As community cases of COVID-19 increase, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine have changed their masking guidance. This is reminder that this guidance affects masking in laboratory spaces as well. Effective May 23, 2022, procedural masks (surgical, N95s, KN95s) are required again for all UNMC students, staff, faculty and visitors in all research laboratories and associated research spaces – unless an individual is alone in that space as well as all public spaces (UNMC Today article). Individuals may be unmasked if alone in a room with the door shut or when socially distanced while eating in a designated space or outdoors. A mask is required in all clinical spaces even if alone in that space.
Please use the 1-COVID app daily, take a COVID test, and stay home if you have any symptoms or have been recently exposed. Let your work group know if you test positive so they can test as well.
Our number one priority is to keep our UNMC community safe while we conduct our research. Please be respectful when reminding each other of this change. We look forward to relaxing these guidelines once the number of cases at UNMC and in the community decline.
For any concerns about this guidance, please contact the VCR Office.
With increasing cases of COVID and COVID breakthrough, we want to clarify/reinforce the new UNMC/Nebraska medicine policies as they are relevant to research spaces. We will make one change in our current policy regarding volunteers in research labs.
For all research programs:
- Masks should be worn everywhere indoors, unless by yourself behind a closed door.
- Cloth masks should not be used anywhere, as per recent Nebraska Medicine and UNMC guidance, unless on top of a surgical/procedural mask
- Conduct any and all research activities remotely, if they can be done remotely, including one on one meetings and seminars
- Visitors should be limited, masked, and escorted with rigorous questions about recent exposures beforehand
- Take turns eating in designated spaces, by yourself or behind a closed door, or socially distanced if in a larger space
- Minimize time unmasked while eating, whether eating alone or in a room where others are sitting
For all lab building and lab-based programs:
- Return to scheduling time on shared equipment and other measures to enhance social distancing in the lab
- Starting Monday Jan 17, research volunteers will no longer be allowed to work in laboratories (such as high school, undergraduate, visiting students) except the following:
- International Scholars who have been already approved through the Office of Global Engagement
- UNMC health professions students or students enrolled in a University of Nebraska course,
- High school alliance students in their currently assigned laboratories.
- All volunteers must be vaccinated, no exceptions or exemptions, and show evidence of vaccination, per our policy. They should be strongly encouraged to obtain a booster, as soon as they are eligible.
For all face to face clinical research programs:
- Study monitors can come to campus if they are required to, if masked and escorted, and vetted for recent exposures
- Continue to ask research subjects before face to face contact as to recent exposures or symptoms,
- Continue to follow your approved biosafety protocol, and all policies of the institution where the research is to be conducted regarding masking, which may now require providing surgical/procedural masks for subjects or accompanying persons.
Join the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) for their 2021 Nebraska Cancer Research Forum on Oct. 27 from 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Registration is required to attend: https://www.fightcancer.org/events/2021-acs-can-nebraska-cancer-research-forum
The ACS CAN Nebraska Cancer Research Forum is a premiere event that brings together leaders from the business, education, medical, government and research communities to advance the work of ACS CAN. The event not only unites those in Nebraska who are fighting to end cancer, it serves to support ACS CAN and its work.
The goal of the forum is to discuss the promise and potential of clinical trials in helping to impact the fight against disease particularly people living with cancer. Clinical trials are the key step in advancing potential new treatments for cancer patients from the research lab to the clinic, and patient participation in trials is crucial to their success. Successfully overcoming barriers to patient enrollment, including addressing health equity concerns requires not only understanding the issues, but developing specific steps to overcome these barriers.
The following individuals are currently scheduled to speak at the event:
- Christopher J. Kratochvil, M.D., Global Center for Health Security Distinguished Chair, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research, UNMC, Vice President for Research, Nebraska Medicine, Chief Medical Officer, UNeHealth
- Matthew Lunning, DO, FACP, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine Division of Oncology & Hematology, UNMC, Associate Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the Clinical Research Center (CRC)
- Mark Fleury, PHD, Principal, Policy Development – Emerging Science, ACS CAN
- Heidi Mesik, Alliance Director, PhRMA
- Michele Ulmer, Breast Cancer Survivor and Registered Nurse at York Medical Clinic
- Dee Humm, Healthcare Director at Genentech and ACS CAN Nebraska Volunteer
Event Moderator: Carmen Chinchilla Gutiérrez, Nebraska Oncology Society
For more information, please contact Matt Prokop, ACS CAN Nebraska Grassroots Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-826-7494