CALS Research Division: Individual research lab continuity planning template

This e-mail was sent to department chairs, center directors and administrators on March 15, 2020.

Please distribute to your faculty and staff with research labs/operations.

As we’ve seen COVID-19 has the potential to significantly disrupt campus operations. Our research mission continues, but we should all prepare for possible disruptions. To ensure continuity of lab operations, it is recommended that each lab complete and maintain a lab specific continuity of operations plan (COOP). These plans should be collected at the Department or Center and be available as soon as possible, preferably no later than March 18. We don’t know what further restrictions might be placed on us or when.

Individual Lab COOP Template

A lab specific COOP plan is designed to assist with different risk levels and potential scenarios that could cause a disruption in research and lab activities. The attached draft template (which combines two different templates) provides a framework for developing a plan as well as resource links, etc. Individual labs will need to assess and tailor to their specific situations.

At a minimum, plans should identify, as appropriate for each lab:

  • What facilities are at risk of harm to the facility, its contents, to campus or to the public if researchers are not on-site (e.g., animals that must be fed, samples that must be secured, equipment or hazardous materials that must be maintained or shut down)?
  • Who is responsible for the lab, and who are two backup decision-makers in case the responsible individual is unable to make decisions on operation or shutdown? Please include their contact information in the plan document.
  • If the lab must be staffed to avoid risk or harm, who will act as the primary minimum essential personnel to keep it operating? Who can act as a backup if the primary personnel are unavailable?
  • What is the process for safely shutting down and/or securing the lab? If lab personnel are unavailable, who can carry out the process?

In addition to completing a COOP plan, it is strongly recommended that all personnel adopt best practices to limit opportunities of exposure:

  1.  Ensure all researchers are aware of the health and safety precautions being prescribed by University Health Services.
  2.  Shared keyboards and equipment should be disinfected regularly.

Please feel free to contact Nick Genovese at, if you need assistance with completing the COOP plan. Thank you for your partnership in helping keep our campus community healthy and safe, and your exceptional work during this challenging time.


Bill Barker, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education
Nick Genovese, Safety Coordinator
Mark Rickenbach, Senior Associate Dean