Union Where You Are: Plans for 2020-21

Return to Research Plan for Faculty

Interim Guidelines for Use of Research Facilities & Studio Spaces

Expectations and Resources

All employees (faculty, staff and administrators) are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidance outlined in this site and Union’s Plan for Reopening Campus Fall 2020 (prepared for the State of New York) as part of workplace expectations and guidelines. All employees and students are expected to review the FAQs for additional information related to COVID-19.

Research Facilities & Studio Spaces

This site provides the institutional policies, protocols and guidance for all college activities. When applicable, in addition, all faculty members and students are expected to comply with Union’s Return to Research Health & Safety Protocols.

Guidelines for Involving Students

Safety Training: The research advisor(s) are responsible for ensuring that students receive standard lab training (e.g., EHS Chemical Safety Course, Machine Shop Training, Radiation Safety Course, etc.) prior to beginning work.

Supervision: The research advisor(s) are responsible for ensuring appropriate levels of supervision of students working in labs and studios. The research advisor(s) have the authority to determine if and when direct, in-person supervision is required. Per standard practices, faculty will determine procedures for supervising student work.

Guidelines for Research Involving Human Subjects

Human Subjects Review Committee (HSRC) has instituted new policy for all in-person human subjects research. This also applies to in-person research conducted away from Union’s campus. Faculty and student researchers must review and follow the policy and procedures provided on Union's Human Subjects Research Committee webpage.

Guidelines for all Activities


The research advisor(s) must aim to ensure all health and safety guidelines are followed in labs and studios at all times. To accomplish this, the research advisor(s) may create a staggered work schedule, post 6' markers or signs in work spaces, and create protocols for conducting in-person meetings if required. In keeping with institutional guidelines, if a 6’ physical distance cannot be maintained, individuals are required to don their face masks. Faculty and student researchers are responsible for ensuring that the number of users in the room at any given time does not exceed occupancy limits (please contact EHS at ropitzkj@union.edu for assistance in determining limits). In an effort to de-densify and limit risk to personal health and safety, occupancy levels should be kept at the lowest level possible to complete required research and creative activities.

Cleaning & PPE:

Facilities Services housekeeping staff will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in research laboratories. Frequently touched hard surfaces include door handles, floors and bench tops where areas are clear. This does not include any equipment or shared objects in the lab. Faculty and staff are expected to disinfect shared equipment in the lab using a suitable disinfectant as recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Cleaning instrumentation, equipment & shared objects: Faculty and student researchers are expected to disinfect shared equipment in the lab using a suitable disinfectant as recommended by the manufacturer, and faculty and student researchers should continue to complete an appropriate cleaning log, as determined by the research advisor. Faculty researchers, lab technicians, and instrumentation specialists are responsible for determining the appropriate products, method, frequency for cleaning to meet health and safety guidelines while maintaining the integrity of the instrument, equipment, and object. EHS is ordering disinfecting supplies for this purpose (contact ehs@union.edu with questions or to request specific cleaning products).
  • Wearing gloves: Faculty will limit the sharing of objects, such as tools, equipment, machinery, touchscreens, and vehicles, as well as the touching of shared surfaces; and require individuals to perform hand hygiene before and after contact. Gloves should be used only when required per standard scientific protocols for handling of hazardous materials.
  • Wearing masks: Faculty and student researchers must comply with Union's guidelines for use of masks. Refer to the Return to Research Health & Safety Protocols for additional guidelines on physical distancing (including procedures for research involving human subjects), hygiene and cleaning.