Social distancing in laboratories and continuity guidance


To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is reminding researchers to practice social and physical distancing in laboratories and other research environments. The key preventative measures for principal investigators (PIs) and lab managers should include:

  • Encouraging telework or remote as possible, minimizing the individuals who need to physically interact with one another (e.g., grant writing, data analysis, publications, literature reviews)
  • Encouraging online learning (e.g., coding, statistics, trainings)
  • Ensuring at least 6 feet of distance between individuals
  • Minimizing the number of individuals in any space as much as possible
  • Increasing disinfection of work surfaces and high-touch surfaces to at least daily
  • Ensuring that staff wash hands often- prior to leaving the laboratory and when removing gloves and other personal protective equipment.
  • Develop a research continuity plan with considerations to health and safety as a top priority. Consider how the work of your labs might be impacted in the coming weeks. Refer to EH&S’s Research Lab Guide to Business Continuity and Recovery Planning document for a checklist and guidance on how to prepare your plan.

Below is general information to help everyone reduce the risk of spreading coronaviruses by taking the same steps as you would to prevent infection from the flu and the common cold:

  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer, with 60-95% alcohol if water is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

Additional Resources:

University COVID-19 information and Resources

Office of Research: Mitigating Impacts to Research Activities Due to COVID-19

If you have any questions please contact EH&S Research & Occupational Safety at or 206.685.3993.