COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) for researchers have been updated to reflect planning for the Phased Resumption of on-campus research. For more detailed information about sponsored research, visit the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA)'s COVID-19 FAQs.

Planning for Returning to On-Campus Research

WHEN WILL ON-CAMPUS RESEARCH RESUME?

On June 17, Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti announced that the phased resumption of on-campus laboratory research has begun. The University has officially moved from Level 3 (Essential Research) to Level 2 (Phased Resumption).

Please note that the phased resumption pertains to experimental, laboratory work in science and engineering. All work that can be done remotely must continue to be done remotely.

At this time, labs can reopen if:

  • Faculty or lab directors have received approval for their Research Lab Operations Plans
  • Departments have received approval for their Academic Research Infrastructure Plans
  • Each member of the lab does the following:
    • completes a mandatory online safety training program
    • performs a self-evaluation and reports symptoms each day prior to coming to campus
    • completes a risk-assessment questionnaire to determine eligibility to resume on-campus research
    • complies with Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)-prescribed hygiene and safety practices
  • Faculty communicate proactively with their group, maintain up-to-date plans and personnel records, enforce the requirement that people work remotely for non-laboratory activities, and seek guidance and approval from EHS in advance for activities that cannot be accomplished within the EHS-prescribed campus hygiene and safety practices

 

Please see Dean Debenedetti’s email for complete information.

Refer to the Plan for the Phased Resumption of Research on the Office of the Dean for Research website for complete information.

Please also see our COVID 19-related research FAQs.

 

WHAT STEPS WILL I, AS A LAB MEMBER, TAKE TO RETURN TO THE LABORATORY?

Lab members may only return to the lab after the PI’s Plan has been approved by the Dean for Research and after the University President has cleared the return of researchers to campus. Once these two steps have been accomplished:

  • Each lab member must take a training, accessible at www.princeton.edu/training. After logging in, go to Training by Topic and look for COVID-19 Awareness. Chose the Safe Practices for the Resumption of Research training. This training addresses the information required for lab researchers.
  • Fill out the risk-assessment form. This form will appear at the end of the training.
  • Each day, use the TigerSafe app to report your state of health via the Symptom Tracker. Download the Princeton TigerSafe app to your phone. You should see the Symptom Tracker app near the top. If you don’t see it, scroll down and click on About/Preferences, then scroll down and click on Data Update. You can also access the Tiger Safe App and Symptom Tracker online.
WILL THERE BE GUIDANCE FOR STAFF RETURNING TO ON-CAMPUS WORK?

Although all work that can be done from home should continue to be done from home, some staff will return to on-campus work under the resumption of research plan. Non-lab staff can obtain guidance from Environmental Health & Safety’s Princeton Playbook Phased Resumption of On-Campus Operations.

Departments or offices with functions that require in-person work that cannot be accomplished from home must complete the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Operations process. See the process for Fall 2020. Once the plan for resumption is approved, individuals returning to work on campus must complete the Safe Practices for Resumption of On-Campus Operations online training program, accessible in the Employee Learning Center.

If any employee believes they are working under unsafe conditions, they should report concerns immediately to EHS at ehs@princeton.edu or 609-258-5294. Those who would prefer to express their concerns anonymously should use the EthicsPoint hotline.

CAN WE HAVE LAB MEETINGS ON CAMPUS?

At this time, everything that can be done remotely should be done remotely. Labs should continue to conduct online meetings rather than in-person meetings. For a quick unplanned discussion, on-campus spaces may be used as long as social distancing is observed.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN POINTS OF THE PLAN?
  • Princeton University has created a plan that will enable the phased resumption of on-campus, laboratory research in a safe and orderly manner.
  • The plan applies to laboratory-based research on campus. Any work that can be done remotely will continue to be done remotely.
  • Faculty will develop plans for ensuring compliance with University policies including social distancing, proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfecting, foot-traffic patterns, and limits on the number of researchers that can be in a lab at any given time.
  • Departments will develop plans that cover the safe usage of shared facilities, public areas in buildings, and research infrastructure.
  • The actual resumption of on-campus research will occur only after approved plans are in place. The decision to resume will be made by University leadership in accordance with local, state and national health and safety directives.
  • Faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and research staff will be able to return to on-campus experimental research under the plan.
  • At this time, undergraduate researchers will continue to work remotely. For the Fall Term 2020, a very small number of undergraduate students — specifically seniors whose departments determine that they meet specific, stringent criteria necessitating them to be on campus to conduct thesis research and whose plans have been approved by the relevant principal investigator and the Dean for Research — will be invited back in the fall and will be able to return for the spring semester.

Learn more about the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research

HOW WILL THE PLAN FOR MY LAB BE COMMUNICATED TO LAB MEMBERS?

PIs will communicate the plan to their lab members. The Research Lab Operations Plan also will be available in SHIELD, the University’s health and safety management system, to all researchers in a group. 

All lab members must be registered with their lab to receive access to SHIELD. If you have not registered, please contact your PI or laboratory director. 

 

WHICH RESEARCH ACTIVITIES CAN BE DONE ON CAMPUS AND WHICH SHOULD BE DONE REMOTELY?

Only activities that require laboratory resources or equipment should be conducted on campus. All non-experimental work should continue to be done remotely whenever possible. These include activities such as data analyses, project planning, and reading literature. In some cases, it may be necessary to remain in a lab or in a location where social distancing can be enforced until a procedure is complete, to avoid multiple trips in and out of the facility.

HOW CAN I PLAN FOR CONTINUITY OF RESEARCH IN THE EVENT OF A RESURGENCE OF COVID-19 IN THE AREA, OR A CASE IN MY LAB OR BUILDING?

All individuals who conduct experiments should consider whether it is possible to coordinate with coworkers who could step in to finish or shut down your experiments if you become ill. Lab members may be able to cross-train on equipment maintenance and other procedures as needed. Talk to your PI about plans in case you cannot come back to the lab to finish an experiment.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION OR OTHER RISK FACTOR THAT I BELIEVE WOULD MAKE A RETURN TO CAMPUS UNSAFE?

Upon providing appropriately safe working conditions in accordance with University policies and prevailing public health guidance, the University expects that all faculty and staff approved to perform research in labs will report to campus.

Faculty: In an email, Princeton faculty, Sanjeev Kulkarni, dean of the faculty, outlined how the fall 2020 plan will impact faculty, including details related to classroom and remote instructions, and public health guidance and policies.

Staff: Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley emailed all staff members about the fall 2020 semester. Human Resources also has a new website about fall 2020 workplace operations with more information and FAQs for staff. 

Graduate Students: The Graduate School recognizes that some students may not be able – or may find it difficult – to be present in person, either temporarily or for an extended period, because of a variety of legitimate reasons, including, for example, underlying health risks, travel restrictions, or caregiving duties.

Graduate students will find policies related to the return to research in a July 6, 2020 email from Cole M. Crittenden, Deputy Dean and Acting Dean of the Graduate School. The gradfall2020.princeton.edu website provides answers to questions about presence on campus and enrollment options. The Graduate School has announced a new policy allowing for 14 days of COVID-19 leave. In addition, the Graduate School has developed a process to review exceptional situations where a graduate student remains concerned about whether a department can accommodate that student’s ongoing COVID-19-related absence.  

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR TRAINING AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE PEOPLE TO WORK TOGETHER LESS THAN SIX FEET DISTANCE APART?

Consider approaches that reduce or eliminate the requirement to bring individuals within six feet of each other for long periods of time. Training new lab members should incorporate social distancing to minimize close contact when possible. For example, some training can take place via video conferencing, or via videos made by more experienced lab members. Lab members are encouraged to think of solutions to training challenges.

When planning activities that normally involve two or more people, remember that the safety of the operation shouldn’t be compromised by the application of social distancing guidelines. If necessary, consult with EHS to identify a solution to a specific challenge.

See Building Guidance in the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research for more information.

WILL WE BE ABLE TO WORK IN OUR ON-CAMPUS OFFICES?

Under the Plan for the Phased Resumption of Research, all work that can be done remotely should be done remotely. On-campus offices should not be used for regular work. You may visit your office to collect items or perform brief functions only.

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS BEING ALLOWED INTO THE LABS IF THEY ARE NOT DOING EXPERIMENTS?

Faculty are permitted to visit their lab and supervise students while maintaining social distancing and other guidelines. However, faculty should not conduct regular work in their offices during the day. All work that can be done from home should be done from home.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF PRINCETON HAS TO SHUTDOWN RESEARCH IN THE FALL?

Every PI is creating a plan that includes both resumption of research and a plan for shutting down. Also, future shutdowns are not necessarily going to be campus-wide. The plans are flexible so that they can cover a variety of scenarios.

WILL FIRST-YEAR LAB ROTATIONS BE DISRUPTED IN ANY WAY?

The training of first-year graduate students is an important priority. Each department is deciding how it will handle first-year lab rotations. The directors of graduate studies are developing plans for the training of first-year students.

Health and Safety

WHERE CAN I FIND THE HYGIENE AND SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR RESEARCH OPERATIONS?

The Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research contains guidelines on social distancing, face coverings, lab coats, decontamination and disinfection, hazardous waste, training, shared facilities and equipment, general work rules, requests for accommodations, and related resources.

See Section 5 for Guidelines For Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic (EHS website).

See Section 6 for Building Guidance (EHS website).

 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SANITIZING EQUIPMENT AND COMMON SURFACES IN LABS BETWEEN USERS OR SHIFTS?

Equipment and surfaces inside the lab are the responsibility of the PI and lab members. Guidance for disinfecting lab surfaces is available from EHS. In addition, each lab will have an approved Research Lab Operations Plan, available via SHIELD, which details the surfaces needing sanitization, as well as guidelines to ensure that sanitization occurs as needed. 

Surfaces outside laboratories, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons and restroom facilities, will be sanitized by Building Services. 

See Section 5 for Guidelines For Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic (EHS website).

See Section 6 for Building Guidance (EHS website).

 

WILL COVID-19 SAFETY TRAINING BE REQUIRED BEFORE RETURNING TO THE LAB?

Yes. Researchers will need to complete mandatory online training prior to returning to campus. The training module “Safe Practices for Resumption of Research” is available on the Employee Learning Center.

WILL TESTING BE REQUIRED BEFORE RESEARCHERS CAN RETURN TO WORK?

The University is exploring whether PCR tests will be required on a regular basis. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

WHAT DO I DO IF I AM SICK? HOW DO I REPORT IT? WHAT HAPPENS TO MY LAB, MY GROUP AND MY BUILDING?

If you are sick, stay home. If you think you might have COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider to obtain care and information on getting a test. If you are tested for coronavirus, you must notify University Health Services by emailing communityhealth@princeton.edu

Testing positive for COVID-19 does not mean that your lab or building will immediately be shut down. Your privacy will be respected during the tracing of your recent contacts. 

See Sections 5.1 and 5.2 (EHS website) of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.

WHAT DO I DO IF I FEEL INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT COMPLYING WITH THE SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND PROCEDURES?

It is everyone's responsibility to be a good colleague and model the right behavior for others. If you noticed a colleague who is not complying with the safety procedures, good communication is essential. You may want to ask, "Can I get you a mask?" or "I think you forgot your mask." Help each other establish healthy new habits as research on campus resumes.

If you are not comfortable speaking to your colleagues about the issue, or if behaviors or conditions do not improve, speak with a trusted colleague such as your PI, lab manager, director of graduate studies, department manager, or another person in authority. If these tactics are not successful, or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can report confidentially via EthicsPoint.

ONCE RESEARCH RESUMES, WHAT PLANS ARE IN PLACE IF SOMEONE IN A LAB TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID?

If a case is detected, University Health Services in consultation with Environmental Health & Safety will evaluate the situation and determine appropriate next steps. A single case is unlikely to result in the shutdown of entire departments or buildings, but may result in additional sanitization and disinfection as well as laboratory-level interventions, such as isolation or quarantining of close contacts of the affected individual. Privacy of the affected individual will be maintained. Note that close contact is defined as close physical contact or being within six feet of an infected individual for more than ten minutes. This does not include walking by someone in the hall.

 

Isolation is required for individuals who are sick, awaiting test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19. It means restricting activities outside the home, except for getting medical care.

Quarantine is required for individuals who have been exposed to the coronavirus through close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but are not experiencing symptoms. Quarantine can last up to 14 days from date of close contact with the person who was tested.

See Section 5.2 COVID-19 Case Management for more information.

IF SOMEONE HAS ALREADY CONTRACTED AND RECOVERED FROM COVID-19 (AND HAS PROOF OF POSSESSING ANTIBODIES), IS HE OR SHE EXEMPT FROM SOME OR ALL OF THE POLICIES (LIKE WEARING A MASK)?

Persons who have recovered from COVID-19 are subject to the same policies and guidelines as all others. All persons returning to campus must wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and follow the guidelines in Section 5. Guidelines For Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic.

MANY STUDENTS ARE APPREHENSIVE ABOUT RETURNING, FEARFUL OF GETTING ILL. HAS MENTAL HEALTH FACTORED INTO THE RETURN PLAN, AND ARE THERE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS?

A key tenet of the phased resumption of research plan is that members of our campus community will not be required to return to campus if the PI and/or senior University officials determine that such research can and should be accomplished remotely.

Concerned individuals should talk to their PI to discuss how goals can be achieved. If necessary, consult the director of graduate studies in your department. If neither of these conversations result in consensus, you may talk to the appropriate dean in the graduate school.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is available to support students who are experiencing mental health concerns. Information about CPS services and contact information can be found on their website: https://uhs.princeton.edu/counseling-psychological-services

For more information, see sections 4: Safe working conditions and no coercion and 5.12 Requests for Reasonable Accommodations

HOW WILL UNIVERSITY DISCOURAGE PIS FROM PRESSURING STUDENTS TO WORK BEYOND THEIR SHIFT AND IGNORE GUIDELINES?

PIs are expected to create plans that enable lab members to conduct on-campus research in compliance with public health and safety guidelines. Students and other lab members who feel that they are being pressured to work in a manner that does not comply with guidelines should talk to their PI to discuss how goals can be achieved. If necessary, graduate students can consult the director of graduate studies in the department. If neither of these conversations result in consensus, graduate students may talk to the appropriate dean in the graduate school.

For more information, see sections 4: Safe working conditions and no coercion.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU FALL INTO THE HIGH-RISK CATEGORY BASED OFF THE QUESTIONNAIRE BUT ARE ESSENTIAL IN PERFORMING A TASK THAT THAT IS CRITICAL TO RESUMING LAB OPERATIONS?

For specific questions, consult Environmental Health & Safety, which can refer you to the appropriate office. See Section 5.12 Requests For Reasonable Accommodations.

WHAT IF THE WORK WE ARE DOING DOES NOT ALLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING, SUCH AS WHEN WORKING IN THE MRI FACILITY?

Departments are working with University Health Services and Environmental Health & Safety to create guidelines for the use of specific lab facilities. If you need assistance with developing a plan for use of a specific facility, contact Jackie Wagner, Assistant Director for Biosafety and Environmental Health, at jw6@princeton.edu.

Personal Protective Equipment

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH PPE TO USE?

The University requires all students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings at all times when on campus, except when alone in a room or vehicle. Wear your reusable face covering until you enter the laboratory. Upon entering the laboratory, remove your reusable face covering and don a disposable face covering. 

Cloth laboratory coats must be regularly laundered to minimize the risk of an exposure from contamination on the coat and to help mitigate the risk of the coat becoming a viral reservoir. If working with human specimens or biological materials that require BSL 2 containment, wear the covering specified in your IBC approval, which may include using disposable lab coats or isolation gowns.

Wear gloves when touching or manipulating equipment.

Detailed guidance on the PPE needed in the lab is covered in Section 5.4-5.5 of the Guidelines For Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic of the plan for Phased Resumption of on-campus research.

CAN I WEAR MY REGULAR CLOTH LAB COAT? HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO CLEAN IT?

Lab coats should be worn as usual. Cloth lab coats must be cleaned by a professional or dedicated laundering service at least weekly. Lab coats may not be taken home for laundering or cleaned with public laundering service or facility. Contact your departmental administrator for additional information regarding the process for laundering lab coats.   

If cloth lab coats are worn by a researcher who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, the coat should be turned inside out, placed inside a sealed bag, and held for 7 days prior to laundering. The bag containing the potentially contaminated laboratory coat should be labeled “COVID-19 quarantined laboratory coat” and be marked with the date when the coat can be removed for laundering.

See Section 5.5 Laboratory Coats (EHS website) of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.

WILL PPE BE PURCHASED AND DISTRIBUTED CENTRALLY, OR SHOULD EACH LAB SOURCE ITS OWN SUPPLIES?

At this time, EHS is sourcing and procuring PPE centrally. Visit the EHS website to obtain information about procuring surgical masks/face coverings, surgical gowns, hand sanitizer bottles, disinfectant wipes, and N95 and other air purifying respirators. 

Some considerations when ordering:

  • Your department must be approved to be on campus in order for requests to be fulfilled. Please see the EHS Covid Information and Resources page for more details on the type of plan to submit.
  • Please designate one person within the department to collect requests and submit orders. We cannot entertain orders for individuals.
  • Only order what you may need for a 30 day supply. Assistance with estimating can be found under each item. Please do not hoard supplies.
  • Requests must be based on work activities, rather than comfort or convenience. For example, nitrile gloves are not necessary for good hand hygiene in most cases outside of labs, and disposable masks will not be provided if cloth face coverings are appropriate.  

Please contact ehs@princeton.edu if you have any questions.

Unrestricted Items - Departments may order on the marketplace as needed but may have longer lead times due to intermittent supply disruptions. EHS may be able to provide interim supplies if needed.

  • Nitrile and vinyl gloves
  • Isopropanol and ethanol for disinfecting lab surfaces
  • Cloth face coverings (Please see the University Face Covering Policy for requirements for cloth face coverings. EHS does not endorse or approve any particular product or vendor.)

Also see Section 5 Guidelines For Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic (EHS website) and Section 6 Building Guidance (EHS website) of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.

 

WILL SANITIZING SUPPLIES BE PURCHASED AND DISTRIBUTED CENTRALLY, OR SHOULD EACH LAB SOURCE ITS OWN SUPPLIES?

Isopropanol, ethanol and other products for disinfecting lab surfaces may be ordered by departments or individual labs. These are available on the marketplace but may have longer lead times due to intermittent supply disruptions. Procurement has issued guidance on ordering supplies (including ethanol, propranolol, and gloves) for the resumption of research.

For guidance on cleaning and sanitizing, see:

Section 5 Guidelines For Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic and Section 6 Building Guidance of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.

 

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD UNIVERSITY CONTRACTORS AND VENDORS TAKE?

All University contractors and vendors who provide services on campus or in University-owned or leased buildings must comply with New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines and Governor Murphy’s executive orders. Learn more at the Environmental Health and Safety website.

WILL WE BE PROVIDED MEDICAL GRADE/SURGICAL MASKS FOR USE IN THE BUILDINGS?

The University requires all students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings at all times when on campus, except when alone in a room or vehicle. Individuals may provide their own reusable face coverings for traveling to, from, and around campus. Upon arriving in the laboratory, researchers may remove the reusable face covering and don a disposable face covering.

If you are unable to provide your own reusable face covering, Environmental Health & Safety can assist you. Surgical masks will be provided if needed for specific laboratory tasks. N95 masks are still in short supply, and are only warranted in certain situations. If N95 masks are required, Environmental Health & Safety will assist you with the proper fitting and required training. See additional information in Section 5.4 Face Coverings

Disposable surgical masks are being purchased centrally. Labs should consult Environmental Health & Safety’s guidance on ordering personal protective equipment.

Used masks should be placed in the regular garbage.

ARE WE GOING TO BE PROVIDED PPE AND CLEANING SUPPLIES IN OUR LABS TO FACILITATE THE CLEAN ENVIRONMENT AND ESTABLISHED STANDARDS?

All lab surfaces and equipment must be disinfected at least daily. See guidelines in Section 5.6 Cleaning, Decontamination and Disinfection.

Building services will clean and disinfect public spaces, but each lab will clean and disinfect shared research equipment as well as surfaces within the laboratory. See Environmental Health & Safety’s guidance for disinfecting lab surfaces to see what products have been approved to kill the virus that causes COVID-19.

If a lab or department cannot locate for purchase specific cleaning and disinfecting products, contact Environmental Health & Safety, which can provide guidance and help with sourcing. See which products are in short supply and how to order products at Environmental Health & Safety’s website on ordering personal protective equipment.

Building Access and Policies

WILL UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS BE OPEN TO RESEARCHERS, STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF?

Under the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research, all research buildings will be set to card access “weekend” schedule. TigerCards will be required for access.

See Section 6 Building Guidance (EHS website) for more information.

WILL THERE BE A SPECIFIC ENTRY AND EXIT PATTERN FOR MY BUILDING, OR A DESIGNATED TRAFFIC FLOW THROUGH MY BUILDING?

Departments will evaluate traffic patterns and develop plans for buildings, while PIs will develop plans for movement around the laboratory, including possible specific entry or exit points. To maintain social distancing, only one occupant at a time is allowed in the elevator. While waiting for an elevator, appropriate social distancing should be maintained.  If occupants identify choke points or high-traffic areas, EHS will work with the department or building manager to enact solutions. 

See Section 6 Building Guidance (EHS website) of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.

WILL VENTILATION BE ENHANCED OR IMPROVED IN THE LABORATORIES?

EHS is responsible for ensuring optimized ventilation throughout the University, including in the labs. In most labs, the total volume of the air in the lab is changed upwards of ten times per hour. Some areas, such as walk-in refrigerators, will not have frequent air changes. EHS is monitoring CDC guidance on ventilation as a means to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Air in the labs is 100% fresh air brought in from outside. All buildings maintain the level of circulation required by the CDC. Building air handlers run 24/7. The air from a lab is always exhausted directly outside the building.

WHAT ARE THE OIT INSTRUCTIONS FOR INSTALLING CAMERAS OR OTHER VIDEO EQUIPMENT IN MY LAB?

Lab members are not allowed to install cameras or surveillance equipment without prior authorization from OIT. To install cameras to monitor research projects or for other non-security uses, consult this OIT article on How to Request Deployment of a Campus Based IP Video Camera.

HOW WILL THE IMPACT OF CONSTRUCTION BE COMMUNICATED TO RESEARCHERS?

Any changes in construction schedules or work plans would not result in more prolonged utility/water outages than originally planned. To the extent the timing of such outages shifts, Facilities will communicate to the impacted buildings.

WILL CLEANING SERVICES COME INTO THE LABS TO REMOVE REGULAR TRASH OR MOP FLOORS?

Building services will continue to do the tasks that they have done previously. If building services previously came into labs, they will continue to come into labs.

Building services will not enter labs to mop floors except upon request. 

WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR RESTROOM USE?

Protocols will be developed to allow restroom usage while maintaining social distancing. If restrooms hold multiple people, particular stalls may be blocked off, for example. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected by Building Services on a frequent basis.

WHAT IF MODIFICATIONS NEED TO BE MADE TO A LAB TO PROVIDE SOCIAL DISTANCING?

Departments and PIs who want to make modifications to a lab or room should contact facilities (via 258-8000 or work order request). Applicants should specify that the request is COVID-19-related, which will trigger a facilities-modification team to evaluate the space, determine modifications, and carry out the required modifications. The team will include Environmental Health & Safety and University Health Services. Labs will be responsible for the cost of modifications, although arrangements may be made if the cost is significant.

ARE THERE DEPARTMENT SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR HOW/WHERE RESEARCHERS SHOULD PLAN TO EAT LUNCH?

Each department will establish a plan covering its building, including providing guidance for where to eat lunch and take breaks. PI plans will also include information on where to eat and take breaks. See Section 5.11 General Work Rules

ARE THERE CHANGES TO THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO ALLOW FOR LESS CONTACT E.G. BEING ABLE TO OPEN DOORS WITH ONE'S FOOT?

Solutions such as automatic doors may be considered if warranted, but are not planned at this time. High-touch surfaces in buildings will be cleaned more frequently by Building Services. Individuals should regularly wash hands.

Housing, Transportation and Late Hours

WHAT SHOULD GRADUATE STUDENTS DO IF THEY TERMINATED THEIR HOUSING CONTRACTS DUE TO COVID-19 IN THE SPRING, AND ARE NOW BEING ASKED TO RETURN TO THE LAB?

For inquiries about housing, graduate students should email askhousing@princeton.edu. If they have Housing issues they would like to discuss with the Graduate School, they may contact Lily Secora (lsecora@princeton.edu).

WHAT PERSONAL SAFETY MEASURES WILL BE IN PLACE? MEMBERS OF OUR LAB MAY BE WORKING UNUSUALLY LATE SHIFTS.

If working alone after regular working hours, take steps to put in place safety measures. For example, you may want to buddy with another lab member or department member who is also working late. You may want to synchronize work hours and commuting times. Use the TigerSafe app to maximize safety. 

If working with hazardous materials, ensure that you follow safety guidelines. Don't work with hazardous materials alone.

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR PARKING ON CAMPUS THIS SUMMER FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS?

Members of our University community who rely on TigerTransit for transportation fom their campus residences or assigned parking lots to their workplaces and who have a valid parking permit can temporarily park in closer numbered lots (except lots 8, 9, and 18) with empty spaces. Questions or concerns should be directed to Transportation and Parking Services at ttps@princeton.edu. When riding TigerTransit, riders must enter via the back door of the bus. Riders must wear face coverings and sit six feet from other passengers.

WILL THERE BE “OFF-LIMIT” HOURS? ARE WE ABLE TO WORK IN THE HOURS FROM 10PM-6AM? OR CAN WE WORK ALL THROUGHOUT THE LATE NIGHTS/MORNINGS?

PIs are responsible for the creation of schedules. Schedules may include shifts throughout the day, alternate days, or other arrangements. Buildings may be accessed via card key 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

WHAT IF I HAVE TO TRAVEL ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO REACH THE UNIVERSITY?

Individuals should follow state and local guidelines for use of NJ Transit, the New York City subway, and other transportation agencies. There are no additional requirements from the University regarding use of public transportation.

Core Facilities

WILL SHARED AND CORE FACILITIES CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE FOR USE AS USUAL?

Under the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research, core facilities will be able to resume operations. Consult with core facilities or research labs that host shared equipment to find out if they will be available when you plan to use them. See the shared facility's website or contact the facility manager to obtain the hours of operation, which may be limited or have new scheduling constraints.

Animal Research

WHAT PROCEDURES WILL BE IN PLACE WHEN WORKING WITH LABORATORY ANIMALS?

Laboratory Animal Resources has established guidelines to protect researchers and laboratory animals. These include limits on the number of researchers in the animal facilities at any one time, disinfection procedures, and changes in scheduling of animal husbandry staff.

SHOULD RESEARCHERS MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH NON-HUMAN PRIMATES?

Macaques are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV2, and this species is known to develop a high fever and respiratory symptoms similar to humans. Should our nonhuman primate population come under direct threat of infection, LAR is prepared to transition to new requirements for additional personal protective equipment and procedures for individuals working with the macaques.

Research with Human Subjects

IS THE IRB STILL OPERATING?

Yes. The IRB office is open. The IRB website contains FAQs and contact information for IRB staff. COVID-19-specific information can be found on this guidance page.

WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES FOR HUMAN SUBJECT RESEARCH THAT INVOLVES IN-PERSON INTERACTIONS?

Guidance on human subjects research can be found in Appendix 2 of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.

Undergraduate Research

WILL UNDERGRADUATES BE ALLOWED TO COME TO CAMPUS FOR RESEARCH?

Undergraduate students will continue to work remotely, and are not allowed in laboratories until further notification by the University.

In fall 2020, a very small number of undergraduate students — specifically seniors whose departments determine that they meet specific, stringent criteria necessitating them to be on campus to conduct thesis research and whose plans have been approved by the relevant principal investigator and the Dean for Research — will be invited back in the fall and will be able to return for the spring semester.

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT PRINCETON PLASMA PHYSICS LAB OPERATIONS?

Information about the laboratory operations is available on their website: https://www.pppl.gov/. Specific questions can be emailed to pppl_communications@pppl.gov

Shipping and Supplies

HOW SHOULD WE OBTAIN SUPPLIES FOR RESEARCH?

Personal protective equipment must be ordered centrally. See the EHS web page Ordering PPE and Supplies for more details and ordering information. For regular research supplies, contact Procurement with questions, or download information on purchasing supplies needed to support the resumption of on-campus research (PDF).

WILL GAS SUPPLIES, SUCH AS LIQUID NITROGEN, CONTINUE?

The University continues to be in contact with vendors. At this point, no disruptions are expected.  Any updates will be communicated as they are learned by Procurement.

ARE THERE PRECAUTIONS FOR INCOMING SHIPMENTS?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that incoming shipments pose minimal risks and thus no special equipment or procedures are needed. People working in shipping and receiving should take utmost care to follow the general CDC-recommended hygiene practices as they handle materials.

WILL SHIPPING MATERIALS TO AND FROM CAMPUS BE AFFECTED?

Contact Procurement with questions, or download information on purchasing supplies needed to support the resumption of on-campus research (PDF).

Research Expenditures

WHAT GUIDANCE IS AVAILABLE FROM AGENCIES AND SPONSORS REGARDING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON RESEARCH?

Please consult the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) website for the COVID-19 FAQ on updates and guidance released by research sponsors. 

ARE TRAVEL CANCELLATION COSTS DUE TO COVID-19 ALLOWABLE AS DIRECT CHARGES TO SPONSORED PROJECTS?

The Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) continues to monitor guidance from sponsoring agencies related to charges to awards for cancellation of travel, conferences, and related expenses due to COVID-19. Please consult ORPA's website for the COVID-19 FAQ on updates and guidance released by research sponsors. 

Travel

MAY I TRAVEL TO ANOTHER RESEARCH SITE IF THEY ARE OPEN FOR RESEARCH (E.G., NATIONAL LABS, OTHER UNIVERSITIES)? WHO GIVES TRAVEL APPROVAL?

University-sponsored International travel continues to be suspended, and until further notice, no international travel should be planned or scheduled. Domestic travel should be limited to essential purposes, which may include travel to another research site, as determined by you and your supervisor or department chair. See the University's coronavirus travel policy and travel FAQs for more information. Send questions and concerns to globalsafety@princeton.edu.

IF I NEED TO RETURN TO CAMPUS FROM OUTSIDE OF NJ, DO I NEED TO SELF-QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS BEFORE RESUMING RESEARCH?

Under the 14-day quarantine travel advisory announced by the Governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, individuals traveling to or returning to New Jersey from states with increasing rates of COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. The 14-day quarantine advisory applies to travel from states that have a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or have a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. See the list of impacted states.

Persons returning to on-campus laboratory work must report their travel from impacted states on the risk assessment form that they fill out prior to obtaining authorization to return to the lab.

Anyone who travels outside the United States will need to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days on their return. Contact University Health Services at communityhealth@princeton.edu or 609-258-3141 for more information.

Library

WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO RESEARCHERS THROUGH THE LIBRARY?

Princeton University Library continues to provide Princeton faculty and students support with virtual teaching and learning, and remote access options for using library resources.

Beginning June 8, PUL will begin a phased resumption of research services

View PUL's full list of services for remote research, teaching and learning

Computing and OIT Support

WILL RESEARCH COMPUTING CONTINUE AS NORMAL?

Both the Office of Information Technology and the research computing center have been working to avoid disruptions. OIT is supporting several remote learning and conferencing applications that researchers can use. For more specific information or for assistance contact OIT through the help desk at 609-258-4357 (8-HELP) or helpdesk@princeton.edu. More information on remote instructions and meetings can be found at workcontinuity.princeton.edu

Research computing is expected to continue as normal because most operations are handled remotely. The office is working with vendors to ensure spare parts are on hand. High-Performance Computing and storage systems are up. All training sessions have been canceled and will be rescheduled. Plans are being developed to replace walk-in hours with remote help sessions. Staff at Research Computing urge researchers to make contingency plans to ensure they have access to their own data in the event of a building closure. 

WHAT TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT REMOTE WORK? WILL THERE BE A BANDWIDTH ISSUE?

Zoom is fully supported, and many other applications are supported as well. The University has sufficient network capacity to support conferencing. Vendors, including Zoom, have said they can expand to meet demand. If you wish to use an alternate communication system, contact OIT with questions. OIT will assist with problems or questions and can be reached through the help desk at 609-258-4357 (8-HELP) or helpdesk@princeton.edu

COVID-19-Related Activities and Production of Materials

HOW CAN I GET APPROVAL TO PRODUCE PPE MATERIALS OR PROVIDE OTHER TECHNICAL SUPPORT TO THE COMMUNITY?

Many members of the Princeton community have expressed a desire to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic through the production of PPE materials, the use of 3D printing, medical testing, or otherwise providing technical support. To ensure the efficacy and safety of these efforts, the University requires that approval be obtained from the Office of the Provost for activities that involve University resources in non-research-related COVID-19 responses.

  • Members of the community are encouraged to submit ideas for new/ongoing projects
  • For information on 3D printing of PPE and medical devices, see the guidance provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

For additional answers specific to sponsored research, visit the Office of Research and Project Administration's Frequently Asked Questions.