COVID-19 Safety Precautions for Resuming Research Activities

For the protection of all of us, staff and users alike, we will be following new safety procedures in the EM lab in accordance with the guidelines provided in the UF Research Resumption Plan.   

First of all, we will operate by appointment only so that we can regulate the number of people in the lab at any time, and the appointments at this time will be limited to only one person at a time.  Appointments must be made either by email (emcore@medicine.ufl.edu) or by phone (352-846-0821), and a time for entry to the lab will be confirmed by email or by phone. Trained users of the instruments will have access to the equipment, but for the time being, there will be no in-person training of new users, as training individuals generally requires close proximity of the staff and the investigator.  When you are in the lab, if a staff member is required for temporary assistance, please contact him or her by cell phone, so masks and social distancing can be utilized.  We are formulating plans to offer initial training via Zoom meetings or recorded video tutorials, and we hope to resume in-person training when we can acquire appropriate PPE for the protection of both the staff and trainee.   

The entrance door to the lab (RB-167) will remain locked at all times, and we suggest that you call or email with questions or requests rather than come to the lab, since there will be no admittance except by prior appointment.  If you need meeting consults they will be done remotely via Zoom. In case you have samples that you want us to process for light or electron microscopy, please send us prior email notification of what the samples are and what you want us to do. We will let you know when we will be available to receive them, and there will be a small table outside the door where you can drop off samples to be processed (in fixative, please, and with an instruction for embedding).  When the samples have been processed, we will notify you by email and ask for any further requests or instructions (e.g., sectioning, immunohistochemistry, staining, imaging). At your request, completed projects will be placed on the small table by the door for pick-up. 

We will continue the same sanitation procedures before and after each user that we had instituted in the weeks before the shutdown.  This includes frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizers as you enter the lab and move from one space to another within the lab, and wearing gloves if you so desire. Face masks will be required for everyone while they are in the lab.  (Sorry, but we cannot furnish masks for you – you will need to provide your own.)  Please bring only essential items needed for your task, and do not place personal belongings on countertops in the lab.  We will also provide 3×5 cards in each work area for you to log your time or supplies used for our records.  Simply fill one in and leave it by the work area for us to pick up.  

We will thoroughly clean all areas within the lab each morning and before admitting any outside users, and will wipe down all work areas after use.  Social distancing of at least 6 feet will continue to be maintained.  Therefore, we will ask each user admitted to the lab to notify a staff member (by phone) when you have finished your task and are ready to leave the lab, so we can immediately clean the area and room for the next user.  If you have a fever or think that you may be ill, please do not enter the lab. We also ask users developing minor symptoms of illness while working in our lab to please leave the lab immediately and notify staff by phone that you have left, and why. 

While we are trying to limit exposure to others, we will be working remotely when possible.  Although our lab will officially be “open” for your needs Monday through Friday, the EM staff may not be onsite.  Therefore, to meet your needs, we request that when possible you notify us of those needs in advance by email or by phone, and we will get back in touch with you ASAP.  

We appreciate all of our users and want your research to proceed with minimal delays.  We look forward to working remotely with you, but hope we will soon be back to normal working conditions.  

With sincere wishes for good health to all of you, 

Jill, Sharon, and Chao  

Jill W. Verlander, DVM

Scientist Jill.Verlander@medicine.ufl.edu

Sharon Matthews, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor Sharon.Matthews@medicine.ufl.edu

Chao Chen

Biological Scientist II Chao.Chen@medicine.ufl.edu

emcore@medicine.ufl.edu 

Lab phone: 352-846-0821