Coronavirus (COVID-19)

BSD- Specific Guidance

Together with the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Medicine, we are closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The health, safety and well-being of our BSD community, on and off-campus, is our top priority.  We will continue to update the community regularly to keep you informed.  This page is meant to provide BSD-specific resources, but faculty, students and staff should continue to consult the University and University of Chicago Medicine guidance as appropriate.

You will find the key links to campus resources on the left.

We are pleased that the resumption of research on campus has begun as part of UChicago Phase 2. Please refer to our FAQ and the Research resumption page below for more detailed guidance. 

Detailed BSD Specific Guidance is included here:

 

Key Contacts for Questions

BSD faculty and staff are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate points of contact included below with specific questions and issues.  We are committed to troubleshooting and coming up with creative solutions to address your concerns.

Name/Title Contact
Simona Ahmed
Faculty and other academic appointments and promotions

sahmed10@bsd.uchicago.edu
Kathi Gerling
Faculty and other academic appointments and promotions

kathi@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
George Langan
ARC and Core Facilities (OSRF)

glangan@bsd.uchicago.edu
Angie Charles
Core facilities (OSRF)

acharles@bsd.uchicago.edu
Carol Mathieu
ARC

cmathieu@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Danielle Bodalski
HR guidance for BSD staff employees

dbodalski@bsd.uchicago.edu
Jaclyn (Rohner) Carr
HR guidance for BSD staff employees

jrohner1@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Katie Pizer
Pre and post award grants administration including proposal submission, financial and non-financial award management

kpizer@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Bethany Martell
Clinical research and IRB

bmartell@bsd.uchicago.edu
Pamela Gonzalez
Clinical research and IRB

pgonzalez@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Diane Hall
Graduate students and program support
Diane Hall
d-hall@uchicago.edu
Melissa Lindberg
Graduate students and program support

mlindberg@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Paul Cronin
BSD budget, accounting and financial compliance

pcronin@bsd.uchicago.edu
Namil Choi
BSD budget, accounting and financial compliance

nchoi1@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Dana Levinson
Pritzker school of medicine students and medical education

dlevinso@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Mamoon Nawabi
UCPG

mnawabi@bsd.uchicago.edu
Drake Shrode

dshrode@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Scott DeBlaze
Space planning, including support for recruitment, real estate and architectural services

sdeblaze@bsd.uchicago.edu
Steve Tarnoki
Space planning, including support for recruitment, real estate and architectural services

starnoki@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Dipti Ranganathan
BSD IT and Center for Research Informatics

dipti@bsd.uchicago.edu
Dave Bolanowski
BSD IS and Center for Research Informatics

dbolan@bsd.uchicago.edu

Name/Title Contact
Judd Johnson
Executive Director of Building operations - BSD & UCM
Pager (for emergency issues) 8495
773-702-8259
jjohnson@bsd.uchicago.edu
Don Churilla
BSLC & GCIS Building Manager
773-702-2978
dwchuril@bsd.uchicago.edu
Dan Tiberi
KCBD Building Manager
773-702-8865
dtiberi@bsd.uchicago.edu
Max Zmija
Cummings, Kovler & Hull Court Building Manager
773-702-2183
mzmija15@bsd.uchicago.edu

Key BSD Communications

Dear Colleagues:

As you are all aware we are facing a rapidly evolving set of events related to the public health crisis caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  As you saw from the message from President Zimmer that went out this morning, the University is taking necessary steps to protect members of our community by moving all undergraduate and graduate courses online for spring quarter.

I am writing to advise each of you, as faculty leaders, to take seriously the recommendations around social distancing.  Where possible, I ask you to limit in-person interactions to only those activities where it is mission-critical that they take place in person. As a reminder, the University has a number of IT resources available to enable you to remotely connect to meetings and support remote teaching.  We have summarized these here on a website and will keep this up to date as the University develops more resources:

https://bsdis.uchicago.edu/remotework/

All faculty should continue to follow BSD information security policy.  Clinical faculty should also follow guidance from UCM and maintain our patient-care mission, and continue to be vigilant in following patient privacy protocols.   

In order to avoid disruption to our research efforts, I would urge each faculty member to thoughtfully approach the work of your laboratory and consider ways to minimize risk.  For example, creating staggered schedules to limit the number of staff in the lab at the same time, and allowing computational-based work to be conducted remotely when possible. 

To reduce the risks associated with travel, interviews, particularly first-round interviews with prospective candidates, should be carried out remotely via Zoom or Skype, and in-person interviews should only be considered at later stages when an offer is being seriously contemplated.  These are just a few examples, but there are countless others, and we are counting on you to take a thoughtful approach to maintaining the continuity of your laboratories as well as research and education missions while at the same time keeping the safety of our community in mind. In addition, we understand that the laboratory school’s decision to transition to remote learning will make it challenging for many members of our community, and we urge flexibility when possible.

Despite the current challenges presented by COVID-19, I am confident in our ability to come together to effectively maintain a robust intellectual environment.  I appreciate the work you do and your ongoing leadership to ensure our students, trainees and staff continue to feel supported.  We will continue to communicate with you as the situation develops and resources become available.

 

 

Colleagues:

To follow up on the message today from the President and Provost, I am writing to offer additional guidance to the BSD community.  Because we are a diverse community that includes faculty, students, and staff supporting our patient care, research and educational missions, the impact of this guidance on the BSD is necessarily nuanced.  We have launched a new web page that will summarize BSD-specific guidance related to coronavirus (COVID-19). In certain instances, our direction is not appropriate to include on a public-facing website and we will communicate these aspects directly to the appropriate audiences. The webpage will continue to be updated with an archive of all COVID-19 communications and related resources.

It is essential that all departments and supervisors carefully consider whether remote work is feasible and employees follow the guidance of their supervisors with continuity of business and mission in mind. We urge you to consult this useful summary of remote work technology here on the BSDIS website and utilize appropriate solutions to minimize risk.

Research Mission

Continuity of the research mission is essential, but we understand that the format will change as the circumstances shift.  We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that research can continue. We appreciate that most experiments cannot be performed remotely, but we would encourage creativity and flexibility as you prioritize research under these circumstances.  All those working in a laboratory should seek guidance from their PIs on whether some remote work is feasible.  We encourage PI’s to use discretion in the spirit of my note yesterday and to promote social distancing when laboratory personnel are needed on campus.

Education Mission

We appreciate the challenges associated with transitioning to online classes for Spring quarter.  The University has provided additional support and guidance for teaching remotely on this website and we anticipate they will continue to keep this up to date. When possible, exams should be moved online or shifted to rooms where students can be spaced out.  If you need assistance, please seek support from the administrative staff in the Office of Graduate Affairs and Pritzker School of Medicine. 

Patient Care Mission

Continuity of the patient care mission is essential during this time.  University of Chicago Medicine employees and those BSD faculty and staff that support the patient care mission should continue to follow guidance from UCM summarized here on the intranet. We again remind all that patient privacy and security is paramount.

ARC & Core Facilities

A fully functioning ARC is critical to our research mission, and we are working hard to ensure that this continues. ARC will maintain operations, however, in the event that ARC staff are unavailable, it may become necessary to look at the full range of services that are offered and make some adjustments. If changes to services become necessary, we will communicate with the faculty.  Although we are working very hard to maintain normal operations, we would urge you to think carefully about your laboratory staffing and plan experiments based on the capacity within your laboratory. Please keep in mind that during this period, the longer the experiment, the greater the risk of potential disruption.  If you have any questions, please contact George Langan, Carol Mathieu or Betty Theriault. At this time, Core facilities are continuing normal operations, but we will keep you updated if this changes.

General Guidance for Remote Work

This is covered in President Zimmer’s message today, and the language below is taken from that message.

In furtherance of these efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, we encourage remote work as appropriate. With the approval of managers and unit directors, employees may work remotely where possible. Remote work is available for staff whose responsibilities do not require them to be on campus and can take effect as soon as plans are agreed upon between relevant staff and their supervisors. We expect managers to ensure close communication and coordination among teams and within their departments as the structure and patterns of our work shift during this exceptional time. Moving to remote work where feasible reduces the risk for others whose duties require being on campus. Social distancing must be an organizing principle of life on campus during this period. We recognize that there are many roles on campus for which responsibilities cannot be accomplished remotely. In those cases, please take steps to limit close contact in the workplace.

To manage temporary remote work, visit the BSDIS website for technology-related questions. Additional tips and tools for remote work will also be shared on this web page.

Additional Points of Contact

Realizing that we will be unable to address all of the nuanced concerns you may have at this point, we have included specific points of contact on this web page and will work to keep this up to date as questions arise.  We would encourage you to consult our administrative and faculty leadership for questions and guidance. 

 

We all continue to work on assuring the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware that many of our patients are participating in clinical research programs as well as clinical trials and wanted to provide guidance regarding ongoing participation. Our clinical research operations will continue to align with hospital and individual service line operations recommendations (see UChicago Medicine), which in turn are consistent with public health guidelines.

  1. For patients participating in clinical trials for treatment of their disease:  We will continue to support all aspects of trial-based treatment, but ask that patients follow all UChicago Medicine screening recommendations and visitor restrictions. We note that there may be limits on research staff face-to-face interaction with patients and trust that you will understand our efforts to both protect patients and our staff as well as minimize opportunities for further spread of the COVID-19 virus
  2. For all other clinical research activities. The vast majority of these projects have been placed on hold until further notice. We hope to reactivate these studies as soon as possible.

As you know, the situation regarding COVID-19 is changing rapidly.  Practices in place today will likely change as the pandemic runs its course.  

Thank you for your patience, understanding and support.

Faculty, clinicans and staff should consult this guidance for further details on which activities are recommended to be paused or continued.

 

 

Dear Colleagues:

I write to express my deepest gratitude and admiration for the incredible efforts of our faculty staff, students, residents and fellows in the BSD and UCMC as we work together to address the enormous challenges we are facing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your leadership and commitment to the health and safety of your colleagues, our patients and our entire community is impressive.

Over the past week, there have been numerous examples of inspiring leadership and action. I wanted to share with you a few examples here, but there are countless others. Pritzker medical students have volunteered in large numbers to serve as infection control monitors, to donate blood and to perform telephone triage of patients. Graduate students in basic science laboratories across the University including in other Divisions have offered to assist with COVID-19 testing and basic science faculty have offered use of their PCR machines to aid in the testing effort. The level of collaboration between departments within the BSD, between our clinical departments and UCMC and between University of Chicago Medicine and the University has never been higher. The constructive role played by our department chairs and senior hospital leaders has been quite exceptional.

There are also many significant accomplishments to highlight. Led by Kathleen Beavis and Daniel Arber (Department of Pathology), we were able to implement a new higher throughput COVID-19 testing platform within 72 hours of FDA approval which has markedly increased our capacity to test for the disease and reduce turnaround time.  The clear and concise communications from Emily Landon (Department of Medicine and

Infection Prevention and Control for UCM) have played a major role in clarifying important issues, both internally and to the public, around the epidemic and our response. These communications have garnered an impressive 800,000 web page visits in the past two months. I would also like to acknowledge the incredible work of the Hospital Incident Command Structure (HICS) led by Krista Curell (Risk Management & Patient Safety, UCM) and Stephen Weber (Department of Medicine and Chief Medical Officer).  Their expertise, knowledge and experience in managing the minute-to-minute crises has helped our institution become more responsive and targeted in our approach to problem-solving.  Due to the efforts of a number of our faculty, in particular, Mark Ratain (Department of Medicine) and Kevin Colgan (Chief Pharmacy Officer, UCM), we are about to initiate important clinical trials for this disease and our physicians will have access to promising therapies on a compassionate use basis for highly selected patients.

I also wanted to summarize some key institutional changes we have made in the last week with leadership from faculty and staff to promote the safety of our entire community and respond to the evolving public health crisis.

  • Eliminated elective and non-urgent surgeries and nonessential ambulatory visits thereby creating capacity for us to take care of the really sick patients.
  • Paused clinical trials not focused on patient care
  • Established an appointment-only drive-up clinic and walk-in center for COVID-19 testing with results provided within 24 hours.
  • Established MyChart e-visits and telephone triage
  • Developed and rapidly implemented plans for all department and administrative units to move staff to remote work if at all possible while still maintaining core functions.
  • Developed & implemented contingency plans for each research PI to reduce staff working on campus and in laboratories, to maintain mission-critical reagents, and ensure research continuity in the event of laboratory closures.

While I know that we face many challenges ahead I would encourage you all to take a minute to reflect upon these accomplishments and take pride in the important role that each of you have played at the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medicine. Finally, I would like to ask each and every one of you to continue to emphasize to everyone you work with that it is vital to stay home if you are sick, and that only essential personnel should be on-site, while as many as possible work remotely.  We will continue to update our BSD Coronavirus Resources web page with new information, HR guidance, and remote work resources and UCM Intranet Coronavirus Resource Page.

Again, I want to thank each and every one of you for your collective efforts to assist all of our faculty, staff, students, and patients as we work to de-densify our campus, practice social distancing and maintain our core mission areas.

 

 

 

Dear Colleagues:

I write on behalf of a University-wide effort to collect urgently needed supplies that could be donated from your laboratories to aid our colleagues at the University of Chicago Medicine and area hospitals in need. 

This web page will be kept up to date as the needs or drop off information changes.

Earlier this week, Harvard, Rockefeller and UCSF requested academic labs donate personal protective equipment (PPE) hours before the labs were shuttered. We are hearing more reports of nurses and doctors in these areas that are already running low on appropriate PPE.

Our colleagues in other Divisions at the University of Chicago, led by Margaret Gardel, are also contributing to this effort. We would ask you review this list and if you have any items available for donation, please drop them off today.

As supply chains become more challenging and we cannot fully anticipate future needs, I thank you in advance for checking your supplies and donating what you can.  I am grateful for the willingness of our research community to come together to assist our medical community.  Now, more than ever, I appreciate the ways in which you are all coming together across the University and the BSD to assist each other during this COVID-19 pandemic.

DROP OFF LOCATION & HOURS

KCBD Room 1220
8:00 A.M - 4:00 P.M. 
Monday - Friday

Map and contact information

Please track items you dropped off using this form.

URGENT NEED

  • surgical masks
  • N95 masks
  • sterile cotton-tipped swabs (specifically BD #220531)

Other items needed:

  • gowns
  • bunny suits
  • disposable face shields
  • boot covers
  • disposable gloves (any kind)
  • sterile cotton-tipped swabs
  • M3 reusable masks + N100 cartridges
  • goggles
  • non-disposable face shields (for use with chemicals and/or machining).

 

 

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware, Governor Pritzker issued a shelter-in-place order for the State of Illinois designed to slow and hopefully ultimately contain the spread of the coronavirus.  He announced this order during a press conference on Friday.  In coming to this decision Governor Pritzker consulted with a number of scientific experts including Dr. Emily Landon, Associate Professor of Medicine and Hospital Epidemiologist, at the University of Chicago Medicine.  In his remarks at the press conference, the Governor spoke forcefully in support of science to guide our response to this pandemic.  He then introduced Emily who delivered an extremely articulate, passionate and thoughtful justification for social distancing measures.  I hope you will find the attached video which comes from the press conference of interest. You may wish to share the link with children, family, friends, and our own colleagues who would like to better understand the scientific rationale for what we are all being asked to do. Emily’s remarks have been picked up by national media in the United States including the Today Show and the Washington Post and as far afield as the UK.  We thank Emily for the important role she is playing in efforts to control the spread of the viral pandemic.

https://bcove.video/3bfNg1q

 

 

As you’ve been hearing publicly and internally lately, social distancing is critical to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Much of what is being encouraged or required in the clinical setting applies to our laboratories and other research environments. I believe we can do our part to help mitigate the spread of this disease.

To that end, I share with you the following guidance provided by the Medical Center and modified for those involved in research activities. Effective immediately, members of the BSD community should apply the following guidance on campus:  

  • If you are sick, please stay home. No one should come to campus with any of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, or diarrhea. If you have a fever of 100.0°F or greater and a cough or sore throat, stay home and call your healthcare provider to see whether you are a candidate for COVID-19 testing.
  • If you are able to, please work from home. The University and Medical Center have teleconferencing capabilities through Zoom. If you do not have an account or are experiencing difficulty, please see the BSD Remote Work website or contact BSDIS support at bsdis@bsd.uchicago.edu.
  • All non-critical research activities requiring aggregation of people should be suspended and access to research labs will be limited to essential personnel to perform critical research functions
  • If you must come to campus to tend to mission-critical laboratory or other work activities, ensure at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, and minimize the number of people in any space. We advise a 1/6 rule: for every 6 chairs in a work area or conference room, ensure that only 1 chair is filled.
  • For mission-critical research staff who are on campus, we still welcome donations of personal protective equipment which are still a need within the medical community. Here is the link to the website with drop off location and details.  
  • When conferring face to face is essential, strictly adhere to a 2-meter (about 6 feet) distance of space between those involved.
  • Common areas should be used sparingly, if at all.
  • Wash your hands often, including prior to leaving the laboratory and after removing gloves and any other personal protective equipment.
  • Increase disinfection of work and high-touch surfaces — e.g., doorknobs, keyboards, computer mouses, elevator buttons, etc. — to at least daily
  • Be mindful of how you can mitigate local risk of infection by checking your behavior and activity. Your personal health and safety, as well as that of your colleagues, friends and family are at stake. Many of us have older or immunocompromised family at home and are relying on everyone to do their part to keep their loved ones safe. 

Please reinforce this message with your teams and each other. When you see colleagues gathering in violation of the aforementioned expectations, no matter their place in the organization, please remind them of these guidelines and of their responsibility of crowd control and social distancing.

We are grateful to all of you who have reached out to ask what you can do to contribute to our COVID-19 response. This message serves as an answer to every one of you.

As you are all aware in response to guidance from the Provost, every laboratory and research group was asked to come up with a contingency plan on how to reduce the number of people working on campus at any one time. We appreciate the time and thoughtfulness that you have devoted to the plans which we have received. We will be holding a town hall meeting via Zoom for research-oriented faculty on Monday afternoon at 2 PM to give you an opportunity to provide input and ask questions.  You will receive additional information on the agenda for this meeting and how to connect tomorrow morning. Thank you very much for your support on these challenging issues.

#standtogetherstayapart

 

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to express my deepest gratitude to the research community in the BSD, PSD, and PME for your overwhelmingly generous support in donating urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) from your laboratory to be used by our clinicians as they treat patients with COVID-19. At last tally, we received:

  • 3500 surgical masks
  • 700 n95 face masks
  • 100 face shields
  • 280 gowns/coveralls
  • 830 boxes of gloves
  • 172 pr safety goggles
  • 150 boot covers

On behalf of our clinical faculty, residents, physicians, nurses, and University of Chicago Medicine staff we thank you. Not only does this PPE make a real difference in protecting clinicians as they continue to care for patients during this COVID-19 pandemic, it demonstrates our support for one another. 

To the clinicians, know that the research community in the BSD and across the University of Chicago supports you, and we are truly grateful to each of you for the sacrifices and hard work you are putting in to care for our patients and community.  Now, more than ever, these acts of generosity and support truly do make a difference.

I would like to acknowledge and thank those who led the organization and logistics of this effort including Professors Margaret Gardell (Physics, PME), Marsha Rosner (Ben May), Bryan Dickerson (Chemistry), Allison Squires (PME), Joy Bergelson (Ecology & Evolution), Tobin Sosnick (Biochemistry) and others, along with Judd Johnson (Facilities) , Dan Tiberi (Building Manager) and Eric Tritch (UCM Supply Chain).  This truly was a collective, campus-wide effort.  On behalf of the Biological Sciences Division and University of Chicago Medicine, we are truly grateful.

Donations are still being accepted. You are encouraged to continue this effort. More information and drop off times/locations are included on this website. You are also asked to complete this form to help track the supplies that are donated.

 

As we all continue to adjust to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to provide another update including specific recommendations in regards to our clinical research mission and operations. Clinical research operations should align with hospital and individual service line operations as well as University guidance (see Coronavirus Resource Center page and University of Chicago Coronavirus Updates. Additional information is also available on the BSD Coronavirus website. Following the March 21, 2020 state-wide “Shelter in Place” order from Governor Pritzker, below details the the current expectations for clinical research and clinical trial conduct.

  • All non-therapeutic clinical research is on hold
  • All in-person visits in the context of a therapeutic clinical trial that are not being conducted for necessary clinical care purposes are on hold
  • In-person visits in the context of a therapeutic clinical trial that are being conducted for necessary clinical care purposes and virtual visits can continue
  • The majority of new accruals to therapeutic clinical trials will have adverse risk/benefit considerations. PI’s, service line directors, and center directors will need to carefully assess whether new accruals to any specific therapeutic trial should continue

For questions or exceptions please contact COVID19-IRB@bsd.uchicago.edu.

As you are aware the resumption of laboratory bench research is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 15th.  We are tremendously grateful for the collective effort on the part of our faculty, trainees and staff that have made this long awaited day possible. We particularly appreciate your support and patience as we ramped down our research efforts during the peak of the pandemic in Chicago and your collaboration as we planned the details of the resumption.  We look forward to seeing the fruits of your research in the form of exciting new discoveries that impact biology and medicine. We extend the same appreciation to those of you whose research resumption is still in the planning stages and those of you who continue to work at home in the interest of the safety and well-being of our entire community.

The following information is to help guide the efforts of each person involved in the research resumption to ensure that the implementation of our plans goes as smoothly as possible and that you are able to complete the processes that will be required to gain entry next week to the buildings that house your laboratories.  All groups with approved Research Resumption Plans (RRPs) and sufficient PPE for their teams can begin on Monday. PI’s should coordinate with members of their respective research groups so that each member understands their lab’s research resumption plan and when to start specific assigned shifts.  We will continue to review and approve plans, allowing laboratories to resume campus activity on an ongoing basis throughout the week.

As a reminder, the University’s new safety training is required for each member of the lab and completion is necessary before building access will be granted.  This training includes two components:

  • Attestation (The attestation is a “read this first” document to start the training and you must click and complete the attestation using the “click me” icon on that page.)
  • “COVID-19, Controlled resumption of research activities” course

These are available at https://ehsa.uchicago.edu/training 

Remember that any member of your team may choose to continue working remotely due to health or safety concerns.

Individuals experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus should not return to campus and should consult their healthcare provider immediately. If you test positive for COVID-19 and have been in a University-owned or operated facility, contact C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu so that the health and safety of others in our facilities can be addressed. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate as directed by healthcare professionals before returning to University locations.

You can find the latest information and guidelines from the University about resumption of on-campus activities at https://goforward.uchicago.edu/

You may report (including anonymously) on-campus safety concerns or violations:

We also want to be sure that you are aware of the self-care and wellness resources available through the University:

https://humanresources.uchicago.edu/benefits/healthwelfare/sfap.shtml

https://voices.uchicago.edu/bsdfacultyaffairs/faculty-support-and-resources/