Information for Employees

February 18: In-Person Meeting Guidance + Vigilance in Response to COVID-19 Variants

Dear Colleagues –

As you are likely aware from news reports, COVID-19 variants that may spread more easily than other strains are becoming more widespread in the U.S.

The coronavirus strains of concern include variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom; variant B.1.351, first identified in South Africa; and variant P.1, first identified in travelers from Brazil, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While research is ongoing to understand these variants, evidence suggests that the B.1.1.7 strain and perhaps others are able to spread more quickly and more easily than earlier variants of the virus.

This development in the progression of the pandemic serves as a reminder of the importance of continuing to follow public health guidelines designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, namely mask wearing, social distancing, and regular hand washing.

While the MBL community has done an exceptional job working together to prevent coronavirus spread and while increased availability of vaccines provides hope for the future, we must continue to be vigilant in our community-minded approach to health and safety.

Three specific areas I want to address are in-person meetings, face coverings, and symptom monitoring.

Meetings 
Internal in-person meetings of any size should continue to be carefully considered. Administrative and scientific departments and labs should continue to use remote technology to collaborate instead of meeting in person. In the event that an in-person meeting is necessary, there should be a compelling reason (for example routine staff meetings would not fall into this category). In-person meetings should continue to be a rare event until further notice.

For a meeting of any size, the following must be adhered to:

  • meeting room should not exceed posted maximum occupancy;
  • all individuals including speakers must wear masks at all times;
  • no food/drink should be consumed during meeting;
  • social distancing is required with appropriately spaced seating

In addition, for any meeting larger than 10 persons the meeting must receive prior approval from me (for administrative/operational meetings) or from David Mark Welch (for research/lab meetings) with an attendance log kept for the meeting. Requests for 10+ person meetings should be sent to pspeer@mbl.edu or dmarkwelch@mbl.edu respectively.

Note: this guidance has been posted on the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources section of the intranet for future reference.

Face Coverings
The MBL requires everyone on campus to wear a face covering that fully covers their nose and mouth. To best protect everyone, the face covering should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face with minimal gaps in the nose, sides, or chin. It is critical that you do not drop your mask below your nose when wearing it. Full details on requirements for face coverings is available here.

Symptom Monitoring
More than ever, it is essential that all members of our community who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms refrain from contact with others and seek medical advice and/or testing. Please remember to do your daily health check. If you test positive, you must report your diagnosis immediately to your manager and Human Resources. With the new variants, a person who contracts COVID-19 may become contagious to others more quickly, so recognizing symptoms when they first appear is crucial to preventing the spread of the virus.

Thank you for your continued efforts to promote the health and wellbeing of the MBL community. We will continue to follow expert guidance on this the as it develops. Information on COVID-19 guidance and policies are available on the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources section of the intranet.

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer

February 4: Notification of Positive COVID-19 Cases

Dear Colleagues,

Two positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed for individuals working on the MBL campus. The individuals are self-isolating in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC protocols. Under state and federal health privacy laws, no further information about the individuals is available. To date, nine members of the MBL community have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Contact tracing has been conducted. If you have not already been contacted directly, it means we do not have reason to think you had close contact with the individuals, per CDC guidelines. Specialized cleaning in the areas where the individual worked will be combined with continued lab-wide cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

We urge all faculty and staff to remain vigilant about social distancing, wearing masks, and practicing proper hygiene. We want to stress in particular the importance of keeping a social distance of 6 feet or greater. By following this guideline the requirement for any individual to be quarantined due to potential exposure will be minimized.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, chills, respiratory illness, aches or change in taste and smell, please stay home and get a COVID-19 test. Testing can be done either through your primary healthcare provider or at one of the testing sites located throughout the state.

Please contact Human Resources at hr@mbl.edu with questions and concerns. In addition, information on COVID-19 guidance and policies are available on the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources section of the intranet. The COVID-19 Dashboard reflects all MBL cases and includes key data points for the Town of Falmouth and Barnstable County.

Sincerely,

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer

January 25: Notification of Positive COVID-19 Case + Introduction of COVID-19 Dashboard

Dear Colleagues,

A positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed today, January 25, 2021, for an individual working on the MBL campus. The individual is self-isolating in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC protocols. Under state and federal health privacy laws, no further information about the individual is available. To date, seven members of the MBL community have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Contact tracing has been conducted. If you have not already been contacted directly, it means we do not have reason to think you had close contact with the individual, per CDC guidelines. Specialized cleaning in the areas where the individual worked will be combined with continued lab-wide cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

Moving forward, laballs will continue to be used to notify staff of all positive COVID-19 cases in on-campus employees where contact tracing is required. Laballs will not be sent for positive cases in employees who work remotely or for on-campus employees for whom contact tracing was not necessary.

A new COVID-19 Dashboard reflects all MBL cases and includes key data points for the Town of Falmouth and Barnstable County. The dashboard is posted on the MBL intranet and will be posted on the public-facing COVID website. In addition, a link to the dashboard will be shared every Monday in the Weekly Catch e-newsletter.

Please contact Human Resources at hr@mbl.edu with questions and concerns. In addition, information on COVID-19 guidance and policies are available on the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources section of the intranet.

Sincerely,

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer

January 11: Notification of Positive COVID-19 Case

Dear Colleagues,

We have received confirmation that an MBL employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual works remotely. As such, there has been no close contact with others in the MBL community and contact tracing of other MBL employees is not necessary.

The individual is self-isolating in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC protocols. Under state and federal health privacy laws, no further information about the individual is available. To date, six members of the MBL community have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

We urge all faculty and staff to remain vigilant about social distancing, wearing masks, and practicing proper hygiene. As cases rise in the community, we want to stress in particular the importance of keeping a social distance of 6 feet or greater. By following this guideline the requirement for any individual to be quarantined due to potential exposure will be minimized.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, chills, respiratory illness, aches or change in taste and smell, please stay home and get a COVID-19 test. Testing can be done either through your primary healthcare provider or at one of the testing sites located throughout the state.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, please contact Human Resources at hr@mbl.edu. In addition, information on COVID-19 guidance and policies are available on the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources section of the intranet.

Sincerely,

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer

January 8: Notification of Positive COVID-19 Case

Dear Colleagues,

We have received confirmation that an MBL employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual has not been on the campus for several weeks. Since this employee was not on campus two days before illness onset and/or positive specimen collection, there was no close contact with others in the community. As such, contact tracing of other MBL employees is not necessary.

The individual is self-isolating in accordance with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC protocols. Under state and federal health privacy laws, no further information about the individual is available. To date, five members of the MBL community have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

We urge all faculty and staff to remain vigilant about social distancing, wearing masks, and practicing proper hygiene. As cases rise in the community, we want to stress in particular the importance of keeping a social distance of 6 feet or greater. By following this guideline the requirement for any individual to be quarantined due to potential exposure will be minimized.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, chills, respiratory illness, aches or change in taste and smell, please stay home and get a COVID-19 test. Testing can be done either through your primary healthcare provider or at one of the testing sites located throughout the state.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, please contact Human Resources at hr@mbl.edu. In addition, information on COVID-19 guidance and policies are available on the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources section of the intranet.

Sincerely,

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer

 

2020 Archived Messages:

November-December Updates

August-October Updates

July Updates

June Updates

May Updates

April Updates

March Updates

February Updates