COVID Research Space Standard Operating Procedures

Creating a new SOP

Research spaces are required to have an approved COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on file for individuals to gain access to the space. The intent of the SOP is to confirm adherence to Protect Purdue COVID-19 safety measures and to describe modifications to research space layout and function in response to the pandemic. The SOP should be completed by the research space’s designated Point of Contact (POC). The POC will be responsible for ensuring researchers are trained to the SOP and for updating the SOP to add/delete users or modify procedures. Once the POC submits the SOP in the online portal, the SOP will go through a review process. During this time, the POC will be notified of any required changes to the SOP and of approval. Additional information to assist in completing your SOP can be found at the bottom of this page.

You can create a new SOP here: https://www.purdue.edu/bscc/SOPTracking

Updating an existing SOP

In order to maintain a safe research enterprise, it is critical that we have the most up-to-date information in the SOP online portal. The SOP information is integrated into the Protect Purdue Health Center’s contact tracing efforts and will allow the POC to be notified if an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 has been associated with their research space. In addition, should the POC need to modify the way the research space operates (e.g., equipment layout, number of people allowed in the space at one time), this needs to be reflected in the SOP. For these, and any other updates, the POC should access their SOP through the online portal and make necessary updates through the website. You can access and update your SOP here: https://www.purdue.edu/bscc/SOPTracking

COVID-19 research space SOP guidance

  • Prereading material to provide guidance for your COVID-19 Research Space SOP can be found here
  • Information on enhanced PPE for close-up, person-to-person interactions in research spaces can be found here.
  • Guidance for off-campus research activities in the US can be found here.
  • An example of a disinfection plan for an optical light microscope system can be found here.
  • Best practices to consider in developing your SOP are as follows:
    • Conduct research activities remotely whenever possible; 
    • Do not come to campus when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or after close, prolonged contact with a confirmed COVID-19 carrier.  See Protect Purdue Pledge; 
    • Pay attention to personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing with soap and water; 
    • In the research space, wear cloth or disposable face mask when a 6 ft distance between individuals cannot be maintained at all times; 
    • Maintain a 6 ft. separation between people working in all shared research spaces for social distancing and de-densification; 
    • Incorporate engineering controls such as physical barriers and/or enhanced PPE when unable to maintain a 6 ft. separation between people working in a research space; 
    • Clean and sanitize shared surfaces and equipment frequently, using COVID-19 approved cleaning products and procedures;
    • Maximize separation between people when moving through research spaces.

The PIs, lab directors, and other responsible individuals should consider how to apply a combination of best practices across the four primary control areas for the research spaces in this SOP:  Physical Distancing, Social Distancing, Contact Time, and Reducing Exposure.   

PHYSICAL DISTANCING encourages remote work and video communication whenever possible.  It also includes limiting trips to essential research travel to field sites, sponsor reviews, national user facilities, and collaborator facilities. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING is used to maintain the equivalent of a 6 ft. separation between people working in research spaces.  Methods include installing floor markings to manage circulation and identify separation when waiting for shared equipment; removing or labeling desks, tables, and chairs; rearranging furniture and equipment to increase distance between high-use items; shutting down or staggering work in benches, hoods, or other stationary equipment; adding engineered controls such as Plexiglas barriers between adjacent work areas or enhanced PPE. 

CONTACT TIME should be minimized by de-densifying and adopting approaches such as staggered work shifts, avoiding peak travel times, and using reservation systems for shared labs.  

REDUCING EXPOSURE is aimed at minimizing cross-contamination. Approaches include assigning work areas to particular researchers; frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer; regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and shared equipment; reassigning research responsibilities to limit the number of different researchers in a shared space; limiting external visitors to essential contractors and vendors. Most importantly, individuals should not come to campus when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or after close, prolonged contact with a confirmed COVID-19 carrier. 

Any questions regarding the COVID-19 Research Space SOPs can be sent to: COVIDSOP@purdue.edu