Information and updates related to COVID-19.

Fred Berkovitch. Last updated 7/23/20. Guidance will change frequently. Check this page for updates.

Main source: You are strongly encouraged to review the main source.


1. Phased return to normal research operations.

Source: MGH Guidance and Policies for Return to Onsite Research.

Phase I: Preparing the Labs. Started on 5/18/20.

  • PIs identify a limited number of lab staff to prepare their labs for a return to onsite work. Check with your PI on whether you're allowed to work in the lab.
  • COVID Safety Officers (CSOs) are Mano and Joe. They'll help with safety and social distancing measures. They'll also post signs indicating room occupancy limits.

Phase II: Limited Return of Onsite Research. Starts on 6/1/20.

  • Phase II is a return of laboratory workers who need access to the labs, while adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene.
  • Everyone who can work remotely will continue to do so. All work that can be completed outside of the lab should be done so (e.g. notebook, reading, manuscripts).
  • The number of staff on site at any one time in a defined area will be limited, defined, and monitored. Staggered shifts may be deployed.
  • PIs have submitted plans for ensuring social distancing during phase II.

Phase III: Full Return of Onsite Research.

  • Essentially a return to normal lab operations. Will occur when regular lab operations no longer threaten the health and wellbeing of our workforce. Stay tuned for updates.

If you are returning to the lab as part of Phase I or II, you MUST:

  1. Read the MGH Guidance and Policies for Return to Onsite Research.
  2. Attest to having read and understood the guidance before resuming work. This needs to be done only once.
  3. Attest to being free of COVID symptoms before entering MGH. This needs to be done EVERY DAY that you plan to be in the lab. Check your PARTNERS mail (not Molbio) for your "Covid pass". MGH is going to be comparing Covid pass data with building access card swipes. If you're not attesting, you may lose access to the building, or face disciplinary action.
  4. Wear an MGH-issued mask while on site (except when eating). No masks from home.
    • Masks are available at the MGH main entrance at all times.
    • During Phase I, mask distribution at Simches is M, W, F, 8 - 10am, 1 - 3pm.
    • During Phase II, mask distribution at Simches will be M - F, 8am - 4pm.
  5. Adhere to social distancing. Respect maximum occupancy signs. Practice strict hand hygiene.


2. Stockroom and Operations staff during Phase I & Phase II.

  • The stockroom will be open M - F, 11am - 4pm.
  • You must follow social distancing instructions given to you by the stockroom attendant.
  • Mano or Joe will be on site M - F, 11am - 4pm, at minimum. Only one of them will be on site at any time.
  • Members of the Operations support staff will be on duty Mon - Thu, 11am - 4pm (or longer, if necessary). This should provide enough Phase I & II support for glass wash, media prep, worm plates, etc.


3. Disinfectants, hygiene, social distancing.

Disinfectants and hygiene:

  • MGH-issued masks are to be worn on-site at all times (except for meals) during Phase I & II.
  • MGH will make virucide, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes available for use in the labs. Ask Joe or Mano if you need these. Please use lab bleach, ethanol, or isopropanol to disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your lab (e.g., doorknobs, instruments). Please check the stockroom if you need bleach or ethanol. If there is none, contact Mano or Joe.
  • Lab managers should determine which shared instruments should be disinfected after each use. Communicate that information to Mano and Joe. They will request disinfectants from MGH for this purpose.
  • As soon as we are able to do so, we will set up hand sanitization stations at strategic locations throughout our department. This depends on the procurement of sanitizer by MGH.
  • FYI, CDC recommends cleaners from this EPA list.

Social distancing:

  • Respect social distancing to whatever extent reasonable. Masks must be worn at all times when you are unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people.
  • Respect all signs indicating maximum occupancy. If these seem ridiculous, contact Mano or Joe. These maxima are the result of an unsophisticated calculation. Mano and Joe have the discretion to adjust them.
  • All personnel are encouraged to eat outside.
  • From the MGH Guidance and Policies for Return to Onsite Research: Movement between floors is best achieved by using stairways. Use discretion when considering elevator use. Generally, the time spent in elevators is short, so consider the number of people already on the elevator and the size of the cab before entering. Social distancing of slightly less than six feet can be acceptable for short periods of time. If you push any elevator buttons, make sure to sanitize your hands after exiting.


    4. Shared instrument schedules.

    • To prevent crowding, lab managers are asked to coordinate with neighboring labs on the use of shared equipment and other resources (e.g., TC rooms).
    • Updated 5/28/20: Fred has set up a shared resource scheduling system:
      • Your login is your Partners username (the same thing you use to log into PeopleSoft, e.g., CL475).
      • Your password is your MGH ID number which is found on the back of your MGH ID card, just above the bar code.
      • If you wish to set up a shared resource schedule, email Fred for help.
      • Non-dept. users can email Fred and request a login.


      5. FAQ, resources, and further information.