Research Recovery

As of June 1, 2020, Stanford Research has entered Stage 1, with a focus on preparing labs for Stage 2. This resource focuses on laboratories and libraries at Stages 0 – 2. It will be expanded for other areas of scholarship and updated as conditions develop.


This document explains Stanford’s staged plan to resume research activity. Our goal is to re-activate our research enterprise while minimizing the risk that anyone transmits the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) to anyone else within our laboratory environment.

The text box labeled How to Protect Yourself & Others summarizes relevant guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the world’s premier public health organization, and the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health (SCCDPH), the body that is legally designated to protect and promote the health of our local community. In brief, CDC guidance requires us to wash our hands often, practice social distancing (also called physical distancing), wear a mask when we are near others, avoid gathering in groups, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. The SCCDPH Order includes more details and at this time, also requires us to complete COVID-19 symptom screening before beginning work. If we follow these universal instructions, the probability is low that we will infect others or become infected ourselves. This Stanford guidance represents our effort to implement the CDC’s and SCCDPH’s instructions in the context of laboratory research.

The health of our community is our highest priority. Before we fully reactivate Stanford’s research endeavors, we must render our research environments and research practices as safe as humanly possible.

Beginning with the Shelter-in-place order on 03/17/2020, we entered Stage 0, in which the university asked us to eliminate our on-campus research presence, except to conduct Essential Research Functions: that is, to complete our shutdown procedures, carry out critical maintenance activities, conduct certain kinds of clinical research, or conduct COVID-19 research that could mitigate the spread of the pandemic. Beginning on May 11, 2020, we also approved Minimum Basic Research Operations, including work that either a) maintains the value of research inventory and samples or b) enables researchers to work from remote locations to the fullest extent possible.

We will update this guidance frequently to reflect rapid changes in our understanding and in our external and internal environments. The website now offers the following content:

  • Definitions, prerequisites, characteristic activities, and best practices for each stage,
  • A checklist of researcher responsibilities for all laboratory researchers to review to assure the safety of the community,
  • Checklists for laboratories to help them operate safely, and
  • Guidance to library patrons.

As we focus on our mission of creating new knowledge, we affirm our shared commitment to the health and safety of our extended research community, including faculty, students, research staff members, support staff members, vendors, contractors, and delivery personnel.

How to Protect Yourself and OthersThe best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, between people who are in close contact with each other (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Everyone should

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Stay at least 6 feet from other people. Do not gather in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting sick.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes. If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then use a household disinfectant.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Staged Approach

Parts of the University are currently operating as an essential business under restricted-access protocols. In addition, some labs are conducting Essential Functions and Minimum Basic Operations, as allowed by Santa Clara County orders and University guidance.

Stanford plans to reactivate our research activities via a staged approach. University administration will decide to move forward into a more advanced stage (or backward into a less advanced stage) on the basis of local, county, state, and federal public health directives; the current state of the health care system; and policy directives and decisions by Stanford’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

During all stages, departments and laboratory groups should

  • minimize the occupancy density of campus rooms and buildings, 
  • limit person-to-person contact within our facilities,
  • open on-campus research space only to activities that cannot operate remotely, and
  • undertake those activities only in the limited areas of campus buildings necessary to complete the work.

During all stages, anyone working on campus must use Health Check so that Stanford can screen all personnel for temperature anomalies and other COVID-19 symptoms prior to the beginning of each shift. Employers of vendors, contractors, and other workers will also be expected to screen their employees on a daily basis before they enter a Stanford facility.

Many research projects have successfully transitioned to remote or partially remote operation; i.e., they now require no access or infrequent access to university spaces. These projects should continue to operate remotely throughout Stage 2 at least.

These guidelines apply to laboratories and to other spaces within laboratory buildings. They do not otherwise apply to the use of classrooms, teaching labs, or other instructional spaces, including the use of labs for remote teaching.

Stage 0 for Laboratory Research

Environmental Factors

Stanford Research will remain in Stage 0 as long as any of these environmental factors persist:

  • COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase.
  • The availability of testing and tracking remains too limited to assure the health of our community.
  • Personal protective equipment, face coverings, and supplies for cleaning, disinfection, or personal protection remain limited.
  • The governmental stay-at-home directive remains in place.

Allowed Research Activities

During Stage 0, Stanford is allowing access to campus laboratories and research spaces only for approved key personnel and only for approved Essential Research Functions. Essential Research Functions, defined in a March 17 memo, consist of a) maintenance required to preserve laboratory viability, b) certain clinical research described in the School of Medicine’s Guidance for Clinical Trials and Clinical Research, and c) COVID-19 research that has the clear potential to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or its impact on human health. Essential Research Functions require the approval of relevant department chairs, institute directors, cognizant deans, and review committees.

As of May 11, 2020, Stanford academic units (schools, departments, and institutes) may approve a small number of research visits to campus for Minimum Basic Research Operations that a) maintain the value of research inventory and samples, or b) ensure that remote work can continue to the fullest extent possible. For example, Minimum Basic Research Operations may include these activities: biobanking, making cultures, processing samples that would otherwise degrade, acquiring a final piece of data that will enable group members to analyze and document their experiments, setting up an experiment that someone can monitor and control remotely, or accessing laboratory data for subsequent remote analysis.

Laboratory Headcount and Building and Campus Population Density

During Stage 0, we expect that most research groups will have zero researchers coming to campus. For each Principal Investigator (PI), preferably no more than 1, and definitely no more than 2 personnel should work on campus on any given day, unless the PI has obtained approval for COVID-19 or other Essential Research Functions, primarily lab maintenance. The main goal of these very limited visits should be to maintain the value of the research inventory and to maximize the amount of remote of work that research group members can perform.

During Stage 0 and all later stages, we should limit the headcount in laboratory spaces to support adequate physical distancing (at least 6 feet apart). We need to limit population density not only in the lab, but also throughout the building, including in shared spaces such as equipment rooms, bathrooms, elevators, and other common areas, and on campus overall. By maintaining low density in the lab, throughout each building, and on campus, we can help protect researchers and limit the number of staff in support roles who must come to work.

A PI approved to conduct critical or COVID-related work who meets the personnel limits of the current stage cannot add more personnel to his or laboratory space until the research effort reaches a higher stage (e.g., until Stage 2).

Preparations for Stages 1 and 2 that can be completed during Stage 0

  • Labs and facilities take inventory of their personal protective equipment (PPE), plan their anticipated use rates, and purchase lab-specific PPE through normal channels. It is important to order supplies early, given the longer-than-usual lead times.
  • EOC Logistics a) purchases additional COVID-specific protective materials, including face coverings and cleaning and disinfection supplies, and b) coordinates with school facilities directors to distribute those materials if needed to smooth supply chain disruptions.
  • Labs and facilities create lab-level Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that incorporate rigorous training and enforcement.
  • Each school works with internal and external stakeholders to ensure adequate local planning. Efforts could include tabletop exercises, planning workshops, and/or department-specific discussions.
  • School facility directors coordinate with Land Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE) to reactivate building systems and housekeeping services at least two weeks before we enter Stage 1.
  • Building managers and lab support staff assess lab environment and configuration, then equip buildings and labs with floor marking and signage to reduce density and encourage physical distancing.
  • Laboratory support staff members operationalize shared facilities and animal research facilities.
  • All researchers and laboratory support staff members who are designated to return to campus are required to complete the COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB training through STARS before doing so.
  • EH&S, schools, and support units collaborate to implement the symptom tracking tool. Update: in response to SCCDPH guidance issued May 19, all personnel on campus must use the Health Check beginning May 22.

Stage 1 for Laboratory Research

Environmental Factors

Stanford may decide to enter Stage 1 when the local environment satisfies these criteria:

  • Local COVID-19 hospitalization rates flatten and decline.
  • COVID-19 testing capacity increases.
  • Stanford offers rigorous COVID-specific EH&S training and enforces physical distancing directives.
  • The campus community adopts Health Check.
  • Public health authorities and the Governor relax restrictions on “essential workers.”

It is not necessary to eliminate all shortages of personal protective equipment and supplies before entering Stage 1.

Health and Other Concerns

All personnel must:

If you know or suspect that you have COVID-19, follow the guidance on the Health Alerts site.

For the purposes of cleaning a laboratory workspace where someone with COVID-19 has recently worked, contact Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at 650-723-0448 and your school Human Resources (HR) representative. In the School of Medicine, the Department Finance Administrator (DFA) or HR representative should contact EH&S will assess the need for cleaning and, if necessary, will oversee a thorough cleaning of the appropriate spaces. Do not enter the lab without EH&S approval. The Occupational Health Center will coordinate contract tracing and take other steps as necessary.

Individuals who believe they should not return to research because of medical, pregnancy, or disability issues should contact their local HR representative or may contact the Diversity and Access Office or consult the Administrative Guide: Requesting Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities.

Individuals who have safety concerns may contact EH&S.  For confidential and anonymous reporting, members of the research community may raise concerns or ask questions via the Ethics and Compliance Helpline.

For emotional and wellbeing support, faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars should contact the Faculty Staff Help Center, and students should contact Vaden Health Services.

Access to Buildings

Academic units should grant laboratory access only to Key Personnel (i.e., personnel listed under Key Personnel on the Essential Research Smartsheets) with approvals from the COVID Committee and all regular approvals.

Academic units should also provide to all personnel a checklist to review the protocols and procedures necessary to protect themselves and others (see the Researcher Return Checklist).

In early periods, researchers should conduct only work approved on Essential Research Smartsheets. To facilitate record keeping and tracking of personnel numbers for population density measurements, we have added sections for Essential Research Functions (up to 5 total), Minimum Basic Research Operations, Stage 1 and Stage 2 to the Smartsheet.

Allowed Research Activities

During Stage 1, the research activities initiated in Stage 0 will continue. ​This is defined as Essential Research Functions and Minimum Basic Research Operations–see Stage 0 for details. The purpose of Stage 1 will be to prepare the laboratory for an increase in research activities in Stage 2.

Non-clinical Human Subjects Research

Whenever possible, non-clinical human subjects research should continue to be postponed or conducted remotely until a safe return to campus is possible.

However, IRB-approved, in-person non-clinical human subjects research activities that meet all four of the following criteria may restart beginning June 10, 2020: 

  1. Subjects are members of the same research team as PIs;
  2. PIs, researchers, and subjects are willing and ready to participate, in compliance with IRB consent procedures;
  3. PIs have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that conform to requirements (e.g., density criteria, hygiene, laboratory headcount and building population density) for Stage 1 Laboratories Research in the Research Recovery Handbook, and that have received approval from appropriate departments and/or schools
  4. PIs will provide feedback and share information with the non-clinical human subjects research recovery working group about restart procedures and lessons learned while restarting.

The non-clinical human subjects research recovery working group is currently weighing the risks and potential mitigation strategies of all other types of in-person non-clinical human subjects research conducted on our campus and related sites. While the working group continues to develop recommendations on these matters, PIs are encouraged to develop restart plans and SOPs. These plans and SOPs must minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission among subjects, researchers, and their respective communities, as well as to the broader campus community. Restart plans and SOPs should include health screening of researchers and subjects at the time of the study, physical distancing and occupancy limits in research space and buildings, personal protective equipment, and disinfectant protocols for any instrumentation, computers, etc. that subjects might come into contact with. Anonymous reporting and consent procedures must be made clear to researchers and subjects. PIs should consult the Research Recovery Handbook, which will be updated as recommendations for in-person non-clinical human subjects research are developed. Questions, concerns, or suggestions may be directed to the working group here.

Density Criteria

Academic units will gradually and incrementally increase the numbers of research personnel and the type of research allowed in accordance with the space density criteria (see below).


Local units will determine their own restart priorities ​within the bounds of allowed research activities, considering factors such as these:

  • research with near-term contractual deliverables to external sponsors,
  • early-career PI projects,
  • trainees who are close to completing their degrees or their terms of appointment,
  • animal research with animals or colonies already established on campus, and
  • longitudinal research projects.

Shared Facilities

Shared facilities will resume operations to the extent required to assist user demand from the essential functions and minimum basic operations allowed in Stage 1.


On-campus libraries will expand their availability options ​as allowed under Santa Clara County and Stanford guidance.

Disallowed Research Activities

During Stage 1, Stanford will continue to prohibit most non-essential in-person human subject research. High school and undergraduate researchers may not enter laboratories.

Laboratory Headcount and Building Population Density

The goal in Stage 1 is to allow preparations for Stage 2 research while limiting population density in labs, in buildings, and on campus. In Stage 1, a small number of researchers will a) prepare labs and units for a gradual return to work in Stage 2 and b) prepare to train the next group that will be coming in to work. In Stage 1, we will cap the limit on personnel at two (2) per faculty member per shift.

In Stage 1, only one person at a time may occupy rooms with areas smaller than 250 square feet (e.g., tissue culture rooms, microscopy rooms, small instrument rooms, etc.).

Researchers should occupy (at most) only every other work space (bay, bench, etc., depending on the lab layout) and remain at least 6 feet apart. Pairs of researchers should not occupy work spaces directly opposite one another at the same time if the distance between those work spaces is less than 6 feet. Laboratory managers should place barriers or partitions between researchers who work facing one another. PIs must cooperate to ensure that they do not exceed these density limits in shared spaces. We recommend that researchers establish a shared calendar for spaces belonging to 2 or more faculty members.

Wherever possible, researchers who share shifts should work in the same groups consistently to limit the number of cross-shift contacts.

We strongly encourage units (schools, departments, institutes, and buildings) to disallow late shifts and to establish limits on scheduled shifts. For example, we recommend that no scheduled shifts occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with minor exceptions for timed experiments. These exceptions need approvals from the PI and / or the department. Late or “graveyard” shifts, such as 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., frequently correspond with higher rates of injury and exposure, and safety personnel are less available at those times.

In Stage 1, researchers may not at present extend the types of research beyond Essential Research Functions, COVID-19-related work, and Minimum Basic Research Operations, and they may not exceed the workforce limit of 2 personnel per PI per shift.

Non-Laboratory Areas

Academic units should comport with general campus recovery plans. They should assess common public areas to determine population density limits and mark floors to regulate physical distancing. To assist with this, LBRE will provide a Building Manager Communication Toolkit with applicable signage and markings, as well as examples and guidelines on where to place items.

Academic units may generally choose not to occupy conference rooms and similar community spaces at this stage. If they choose to do so, they must mark them appropriately.

Where kitchens are open and accessible, academic units should discourage people from congregating, insist that they observe physical distancing, and require people to clean surfaces after each use with cleaning supplies provided on site.

Academic units should reserve smaller restrooms (< 250 square feet) for single occupancy where possible and should provide appropriate signage, per LBRE, or occupancy limits on communal spaces such as bathrooms or elevators.


Researchers must continue to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that they commonly wear for research activities.

Do not share PPE with other lab members unless necessary. If you commonly share personal protective equipment (for example, the face shields used with UV lightboxes to visualize DNA), you must clean and disinfect it after each use in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Consistent with Santa Clara County and Stanford guidance, researchers must wear face coverings in all university buildings except residences, where other rules apply. Researchers may elect not to wear face coverings when they are outside (provided that they maintain physical distancing) or under other situations outlined on the Health Alerts site. Face coverings can reduce the spread of the virus, but they do not eliminate the requirements to maintain physical distancing or to wash hands frequently.

Researchers must follow hand washing guidance.

PIs and academic units must ensure that labs follow self-care guidance on cleaning and disinfecting workspaces (Laboratories and Offices) at the end of each work session. Cleaning options include 10% freshly prepared bleach, 70% ethanol, or disinfecting wipes.

Preparations for Stage 2

  • The EOC Research Continuity Team assesses the effectiveness of Stage 1 results and adjusts operating guidelines if needed.
  • Departments and labs train people who will return to their laboratories in Stage 2.
  • Labs secure supplies to support the people who will return to their labs.
  • Campus partners (e.g., LBRE, Transportation, Public Safety, R&DE) increase staffing for core campus functions to handle the anticipated increased occupancy limit.

Stage 2 for Laboratory Research

Environmental Factors

Stanford may enter Stage 2 when the local environment satisfies these criteria:

  • Stage 1 implementation reaches steady state.
  • Local COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to drop.
  • COVID-19 testing reaches full capacity.
  • PPE shortages become less severe.
  • Public health authorities and the Governor allow small gatherings.

Allowable Research Activities

PIs may gradually increase the number of on-site personnel while observing physical distancing requirements. The university may change the lab density requirements on the basis of new evidence.

Local academic units may approve field research on a case-by-case basis, subject to travel restrictions, local restrictions at field sites, and the ability to maintain physical distancing at field sites.

Laboratory Headcount and Building Population Density

In Stage 2, research personnel must continue to maintain physical distancing. The limits established for Stage 1 regarding small rooms, distance between people, and distances between work spaces still apply. Laboratories may gradually relax the limits on the number of personnel in laboratories, up to a density of 1 person per 250 square feet in any space. Local units will determine the appropriate limits for population density in individual labs by evaluating the square footage, the layout, and the workable space.

Laboratories will remain ready to return to Stage 1 expeditiously if the university or government agencies require them to do so. For example, laboratories should leave their Stage 1 floor markings in place even after the campus moves to Stage 2, and should be ready to implement shutdown procedures on experiments that they could not maintain under Stage 1 guidelines.

PIs, Departments, and Institutes, within the bounds of this guidance and the limits imposed by their units, must identify the maximum numbers of personnel who can work safely in their lab at the same time, enforce these limits, and implement a calendar or scheduled shift system to accommodate physical distancing.

Academic units must verify that PIs have identified appropriate limits to the density of laboratory personnel and the PIs are enforcing those limits. If research teams are not observing density limits or are otherwise failing to observe physical distancing requirements, academic units have the authority to cut off lab access until the issues are resolved and to revoke access altogether in cases of repeat offense. Before restarting, each unit should discuss how to best escalate these issues. We strongly recommend routine walkthroughs of buildings or laboratories to check for compliance.

Building Access, Non-Lab Areas, Hygiene, and Health & Other Concerns

The instructions and recommendations provided for Stage 1 also apply for Stage 2.

Preparations for Stage 3

  • The EOC Research Continuity Team assesses the effectiveness of Stage 2 results, adjusts operating guidelines if needed, and advises the COVID-19 Policy Group.
  • Departments and labs train people who will return to research in Stage 3.
  • Labs continue to secure supplies that will allow more people to return to labs.
  • Campus partners staff other functions to handle the increased load.

Stage 1 for Libraries


All persons entering Green Library must have made an appointment, taken the COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB program through STARS. Access to and use of Health Check will be required for all staff coming to campus and all readers and staff entering the Green Library.

Given the need for library access to continue research by faculty in the humanities, area studies, and social sciences, Green Library will be opened solely to Stanford faculty, including those with faculty studies, by appointment only and on a limited basis and requiring physical distancing, masking, frequent hand washing, and reduced hours. Portal monitors will be available only at the Green East entrance, the ​Bing Wing entrance will be closed.

Please be prepared to stand in the designated queue and be prepared to show your Health Check status, appointment confirmation and Stanford ID. Entry into the building will be done one at a time to ensure proper social distancing.

Graduate students and postdocs will be admitted as well to continue their research in reading rooms, group study rooms now designated for the pendency of physical distancing requirements as single occupancy rooms, and/or dissertation carrels.

Seminars and group study are specifically forbidden in this Stage, unless conducted by Zoom or similar telecommunications technology.

The Special collections reading room in Green Library will be open by appointment only to faculty and graduate students so that they might resume their work on source material. This will be a limited service, 10:00 noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be only 1 person per table in the Field Room, so that the physical distancing rule can be easily maintained; face coverings and frequent hand washing will be required.

Any person not observing physical distancing and face covering will be required to leave Green Library on demand.


Stanford Libraries will provide a paging service to Stanford ID holders for circulating physical resources through limited personal contact guided by physical distancing protocols. Books and other physical resources that ordinarily circulate will be held for the requesting member of the Stanford community in Green Library. This service will start with books held in Green Library, the auxiliary libraries, SAL1, 2, & 3. Once procedures are tested and working well, books from subject specialty libraries (Bowes, Braun, Branner, Cubberley, Lathrop EAL, LiMa, Miller, & Terman) of the Stanford Libraries will be available for paging requests. Paging pick up will be conducted at the East Entrance of Green Library and instructions will be emailed once an appointment is made.

Other Services

Stanford Libraries will re-establish interlibrary borrowing and lending, first in digital forms and then physical forms, in concert with UC-Berkeley and the Ivy+ libraries, pending mutual agreements with these other libraries, making this service available as and when possible.

The digitization lab will be re-opened with reduced staff to begin to digitize resources requested by faculty and graduate students through each reader’s appropriate subject curator.

Stage 2 for Libraries


All persons entering Green Library must have taken the COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB program through STARS. Access to and use of Health Check will be required for all staff coming to campus and all readers and staff entering the Green Library.

Minimum Basic Operations in Stage 2 will see the re-opening of all libraries in the Stanford Libraries on reduced schedules for all units, to be determined.  Only Stanford faculty members, postdocs, and students will be admitted with Stanford ID cards. No other persons will be admitted.

Seminars and group study are specifically forbidden in this Stage, unless conducted by Zoom or similar telecommunications technology.

Physical distancing will be enforced at large tables in the major reading rooms and otherwise throughout the libraries. Group study rooms will be available for single occupancy use only.  Some carrels will be closed to enforce physical distancing. Any persons not observing physical distancing and face covering will be required to leave on demand.

All units in Green Library will re-open, including the David Rumsey Map Center, the Media & Microtext Service, the Information Service, and Inter-Library Borrowing and Lending (pending the re-opening of such services in UC/Berkeley and the Ivy+ Libraries).

As in Stage 1, the Special collections reading room in Green Library will be open by appointment only to faculty and graduate students so that they might resume their work on source material. This will be a limited service, 12:00 noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be only 1 person per table in the Field Room, so that the physical distancing rule can be easily maintained; face coverings and frequent hand washing is required.

There will be reduced staffing levels in all libraries. Technical Services (acquisitions, metadata, and preservation units) would re-open with reduced staffing. There will be limited delivery services among the Libraries. Physical coordination among the Coordinate Libraries would resume, noting that e-coordination with these libraries has continued throughout the sheltering regime.

Appendix A: Researcher Return Checklist

All researchers should review the following prior to their initial return to campus, and as they are updated.

Notice: These requirements are subject to change as University and County/State requirements and guidance evolves.


☐ Complete the approval process for research work and confirm your work has been:

  • Identified on Essential Research Smartsheets entry, and
  • Validated and approved by your Dean, Chair, Lab Director or designee, and
  • If COVID-19 related, approved by either the Dean of Research Essential Research Functions Review committee or the SOM Critical COVID Research Committee, and
  • All normal approvals, such as IRB, APB, and APLAC, have been obtained.

☐ Review and confirm/update all Key Personnel on your Essential Research Smartsheets.

☐ Contact those responsible for access to additional buildings, core facilities, service centers or labs for approval to enter and use those spaces.

☐ Review the PI Lab Level Pre-start Checklist for Safety Considerations (Appendix C below), and complete all necessary items prior to the initiation of any work.

☐ Review the Lab Startup Checklist (Appendix B below) with your personnel, and ensure completion of all necessary items prior to the initiation of any work.

☐ Review guidance around lab density provided by Stanford and your department, and identify how your lab will comply with and adhere to these limits.

All Researchers (Faculty, Staff, Post-docs, Graduate Students, etc.):

General Guidance Already in Place

☐ Follow your Department/Building/Facility requirements for safety training.

☐ Complete COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB in STARS prior to your return to campus.

☐ When working, wear all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) normally required for the activities you will perform, in accordance with your lab’s PPE Assessment Tool.


☐ Use Health Check to self-report your health status prior to coming onsite to campus each day.

☐ Follow the guidance provided by Health Check.

☐ Do not come to work onsite if you are sick or feeling unwell.

☐ If you are sick or feel unwell, follow Stanford guidance and contact your primary care provider as needed.

☐ If you develop symptoms at work, leave work immediately and follow Stanford guidance. Update Health Check.

Building Access

☐ Only access the buildings and spaces which you are authorized to enter.

☐ As needed, seek approval to access additional spaces such as core facilities, service centers, or other buildings or labs.

☐ Do not prop open doors to buildings, facilities or labs and do not let people follow you into these areas.

☐ If people request access, direct them to contact their PI or department.

Lab Headcount and Building Population Density

☐ Adhere to physical distancing guidelines (6 feet) and population density limits as set forth by your department and Stanford at each Stage, unless the use of specific equipment or procedures mandates that you work in close proximity to another person.

☐ If your lab has a schedule or calendaring system in place, follow your assigned times to be in the lab.

  • Set up a schedule system that limits overlap among other individuals (i.e., wherever possible, assign pairs for each shift that do not overlap with other pairs).
  • Update the calendar regularly.
  • As needed, an annotation system to check in/check out on the calendar is recommended.


☐ Consistent with Santa Clara County and Stanford guidance, wear face coverings in all university buildings except residences. Face coverings are not required outside if physical distancing is maintained, or in certain situations outlined on the Health Alerts FAQ.

☐ Recognize that although wearing a face covering is one tool for reducing the spread of the virus, doing so is not a substitute for physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand washing.

☐ Wear all the PPE that is appropriate to the tasks you are performing as outlined in your lab’s PPE Assessment Tool.

  • Do not wear gloves when touching common surfaces like door knobs or light switches. It is highly recommended that you use paper towels or other disposable items when you need to touch these common surfaces, or to wash your hands after touching them.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds upon entering the lab, after removing gloves, and before departing the lab. If your lab does not have a hand washing station, wash your hands prior to entering or after exiting the lab.

☐ Participate in self-cleaning of the lab at the end of your work session.

  • Commonly touched surfaces (e.g., fume hood sashes, pipettes) should be wiped down before and after use with appropriate disinfectants as detailed in the self-cleaning guidance and as appropriate for the type of surface.
  • Be sure to build in time at the end of each shift for self-cleaning.

Appendix B: Laboratory Pre-Start Checklist for Safety

Please work with your building/facility/department representative as needed.

☐ Assess your lab space for ability to meet physical distancing guidelines.

☐ Within the limits set by Stanford and your department, and based on the recovery stage, determine how many people can work safely in your lab at a single time while observing appropriate physical distancing.

  • Each individual working in the lab must at all times have at least 6’ clearance on all sides from others.
  • No more than one person should occupy a small space/room (defined as less than 250 square feet) at any time. This includes, but is not limited to, tissue culture rooms, microscopy rooms, or other small instrument rooms. Procedures that require two people should be minimized where possible, or performed using appropriate face coverings and hygiene practices. If the procedure requires a buddy for safety, guidance on implementing a buddy system, notably for researchers working alone or while maintaining physical distancing, can be found here.
  • Consistent with Santa Clara County and Stanford guidance, face coverings must be worn in all university buildings except residences. Face coverings are not required outside if physical distancing is maintained, or in certain situations outlined on the Health Alerts FAQ. For clarity, although wearing a face covering is one tool for reducing the spread of the virus, doing so is not a substitute for physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand washing.
  • Consider placing colored tape on the ground around the work spaces indicating boundaries between workers. This does not limit the area in which researchers can work, but helps define the boundaries around common work areas.
    • This is strongly recommended for shared spaces or any spaces where 5 or more people may be working at a single time. Units may consider requiring this.

☐ Have your department/building/facility representative confirm your space assessment and the number of personnel you are proposing to allow in the space at a single time.

  • For shared laboratory work spaces, you must work with the other faculty and facility representatives to establish definitive guidelines for the space.

☐ If your lab has 2 or more people who will be conducting research, create a lab calendar to track who will work at what time.

  • Track different work shifts. One possibility is to create a shared Outlook Calendar.
  • You should have a check-in system such as a Slack, group text or other messaging system to communicate openly and often to coordinate and adjust schedules as necessary.
  • It is highly recommended that you have a system to annotate check-in/check-out so that people do not unintentionally overlap.
  • The scheduling system should limit, where possible, overlap of multiple individuals across shifts. For example, if Person A and B are scheduled together, this pairing should continue, and neither should overlap with Persons C and D on a different shift pairing.

☐ You should share this calendar with the appropriate unit representatives. It is highly recommended that you:

  • Post occupancy limits on the door, visible to those outside.
  • Post the calendar on the door, visible to those outside.

Appendix C: Laboratory Startup Checklist

The following checklist should be reviewed by your Unit and customized, as necessary.
Before you arrive in lab
☐ Complete COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices, EHS-2470-WEB in STARS.

☐ Review PPE decontamination and reuse guidelines.

☐ Review work alone guidance.

☐ Familiarize yourself with Health Check.
First Time You Arrive
☐  When you arrive for the first time, turn on lights, observe the lab briefly before entering, and then proceed with caution.

☐ Clean the lab and wipe down surfaces.

Before You Begin, Evaluate Supplies

☐ Labs are still required to obtain their normal PPE. Evaluate PPE on hand to perform the work you intend to do.

  • What amount do you already have on-hand in the lab?
  • What is your expected weekly “burn rate”?
  • Can you accommodate existing lab-required PPE to complete the work?
    • If you cannot, please place orders in advance through your normal procurement channel.
    • If the orders are in short supply, please contact with a description of your needs.

☐ Evaluate cleaning materials available in the lab to perform appropriate lab self-care.

  • Do you have a sufficient quantity, quality?
  • Is it compatible with the equipment and the science in the lab?

☐ Evaluate other supplies needed to complete your research tasks.

  • If other supplies in your lab are low and you are unable to obtain them through normal routes, contact with a description of your needs.

Before You Begin, Evaluate Support Services
☐  Verify the availability of support services needed for your work.

  • Compressed gasses
  • House services (compressed air, house gasses, DI water)
  • Glass wash services
  • Hazardous chemical or biological waste pick-up
  • Supply deliveries
  • Other halted services (lab coats, etc.)
  • Regular custodial services

Core/Service Center Facilities, including the Veterinary Service Center
Contact the Core Facilities or Service Centers to ensure they are available to support your lab needs.

☐ Contact the VSC at (650) 723-3876 for any animal-related questions, or visit their website at

Hazardous Materials (Chemicals, Biologicals, Radiation, etc.)

☐ Walk through the lab space to check if there has been a chemical spill. If you are not comfortable with cleaning up the spill, call EH&S at (650) 725-9999 for chemical spill clean-up.

☐ Resume the quarterly laboratory self-inspection on BioRAFT if your lab missed the March 31st deadline. Be sure to conduct another inspection for the second quarter, due on June 30th.

☐ Inspect hazardous waste storage. Request EH&S hazardous waste pick-up for any containers which are full or you no longer need. If you were previously participating in the SWEEPS Program for waste pick-up, it will be running at a reduced level in Stage 1, and you should submit pickup requests online using the above link. For any waste without a label or with a noncompliant label such as “Waste” with no additional data, label the waste using a  Waste Tag.

☐ Review the Lab Compliance Cheat Sheet.

☐ Turn on BSCs or fume hoods, and disinfect surfaces before conducting lab work.

☐ Set-up new aspirator collection flasks if needed.

☐ Turn on the Geiger counter and resume radioactive material surveys, if needed.

☐ If you use a dosimeter and have not received your replacement, please call Patrisha Cherry at (650) 723-3203.
☐ Turn on essential equipment in the lab.

☐ If cryogen fill is needed, perform it with assistance from another lab member.

☐ If CO2 is needed for incubators, contact your building manager/ facility support services for gas orders.

☐ Check that equipment restarts and functions appropriately.

☐ Use the shutdown checklist as a guide for equipment.

☐ Is calibration needed?

Do safety devices operate properly?
General Building (Performed by building/facility units) 
☐ If needed, update shutdown signage on the building entrance doors.

☐ Check mechanical rooms.

☐ Check water distillation units.

☐ Check shared equipment and shared facilities (chemical storage/waste areas, gas storage area).

☐ Communicate with all delivery personnel any changes to time/location for deliverables.

☐ Reactivate biohazardous waste pick-up and lab coat laundering services if they were stopped.