2020 Spring Quarter Laboratory Access Recommendation

2020 Spring Quarter Laboratory Access Recommendation
COVID-19 Operations Strike Force
April 24, 2020



On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee declared a Stay-at-Home order that effective midnight on March 25, 2020, all non-essential businesses in Washington State shall cease operations except for performing basic minimum operations. To deliver those basic minimum operations, organizations must establish and implement social distancing and sanitation measures established by the US Dept. Of Labor and WA State Department of Health guidelines.  The governor’s order remains in effect until midnight, April 8, 2020, unless extended beyond that date.

Governor Inslee designated a list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers to help state, local, tribal and industry partners as they work to protect communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.


Following the recommendation of the Governor’s order and to implement strategies to minimize community spread of COVID-19, the COVID-19 Operations Strike Force makes the following recommendations in regard to instructional and research laboratory work and access:

  1. All instructional labs, studios, and practice spaces are closed to students for Spring Quarter. This is because the University does not have sufficient operational resources to ensure these areas are safe to use.  The use of these spaces by faculty to produce online content is allowed as stated in the Governor’s order.
  2. All research lab work will be suspended until further notice.  Again, this is because the University does not have sufficient operational resources to ensure these numerous areas are safe to use. Research personnel can refer to the Allowable Research Decision Tree for help with deciding if their work falls under Inslee’s Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers list.  If this work is exempted from the Stay-at-Home order, contact Vice Provost for Research, David Patrick.
  3. Critical activities necessary to maintain laboratory viability can continue while abiding by social distancing, personal protection and other required safety protocols.  These activities include:
    1. Care for animals, plants and unique or expensive cell cultures or biological specimens
    2. Maintaining equipment, (e.g. liquid nitrogen systems) that cannot be maintained remotely or shut down without significant cost or consequences to the research effort, and/or
    3. Preservation of unique reagents and other expensive materials.

The Operations Strike Force recognizes the many ramifications of these restrictions will impose and encourage faculty to focus on research activities that can be completed remotely.  We thank the academic staff for their efforts to keep our community safe during this extraordinary situation.