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EARDC COVID SOP

Schwartz/EARDC Laboratory COVID19 Response Standard Operating Procedure (LCR-SOP)

 

A. General Information

 

Department

EARDC/Biology

Laboratory Manager Name

Benjamin Schwartz, Ph. D.

Laboratory Manager(s) Contact Information (phone, email)

512-245-7608 (w)

512-749-8924 (c)

Laboratory Safety Contact

Same as above

Laboratory Phone

512-245-2329             

Building

FAB   

Lab Room Number/s

248, 268, 232, 238, 244, 246

Emergency Contact Name and Contact Information (phone, email)

Same as above                       

 

Secondary Contact Information (Phone, Email)

Christine Hailey
512-245-2119
hailey@txstate.edu

Dittmar Hahn

512-245-3372

dh49@txstate.edu

Date SOP was written

6/5/2020                     

Date SOP was approved by PI

6/5/2020         

Date SOP approved by Reviewer

6/16/2020 (Walt Horton email)                                  

B. Definitions and Key Concepts

  • Personnel: For purposes of the Schwartz/EARDC LRC-SOP, research personnel include any human who enters a University Research Lab, including but not limited to staff, faculty, students, users not formally affiliated with Texas State University, contractors, or other service providers. Current Personnel who will be involved in lab research include:
     
  • Benjamin Schwartz – Lab Director/Manager
  • Joe Guerrero – Analytical Lab Manager
  • Michelle Allison – Research Associate
  • Michelle Guardiola – Academic Budget Specialist
  • Benjamin Hutchins – Staff Researcher
  • Victor Castillo, III – Staff Field and Lab Technician
  • Ashley Cottrell – Staff Field and Lab Technician
  • William Coleman – Graduate Student
  • Chase Corrington – Graduate Student
  • Kenneth Sparks – Graduate Student (added 11/10/2020)
  • Zoey Chanin – Undergraduate Student (added 12/14/2020)
  • Research Activity: Research activities covered under this policy include all endeavors overseen by the University’s Research Integrity and Compliance office and/or subject to approval by the Texas State IRB, IACUC, or IBC committee. 
  • Cleaning: Removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting: Kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
  • Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

Additional Key Information

This SOP represents our best attempt to maximize the health and safety of the researchers working in the field and in associate laboratories.  Even with our best efforts we cannot guarantee that an infection will not occur.

 

C. Roles and Responsibilities
(See section C page 2 and Appendix A in SOP Guide)

  • Laboratory Manager: Provide a safe research and work environment by
    • training and implementing the policies and procedures within the LCR-SOP,
    • maintaining the facilities to comply with the LCR-SOP,
    • providing an area with a sufficient supply of required items (e.g. soap, disinfectant, etc.) for the lab personnel within the laboratory,
    • providing personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the lab personnel within the laboratory,
    • creating a system for monitoring and controlling access to the laboratory to ensure compliance with maximum lab occupancy based on square footage of the lab space and for communicating this with lab personnel,
    • performing a review of LCR-SOP compliance at regular, quarterly intervals,
    • reporting safety of facilities and personnel via e-mail to laboratory personnel, Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Mr. Joe Guerrero, Ms. Ashley Cottrell, Dr. Dittmar Hahn, and Dean Hailey
    • monitoring lab personnel’s health and forbidding entry into the laboratory if individuals are developing or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are engaged in high risk situations such as caring for others with COVID-19,
    • requiring personnel to self-monitor their temperature and not enter the laboratory if their temperature increases precipitously or is >100 degrees Fahrenheit (when they are not using fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen),
    • requiring personnel to monitor combinations of other COVID symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face,
    • complying with the LCR-SOP policies and procedures (described within this document), and
    • requiring personnel to sanitize work surfaces at the beginning and end of their work,
    • complying with other risk mitigation practices outlined by this LCR-SOP
    • requiring personnel to practice social distancing and maintaining at least 6 feet from other personnel in the lab.
    • requiring personnel to correctly wear, use, and dispose of PPE and correctly wash their hands.
  • All laboratory personnel (including manager): maintain a safe research and work environment by
  • closely monitoring their own health and staying home (or in a medical facility) if they are developing or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are exposed to high risk situations such as caring for others with COVID-19.
  • closely monitoring their own health and staying home (self-quarantine) for a period of 14 days between the last date of possible exposure when 1) traveling to visit people outside of their immediate ‘bubble or 2) travelling to areas with high COVID-19 incidences and interacting with people, and returning to the lab.
  • closely monitoring their own health and staying home (self-quarantine) for a period of 14 days between the date of any contact with any person who is known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19.
  • self-monitoring their temperature and not entering the laboratory if their temperature increases precipitously or is >100 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, (If they’ve used a fever-reducer to lower their temperature, they’re expected to stay at home.  They are NOT expected to control their fever for the sake of compliance.)
  • monitoring for combinations of COVID symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face,
  • complying with the LCR-SOP policies and procedures described within this document,
  • sanitizing work surfaces at the beginning and end of their work,
  • complying with other risk mitigation practices outlined by this LCR-SOP,
  • practicing social distancing and maintaining at least 6 feet from other personnel in the lab,
  • correctly wearing, using, and disposing of PPE,
  • practicing correct hand washing.
  • Laboratory supporting personnel: help maintain safety in the lab by exercising their normal job responsibilities and by:
  • before arrival, monitoring their temperature and not entering the laboratory if their temperature increases precipitously or is >100 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen,
  • before arrival, monitoring for combinations of other COVID symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face,
  • disinfecting surfaces touched (e.g. doorknobs, etc.) at the beginning and end of their work within the laboratory,
  • closely monitoring their health and not entering the laboratory if developing or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or if exposed to high risk situations such as caring for others with COVID-19 or traveling to sites with high incidences,
  • complying with the LCR-SOP policies and procedures (described within this document),
  • complying with other risk mitigation practices outlined by this LCR-SOP,
  • practicing social distancing and maintaining at least 6 feet from other personnel in the lab,
  • correctly wearing, using, and disposing of PPE and
  • correctly washing their hands.
  • Laboratory Administrative Head: Dean Christine Hailey
    • reviewing and approving the LCR-SOP, and
    • reviewing LCR-SOP compliance at regular quarterly intervals.

D. Environmental and Facilities

 (See section D, page 2-4 and Appendix A in SOP Guide)

D1.  Disinfecting and Sanitizing
General information on sanitation of the laboratory:

    • Prior to entering a lab space:
    • Personnel are encouraged to segregate (small) disinfected personal articles entering the lab space into a plastic bin to minimize the potential for contamination.
    • Personnel should only bring essential personal items into the lab.
    • Lab personnel must remain aware of and avoid habit-triggered recontamination (i.e., reaching into your pocket for your phone, touching the face, etc.).
  • Disinfecting supplies will be provided for use in the lab by Dr. Schwartz.
  • If adequate supplies are not available, personnel may not use the laboratory and must notify Dr. Schwartz promptly.
  • Laboratories will be equipped with
  • At the end of their work period, and before leaving the workspace or lab, all personnel shall wash or sanitize their hands and shall sanitize any commonly-contacted surfaces or lab instruments including:
    • Microscopes
    • Tools
    • Instruments
    • Any other high-contact surfaces that personnel have touched

D2. Access and Space

NOTE: The more time spent in a common space, the greater the possibility of contraction even with social distancing.  The less ventilation in the space, the greater the possibility of contraction even with social distancing.

  • Personnel must maintain a minimum of 6 feet (2 meters) separation.
  • Personnel must maximize their distance.
    • Only one occupant per workstation/equipment.
  • Each person must wear a facemask if s/he is in the same room with another person.
  • All personnel must individually sign the laboratory personnel log (posted at the main entry to the lab) with their name, net ID, email, date, time entered the laboratory and time left the laboratory. Sign in/sign out logs are necessary in case contact tracing becomes necessary.
  • There will be no visitors or tours.
  • Socializing in the labs or in other research spaces is prohibited.

E. Personal Protective Equipment and Responsibilities
(See section E, page 4 and Appendix A in SOP Guide)

  • All lab users—personnel, managers, staff—must have reviewed and signed the document “Commitment to Public Health Practices for Research Team Members” prior to being allowed to enter the laboratory. Commitment forms state and affirm each person’s responsibility to maximize health and safety before being granted access to the facility.
  • ANY facemask (i.e. homemade) is better than nothing. Handkerchiefs and Buff-type face coverings are prohibited in Dr. Schwartz’s lab.
  • Lab personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 must provide a dated medical professional’s notice of required quarantine duration to Dr. Schwartz before returning for access or being granted access to the facility.
    • A negative test may also require 14 days of quarantine afterwards and a doctor’s clearance.  
  • Lab personnel must not enter the laboratory if developing or displaying symptoms of COVID-19. See list above and below for details.
  • Lab personnel must monitor their temperature and not enter the laboratory if their temperature increases precipitously or is ­>100 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Lab personnel must monitor themselves for combinations of other COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face.
  • If lab personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms above, and they are out of the ordinary for them (e.g., many people suffer from seasonal allergies), and COVID-19 cannot be ruled out, personnel should assume that the symptoms indicate COVID-19 until proven otherwise by a test or resolution of symptoms and subsequent quarantine.
  • At the end of their work period, and before leaving the workspace or lab, all personnel shall wash or sanitize their hands and shall sanitize any commonly-contacted surfaces or lab instruments including:
    • Microscopes
    • Tools
    • Instruments
    • Any other high-contact surfaces that personnel have touched
  • Requirements for handwashing.
    • Upon entering the laboratory or immediately thereafter, all personnel must sanitize their hands by washing their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds and then don gloves if required.
    • Prior to leaving the laboratory, all personnel must sanitize their hands by washing their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Requirements for personnel protective equipment (PPE)
    • Once hands are dry (after following requirements for handwashing) personnel may put on nitrile gloves.
    • All personnel must remove gloves before exiting the lab space.
    • Gloves will be provided to lab personnel by EARDC or the Department of Biology.
    • If adequate PPE is not available, the lab user shall not use the laboratory and shall notify Dr. Schwartz promptly.

F. Surveillance and Compliance

 (See section F, page 4-5 and Appendix A in SOP Guide)

  • Personal Responsibilities on reporting, tracking, and containing COVID incidences
     
    • All lab members must inform the Lab Manager (Dr. Schwartz) by email (bs37@txstate.edu) if they develop any COVID19-like symptoms.
    • All lab members must inform the Lab Manager (Dr. Schwartz) by email (bs37@txstate.edu) if they test positive for COVID-19.
    • Dr. Schwartz will keep the name of any individual testing positive/developing symptoms confidential to the best of his ability.
    • The Lab Manager will inform Student Health Services (SHS, contact information below) within 24 hrs. if a lab user informs the Lab Manager that he/she tested positive for COVID-19 and will provide date(s) of the lab user’s access within the laboratory and traceability documents that provide a list of all personnel whose lab occupancy overlapped within a 24 hour period.

                             The Student Health Services will handle any contact tracing and notifications
 

  • Information on reporting, tracking, and containing COVID incidences
    • All labs must follow university and county guidelines for notifying others exposed to the COVID case. The University Health Center and CMO have contact tracing protocols with which SOPs must comply.
      • NOTE: In certain situations the virus can be viable in the air for several hours and on surfaces for several days.
    • Dr. Schwartz will inform Dean Hailey within 24 hours if a lab user informs her that s/he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will provide date(s).
  • Information on compliance and reporting
    • Compliance to the LCR-SOP will be assessed by Dr. Schwartz weekly and will be reported to Dean Hailey at a frequency specified by the latter.
    • Compliance to the LCR-SOP will include the following:
      • presence of required sanitation items in the laboratory,
      • presence and use of PPE by lab personnel,
      • system for monitoring/controlling lab access, and
      • reported positive cases of COVID-19 by lab personnel.
    • Reporting of compliance issues should follow the following steps (contact information for Dr. Schwartz and Dean Hailey is provided at the top of the document and at the end of the document for ORSP).
      1. Inform Dr. Schwartz by email to bs37@txstate.edu, text or telephone to 512-749-8924 (c), or telephone 512-245-7608 (w) of compliance issues.
      2. Inform Lab Administrative Head by email of compliance issues.
      3. Inform ORSP by email of compliance issues.

Reporter --> Dr. Schwartz --> Dean Hailey --> ORSP

G. Communication

 (See section G, page 5 and Appendix A in SOP Guide)

  • Information on how policies and procedures will be communicated
    • ORSP will develop posters and instructional materials designed to
      • teach appropriate hand hygiene and Standard Precautions,
      • teach the correct sequence and methods for donning and removing PPE,
      • instruct on actions to take after an exposure,
      • instruct visitors and team members with symptoms to report to a specified screening and evaluation site.
    • The policies and procedures within the LCR-SOP will be communicated to all lab users (personnel, managers, staff, etc.) by sending an electronic version of the LCR-SOP via their official Texas State email address.
    • An electronic copy of the LCR-SOP will be provided to all lab personnel and will be posted on a lab website, and the location will be communicated to all lab personnel.
    • Any revisions of the SOPs LCR-SOP will be communicated to all lab personnel within 24 hours prior to implementing the revised policies and procedures.
    • A sign will be posted on the door of the laboratory to communicate restricted access is in place in the laboratory and provide the contact information for the Lab Manager and Lab Administrative Head.
  • Information on training and education to support policies and procedures
    • Training and education materials will be provided to the lab personnel which are designed for
      • teaching appropriate hand hygiene and standard precautions,
      • teaching the correct sequence and methods for donning and removing PPE,
      • providing instruction on actions to take after an exposure,
      • instructing lab personnel with symptoms where and how to report to a specified screening and evaluation site.
    • Lab personnel must complete the training materials prior to being given access to the laboratory.
    • Lab personnel must sign a document stating that the above training has been completed and understood.
    • Lab personnel will review the SOP periodically, at least once per year or as appropriate. For example, before beginning new or unfamiliar procedures in the lab, personnel should review the SOP to ensure familiarity and subsequent compliance with all guidelines
    • Dr. Schwartz will maintain a record of the evidence of training documents by the lab personnel and users (personnel, managers, staff, etc.)  and provide this to Dean Hailey on request.
    • Any revisions of the LCR-SOPs that include additional or modified policies and procedures will provide supporting training and education materials
    • Chain of Communication
      • The following chain of communication will be used for all communication related to the LCR-SOP (contact information for Dr. Schwartz and Dean Hailey is provided at the top of the document):
        • Lab Manager
        • Lab Administrative Head
        • ORSP

          Lab personnel <-> Dr. Schwartz <-> Dean Hailey <-> ORSP

H. Phase Change

  • Phase 1 Implementation
    • The Lab Manager will inform all lab users (personnel, managers, staff, etc.), the Lab Administrative Head, and ORSP the date that Phase 1 is implemented.
    • The date of implementation of Phase 1 is laboratory specific. No implementation of Phase 1 is permitted until the LHP-SOP Phase I is approved for the specific laboratory. All SOPS must indicate who approves the SOP.
  • Advancement to Phase 2
    • The decision to advance to Phase 2 will be determined by ORSP
    • Internal conditions or criteria—numbers of days without incident— will be a consideration to trigger advancement to Phase 2
    • External conditions—federal, state, and local edicts, university mandates—will be a consideration to trigger advancement to Phase 2
    • If and when approved to advance to Phase 2, the Lab Manager will inform all lab users (personnel, managers, staff, etc.), the Lab Administrative Head, and ORSP the date that Phase 2 is implemented
  • Reversion to Phase 0
    • The decision to revert to Phase 0 (laboratory access restricted to essential laboratory activities) will be determined by ORSP.
    • Internal conditions or criteria—the occurrence of an incident— will be a consideration to trigger reversion to Phase 0.
    • External conditions—federal, state, and local edicts, university mandates—will be a consideration to trigger reversion to Phase 0.
    • If reversion to Phase 0 is instructed, the Lab Manager will inform all lab users (personnel, managers, staff, etc.), the Lab Administrative Head, and ORSP the date that Phase 0 is implemented.

 

ORSP CONTACT INFORMATION

Walter Horton, Ph. D.

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
JC Kellam, Room 489               weh21@txstate.edu
Phone: 512.245.2314               Fax: 512.245.3847