Sunrise Planning Process Frequently Asked Questions for Med School/OACA

Advancement to Basic Research Sunrise Step 2

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Are PIs and research teams still encouraged to work remotely?

Are PIs and research teams still encouraged to work remotely?

Yes, any work that can be done from home should continue on a remote basis.  Labs should aim to bring their research back to 100% of pre-COVID-19 levels with up to 75% of the work occurring on-campus and at least 25% of the work occurring remotely.  Labs that cannot bring research back to 100% of pre-COVID-19 levels should discuss this with their Department Chairs.

Do basic science/wet labs need to submit additional documentation to the Dean’s Office or Sunrise Committee to move to Sunrise Step 2?

Do basic science/wet labs need to submit additional documentation to the Dean’s Office or Sunrise Committee to move to Sunrise Step 2?

No additional documentation is needed if the plan was previously approved and is still current.  PIs should advance their in-person work on campus to up to 75%.

How should the 75% threshold be interpreted?

How should the 75% threshold be interpreted?

This means that labs may increase operations to 75% research workforce return to campus at any given time. This can be interpreted in different ways. It could mean 100% of employees returning 75% of the time, 75% of employees returning to 100%, or some combination that adds up to 75%. We do want to encourage flexibility in lab scheduling, which could mean hours outside of the standard workday or on weekends, particularly as employees with school-age children navigate the challenges of distance learning.

How do I submit revisions to my plan?

How do I submit revisions to my plan?

You can edit an approved plan and highlight the changes in red. Please submit your revised plan to Peg Brown ([email protected]).

I have not submitted a plan for my basic science lab but still wish to do so. How do I submit a Sunrise Plan now that we have advanced to Sunrise Step 2 for basic research?

I have not submitted a plan for my basic science lab but still wish to do so. How do I submit a Sunrise Plan now that we have advanced to Sunrise Step 2 for basic research?

Please submit a lab plan under the original Medical School/OACA Basic Lab Sunrise Implementation Process.  The committee will still review and approve new sunrise plans but is asking for your patience as the committee does not meet regularly to approve new plans.  All plans should have been submitted and approved previously.  

Who needs to complete a Request to Return to Work authorization form in Sunrise Step 2?

Who needs to complete a Request to Return to Work authorization form in Sunrise Step 2?

All employees who are returning to work in Step 2, including principal investigators, need to complete the centralized return to work form unless they have been previously deemed essential. If you are a Step 2 employee who has already filled out a RTW authorization, your request should be approved soon. If you have not completed a request, please reference the name of your PI in the documentation and list Mary Winger ([email protected])  as the departmental approver.

Can I return to work in Sunrise Step 2 if I have submitted a request but haven’t received final authorization?

Can I return to work in Sunrise Step 2 if I have submitted a request but haven’t received final authorization?

As long as you are identified as a Step 2 employee in a plan that has received approval from Dean/VP Tolar, then you can return to work in accordance with the plan even if you haven’t received your official authorization. There is a high volume of requests and Medical School administration is working through them as rapidly as possible.

Should personnel returning in Sunrise Step 3 complete the University’s work authorization form?

Should personnel returning in Sunrise Step 3 complete the University’s work authorization form?

No. Faculty and staff who are returning to the lab in Sunrise Step 3 should wait to complete the University’s work authorization form until the Medical School and OACA have advanced to those specific phases.

Submitting Sunrise Plans

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Who must submit a Sunrise Plan?

Who must submit a Sunrise Plan?

Basic Science Labs: All PIs with basic science labs that entail “wet-bench” research that cannot be performed at home/remotely must submit a Sunrise Plan for their lab members and themselves. Anyone previously designated as “essential” must also be included in the lab’s Sunrise plan.   

Clinical Research Labs: Clinical research labs must submit Sunrise Plans through the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process if PIs propose to have personnel in their labs in Sunrise Step 1. If work can be done remotely, work must continue on a remote basis. Sunrising of clinical research labs cannot be the rationale for increasing interactions with patients.
 
Core Facilities: All core facilities must submit a Sunrise Plan. These plans must be submitted as soon as possible, so PIs understand the core services that will be available under the various Sunrise steps.

When should PIs submit a Sunrise Plan?

When should PIs submit a Sunrise Plan?

PIs should submit their Sunrise Plans as soon as possible if they would like to conduct work in Step I. This includes any lab activities (e.g. work already approved, COVID-19 work, animal care, etc.). 

If a lab is currently closed and does not plan to open until Sunrise Step 2 or Sunrise Step 3, should the PI still submit a Sunrise Plan for approval?

If a lab is currently closed and does not plan to open until Sunrise Step 2 or Sunrise Step 3, should the PI still submit a Sunrise Plan for approval?

Yes, all PIs should submit Sunrise Plans even if they do not plan to open until Sunrise Step 2 or Sunrise Step  3.  Although there is less urgency, all Plans must be submitted during this initial review.

If a lab is approved for COVID-19 does it need to submit a Sunrise Plan?

If a lab is approved for COVID-19 does it need to submit a Sunrise Plan?

Yes. If the lab intends to resume or begin non-COVID-19 work during any stage of the Sunrise process, the principal investigator needs to submit a Plan.

How do I submit revisions to an approved Sunrise Plan?

How do I submit revisions to an approved Sunrise Plan?

You can edit the approved plan and highlight the changes in red. Please submit your revised plan to Peg Brown ([email protected]).

Completing the Work Authorization Forms

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Who needs to complete a Request to Return to Work authorization form?

Who needs to complete a Request to Return to Work authorization form?

All employees who are returning to work in Step 1, including principal investigators, need to complete the centralized return to work form unless they have been previously deemed essential and their responsibilities during Step 1 are not significantly changing.

Who should I list as the approver for my return to work authorization request?

Who should I list as the approver for my return to work authorization request?

Mary Winger ([email protected]) should be listed as the approver for all Medical School/OACA lab employee requests. Although previously submitted requests do not need to be resubmitted, please attach the  approved laboratory plan to all future return to work authorization requests.

Can I return to work if I have submitted a request but haven’t received final authorization?

Can I return to work if I have submitted a request but haven’t received final authorization?

As long as you are identified as a Step 1 employee in a plan that has received approval from Dean/VP Tolar, then you can return to work in accordance with the plan even if you haven’t received your official authorization. There is a high volume of requests and Medical School administration is working through them as rapidly as possible.

Should personnel returning in Phase 2 or Phase 3 complete the University’s work authorization form?

Should personnel returning in Phase 2 or Phase 3 complete the University’s work authorization form?

We will only be approving employees to return to work if they are identified to return in Phase 1, so faculty and staff who are returning to the lab in Phase 2 or Phase 3 should wait to complete the University’s work authorization form until the Medical School and OACA have advanced to those specific phases.

Health & Safety

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How should lab staff confirm a sufficient temperature reading and asymptomatic reporting?

How should lab staff confirm a sufficient temperature reading and asymptomatic reporting?

Employees should take their temperature before coming in to work. This information, however, should not be recorded or documented.

By reporting to work, employees will be attesting that they agree to the following:

“I understand and agree that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I will notify my superior and not come to work if I am experiencing any symptoms compatible with COVID-19.”

A positive response to any of these questions and/or a reported body temperature above 100F will require an employee to contact their supervisor before coming to wor

What should I do if my temperature is above 100.4F, I am feeling ill, or I am exhibiting other signs of COVID-19?

What should I do if my temperature is above 100.4F, I am feeling ill, or I am exhibiting other signs of COVID-19?

First, stay home. Do not come to work. For employees who have COVID-19 symptoms, contact your health care provider to determine whether you should be tested.  You may also contact Boynton Health. Visit If You Are Sick to learn more about the symptoms and what you should do if you are sick, use the screening tool to determine if you should get tested, and find a testing location near you.

As with any illness, report your absence using the standard process for your unit. If you are uncomfortable reporting your illness through the standard process for your unit or to your supervisor, you can contact Sarah Averbeck (OACA) or Michele Morrissey (Med School).  The Office of Human Resources provides additional information for employees and supervisors for COVID-19 in the workplace.

What should supervisors do if someone has tested positive for COVID-19 or is self-quarantining?

What should supervisors do if someone has tested positive for COVID-19 or is self-quarantining?

If you have an employee that has tested positive for COVID-19 or is self-quarantining due to COVID-19 symptoms, please contact either Sarah Averbeck in OACA Human Resources or Michele Morrissey in Medical School Human Resources. Do not do your own “contact tracing” or begin notification of others in your lab or building. Remember that employee health information is still confidential and we must maintain that confidentiality to the extent possible.  While the name of the symptomatic/positive employee should not be disclosed, other employees in the lab should be notified that they are not to report to work until instructed to do so.

Does a lab need to be shut down if an employee self-quarantines due to symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19?

Does a lab need to be shut down if an employee self-quarantines due to symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19?

In the case of a laboratory with a COVID+ staff member, one of two scenarios should be followed.  Firstly, as per University Health and Safety (UHS) guidelines, the laboratory should be completely closed and quarantined for a minimum of 7 days without any use of space or equipment.  After 7 days the laboratory staff may return to approved work. Alternatively, the PI will restrict access to the laboratory and equipment for a minimum of 24 hr. and then arrange for laboratory staff members to voluntarily return to the lab to deep clean spaces and equipment. Any areas used by the affected employee for prolonged periods of time should be closed off until cleaned. Please refer to the UHS guidelines for information on appropriate cleaning products. All personnel cleaning the laboratory must wear appropriate PPE including gloves and facemasks. Following cleaning, lab members may return to approved work.

Do we need to wear masks at all times?

Do we need to wear masks at all times?

Yes. In accordance with CDC recommendations, masks are required in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. However, given the critically-important health science work taking place in our research laboratories and our shared commitment to a healthy and safe work environment, we ask that masks are worn at all times in Medical School and OACA laboratories. All Medical School employees are eligible for a one-time distribution of a mask provided by the Medical School. However, cloth masks are also acceptable. Please see the CDC Guidelines for cloth masks.

Can I eat food in my laboratory space or anywhere else in the building?

Can I eat food in my laboratory space or anywhere else in the building?

Whenever possible, please limit eating on campus. If you do need to eat, break rooms and kitchens are to be used for quick food preparation only. Please do not eat in groups. Food should be eaten in private offices or other rooms that can be closed. If that type of space is not available in your setting, there may be a limited number of spaces in public areas where food can be consumed. Otherwise, you must leave the building to eat food.

How can I access PPE for my work in the lab?

How can I access PPE for my work in the lab?

Use of clinical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be limited as we continue to have the greatest need in clinical care settings. University stores do have an inventory of PPE that can be assigned for laboratory use. It is the responsibility of the PI to coordinate the acquisition and use of the PPE, so staff should not order PPE unless requested by the PI.

How do I report concerns?

How do I report concerns?

If you have concerns regarding workplace or laboratory safety, scheduling, or any other matters related to the implementation of the Laboratory Sunrise Plan, we encourage employees to utilize the University’s confidential U Report system.

Clinical Research

The Medical School’s and OACA’s guidance for clinical research continues to align with OVPR’s clinical research tiered processes and procedures; the required approval processes are still in place.  All clinical research must comply with these requirements. To fully consider the sunrise of clinical research, the Medical School and OACA established a Clinical Research Sunrise Committee. The Clinical Research Sunrise Committee will create a thoughtful framework and structure to advance biomedical research while ensuring the safety of patients, faculty, staff, and residents. The committee began meeting the week of May 25, 2020. The OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process, which focuses primarily on basic science labs, will not allow for an increase in interactions with clinical research participants. 

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Should PIs who conduct clinical research submit Sunrise Plans for their labs under the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process?

Should PIs who conduct clinical research submit Sunrise Plans for their labs under the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process?

Clinical research labs may submit Sunrise Plans through the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process if PIs propose to have personnel in their labs in Sunrise Step 1. If work can be done remotely, work must continue on a remote basis. Sunrising of clinical research labs cannot be the rationale for increasing interactions with patients.

Should clinical research facilities submit Sunrise Plans under the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process?

Should clinical research facilities submit Sunrise Plans under the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process?

Clinical research facilities (or units) may submit Sunrise Plans through the current OACA/Medical School Sunrise Implementation Process if they propose to have a personnel presence in Sunrise Step 1. However, these facilities are not authorized to open for additional participant interactions. Sunrising these facilities must not be the rationale for increasing patient interactions. Clinical research facilities and units that are currently closed should remain closed for patient interactions at this time.