Communicate protocols and purchase safety equipment for everyone.
It takes a lot of planning and, most importantly, a lot of communication to get experiments back on track.
That's what postdocs Michaelle Chojnacki and Mikaeel Young found as they prepped to return to the Dunman Lab at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The Dunman Lab, which investigates ESKAPE pathogens, closed in mid-March, just as COVID-19 first gripped New York.
By mid-May, the team was ready to get back to work, but it took weeks of planning to get there.
"About 10 days before we returned, our department had a Zoom meeting with over a hundred of us from the different labs where they all outlined the guidelines we had to follow, and each lab was allowed to add on additional guidelines," Young said.
Those guidelines included instituting shorter shifts to limit the number of people in the lab, requiring lab workers to wear masks, and disinfecting public areas and equipment before and after use.
The University of Rochester ordered masks and Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectants in bulk and provided each of its labs with a generous allotment. Thanks to the school's foresight, Chojnacki and Young said, the Dunman Lab never had problems procuring personal protective equipment or cleaning products.