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Fralin Life Sciences Institute COVID-19 Phase Three Reopening Guidelines

person putting on mask

person putting on mask

Additional Guidelines for Fralin Life Sciences Institute
Affiliated Buildings
Fralin Hall, Integrated Life Sciences Building, Latham Hall,
Life Sciences I, Steger Hall

Phase three reopening guidelines from OVPRI

Laboratory Research

  • Adherence to COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures for On-Site Laboratories is required.
  • Researchers are encouraged to telework whenever possible.
  • Research activities in Fralin Hall, Integrated Life Sciences Building, Latham Hall, Life Sciences I, and Steger Hall beyond what has previously been deemed essential must be approved per the investigator’s academic unit’s policy for reopening research. In Steger Hall, approval is also required by FLSI’s institute director.
  • All research conducted in labs must have approval from the appropriate lab manager and principal investigator(s).
  • Individuals may not be required to work in the lab if they are at high risk (existing medical condition, age, recent potential exposure including travel to a high risk zone, possible COVID-19 symptoms, or cohabitating with someone in one of these categories). For those that have these concerns, they should contact the Division of Human Resources.
  • Graduate students and paid undergraduate research assistants in labs should be limited to those performing work required to support sponsored projects or required for the completion of their degrees.
  • Research for course credit should be permitted only in exceptional circumstances as approved by the appropriate college dean or designee.

Students in Labs:

Student Type

Allowed in Lab?





Undergraduate – unpaid



Undergraduate – for course credit


Only in exceptional circumstances as approved by the appropriate college dean or designee

Undergraduate – paid research assts





*If working on their research toward degree and have mentor permission

  • Each lab must keep a daily log of anyone who was in the lab that day. Logs will be placed in laboratory common areas. This report must indicate the names of each person, the times when they were there, and the room number(s) they entered. This is mandated for legal and health-related requirements, such as contact tracing. All individuals should have a pen on their person for the purpose of keeping logs. There should be no sharing of pens.
  • When a lab research operation requires two or more individuals to work in proximity that is less than the minimum of six feet, they should each wear full PPE, including an N95 mask, a face shield (the face shield can be temporarily removed if necessary; e.g. during microscopy), gloves, and gown. Refer to your academic units policy for obtaining PPE. FLSI will assist with obtaining PPE on a case by case basis and as feasible.
  • FLSI is in the process of procuring N95 masks, which we hope will be able to fill some needs. However, as overall supplies and distribution is limited, there will be delays. Surgical masks are a viable substitution for anyone working inside a six feet distance within a lab space until N95s become available.

General Building Use

  • Maintaining a safe work environment is dependent on all building occupants being cognizant of their personal health, interactions with others, and adherence to public health guidelines.
  • FLSI will not conduct nor require daily personal health screening prior to working onsite. It is the personal responsibility of all building occupants to monitor their own health ( and inform the building principal scientist if there is indication of the possibility of an exposure or infection and do not enter the building. Building principal scientists should be notified if someone is displaying symptoms in the building.
  • Per state and University regulations, face coverings are required for all employees in FLSI facilities (see Campus Notice: May 28, 2020). Face covering includes anything that covers your nose and mouth, such as a mask, scarf, or bandana. Face coverings or masks may be removed when individuals are alone in a room with a closed door, and during eating/drinking. The FLSI community should feel compelled to enforce this important regulation. FLSI leadership have been asked to strictly enforce this policy and have the authority to ask those not in compliance to exit the building. FLSI leadership will work closely with academic unit leaders to ensure compliance as necessary.
  • Disposable gloves must be worn if the researcher’s work involves frequent and close contact with people or surfaces where contact with multiple people occurs.
    • Avoid touching your face (or mask) with your gloved hands.
    • Wash and dry hands before putting fresh gloves on.
    • Replace torn gloves with a new pair.
    • After removing gloves, wash and dry hands thoroughly. If you are not near handwashing facilities, disinfect your hands with hand sanitizer, then wash hands with soap and water as soon as you can.
  • Researchers must wash hands at regular intervals. When hand washing is not possible, use ethanol (>60%) hand sanitizer. You must hand wash prior to entry into the lab or research space and prior to exit or immediately after (see Handwashing video).
  • Researchers must clean their work area at the beginning and end of working, to include shared instrumentation such as a microscope, tissue culture equipment etc. located in shared work spaces.
  • All individuals must maintain a minimum spacing of at least six feet throughout the building, including in all common areas, labs, hallways, stairwells, and restrooms.
  • Only one person is allowed on an elevator at a time – if someone is already on the elevator, let it go. Stand back at least six feet while waiting for the elevator. Please refer to your building’s Standard Operating Procedure.
  • Only one person is allowed in tissue culture rooms or small rooms at a time- please reserve room per sign-up sheet. Please refer to your building’s Standard Operating Procedure.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. During gatherings, physical distancing should be maintained and everyone should be wearing a face covering or mask.


In person conferences or meetings should only be held when there is an important reason to do so. Virtual meetings, where possible, are strongly encouraged. For necessary in-person meetings, these guidelines apply:

  • Gatherings larger than 10 people are prohibited, including research teams.
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained.
  • All participants at in-person conference and class room meetings should wear a mask during the entire meeting.
  • Conference and classroom meetings should be limited to 60 minutes maximum.
  • Conference and classrooms should not be occupied until at least 30 minutes after they have been vacated from the previous meeting.
  • The person reserving the conference room is responsible for sanitizing the room and surfaces upon entering and again, upon leaving the room. Building management will maintain disinfecting solution, wipes, paper towels for each meeting room. Please refer to your building’s Standard Operating Procedure. When sanitizing the rooms, gloves should be worn and door handles, desktops, and other high touch surfaces and equipment should be wiped down thoroughly with sanitizing wipes or paper towels soaked with disinfectant solution. Leave conference room doors closed and locked.