Revised Guidance on Laboratory Research Density

December 9, 2020

Current Guidance: Current guidelines specify that the density of personnel in the lab at any one time shall be limited to:

  • 50% of baseline, where baseline is defined as the number of full-time personnel (number of full-time graduate students and full-time employees) who have key or key card access to the building and lab. 
  • At no time can the total number of people in the lab exceed one person per 150 square feet, regardless of the above number.
  • Six-foot distancing must also be maintained at all times. For lab procedures where this may not be possible, please consult with EHS for an assessment of practices and recommendations of extra mitigation measures.
  • We remind the campus community that face coverings are required at all times inside campus buildings, even when laboratory PPE requirements do not require one.

 

Revised Guidance: Effective December 9, 2020, we are piloting a revised guideline to accommodate laboratories with lower personnel numbers and sufficient excess space in their laboratory. These revised guidelines include:

  • Limiting the number of people in the lab at one time to the greater of 4 people or 50% of baseline, where baseline is defined as the number of full-time personnel (number of full-time graduate students and full-time employees) who have key or key card access to the building and lab. 
  • At no time can the total number of people in the lab exceed one person per 150 square feet, regardless of the above number.
  • 6 feet of physical distancing must also be maintained at all times. For lab procedures where this may not be possible, please consult with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) for an assessment of practices and recommendations of extra mitigation measures.
  • We remind the campus community that face coverings are required at all times inside campus buildings, even when laboratory PPE requirements do not require one.

We will monitor and assess personnel density parameters once this new guideline is in place and make any future revisions, as necessary.

Exceptions to these guidelines may be considered, but must first be assessed and approved by EHS. Please contact EHS for an assessment of laboratory practices and development of additional mitigating measures. EHS has the final decision on these requests and any required mitigating measures. Exceptions may be considered for the following two scenarios:

  • Laboratory-specific situations where 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Procedure rooms of less than 300 square feet that can accommodate two work stations (e.g. fixed piece of laboratory equipment) and maintain sufficient separation between work stations.

For more information contact ehs@gatech.edu.

Undergraduate Researchers: We refer PIs to existing guidance on undergraduate researchers in the laboratory. 

This guidance will be revisited toward the end of January 2021 after students have returned to campus for the semester.