The NDIIF facilities have been working hard to prepare our instruments and spaces for reopening. We encourage all users to communicate directly with our staff and core directors as we move forward in our research efforts. Below we have highlighted some of our plans for safety and hygiene during this pandemic. Each facility is unique and we will continue to evaluate our protocols and plans to best serve all of our fellow colleagues and students within the University of Notre Dame campus and the community beyond.
Safety and Hygiene Plan for Reopening of NDIIF during COVID-19 outbreak
The Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facilities are shared scientific cores with instruments that are dispersed in various locations within the campus of Notre Dame. Annually the NDIIF serves nearly 300 users representing over 9 different departments on campus within nearly 100 different labs and only a limited number of facility staff. In a multi-user setting, the transmission of the COVID-19 virus between individuals or from contaminated surfaces is facilitated. Therefore, core facilities deserve special attention from the research institutions´ higher management. As a group of experienced imaging core facility leaders, we have implemented the following guidelines and safety regulations, as long as social distancing is required. The guidelines described below should help the NDIIF imaging core managers to protect themselves and their users for resuming operations in a post-peak situation as safely as possible.
Recommended measures to be taken have been created for each of the core facilities and should be referred to at all times.
• DO NOT ACCESS THE FACILITY FOR A MINIMUM OF 14 DAYS if you have been in high risk areas or had contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients.
• DO NOT ACCESS THE FACILITY if you are COVID-19 positive or otherwise sick - even if you are only experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms or have questions regarding COVID-19, you are encouraged to call the Notre Dame hotline: 574-631-5900. https://coronavirus.nd.edu/
• If you are at risk to develop severe symptoms, you are advised to avoid the facility and have colleagues or NDIIF staff do the imaging for you.
Following the recommendation by the University Research Task Force and the CDC and governing parties, we will require the usage of (simple) masks during work in the facility. Using masks reduces the risk of droplet transmission by asymptomatic carriers.
All facility doors and all touchable surfaces (keyboards, computer mice, eyepieces, focus knobs, joysticks, and the like) are possible means of transmitting COVID-19. Transmission through the eye (conjunctiva) is considered possible. Keyboards have been covered as well as mice, eyepieces, binocular body and other touchable surfaces with plastic wrap for household use (cling film).
- NDIIF staff will clean/disinfect all touchable areas at the start of each working day. Follow instrument specific disinfection procedure at the start and end of your session. Disinfecting solutions (following CDC guidance): ethanol (70% min.) solution with a contact time of 1-2 minutes should be used and has been provided to wipe down the surfaces of countertops, door handles, light switches and computer/keyboard equipment.
- Users are required to wipe down all touchable areas before and after their session ends with the provided disinfectant wipes.
- Gloves are required to be worn once an individual enters the NDIIF room. A waste receptacle has been placed by each entry/exit of the facility rooms before exiting. Gloves must be worn during the entire duration of the user’s reservation. Hand sanitizer has been provided in each facility. We encourage users to utilize it as often as they feel necessary (i.e.- if a user touches their face while wearing gloves, hand sanitizer should be used to sanitize the surface of the gloves.)
- For cleaning/disinfection of surfaces, 70% ethanol or other recommended disinfectants (Clorox/Lysol Wipes) must be used and have been provided by the NDIIF.
- Shared lab coats have been removed from the facility, however, lab coats continue to be REQUIRED by all users entering into the InVivo Imaging Spaces. Users must have their own lab coat to enter these rooms.
As recommendations from the responsible authorities can change quickly, it is essential to check regularly the official information channels. We provide a link to the University resource site at the end of this document as well as a link for reservation requests.
Links to Each NDIIF Core Reopening Plan (please read carefully as each plan is not identical)