Updates and Reminders Regarding Phase 2 of Research Activities

August 4, 2020

On July 27 we transitioned laboratory-based research to Phase 2.

This decision was based on the very small number of COVID–19 cases among the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) research community, and on the fact that there was no evidence of transmission within our research community. We are constantly monitoring the situation in our city and state, and are keenly aware that it is not as positive as that within our campus. If infection or transmission metrics worsen on campus, we will immediately adjust our health and safety practices. If the need arises, we may impose additional safety practices, or revert to Phase 1.

As part of our efforts to improve safety, the SAFE on Campus symptom monitoring program has been enhanced and moved to a new server, in preparation for campus-wide implementation. All researchers who participated in piloting the first version of this tool will need to register in the new system, in response to the email notice you will receive. Among the improvements is the ability to automatically program pause requests and supervisor changes.

What happens if I have symptoms that may mean infection with SARS-CoV–2?

Most importantly, stay home! Notify HR and the UMB COVID–19 Hotline at 1-800-701-9863 immediately if you have symptoms or suspect exposure. Medical professionals will determine whether testing is required, and whether self-isolation is warranted. If COVID-19 is diagnosed, the hotline team notifies UMB Occupational Health to initiate contact tracing to identify individuals who may have been exposed. When indicated, the Occupational Health team works with the supervisor and Environmental Health and Safety to determine level of risk and to develop an appropriate notification and cleaning plan. The UMB Occupational Health team includes an Occupational Medicine physician, an Occupational Health Nurse and an Infection Prevention Professional, who oversee the SAFE on Campus and hotline programs.

Anyone can schedule a free test here, even if they are not referred to testing by UMB.

How to continue being safe

Work from home whenever possible.

In Phase 2, laboratories and other research spaces are allowed to function at 50% occupancy, provided they maintain at least 150 ft2 per person. It is equally important to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 ft. If a space is occupied by more than one individual, everyone should wear a mask at all times. If you are working alone, in a closed room, you may remove your mask.

Wash your hands frequently, and sanitize surfaces and equipment you work with. Avoid sharing break room space with other employees, as it is difficult to ensure attention to masking and distancing in these areas.

What if I don’t feel safe?

If you are concerned that a co-worker’s or a supervisor’s behavior is creating a health concern, speak to them politely. You may also speak with your supervisor or chair/director about these concerns. If you prefer to report these concerns anonymously, email the UMB Hotline.

Additional information is available on the FAQ Page.