COVID-19 Operating Guidelines

La Jolla Institute closely follows public health orders issued by San Diego County and California public health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19. San Diego County is currently in the purple tier of California’s safe reopening plan.

Effective Monday, November 16, 2020, the following general guidelines and policies will be in effect at La Jolla Institute for Immunology:

All LJI employees who can effectively work remotely will continue to do so. All others should only spend time in the building if absolutely necessary. Your supervisor will discuss your teams’ specific situation.

Only pre-approved, essential visitors are allowed in the building. Guests and/or children of employees are NOT allowed into the building. Please find the complete visitor policy here: LJI Approved Visitor Policy

SCREENING:
All LJI employees, including individuals spending less than 15 minutes in the building,  have to be current on their COVID-19 screening.  It is not possible for Facilities and Operations staff to monitor the amount of time employees spend at LJI.

We strongly encourage all employees to test weekly. As before, you will have building access for 14 days after obtaining your negative result.

For more information please visit OASIS.lji.org. The FAQ section answers most commonly asked questions and this video illustrates the sample collection.

Reasonable accommodations may be available to individuals who are unable to satisfy the requirements of the screen program. For more information please contact Human Resources at hr@lji.org.

Social distancing and face mask requirements remain unchanged. 

Visitors:
Only visitors who are essential to maintaining research operations, for example equipment repairs or scientific collaborators  who must be present are allowed into the building. 

All visitors must obtain a negative COVID-19 screen—either through participation in the LJI screening program or obtaining a test through a CLIA-approved facility—BEFORE being allowed to enter the building. Exceptions can only be granted by the president or the preparedness committee (COVID-19@lji.org) in emergencies, e.g. necessary repairs. A lack of planning does not constitute an emergency.

Visitors need to sign up for the LJI visitor program here.

External blood donors participating in clinical research studies constitute an exception and therefore are NOT required to screen/test negative before being allowed into the building. Donors are screened thoroughly by clinical staff regarding their health and fitness before they are admitted to the building and are

EVERYONE entering or reentering the building is REQUIRED to scan their personal  QR code and undergo a thermal screen upon entry, including those with access through the parking garage, as well as any pre-approved visitors seeking to enter LJI. Anyone failing the thermal screen or not in possession of a valid personal screening QR code will not be permitted entry to the facility.

If you have any sign of a cold, fever, chills, cough, running nose, headache, flu-like symptoms, loss of sense of smell and taste you must stay at home and inform your supervisor and HR. Work can only be resumed 48 hours after you are free of symptoms.

As before, if you were in contact with a person who is/was infected with SARS-CoV-2 you have to self-quarantine at home for 14 days or test negative. Please inform your supervisor and HR. Each case will be treated confidentially.

The building can only be entered/exited through the main entrance on the north side of the building.

Everybody is required to wear a face mask at all times, including while traveling into or out of LJI. (The only exception to the face mask requirement is, when you are located in private offices.). LJI provides comfort masks. Two-ply cloth masks are acceptable.

Practice social distancing and wash hands regularly. Avoid touching your face. Always keep at least a distance of 6 feet between people.

Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols will continue. Please contact EH&S for additional hand sanitizer, wipes, ethanol or spray bottles if needed.

A reservation-only, socially distanced meeting and eating area has been set up on the back patio. Reservations can be made on the intranet. Maximum occupancy is 15 people. Detailed guidelines can be found here. 

Indoor meetings and seminars are not allowed. 

Limit use of lunch and break rooms. Only use them to either purchase or heat up food, during which time social distancing should be maintained.

Delivery of individually packaged lunches is allowed. Shared food is not allowed. 

TRAVEL:
Please consult the latest public health guidance and travel advisories when determining whether to book travel.  Please contact HR before making international travel arrangements.

Essential Business Travel must be pre-approved by the traveler’s supervisor and the president. Faculty should send requests directly to mitch@lji.org

All LJI personnel are strongly encouraged to postpone all non-essential personal travel. Those who choose to travel for personal reasons need to inform their supervisor or PI of their itinerary in advance of travel (or HR if considered sensitive).  Information regarding the type of travel and the destination may be used to establish additional Return to Work criteria.

Quarantine after travel and holiday gatherings:

All employees returning from national or international travel have to self-quarantine for 4 days and screen negative for COVID-19 before they can return to work. 

IMPORTANT: All employees attending holiday dinners (including local gatherings) with non-household members have to quarantine for 4 days and screen negative for COVID-19 before they can return to work. 

There will be an outside drop-off location, so people can submit their samples on day 4 of their quarantine. 

Example 1:

Thursday: Thanksgiving Dinner with extended family and/or friends
Friday – Sunday: Quarantine at home (3 full days)
Monday: Submit screening sample at LJI (= day 4 of self-quarantine)
Tuesday: Return to work AFTER having obtained a negative screening result

Example 2:
Tuesday: Return from international or national travel
Wednesday – Friday: Quarantine at home (3 full days)
Monday: Submit screening sample at LJI (= day 4 of self-quarantine)
Tuesday: Return to work AFTER obtaining a negative screening result

Example 3:
Thanksgiving  weekend: Out-of-town relatives are visiting Thursday – Sunday
Monday – Wednesday: Quarantine at home (3 full days)
Thursday: Submit sample at LJI (= day 4 of self-quarantine)
Friday:  Return to work AFTER obtaining a negative screening result. 

(NOTE: The Institute is planning to add additional test runs the week after Thanksgiving.)

Scientific Cores:

You can find specific information for each core below:

Please email covid-19@lji.org if you have any questions or concerns.

FAQ

All employees who can effectively work from home should continue to work from home. Your department head/PI will discuss your specific situation with you. Our goal is to minimize the number of people in the building at any given time to allow for social distancing.

Everybody is required to wear a face mask at all times, including while traveling into or out of LJI. (The only exception to the face mask requirement are private offices.).

Masks or respirators that are required for use with research studies to protect against exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or other pathogens, must not be worn when accessing non-lab areas or LJI. Such use must be detailed in your IBC protocol or discussed with EH&S.

Starting on May 11, face masks will be available near the front reception desk for pick-up upon entry to the building. Mask supplies are limited and each person should take only 2 masks initially for repeated use with disinfection.

You can reuse your face mask for several weeks with proper care. Hanging in sunlight can help to dry and the UV can help eliminate some bacteria. You can use the UV light box in the vivarium elevator landing area to sanitize your mask. Place mask inside and turn on UV machine for 5 minutes. Cloth face masks, homemade or purchased, are also acceptable and should be laundered regularly.

Personnel may wear gloves in non-lab areas. Use of gloves for non-lab use is designed to protect the user from coming into skin contact with potential surface contamination and also discourages person from touching their face. Use of gloves does not mean you are preventing spread of germs. Wearing the same gloves from task-to-task can increase cross contamination. Gloves, like hands, can harbor pathogens and contribute to spread from surface to surface.

Mild fever is an early sign of COVID-19 that might go unnoticed by individuals and regular checks will benefit you and everybody around you.

LJI is not restricting employees from using mass transit at this time. Any person using the trolley or bus system should practice general cold and flu / COVID-19 guidelines to minimize potential for infection. All San Diego MTS vehicles are cleaned throughout the day in addition to a nightly all exposed surfaces disinfection process. Passengers are required to wear face coverings and similar to LJI policy should not be boarding mass transit if ill. Passengers should wash or sanitize hands frequently and avoid touching their eyes, mouth or nose. Maintain a 6 foot distance while on board if possible.

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 can be very stressful and may provoke heightened feelings of anxiety. The Institute provides confidential counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at no cost to you. You can access EAP either by phone (800.227.1060) or online @ www.members.mhn.com. You can find the login information on the intranet.

Please notify the Chief Communications Officer, Dr. Regina (Gina) Kirchweger, if you have been contacted by the press. Gina will be able to advise you and help you prepare for interviews and ensure that correct and complete information is being shared with the media.