Reopening the CNI – safe operations

May 1st, 2020
May 1st, 2020

Our conversations with the University make it seem likely that when research starts up again there will be various COVID19-mitigation related issues that impact users directly.  This post is one in a series that we will share as the University policy evolves.

Safe operations - The CNI has developed a standard operating procedures (SOP) document  for when studies are resumed.  The document defines the procedures we see as critical for the safe operation of the CNI facility. The policies and procedures discussed in this document were developed in collaboration with people representing Environmental Health and Safety and Human Subjects Research policies at Stanford University. We will share the full document with you as well as our implementation plans over the course of the next week or two; here we provide an overview.

We have designed the document to define how Human Subject Research can be undertaken at CNI with minimal risk of COVID-19 transmission.  We believe that we will achieve this goal if the procedures, which include redundant mechanisms to ensure adequate disinfection protocols,  are rigorously followed.

A document is only as valuable if it has the support of facility users.  It is essential that people understand the procedures and that we work as a whole community to follow protocols.  This means being willing to do more than your fair share.

To be sure that people understand the protocols, we will require users to do CNI Covid-19 training prior to resumption of their scanning privileges at CNI. All users who have been cleared to scan by their PI must complete this recertification, no exceptions. The steps for recertification are posted on the CNI Wiki “Getting Started” in a new “COVID-19″ section and are also listed here.

  1. Review of the CNI SOP posted on-line and completion of the quiz/verification form. The CNI SOP covers procedures for participant screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures, and other general required behavior during a research session as well as Stanford’s recommendations for employee screening as to whether they can come in to work.
  2. Completion of the EHS training on COVID19 hygiene best practices (STARS Course Code EHS-2470-WEB)

Because cleaning is important, and the time and expense of cleaning increases with space, we plan to restrict access to parts of the CNI for essential functions. This will reduce the amount of space that requires frequent cleaning.  To limit the chance of transmission, we will limit the number of people in the facility at any one time. If you typically brought four or five people as helpers to the scan, we will ask you to bring fewer.  Research groups will also be restricted to just a single group using the center at a time.  

The most important elements of the new scanning protocols to keep in mind at CNI are:

  1. On the day of their scan, researchers must have confirmed that they meet Stanford’s requirements for employees coming into work prior to arriving at CNI.  This will be facilitated by the use of the Stanford HealthCheck Form  
  2. Researchers must be diligent in screening subjects prior to enrolling them in a study, and they must screen them again 24-48 hours in advance of the planned scan time, and again when subjects arrive to CNI as described in the CNI SOP. As much as possible researchers will practice social distancing, maintaining 6 feet of separation between each other and research subjects. 
  3. For each scan, researchers will arrive 15-30 minutes in advance of their subject to perform the required cleaning procedures outlined in the CNI SOP for the stations that will be used for their particular research session.
  4. Following their research session researchers will perform cleaning procedures at each of the stations they or their subject have utilized for their research session as outlined in the CNI SOP for those stations.

Feedback regarding all the new procedures is always encouraged and appreciated by the CNI team.

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