Archived Nov 8, 2022.

Updated September 20. 2021

Dear Colleagues:

  The University averages for vaccination rates are regularly posted by
CMRO.  Please note that the DS school averages are consistently higher. 
As of last Friday, 92% faculty, 90% staff, 97% graduate students, and
94% undergrads in the DS have reported that they are vaccinated.

Despite these positive numbers, I am emailing to ask you to remind your
group members to remain vigilant about compliance with protocols.  Last
Friday we had near misses with two students who were declared persona
non grata and informed that termination was imminent.  In both cases the
students had uploaded their information correctly, so the action was
precipitated either due to human error or a software glitch.  The
students had received a series of emails asking them to upload their
vaccination record or be tested, which they ignored because they
believed that they were compliant.  I was informed at the termination
step - given the confidential nature of such proceedings the situation
became rapidly Kafkaesque and it took about 10 phone calls to find
someone who was willing and able to intercede.  Please remind your
students, not to ignore any email about compliance with COVID-19
protocols - if they believe the emails are in error, it is better to let
me know sooner than later.

Best regards


Sunil K. Saxena
Professor and Chair

Update June 7, 2021

With the suspension of physical distancing requirements, I am pleased to let you know that begining Monday June 7 you can begin to operate labs at 100% density.  Please keep following other COVID-19 protocols, such as face masks in the building, disinfection practices etc.  In addition, please follow the DS’s Unit Activity Plan for other activities (e.g. meetings, visitors, travel etc). If you have received temporary space assignments, you can begin the process of bringing your labs to your assigned spaces, over the next few weeks.
 This has been a long hard year and I want to thank you all for your patience, cooperation, and hard work. I cannot express how deeply grateful I am for your support and for the resilience and strength of the faculty, staff, and students/trainees in this Department.  Personally, I am going to cherish deeply the end of the restart forms!
Face Coverings and Physical Distancing Changes on All Campuses

Update May 27, 2021

Currently there are no changes to the physical distancing and mask requirements.

Updated Travel Guidance April 22, 2021

In addition to following CDC guidance, anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms upon return from any travel should consult before returning to campus.

201 Chevron item pick up hours (storage 1106)

Mitigation items Free from the Department of Chemistry for Research Labs

Tuesdays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Refills for disinfectant spray bottles are available.  This is for 1:16 Peroxiguard solution and for Cavicide.
Email if you need to make an appointment for another time.

Vaccination eligibility in the State of Pennsylvania quiz

Getting the COVID Vaccine

Traveling out of state

“If you have traveled out-of-state and are returning, the commonwealth requires you to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to on-campus work or test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to returning to the state. Given a negative test is only a snapshot in time, you are still expected to shelter in place for 14 days prior to returning to campus.”

The link is: (please follow the link to Dec. 4, 2020 Update).

Flex @ Pitt is an instructional model 

Resilience Framework and Operational Postures 

Guidance for Supervisors of Symptomatic Employees  

Guidelines for Responding to Symptomatic Individuals 

Have a safe and enjoyable winter recess.

Do you need a test?  

A medical doctor will tell you.   

If you test positive, 
if you have symptoms but have not been on campus in the last 14 days, or 
you are designated a close contact.  

For students, they will get their quarantine/isolation instructions from Student Health. Faculty and staff will get their instructions from My Health @ Work (MH@W, Employee Health).  

Faculty and Staff 

Call My Health @ Work Center 412-647-4949 before going to the clinic. 

Pitt Employees: MyHealth@Work will be closed on Thursday, December 24th, Friday, December 25th, Thursday, December 30th, and Friday, January 1st. If you experience COVID-19 symtoms please during this period please contact your personal physician on those days, and follow up with MyHealth@Work (412-647-4949) the next business day so contact tracing can be performed. Updated Dec 16, 2020

Graduate Students 

Call Student Health Service at 412-383-1800 call first.

Students: Student Health Services will be checking messages during Winter Recess. If you have coronavirus questions, symptoms or concerns, please leave a message at 412-383-1800. Updated Dec 16, 2020

COVID-19 Medical Response Office – CRMO 

Student counseling office for graduate students and undergraduate students 

Student counseling office 412-648-7930 

Area activity plan for the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences applies to the Department of Chemistry 

Ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between University members
Chairs and desks in shared spaces should be removed or marked as not for use to ensure proper physical distancing.” 

 Occupied researcher desks must be 2 meters apart.   

All activities under the three operational phases 


Report to 

Mitigation personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies 

Guidelines for Cleaning, Disinfection and Hygiene 

Office of Policy Development and Management – COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines 

EH&S COVID-19 Resources 

Reporting room for improvement with temperature scanners can be done online 

(EH&S is not involved with the implementation of the temperature scanners) 

(EH&S does pass these concerns to the appropriate department during their weekly checks of the concierge tables around campus.) 

Lab Procedures:  

Emergency - Call 412-624-2121 

Pitt Police are trained for the full spectrum of responses and how to get right personnel (Police, Fire; EHS) on site.   

Fire Alarm – Exit down to the first floor and exit using any stairwell. 

In the event of an emergency situation (fire evacuation, chemical incident evacuation) use the nearest stairwell.  

Move away from the building; maintain distance between individuals.   

Lab safety,chemical related question/concerns: Environmental Health and Safety 

Email EHS 

Call EHS      412-624-9505 

Emergencies call 412-624-2121 


Do Not work alone in a lab.  

Do not work in a teaching lab without an instructor/Teaching assistant. 

Do not work alone in a research lab. 

How to work close to someone else for training when absolutely necessary? 

Chemical spills  

Call the Pitt Police at 412-624-2121 they will contact EH&S specialists 

Chemical waste  

To access the chemical waste vault borrow the key from the DSS Stockroom 326 Chevron. 

 Announced research lab inspections  

COVID safety issues will be discussed 

EH&S has switched to a new on-line inspection method and will be reaching out to all research groups to begin adding their laboratory information to the system in November 

EH&S will continue to do in-person inspections as in years past in November through January 

Social distancing vs. not working alone in the lab:  

Check-in with your research PI who can check in with EH&S. Mark from EH&S says that he can do a 10-minute walkthrough of a research lab space to provide guidance on what a single lab looks like starting the week of Nov. 16th 

 Tips and Tricks 

Stay at home when you can.   

Consider updating shift times with the current experience gained since the return to research.   

Use safer ways of sharing information,  

Use videos for training on common lab devices and procedures 

For tacit knowledge use zoom to see and stay 2 m apart while in the same room still being able to talk to one another. 

Buying more shared equipment can help (e.g., handheld micropipeters. 

Wear gloves when using shared equipment to add a layer of protection.  

Wash hands regardless of wearing gloves as a mitigation procedure.  

Arrangement labs for better traffic flow that stops passing researchers.  

Check on computers for instruments before you are ready to use them. 

If you are sick on an exam day contact your professor.  (If you’re teaching contact your colleagues and supervisor.) 

Stop interactions of less than 6 feet (2 m apart) take several steps make it 2 m.   

The Chevron balcony is sometimes empty. 

Map out the shared spaces, designate areas (use tape).  

Utilize contactless methods, e.g., QR codes.  

Have a map and electronically log users and the maximum occupancy for areas. 

Have Computers log users out automatically. 

Keep up good communication: up, down, and across. 

Researchers should share safety info about their lab with support folks (facilities or shop) when repairs are being made, have the area clean and share what is dangerous.  

Support individuals need to communicate tools that the support folks will use to fix any problems e.g., a torch might need to be used and there are flammable samples nearby.   

 Planning Ahead 

See the self-attestation form for any changes to quarantining after vacation. 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PA) has travel and quarantining policies 

If you’re new to a research group please review the group SOPs for research during the pandemic. 

Area Activity Plan – Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Inside Chevron Access 

Chevron passenger elevators and stairwells on floors 5-14.  In order to access the upper floors, you will need to use your prox card.  The passenger elevators and stairwells will operate as they do when the building is closed.  Please keep your prox card on you at all times as not to get locked out.  As always, you can exit the stairwells on the 1st floor. (per Mary Beth Tuesday, September 8, 2020.)


Parking Update During Winter Break
  Updated Dec. 16, 2020

Parking for Parking 5 days a week is less expensive with a permit

Parking 2.5 days a week at the $5 per day app rate is the university’s help for lowering the costs for essential research access.

Non-permit holders who are approved to work on campus can park at the OC, OH, RA, A, U, PH, SO and MP.  A map of campus parking locations can be found at the following campus parking locations.  A daily rate of $5.00 will need to be paid through the ParkMobile App.  Payment instructions can be found below. For contact-less payment, ParkMobile is available at the following parking locations: OC, OH, RA, A, U, PH SO, and MP. Cash payments will not be accepted. To utilize the ParkMobile app:

      1. Download the ParkMobile app to your smartphone and create an account
      2. Select a parking location
      3. Purchase parking at your selected location prior to garage/lot arrival
      4. Your payment will be directly linked to your license plate
      5. Upon garage/lot arrival, please have your parking confirmation located on the app available to show to attendant

Accounts can also be created online at or, to use by phone, call 1-877-727-5281. You must have a ParkMobile account to utilize this service. Parking is subject to availability.

COVID-19 Mitigation PPE and Supplies

Frequently asked questions for the Department of Chemistry about COVID mitigation items

We have been directed to place orders at the Department level for items on the COVID mitigation list.

Items on the COVID mitigation item list currently available through the University’s program, and
Disinfectant SDS links:

Dietrich School Scientific Stockroom (DSS Stockroom) COVID-19 Mitigation PPE and Supplies

  • Consolidate orders to the department or unit level.
  • These items are Not for home use.
  • Ensure that deliveries can be accepted at your University building/facility.
  • Gloves are for use while disinfecting work areas.

In general, the PPE that was required for a task before the pandemic is still required to perform that task.
For potential cost recovery please keep regular stockroom orders separate form COVID-19 Mitigation orders.
In-stock Supply information is available:

For step by step instructions, please go to:


  • July 14, 2021. 
  • Refills for disinfectant spray bottles are available.  This is 1:16 Peroxiguard solution and CAVICIDE.  

Gloves recycling:

It is reasonable, to dispose of all gloves contaminated with chemicals as chemical waste and to dispose of gloves used for cleaning/disinfecting in the trash.

We have been directed to place orders at the Department level for items on the COVID mitigation list.

Items on the COVID mitigation item list currently available through the University’s program: