Policies and Safety Protocols

Higher Education Research is part of New York State Forward’s Phase One of reopening for New York City, which began on June 8. The ASRC’s plan for resuming research activities adheres to state and CUNY guidelines and sets policies for screening, physical distancing, personal protective equipment, hygiene, cleaning, disinfecting, and communication. In addition, each ASRC lab and core facility has submitted and approved plans to mitigate infection risk that are specific to their space and equipment.

All personnel and visitors must submit a health questionnaire via the Everbridge Symptom Checker App every day prior to entering the building. Only those who pass the daily screening will be allowed into the building.

You must not report to the ASRC in any of the following situations:

  • You are experiencing any symptoms (even mild) of a respiratory infection or other COVID-19-related symptoms. You must not return to the ASRC until you are symptom free for at least 72 hours.
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • You have had known contact with any person suspected of having, being under investigation for, or who has a confirmed active case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • You have travelled within the last 14 days to/from a designated U.S. ‘hot spot’ or a country for which the CDC has issued a level 2 or 3 travel designation, or have had known contact with any person who has travelled to these areas within 14 days.

Only individuals approved and scheduled to be at the ASRC will be allowed access to the building.

  • A valid C-14 certificate holder must be present in the laboratory at all times when and where chemical work is being performed. It is recommended that all researchers eligible to obtain a C-14 apply for one as soon as possible.
  • Non-touch forehead thermometers will be available onsite should anyone wish to check their temperature.
  • Entry must be through the first floor courtyard entrance, and individuals must show the Public Safety officer approval confirmation obtained via Everbridge and sign in.
  • Individuals will also be required to provide details on any significant contact with others while at the ASRC daily.

Should anyone develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, test positive, or come in contact with someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, they should contact to Reishma Kistow or submit a notification via our online COVID-19 reporting form. We will contact state and local health officials regarding any positive case.

  • Returning to work during this time is completely voluntary for any non-essential personnel.
  • Social distancing (a minimum 6 foot radial distance from all others) will be required at all times, unless absolutely essential for laboratory safety and only with the use of additional PPE for protection.
  • We will also put in place additional protective measures, including physical barriers like plexiglass dividers between desks or in high traffic areas.
  • Occupancy limits have been established by phase at the building level to comply with state guidelines. Limits include all personnel, contractors, visitors, and human subject research participants. During Phase 2, occupancy will be limited to 20%, and this will increase after two weeks of steady or improving health metrics to 50% for Phase 3. Timing of further occupancy above 50% for Phase 4 and 5 will be determined by CUNY and the state.
  • Occupancy limits have also been defined for specific types of locations in the building, such as open-plan, shared lab and office space, enclosed lab and office space, and common areas (e.g., elevators, restrooms, conference rooms). Signs are posted throughout the building as a reminder of these limits, and also to detail appropriate traffic patterns in corridors and stairwells
    to further limit interactions.
  • Supervisors have established flexible and staggered work schedules with their students and staff, including for essential personnel, to limit how many people are onsite and to limit every individual’s potential for exposure.
  • Core facility directors are responsible for coordinating and confirming all user access and schedules, in compliance with our occupancy limits. No new users will be added or no user training will be conducted until further notice.
  • Non-ASRC core facility users must submit and receive approval of access requests prior to returning to the ASRC to conduct work during all phases prior to Phase 3. Exception: any research requiring human subject participation at the ASRC will require approval until Phase 5.
  • Vendors and engineers will be permitted by appointment for essential renovations, repairs and service, and these visitors must request and await approval for access before coming onsite. Unannounced guests will not be permitted.
  • While there are occupancy limits in place, everyone should continue to do work from home that can be done there, and not to come into work unless it is necessary.
  • Meetings and events will be conducted virtually until further notice.
  • Personnel must review the proper way to put on, take off, clean, and discard required PPE (masks and/or face coverings)
  • Masks and/or face coverings must be worn inside the ASRC at all times, except in closed door private offices and for as little time as possible while eating, drinking, or changing mask/face coverings when needed.
  • Suitable mask types include cloth, dust, and surgical, unless the work requires stricter PPE (e.g., N95, face shield, etc.)
  • Face shields are not considered as an alternative to a mask or face covering, but may provide additional protection if work requires people to be within 6 feet of each other for any period of time. Masks/face coverings must be worn in addition to a face shield.
  • We will provide disposable masks if anyone needs one while in the building.
  • Disposable masks worn inside laboratory spaces should be disposed of at the end of each day. Cloth masks should be cleaned regularly by the wearer.
  • Masks and face coverings should not be shared.
  • Gloves will also be made available throughout the building. Wear gloves when using shared objects or frequently-touched surfaces.
  • PPE for COVID-19 safety should be worn in addition to any PPE required for research procedures or any other safety requirement.
  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is strongly encouraged to reduce contact transmission.
  • You must wash your hands before and after touching any shared objects or shared surfaces, unless you wear clean gloves.
  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be available throughout the building and in conference rooms. This is in addition to hand-washing stations in each restroom and tea room.
  • Personnel are required to clean surfaces, workstations, personal devices, etc. several times throughout the day/shift, and at a minimum at the beginning and end of their shift/usage.
  • Lab heads and core facility directors are responsible for developing, posting, and monitoring for cleaning and disinfecting protocols for research equipment.
  • High-touch surfaces, such as elevator buttons and door handles, common areas, and restrooms will be cleaned by CCNY custodial staff regularly, according to requirements from the CDC and Department of Health. Cleaning will be logged.
  • No sharing of food or beverages is allowed.

In the case of a confirmed COVID-19 case for an individual who has been in the building, we will coordinate cleaning and disinfecting with CCNY, which will include the areas accessed by the individual and high traffic common areas.

  • ASRC members are kept apprised of current conditions via email, this website, and virtual town hall meetings.
  • Core facility directors are in touch with their users to provide updates.
  • Signs are posted throughout the facility to remind personnel and visitors of proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate user of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Copies of the plan are located at administrative coordinator desks throughout the building, and linked using QR codes on instructional signage throughout the building.
  • Questions can also be directed to ASRCInfo@gc.cuny.edu.

Compliance and Reporting Issues

Personnel should say something when they see something. It is appropriate to let your colleagues know if they are not following social distancing, occupancy limits, PPE requirements, disinfecting protocols or other precautions outlined in this guidance. We will be successful only if we hold ourselves and each other accountable.

  • Personnel can report issues that they see to their supervisor, Initiative Director, Meghan Hughes and/or Nina Gray.
  • Personnel can also anonymously report any COVID-19 related safety concerns or incidents of unsafe conditions at the ASRC using our online form.

Phased Increase in Research Activity Strategy

Phase Description Occupancy Timeline
1 Essential Functions and preparations for Phase 2 only. No on-site research except approved COVID-19 work. Up to 10% of building capacity March 16-June 28
2 Ramp up of critical, time-sensitive ASRC research that poses minimal risk of infection to personnel. Preparations for Phase 3. Up to 20% of building capacity June 29-July 20
3 Gradual increase of on-site administrative and research personnel. Core research facilities may begin allowing non-ASRC users on a limited basis. Preparation for Phase 4. Up to 50% of building capacity CURRENT PHASE
4 Continued gradual increase of administrative and research personnel. Core research facilities may expand access to non-ASCR users. Preparation for Phase 5. Up to 80% of building capacity Upon CUNY and State approval to exceed 50% occupancy
5 All ASRC employees and facility users will have access to the building under evolving infection-prevention measures, which may include staggered hours, physical contact barriers, use of PPE and increased cleaning protocols. All employee and facility user building access under new normal rules Upon availability of vaccine or other significant health breakthrough