Detailed information and a FAQ on Berkeley Lab’s response to COVID-19 can be found here: covid.lbl.gov.
To Foundry Users:
Dear Molecular Foundry Users,
This message contains information about Berkeley Lab’s policy changes and actions to take, as access to the Molecular Foundry expands this summer.
The world has been through a lot since the novel coronavirus first made headlines. We thank you for your patience and resilience, and all you have done through your personal actions in the fight against COVID-19.
The level of risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Berkeley, California is presently very low. Alameda County and the neighboring counties have some of the highest levels of COVID vaccination in the nation, with around three quarters of all Alameda county residents having received at least one dose. Berkeley Lab has maintained no COVID transmission on site, with very few positive cases among the Berkeley Lab on-site working community. We have reason to be hopeful as we look toward the future.
We are very pleased to share the following updates with you, regarding research and operations on site at the Molecular Foundry.
Coordinated with changes in Berkeley Lab policy, we will implement a new operating model for work on site, effective July 12, 2021. There will be two sets of controls, based on whether or not full vaccination has been demonstrated to Berkeley Lab. Employees and affiliates (including all on-site Foundry users) who have uploaded their vaccination card will follow Protocol A, which will encourage masking, but will not require any specific COVID-related protocols. Those who have not yet been vaccinated, or who choose not to upload their vaccination card to the Lab, will follow Protocol B, with required masking, distancing, and weekly testing for COVID-19, to ensure the safety of all personnel working on site.
Anyone who did not upload a vaccination card or receive a vaccine on site at Berkeley Lab prior to June 24, 2021 must complete the Vaccine Declaration Questionnaire to access the Lab site. No user will be scheduled for work at the Molecular Foundry until the Questionnaire has been completed. Information that you enter will be held in privacy. Supervisors (usually your Assigned Scientists) will be able to view whether or not you have completed the Questionnaire, and also which Protocol is assigned, but no further details.
For people under Protocol A we are lifting restrictions on the following, as of July 12, 2021:
- Side by side work, including training
- Meetings, both inside and outside
- Multiple people in an elevator
- COVID-related density limitations in rooms and laboratories
- Multiple people in restrooms. Single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms are available in Building 72.
- Eating, including multiple people sharing the same dining tables.
- Personnel approved for daily access will be posted electronically, but will not be posted on building doors.
- Day use cubicles
While we anticipate that Protocol A will be more commonly applied, the Molecular Foundry is committed to providing welcome and support for all members of our community as we keep one another safe. Any person following Protocol B is responsible for maintaining distancing or masking while on site and working with Foundry staff to make reasonable accommodations that allow work to be done safely for all members of our community.
While many of the COVID-related protocols have been removed, we still encourage people to follow many of the public health protocols that have been normalized during the pandemic. Regardless of your vaccination status, please consider wearing a mask and continue to regularly wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and disinfect surfaces as necessary.
Berkeley Lab retains the requirement to pre-arrange a daily access slot for on-site work at the Molecular Foundry. However, we are retiring the three-shift structure for staggering on-site work. Your daily access slot will now cover a 24-hour period for your access date. Work with your Assigned Scientist to make this arrangement, typically at least one week in advance. Daily access slots will continue to be managed by Berkeley Lab, with a slow and steady addition of daily badges approximately every two weeks, throughout the summer and autumn.
Travel to the Molecular Foundry continues to require authorization. Berkeley Lab’s domestic and international travel policies are currently under review in light of the changing pandemic context. As of the date of this writing:
- Travel to the Molecular Foundry from within the state of California does not require prior approval.
- Domestic travel from outside California requires prior approval. You may make a request through the Molecular Foundry. Domestic travel from outside California requires either a 14-day quarantine, or a quarantine equivalency protocol that includes physical distancing, masking, training, and communication. Reach out to your assigned scientist for more details.
- International travel from outside the United States requires prior approval. You may make a request through the Molecular Foundry, which can then move forward for authorization from Berkeley Lab. A 14-day quarantine, or a quarantine equivalency protocol that includes physical distancing, masking, training, and communication. Reach out to your assigned scientist for more details.
We will keep you updated on any major changes to Berkeley Lab travel policy.
Even as we honor the hope in this moment, we remember those who have endured so much during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to vaccines, and local outbreaks of COVID-19 are unevenly distributed around the globe. We understand that many of you may still be in situations that prevent your immediate return to work at the Molecular Foundry. If you require additional extension of your accepted proposal due to pandemic impacts, reach out to us in the User Program Office.
In summary, we recommend that users take the following actions:
- Obtain a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA or WHO when one becomes available to you.
- Complete the Vaccine Declaration Questionnaire (https://clinic.lbl.gov/), to determine the appropriate Protocol governing your safe work on side at Berkeley Lab.
- Reach out to your assigned scientist to make plans regarding travel.
- Review the activation deadlines on your Molecular Foundry proposals which are pending activation, and those that have been automatically withdrawn due to lack of activation. If you have a proposal that requires further extension due to COVID-19 conditions in your local area, reach out to the Foundry User Program Office to request an extension. We treat each request on a case-by-case basis, with the intent to facilitate this science.
Additional information can be found here: https://covid.lbl.gov/
User Program Director
Frequently Asked Questions:
check back soon for updates
7/12/2021: New operating model for onsite work.
11/2/2020: Restart Pilot 2d began on November 2. Please refer to the updated FAQ.
7/13/2020: Restart Pilot 2a began on July 13. Please refer to the updated FAQ.
5/28/2020: Berkeley Lab will begin Restart Pilot 1 on June 1, during which time the number of people working onsite will roughly double. A limited number of Foundry personnel will be able to return, as well as certain high-priority, trained users for whom LBL is their home institution. More information is forthcoming. Please see covid.lbl.gov for training and safety requirements during Pilot 1.
4/27/2020: The Bay Area will extend its shelter-in-place orders through the end of May. The Foundry will continue working remotely, with only critical operations and COVID-19 related research on-site.
4/14/2020: Active Foundry user proposals have been further extended. Please check the proposal portal for updated timelines.
3/30/2020: The Bay Area is extending its shelter-in-place orders until at least May 3rd. The Foundry staff continue to work remotely, and on-site work exempted from the order related to COVID-19 is ongoing in the Biological Nanostructures facility.
3/19/2020: The state of California is under shelter-in-place orders until further notice. For more information, see covid19.ca.gov. The Foundry continues to operate remotely, with reduced onsite staffing levels in accordance with local and statewide directives.
3/17/2020: The Molecular Foundry’s Spring Proposal Call deadline has been extended by three weeks to April 23. Accordingly, the review decisions will be communicated to users by June 5. All currently active proposals will be extended by one month. If the shutdown extends longer than currently planned, additional extensions will be granted.
3/16/2020: The Molecular Foundry is prepared for a “warm and safe” stand down of lab operations, effective March 17 and lasting until at least April 7. The lab site will remain powered and staffed by essential personnel.
Please go to status.lbl.gov for up-to-date information on the status of Berkeley Lab. See also the updates from our Strategic Communications team.
A summary of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 research at Berkeley Lab, including at the Molecular Foundry, can be found here.
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