Updated Message from Director Jeff Goodwin RE: DLAM Operations and Researcher Ramp Up Guidance

Colleagues,
 
As you consider a return to your research efforts and conforming with the expectations in the guidance provided by VCR Wakimoto on 5/26/2020 (See Link: Guidelines for UCLA Research Ramp-Up) , we in DLAM wanted to provide some information regarding COVID-19 safety and the animal facility that you can use for your planning.
 
Animal Procurement
In anticipation of the resumption of some research experiments, DLAM will now resume accepting 1) animal orders, 2) requests for animal imports and exports, and 3) breeding requests for the DLAM-managed breeding facilities. Until you have approval to start your experiments we suggest that you:


•    Only order animals for experiments that are not time sensitive.
•    Consider ordering animals for experiments that can be completed in a reasonable (short) time frame in case the campus should need to ramp down again.


Working in the Animal Facility
PPE- At the entrance to all vivaria, you will doff your personal cloth face covering and don a surgical mask in addition to the standard disposable gown. DLAM will be providing surgical masks and other PPE for use in the vivaria only, for as long as we have supplies. We are working with the Emergency Operations Center to secure the PPE supplies that we need and will alert researchers if supplies are running low.  Researchers should be prepared to supplement with PPE from their laboratory stock in this event. Check posted signage at vivaria entrances and animal rooms for additional or changing PPE requirements. Upon leaving the vivaria, doff PPE and don your personal cloth face covering.

 

Physical Distancing- To maintain the mandated one person per 250 sq ft in the vivaria, we will allow generally only 1 or 2 people in an animal holding or procedure room at one time and this requirement will be posted on each door. Sign-up sheets (calendars) for PI use will be posted on the doors of most animal and procedure rooms. Calendars for the CHS 3V Hazardous Containment area will be in a binder at the vivarium entrance. Completing calendar sign-ups are not required, but may be useful to secure a specific work time especially for rooms that hold animals for many different labs. Time that DLAM staff will be in the room (cage-changing) will be blocked off on the calendar. We are working on an electronic calendar system that we may use in the future. Finally, be on the look-out for additional signage, floor markings, etc. as DLAM considers implementing additional measures to help users maintain physical distancing. 
Facility Access- Access to the facility is unchanged, but research staff should adhere to the 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM standard vivarium access time frame. We anticipate some pressure for the labs to work past the 6:00 PM lights off time, but repeated light disturbances in the dark phase have known physiological consequences which may impact breeding and/or research studies. If you wish to access the vivarium at off hours, please contact the Animal Resource Supervisor (ARS) for that vivarium and we will work together on a solution. 


Covered Species Surgeries
Surgical suites (large animal) will continue to be scheduled as done previously. If you need assistance with developing operational plans for covered species, please contact Dr. Sandra Duarte: SandraDuarte@mednet.ucla.edu
 
Rodent Surgeries in CHS 2V and 5V
Surgical suites for rodent surgeries will be available and are already managed via calendars in outlook. The new limit on occupancy to meet the physical distancing requirements will be one person. We will reassign the rodent surgery teaching room (5V-128) to a regular rodent surgery room to adjust for the limited use of 2V-125. Please contact DLAM Rodent Surgery (DLAMRSR@mednet.ucla.edu) with questions or for scheduling.
 
Researcher Training
As you develop your operational plans, keep in mind that researcher training will be very limited due to the limited availability of PPE required to conduct training safely. We recommend the following at this time:
•    Prioritize work that involves already trained staff. 
•    If minimal training or proficiency assessment is required, or for any questions about training availability or needs, please contact the DLAM Training Team at DLAMTraining@mednet.ucla.edu.
 
We appreciate your patience and support during these challenging times. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.