews.
  • There will be construction crews in Mathews and Daniels, as indicated on the Marauder’s Map.  Do not register for building access on floors were construction is occurring. If you encounter workers, please be respectful and maintain a wide distance. This construction work must continue, and it is our obligation to accommodate their work.


  • Occupancy of each research floor in each building is limited to 150-200 square feet per person, as well as by overall floor occupancy. The total floor occupancy, varied by local lab capacity, is currently 11-15 occupants in Stage 3/Fall Restart. Each research group has a limit of lab members who can occupy their space at any given time. You must adhere to this number unless prior agreement is made with others on your floor. Do not exceed the total floor occupancy unless explicitly permitted by the department chair.  You may not under any circumstances exceed the 150 sq ft per person limit for two or more people (one person may occupy a room smaller than 150 sq ft but >300 sq ft is required for two people).  Very few offices are larger than 300 sq ft.
  • Remain at least 6 feet away from each other at all times in the building. No one may work within 6 feet of another person unless authorized by the department chair and face shields are worn.
  • You must identify a safety buddy at all times if you singly occupy a lab, including times near opening and closing building hours.
  • Labs with shared-use, low-chemical-safety-risk equipment must be sanitized before exit and remain vacant for at least 15 minutes to permit air exchange.
  • See the safety buddy page to sign up.


  • All persons must wear a cloth mask on entering the Chemistry Building Complex and must wear that mask at all times while in the building. Cloth masks should be washed/changed daily.
  • All researchers will wear a mask while working in the building at all times and strictly adhere to existing chemical safety protocols regarding PPE.

Laboratory Offices

  • Lab-adjacent offices may only be used in support of laboratory work. Researchers should leave the building following successful completion of their experiments.
  • Researchers may use their offices to prepare for experiments, to be in a safe place and eat or drink during and between experiments, and to enter data after an experiment. Offices may not be used to carry out activities that are not in support of concurrent laboratory research.  Be respectful of other group members who may need to use the office while doing experiments.
  • Only one worker is permitted in an office at any time unless the office is larger than 300 sq ft.
  • Each office will remain vacant for at least 15 min between uses to permit air exchange. Signage will be provided as a means of designating ‘in use’ and when the facility can be used again.
  • Following completion of office use, common areas must be sanitized before exit.
  • Microwave ovens and refrigerators may be used in offices and common spaces.  Please wipe all high touch surfaces (such as handles) with ethanol.  Do NOT use ethanol to clean the inside of the oven, as it is flammable.  Use soap and water instead.
  • Rooms 8335 (up to 4 people) and 9341 (up to 7 people) may be used for occasional small group meetings. Sign up at  Please limit usage to 1 hour per day a few times per week.  Masks must be worn at all times and no eating in the room.  Keep at least six feet apart and schedule 30 minutes at the end for clearing and air exchange.

Custodial Support/Trash

  • Chemistry personnel must avoid contact with custodial staff and construction crews.
  • Custodial staff will only clean common areas and restrooms.
  • Custodial services will only occur on weekday evenings, M-F.
  • There is no custodial service on weekends (S, Su).
  • Researchers must clean their own lab/office spaces and deliver trash to the designated pickup location at least once a week or as often as necessary. Do not allow trash to build up in labs!


  • All restrooms will be considered gender neutral.
  • No more than one occupant may enter any restroom at a time (regardless of size / capacity of restroom).
  • Clocks will be provided as a means of designating ‘in use’ and when the facility can be used again. Please knock and ask if anyone is in the restroom to confirm that it is unoccupied.
    • Determine that the bathroom has been empty for at least 15 minutes
    • Set the clock for 15 minutes AFTER you expect to leave the bathroom
    • Use the bathroom and wash up
    • Sanitize by spraying all surfaces that you have touched
    • Reset the time on the clock (if necessary) for 15 minutes from the time you leave
  • Try first to use the restroom on the same floor and in the wing of the building complex where your laboratory is located. (All wings of the building have at least one restroom on each floor. You may not be familiar with it.)
  • If that restroom is not available, you may opt to use restrooms on 2 or 9 Daniels or 1 Shain. Do not use basement or first floor Daniels restrooms, as they will be used by undergraduates attending classes.

Breakrooms, drinking water, etc.

  • Use of break rooms/kitchens is not permitted for common area functions. Breakrooms near labs may be converted to office space but must be explicitly designated as offices.  All office rules apply, including a 15 minute interval between uses.
  • Use of shared refrigerators, microwave ovens, and other shared kitchen equipment is not permitted. All food eaten in the building should be packed in and out in a lunch bag/cooler, etc.
  • Water in the building is safe to drink. The water bottle filling stations can be used. For sanitary reasons, use of drinking fountains/bubblers is not permitted.

Messages Related to Building Access

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9.8.20 Changes Made to Guidelines

I wanted to remind everyone that there were some changes made to the guidelines for working in chemistry in mid-August. These are the newest guidelines, which are the ones posted on the Marauder’s Mapp.

The changes relative to earlier editions were:

  1. The time limits on office use were removed.
  2. Those who work within chemistry should preferentially use the Shain Entrance, which will remain locked and inaccessible to undergraduates. You may use the Daniels entrance if you wish to do so, especially after hours. Note that there are a few classes in the building in the evenings.
  3. Avoid the restrooms in the basement and 1st floor of Daniels. These restrooms have been returned to single-gender use, and are for the undergraduates to use.