HMS will establish a COVID-19 Advisory Team (CAT). The CAT, with support from the Business Continuity Task Force (BCTF), is charged with implementing a concern management program for lab personnel, providing support to lab/core COVID-19 Safety Officers (CSOs), and notifying Research Operation Managers (ROMs) and PIs of relevant changes in institutional policy or practice. The CAT consists of personnel representing the following groups or offices:

  • Campus Planning & Facilities
  • HMS Emergency Management
  • Basic Sciences Administrators Group
  • Faculty representative
  • Department Research Operations Manager (ROM)
  • Research Cores
  • Institutional Planning and Policy (floating position)
  • Human Resources
  • Research Compliance or Academic and Research Integrity
  • Harvard Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) (2 positions)

  • The CAT will meet regularly with ROMs to discuss best practices, challenges, and process improvements. ROMs are expected to communicate this information back to CSOs and lab members.
  • Each PI/core director will identify a lab COVID-19 Safety Officer (CSO), who will serve as a representative for lab/core members, and as a point of contact for the Department ROM and the CAT. HMS will maintain an active list of all CSOs (including jointly appointed and Back-up/Coverage CSOs) and their contact information.
  • The CAT will provide education and training sessions to CSOs related to their responsibilities and reporting expectations. Read or print out the Assignment of COVID-19 Safety Officer Responsibilities.
  • Non-compliance issues/incidents not able to be addressed at the department level will be reported to the CAT in a timely manner, ideally within 24 hours, via an online reporting form.
  • Within 24 hours of submission, reports will:
    • Receive a preliminary review by an on-duty CAT member.
    • Be logged into a COVID-19 Safety Report tracking database.
    • Be forwarded by the on-duty CAT member to relevant CAT team members for further inquiry and review based on the nature of the incident. The Department Chair, Department Administrator, PI/core director, and CSO will be copied on the notification to reviewers, unless otherwise necessary to preserve anonymity or promote fact-finding.
    • Reports of non-compliance incidents that do not involve or were not witnessed by laboratory/research personnel or their associates, as determined by the on-duty CAT member, will be forwarded to the Harvard University Risk Management and Audit Services Reporting Hotline.  
  • The relevant CAT members who receive a report will work collaboratively with the impacted individual(s) or lab/core and relevant institutional support offices to ensure implementation of corrective actions, as appropriate. Corrective actions may include, but are not limited to, education, retraining, or reconsideration and/or modification of the lab re-entry plan or of the plan for delegating the COVID-19 safety tasks.  
  • All serious and continuing non-compliance determined by the CAT will be reported to the BCTF, whose response may include other sanctions and remediation measures including, but not limited to, revocation of an individual’s or an entire lab’s or core’s ability to work on campus.
  • The CAT will conduct periodic reviews of the COVID-19 safety reporting process and implement changes as required.