Animal Facility Guidelines

Part 1: Miami University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

  1. All IACUC requirements are unchanged. New application, renewal, and amendment/modification applications are required and will be reviewed by the committee as usual.
  2. If currently approved protocols require changes due to COVID-19 considerations, amendment/modifications need to be submitted to, and approved by, the IACUC before activities commence.
  3. If your currently approved protocol is due to expire, a renewal application needs to be submitted to, and approved by, the committee in order to continue activities beyond the expiration date.
  4. There will be a document that will need to be filled out and filed with the IACUC before resuming any animal use/experiments so that the committee and the LAR can document animal use during the return-to-research ramp-up.

Part 2: Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) start-up plan

General considerations
  1. LAR staff has returned:
    • Ensure social distancing: one tech per room, break room closed, spread out responsibility in cage wash.
    • Stagger shifts to relieve issues for locker rooms and clock-in and -out.
    • Increased daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces and frequented areas in the facility.
  2. Google Calendar for researchers to schedule time in the facility has been set up.
    • One person per lab allowed at a time (in alignment with one person per room).
    • Limit 9 people signed up to be in the facility at one given time.
  3. Signage and disinfecting materials around the facility will be clearly posted.
  4. Plan for a resurgence (short term/low activity frequency studies only, allow to ramp-up census ~20% to keep from having to euthanize animals).
  5. Supply chain issues: The LAR has begun ordering PPE to reduce the risk of running out. This PPE is for use in LAR only.
  6. Animal orders need to be approved by LAR before ordering. PIs will need to discuss the number of animals and delivery date with LAR staff.
  7. Training, tours, or meetings will be scheduled via internet conferencing.
    • In-person training will be held off unless critical until regular operation is resumed. No new animal facility users will be trained unless absolutely critical.
    • In the event in person training is needed, masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves will be required to enable close contact; all attempts will be made to keep 6 ft apart.
    • Pull hood away from wall and work on opposite sides if applicable.
  8. Request the start of studies through IACUC to ensure appropriate numbers and time frame guidelines are being followed.
Roll-out plan
  1. Zoom meeting with all research staff to go over scheduling use of the facility, disinfecting procedures, and PPE requirements to enter the facility.
    • Also, discuss guidelines given from Return to Research Committee and university Return to Campus Committee.
    • Address questions, comments, and concerns.
  2. Monitor facility use (facility cameras, Google Calendar use, door swipe records, visually while on campus). Address issues of non-compliance as they arise; report those not willing to follow guidelines.
  3. Follow state and university recommendations on when and how to loosen restrictions (number of people allowed in, PPE requirements). Timeline for loosening of restrictions unknown at this point.
  4. Slow, cautious start; plan for a resurgence of COVID-19, which could lead to tighter restrictions again.

Documentation is required prior to engaging in animal research.

  1. IACUC notification
    • Any changes to procedure, materials, methods due to COVID-19.
    • Plan for procurement and effective use of PPE in lab space.
    • Plan to implement social distancing within the research space(s), including at field sites and in public settings.
    • Request approval to begin research projects.
      • Tell us how many animals will be needed for the project.
      • Length of the project.
      • Consider procedures to be done. How many people are required to complete the procedure properly? Is social distancing able to be maintained per state and university guidelines?
  2. For approved research COVID-19 considerations before entering animal facility:
    • Have you, someone living in your household, someone with whom you have been in close or frequent contact, or someone you are caring for been diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus) or had any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
    • In the last 14 days, have you or someone living in your household, or someone with whom you have been in close or frequent contact, or someone you are caring for returned from, or made a travel connection through a CDC Level 3 or Level 2 country or State Department Level 3 or Level 4 country?
    • Do you currently have, or have you had within the last 24 hours, any cold or flu symptoms with a fever greater than 100.4°F or acute respiratory distress (e.g., shortness of breath and coughing)?
    • Individuals with active symptoms or in social isolation (e.g., due to travel history or exposure to someone with COVID-19 symptoms) should not come to campus or enter the animal facility.
    • Reduce face-to-face contact with facility users or lab mates. For example, this may be accomplished by including barriers between research personnel, and/or using technology (e.g., telephone, Facetime, email, intercoms) to conduct meetings or share information.
    • If a 100.4°F (38°C) or above temperature (no meds in past 24 hours), individual must not participate in the research, leave the site and report to your supervisor. If COVID-19 symptoms occur, that person must contact physician, try to obtain a test and remain quarantined for 14 days past the last symptom observed.
  3. Take your temperature, self-monitor symptoms, and maintain good hygiene before coming to campus to work in the facility.
Conduct of research guidelines
  1. Remote research
    • If it is possible to work remotely please do so.
    • Consider if an amendment to your IACUC protocol is necessary to complete your research.
  2. Follow university timeline/protocol for phasing researchers back into their research duties.
    • Social distancing (by CDC or other health entities).
    • Number of research staff on campus or in any given space.
      • One person per room inside the animal facility.
      • One person per lab in the facility at a time.
      • 9 people accessing the animal facility at any one given time.
  3. PPE protocol
    • Upon entering the animal facility:
      • Put a new clean mask on.
      • Put a new clean gown on.
      • Put a new clean pair of gloves on.
    • Procurement
      • PI is responsible for the purchase of PPE for use in their lab space. LAR will not supply PPE for use outside the animal facility.
      • N-95 masks will be made available for those who have allergies to the animals or health conditions that necessitate use of an N-95 rather than a surgical mask. Due to availability we will not be able to hand out masks to those who prefer to wear N-95 masks; if you need them, they may be available to purchase through the BIO storeroom or LAR, depending on availability.
  4. Space/equipment sterilization
    • Include a plan for PPE/social distancing/sanitizing equipment in IACUC notification.
    • All equipment and work spaces are to be sanitized/ disinfected daily between uses, or when unclean. Shared equipment and work spaces should be wiped down before and after use. The following bulleted list of all locations and equipment include but are not limited to:
      • Door knobs/doors
      • Shelving/racks
      • Storage containers
      • Equipment handles and latches
      • Drawer and cabinet handles
      • Carboy levers
      • Faucet handles and sprayer grips
      • Light switches
      • Chemical bottles and lids
      • Chair backs and armrests
      • Pens/markers
      • Hoods/bench tops/carts
      • Phones (cell phones included)
    • Work stations should be cleaned using one of the following options:
      • Dilute detergent (dish soap, Lysol, or similar)
      • 70% alcohol (ethyl or isopropyl)
      • 10% bleach
      • 3% hydrogen peroxide; Clorox HealthCare Hydrogen Peroxide wipes are in every room
    • Sign up on the Google Calendar to reserve your time in the facility, after LAR staff have completed husbandry and facility tasks. LAR staff designated time will be 4:00am-12:30pm until normal university hours are resumed. 
Training/facility orientation
  1. Facility orientation for new research staff will be put on hold until restrictions are lifted. Necessary facility tours or orientations will be done virtually.
  2. Training will only be done on an essential basis.
    • All considerations for online training will be considered first.
    • If in-person is unavoidable, extra PPE will be required (see special considerations).
  3. All labs need to meet (via Google Meet, Webex, Zoom, or phone call) with DLAR to ensure all requirements are understood prior to entering facility. We will schedule an animal users' forum; if unable to attend, contact Jazzminn Hembree.
Colony considerations/census
Plan for a resurgence of COVID-19. Overall facility ramp up should not exceed ~20%.
  1. Breeding to maintenance levels of lines.
  2. Animal orders must be pre-approved by DLAR.
  3. Slow, cautious start.
Special considerations
  • Long-term protection
    • Protective equipment such as gloves and face masks are required for normal safety, and typical operations of the laboratory shall always be a requirement of employment and safe operations. It is the responsibility of all laboratory authorities and laboratory managers to ensure proper equipment is always used.
      • At all times during this crisis, materials including face masks, at a minimum, are a part of required personal equipment and must always be carried and worn as a part of normal dress for employment when interacting with other employees in laboratory or public places. Normal laboratory safety procedures that require specialized personal protection equipment will not be affected by the current crisis.
    • Special planning will be required for essential procedures in which social distancing cannot be maintained.
      • Extra PPE will be required: facemask, gown, gloves and face shield
      • If working in a room with a hood, pull the hood away from the wall and work on opposite sides of the hood.
    • Infection flare-up
      It's possible that we will experience an infection flare up of COVID-19. If that occurs, we can expect to see a renewed action on the part of public health authorities to further restrict social interactions. If we experience an infection flare-up with public health restrictions, the university research programs will consider moving in reverse to a more enhanced restriction on social interaction and, if necessary, full cessation of research activities.
    • Facility user displays symptoms or tests positive:
      • User must leave the facility immediately and self-isolate.
      • Director of LAR, user’s supervisor, and university must be notified.
      • Any LAR staff or other users who were in contact with that individual should self-quarantine.
    • New research studies
      Researchers and IACUC should carefully consider if it is advisable on a study-by-study basis. Factors to consider include:
      • The nature of the study population (number of animals needed).
      • Length of study; short term or low frequency of activity/procedures factor into the ability to begin new studies.
      • The impact on resources, facilities, and supplies that may currently be or become limited.
Once campus restrictions are lifted

Increased animal populations and increased research activities may resume; these will be subject to the following limitations:

  1. Facility space.
  2. All researchers must certify that they are not currently experiencing any symptoms of illness now or within the past 14 days: they have not been ill, have not traveled in an area with a CDC Level 3 Travel warning, and have not had contact with a known or presumed COVID-19 patient.
  3. Investigators must submit their standard operating procedures (SOPs) for addressing the requirements of re-opening research. The SOPs are to address all requirements as applicable to the research including screening, social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene, use of appropriate PPE, cleaning/disinfecting of shared spaces/equipment and infection control. These should be submitted through the IACUC. 

Contact Us: Animal Facility Guidelines

Jazzminn Hembree
Laboratory Animal Resources Director