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COVID-19: Safety precautions and university guidelines

Last updated: 3/11/2020, 12pm

The LSC is following university and CDC guidelines to minimize the risk of COVID-19 to individuals and our broader community. This page has our most up to date guidelines and policies related to the use of LSC space, LSC-sponsored travel, and best practices for labs with human participants.

Guidelines for activities held in the LSC

The LSC is still open through Friday, March 13. Please take precautions when you use the space for meetings or classes:

  • Alcohol wipes (for keyboards, mice, and phones) and disinfecting wipes (for tables, surfaces, and door handles) are available in the LSC. Make use of these to clean before and after your meeting or event.
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the LSC. Use it liberally! But also wash your hands!
  • Avoid self-serve food items in favor of pre-packaged foods.
  • Provide electronic/remote access to events when possible. The Garage is equipped with cameras and microphones. Please ask in advance if you need help setting up; we can't promise to be available on short notice.

Beginning Monday, March 23 (the week following Spring Break), through at least April 10, LSC staff will be working remotely most of the time, following UMD guidelines. The LSC space will be locked, but accessible by swipe card. Make sure to request swipe access ahead of time, ideally by Friday, March 13.

Language Science Lunch Talks

We will hold this week’s LSLT (3/12/2020) in person at the LSC, with a few modifications:

  • We will spread out seating to allow more space between people, and set up the PA system so that the speaker is audible from farther away.
  • We will offer a virtual attendance option (through Zoom) for anyone who is currently sick or at high risk.
  • In lieu of the usual sandwich line, we will have boxed lunches available for the first 35 attendees.

During the period when classes have been canceled or moved online (3/23 - 4/10), LSLT will be 100% virtual.

Travel policies

As of March 9, 2020, the University of Maryland’s current guidance regarding university-funded or supported travel is to restrict all non-essential domestic and international travel for the next 60 days. If you are a student or faculty member with approved and/or purchased upcoming travel during this period, please reach out to your departmental business manager to handle necessary cancellations.

DO NOT make any personal purchases of university-related travel for at least the next 60 days. Currently, policy dictates that we can only reimburse travel expenses to individuals if they complete the travel.

Guatemala Field Station

All activities of the Guatemala Field Station have been suspended through Summer 2020.

Lab best practices

Currently, there is no specific guidance from the university regarding research labs and visiting participants. However, please find below some best practices we recommend you consider implementing for at least the next 60 days.

  • Encourage students and other staff members to regularly wash/disinfect their hands, avoid touching their faces, and cover coughs and sneezes with their elbow.
    • If a student or staff member is sick, encourage them NOT to come to work and to communicate with the lab manager about their absence.
    • Make hand sanitizer or a place to wash hands available to all participants.
  • Keep the lab as clean as possible!
    • Disinfect the lab space regularly: door knobs, surfaces, faucets, cabinet handles, light switches, etc.
    • Clean/disinfect lab tools and equipment regularly and between every participant: keyboards, headphones, mice, worn equipment (eeg caps, VR headsets, etc.)
    • Pre-assemble packets for participants that only they will use/touch (clip board, pen, paperwork, toys, etc.) and then set that batch aside for cleaning after each participant.
  • Communicate with participants clearly.
    • Let participants know what precautions the lab is taking, invite participants to disclose if they or people they are close with are in a high risk population (and give them the option to cancel their participation or choose a ‘first-in-the-day’ slot)
    • Consider asking parents to hold young children and perhaps limit the use of play areas (or implement a one-family-at-a-time policy)