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College of Medicine Pandemic Response Friday Round-Up – Week of July 26-30

College of Medicine leaders updated faculty, staff and students on July 30 about the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

This Week’s Updates:

Revised Standards for Human Subjects In-Person Research

Effective Monday, Aug. 2, the following revised standards will be implemented for human subjects in-person research. Some highlighted of the revised standards include:

  • If the in-person, human subjects research meets the following criteria, it may resume WITHOUT additional COVID-safety reviews and approval via InfoReady (NOTE: IRB review and approval is separate from COVID-safety reviews in InfoReady).
  • If the in-person, human subjects research does not meet the following criteria, it requires review and approval of COVID-safety measures via InfoReady before resuming.

Physical distancing in laboratories

Starting Monday, Aug. 2, physical distancing requirements for research laboratories will be modified from our current 150 square feet per person to 100 square feet per person. This represents a reduction from 6 feet between individuals in the lab to approximately 4 feet. Hence, a 600 square foot laboratory could have a maximum of 6 people in the lab at the same time. Based on the results of our survey, this reduction in physical distancing in the lab should allow a large number of labs to regain more normal operations with a few caveats – masking (type 1 procedure masks) is still required and no eating or drinking permitted in the lab environment. PI’s have the discretion to adopt these new guidelines in their individual labs depending on the circumstances and their personnel in their labs.

Room capacity in instructional space to increase

As of Monday, Aug. 2, the maximum room capacity for instructional space will be increased to 50% capacity. New room capacity limits will be posted in Book-It and on the doors for College of Medicine instructional and departmental meeting space. We ask your cooperation in not exceeding the posted capacity limits, continue to mask appropriately and adhere to our guidelines of no eating and drinking in instruction/meeting space.

International travel update

The University announced that effective Aug. 16, Penn State will lift its moratorium on University-affiliated international travel, which has been in place since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised guidelines apply to travel requests made on or after Aug. 16 for travel beginning Sept. 16 or later, as international travel requests must be made at least one month before departure.

University-affiliated travel that begins on or before Sept. 15 must continue to be approved by senior University leadership as mission-critical or academically essential. Anyone who has already submitted the required documents for an international travel exception and is awaiting approval does not need to take further action, as travel will continue to be reviewed and approved by exception until the new guidance takes effect. Guidance documents for University-affiliated international travel departing prior to Sept. 16 can be found on the website of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs under “Visitors, Travel and Meetings.”

Recognizing that travel imposes additional risks relative to the spread of COVID-19, Penn State has developed the following guidance (effective Aug. 16) for University-affiliated international travel by employees and students beginning on or after Sept. 16. Policy TR01, International Travel Requirements, applies to all international travel.

Please visit the following Penn State Today announcement and updated guidance.

Shuttle service between University Park and Hershey

At this time, it is anticipated that routine shuttle service between University Park and the College will resume on or about Sept. 7. Masks will be required for all riders, but this guideline is subject to change. Details on shuttle service will be announced as the start date approaches.

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