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COVID-19 Resources

Tips for Researchers to Consider if Your Lab Needs to Shut Down

This page contains guidance from ASH President Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH, for hematology researchers in navigating the COVID-19 public health crisis. For additional resources, please visit hematology.org/covid-19.

Things to think about if your lab has to shut down.

Principal Investigators should develop contingency plans in the event that their research program is suddenly suspended. You should carefully think about the following scenarios and work with your lab to be prepared for them:

  1. Minimal Scenario One:
    Your staffing is reduced because some people are out sick or unable to come in for family reasons, but others in your lab are healthy. This scenario continues for 2-4 weeks but ultimately people who were absent can come back to full strength. You can anticipate this 2-4 week time period up-front. Imagine different variations of this scenario. What do you need to do today to continue your work in these few weeks with reduced staff under different versions of this scenario?
  2. Minimal Scenario Two:
    Same situation as Minimal Scenario One, except the staff absences continue indefinitely. What do you need to do today for your work to continue in this scenario?
  3. Maximum Scenario:
    What happens if your lab needs to be shut down indefinitely due to a wider outbreak? What do you need to do today?

Ask yourself: What has to be done immediately to ensure safety of research should there be a rapid closure of your lab?

Examples of these tactical actions include:

  • Make sure that computer devices are available to laboratory staff and able to access files remotely so work can continue
  • Transferring data to local storage so you can work off-site
  • Reduce animal work to the extent possible
  • Immediately freezing down cell cultures that cannot be replaced
  • Gathering items you’ll need to take home. Always be prepared that you might not be able to come back
  • Not starting new experiments or work that require substantial on-site work
  • Planning projects to keep remote technical staff engaged