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Guidance on Use of Core Research Facilities

To protect the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, visitors and the community, Clemson University Core Research Facilities will operate under the following guidelines until further notice. The guidelines apply to users at the Aquatic Animal Research Lab, Clemson Light Imaging Facility, Electron Microscopy Facility, and Godley-Snell Research Center.

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Aquatic Animal Research Lab

As the University plans for return of staff, faculty and students, we are establishing new guidelines for use of the AARL facility.  There are still too many unknowns surrounding COVID19 so we continue to operate out of an abundance of caution.  Core facilities present unique challenges for offering a safe working environment during a pandemic. This shared lab space is utilized by multiple researchers; everyone must take responsibility for limiting the chances of transmission of COVID-19 (and other infectious diseases). All services previously provided during normal operations will be provided as we move forward.

These operating guidelines will be in effect until further notice and will be modified as needed.

GENERAL GUIDELINES 

  1. Do not enter the AARL if you have a fever, feel fatigued, reduced ability to taste, or any other unusual symptom.  If you do, consult Redfern Health Services or The Sullivan Center for advice and COVID 19 testing.  Users must be symptom free and receive a negative COVID 19 test within 5 days of returning to the AARL facility.
  2. Users who have obvious symptoms of illness (coughing, sneezing, fever, loss of taste, prolonged headache, etc.) will be asked to leave the facility or reschedule appointment.
  3. Per Clemson University Biosafety, users who have recently recovered from illnesses such as COVID-19 are more vulnerable to lab-acquired infections. Such users may need to exercise additional precautions when resuming work in a research laboratory.
  4. Vulnerable populations, such as those with underlying medical conditions, should consider whether the AARL is an appropriate work environment; alternative personnel may be assigned to work in shared user spaces such as core facilities if they acquired the appropriate approval(s) and training
  5. Users with a presumed or confirmed positive COVID-19 test are asked to self-disclose by notifying our director, Dr. John Parrish at parris4@clemson.edu and the facility manager, John Smink smink@clemson.edu. This information will help us to maintain a safe work environment for other users and facility personnel.
  6. Frequent hand washing is encouraged. At a minimum, wash your hands upon entering and prior to leaving the facility.
  7. A mask is required at all times in the facility unless you are in an office by yourself. If you are not wearing a mask, you will be asked to leave and your access to the facility may be revoked.

WHO MAY WORK IN THE FACILITY?

  1. Those persons who have been authorized as essential research personnel by the AARL Facility manager, their respective Associate Director for Research or Department Head, and have an approved AUP, or those who need to use specific instrumentation not available elsewhere may be granted access. If your respective College or Department has additional requirements, those must be followed as well.
  2. Any PI who currently has animals in the Facility under an IACUC approved animal use proposal (AUP), may continue to work with those animals.
  3. If you are not listed as essential research personnel, submit your requests to the Associate Dean for Research in your college or from the Head of your Department.
  4. Send your written document of approval to parris4@clemson.edu  and smink@clemson.edu.   You must receive a confirmation email from John Smink AARL Facility manager with specific permission to work in the AARL.
  5. Any new students or previous students that were not approved as essential Prior to July 17th, 2020, may not enter the facility until approval from one of the above mentioned persons. Submit your written approval to Dr. John Parrish and John Smink.  A confirmation email must be received from the facility manager, John Smink, prior to entering the facility.
  6. No tours of prospective students or visitors are allowed at this time without a written request to John Smink, facility manager. A confirmation email must be received, and a date and time must be approved. 

HOW DO YOU GAIN ENTRY TO THE FACILITY?

  1. Once you qualify as essential research personnel, your Tiger Stripe card will be activated to enter the P&A building during and after hours. Individual AARL keys may be available for access into the facility.
  2. Daily animal husbandry and feeding do not need to be scheduled with the facility manager. However, facemasks must always be worn , and social distancing should be maintained when inside the Facility.
  3. Investigators must notify John Smink via email 48 hours ahead of time to schedule use of equipment, technician support, or use of procedural areas, etc.  
  4. New animal orders for IACUC approved protocols must be approved by Dr. John Parrish. New vendors must also be approved by Dr. John Parrish. 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

All persons entering the AARL must were a surgical mask while in the facility. We will provide a surgical mask if you don’t have one while our supplies last.  If you have your own mask, please bring it and wear it.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  1. Scheduling is critical to allow social distancing. Our goal is to have the fewest number of people in the Facility we can at one time.  Therefore, only one person, or group of people, will be allowed to work in a given space and only one person will be allowed to use a single piece of equipment at a time.
  2. Social Distancing may be a challenge at times in the AARL. Thus, the need for the PPE listed earlier. Please be respectful of each person’s space as you are walking through common areas of the lab.

DISINFECTION

  1. AARL personnel will disinfect surfaces commonly touched by personnel at least twice daily, including doorknobs/handles, work surfaces and light switches. AARL personnel will not disinfect any surfaces inside a PI’s lab. 
  2. Customers working with various instruments and in various spaces are asked to disinfect the areas after using them. Keyboards and other electrical interfaces should only be disinfected after powering the unit down.  All other equipment, chairs, work surfaces, etc., should also be disinfected.

If you have any special concerns regarding your research animals or the conduct of your studies, please let us know.

We will be available by individual email.

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

Clemson Light Imaging Facility

ACCESS

As of March 18, users will no longer have electronic key access to the facility. As such, upon arrival, approved users or individuals dropping off pre-approved slides/samples must call CLIF personnel in order to obtain access to the facility. Personal contact information for the on-duty CLIF personnel will be supplied in the appointment/sample approval email, so be sure to take note of this information before arrival at the CLIF or you will not be able to enter the facility.

SCHEDULING

All regular sign-up services will be discontinued. Instead, all users must email facility director Terri Bruce at terri@clemson.edu to receive approval for:

  1. their arrival time and appointment length
  2. room where they will work and
  3. capability they will use.

Upon receipt of the initial request, the Principle Investigator will be emailed a link to a Google Document request form. The Principle Investigator will then be required to fill out a Google Document detailing why the work is deemed ESSENTIAL. This means that the work is needed for August 2020 graduation, or for a grant report/application deadline on or before August 14, 2020. All other work should be considered non-essential and planned on for completion at a later date.

If an imaging request or sample drop-off request is approved, the user and Principle Investigator will be notified via email. In addition to the appointment time or sample drop-off time, contact information for the CLIF personnel in charge on the assigned day will be included in the email. This is important, as all electronic key access to the Life Sciences Facility and the CLIF has been removed for everyone except essential personnel. To access the building and CLIF for appointments and sample drop-offs, the user must contact the CLIF personnel in charge upon arrival.

Thank you for your cooperation during this unprecedented situation. We will be back to our normal operations as soon as we can be!

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  1. In each capability room, only one user will be allowed at a time. This means that all trainings and user assistance will be halted.
  2. For those capabilities where samples can be dropped-off for facility staff to work on them, sample drop-boxes will be provided outside the facility for users to drop their samples. Only samples pre-arranged and pre-approved via email with specific facility staff will be accepted. Results for these samples will be communicated to users through emails or deposited in a BOX account.

GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICES

  1. In each capability room, there will be alcohol-based hand sanitizer/soap in place. All users will be required to use hand sanitizer before they touch the keyboard/instruments.
  2. In each capability room, there will be a box of ‘disinfecting wet wipes’ or alcohol and lens paper. All users will be required to clean the ‘keyboard/mouse’, eye-pieces, focus knobs and any other areas of the equipment that they have touched after their usage.
    NOTE: It is extremely important to make sure that the eye-pieces of any microscope are disinfected properly as viruses may be spread via the eye and through contact with eye secretions!
  3. If gloves are used, hand sanitizer must still be used, as gloves can cause cross—contamination. Otherwise, gloves should not be worn.

NOTE
It is the CLIF Director’s right and responsibility to determine which work is deemed urgent and has priority based on business needs. During such circumstances, it is possible that some work may be delayed/postponed until conditions are normalized.

Thank you for your cooperation during this unprecedented situation. We will be back to our normal operations as soon as possible!

Electron Microscopy Facility

INTERNAL USERS

All INTERNAL USERS who want to use the Electron Microscopy Facility must be included on the University’s “essential personnel list” and must have AMRL Building access included on their Clemson University Tiger Card. All INTERNAL users must email facility director Lax Saraf at lsaraf@clemson.edu to receive approval for:

  1. their arrival time and appointment length;
  2. room where they will work and;
  3. capability they will use.

EXTERNAL USERS (Industry and other Non-Profit Organization)

Access to University Facilities by the general public is suspended until further notice, per executive order from the Clemson University President.

External users may drop samples with instructions in “EM Facility Drop Box” outside AMRL building and notify facility staff via email, phone, text, etc. Facility staff can perform the work and transmit the data back to users through email or Box folder.

External users also may choose to mail samples with instructions to 91 Technology Drive, AMRL Building, Anderson, S.C. 29625.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  1. Only one user will be allowed in a capability room at a time. This means that all trainings and user assistance will be halted.
  2. For those capabilities where samples can be dropped-off, sample drop boxes will be provided outside the facility. Only samples pre-arranged and pre-approved via email will be accepted. Results for these samples will be communicated to users through emails or deposited in a Box account.

GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICES

  1. In each capability room, there will be alcohol-based hand sanitizer/soap in place. All users will be required to use hand sanitizer before they touch the keyboard/instruments.
  2. In each capability room, there will be a box of ‘disinfecting wet wipes’ or alcohol and lens paper. All users will be required to clean the keyboard/mouse, eyepieces, focus knobs and any other areas of the equipment that they have touched after their usage.
  3. If gloves are used, hand sanitizer must still be used, as gloves can cause cross-contamination. Otherwise, gloves should not be worn.

NOTE
It is the Facilitiy Director’s right and responsibility to determine which work is deemed urgent and has priority based on business needs. During such circumstances, it is possible that some work may be delayed/postponed until conditions are normalized. Thank you for your cooperation during this unprecedented situation. We will be back to our normal operations as soon as possible!

Godley-Snell Research Center

Our aim is to minimize all activities performed at Godley-Snell Research Center (GSRC) with the goal of preventing exposure of the GSRC staff to COVID-19, which could result in building closure. Effective immediately, GSRC will not start any new projects and will work with individual investigators and graduate students to bring ongoing projects to closure as rapidly as possible. With minimal staff, we will continue to support projects currently in house. This plan is based on guidance from Federal and State agencies and Clemson leadership.

CURRENT OPERATIONS

GSRC animal care staff are deemed “essential personnel” and will be responsible for the normal 7 day a week daily care of the animals as usual. GSRC personnel will support scheduled and approved research procedures as needed with the following guidelines:

  • No new projects or animal orders will be initiated without ADR assurance that the study is essential and cannot be delayed, and authorization by the Director, GSRC. Animal research procedures will be scheduled and limited to minimize the number of authorized people at GSRC at any time. Procedures may be conducted following submission and approval of a service request. Do not come to GSRC unless you have submitted a service request and received a confirmation email. Please be on time.
  • We have discontinued sign-up sheets at the front door to minimize potential contamination. Everyone should bring their own pen, do not share with others. If you need a pen, ask GSRC personnel to provide one that you will keep.
  • GSRC personnel will be alternated and staffing will be minimized. We may have only one or two staff available at any time. This includes front office personnel.
  • Only one project (preferably one person) will be scheduled in any procedure room at any one time. Only the number of people necessary for the procedure will be allowed to enter the facility. Only work together when necessary but still maintain distance as much as possible.
  • Disinfectant sprays and/or wipes are placed next to each piece of equipment and work area. Users must disinfect all equipment, keyboards and work areas before and after use.
  • GSRC personnel will disinfect surfaces commonly touched by personnel at least twice daily, including door knobs/handles, light switches, work surfaces, kitchen table and counter, etc.
  • The GSRC Farm Animal Veterinarian will be working from home and available by phone.

If you have any special concerns regarding your research animals or the conduct of your studies, please let us know.

Throughout these modified operations, we will be available by email at GSRC@clemson.edu. If you have research animals at any University animal facility, please ensure that you have provided your emergency contact information.

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

  • John Parrish
    University Veterinarian
    864-723-0992
  • Emily Waggoner
    Farm Animal Veterinarian
    864-356-6858
  • Melody Willey
    Associate Director
    GSRC
    864-650-0936
  • John Smink
    Facility Manager
    AARL
    864-650-0936