March 13, 2020
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
As UConn continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, Environmental Health and Safety plans to maintain essential services to support the UConn community. While our highest priority is, and always will be, protecting your health and safety, we also remain committed to the University’s research, teaching and operations. As this is a fluid situation, our services may be reduced, delayed, or suspended and we appreciate your patience as we work through any challenges.
Prevention and planning are critical to help reduce the impact of a pandemic. Laboratories, research facilities and other departments must plan for the possibility of a significant disruption to operations. UConn personnel should take the following steps to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the disruption to laboratory, facility, and EHS operations.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Hand sanitizer is not a substitute for proper hand washing.
- Clean common laboratory areas and touch points (e.g. doorknobs, sink handles, freezer doors, fume hood sashes, telephones) periodically throughout the day. Solutions containing at least 60% ethanol can be used for this purpose.
- Stay home when you’re not feeling well.
- Consider alternating work schedules to meet the demands of the laboratory while limiting close contact with others.
- Identify work that can be done from home or remotely.
- Avoid in-person meetings. Use remote work technologies such as WebEX.
- Ensure you have access to contact information for all staff.
- Assess and prioritize critical laboratory activities that require regular attention.
- Train staff to provide back-up support for critical activities.
- Assume critical supplies, including chemicals and other regulated materials, will be delayed due to supply chain disruptions. Maintain a sufficient inventory.
- Identify research experiments that can be scaled back or delayed.
- Avoid working alone in an immediately hazardous environment. Notify colleagues when you are working alone.
- Ensure high-risk materials (biological, chemical, radiological) are secured at all times.
- Keep biological, chemical, and radiological wastes properly labeled and packaged.
- Contact EHS when regulated wastes are full, properly packaged, and need removal.
- Review contingency plans and emergency procedures.
- Communicate planned absences and/or lab closures to supervisors, business offices, and other key administrative units.
Environmental Health and Safety has taken measures to reschedule in-person trainings and reduce inspections, as well as modifying waste pick up schedules to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. We will continue to prioritize EHS-related services to the University community and adhere to the directives of the state Department of Public Health, state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Office of the Governor and the Eastern Highlands Health District.
Follow the most recent updates and information on UConn Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and COVID-19 Research Continuity Planning and Guidance.
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