Microscopy Suite COVID Safe SOP, revised 2020 August 28


Microscopy Suite COVID-safe SOP (revised 2020 Aug 28)


Tom Harper is responsible for the microscopy instruments.   If you have questions about proper use, contact Tom at harper@pitt.edu

Access to the Microscopy Suite:

  1. In order to reduce traffic in the building, users from outside of the CLC complex and Chemistry Department should contact Tom to arrange scheduling until further notice.
  2. All microscopes must be reserved before their use. Scheduling will proceed through FOM, which is available at https://fom.nano.pitt.edu/fom/. If you are already trained on an instrument and do not have access to FOM, please contact Tom Harper.
  3. One (and only one) person is allowed per room, even if there are multiple instruments housed in a single room.   Do not come in groups even if working together in the same lab.
  4. To help with contact tracing, do not use your account to reserve instrument time for another user to physically use the instrument. Also do not let another user into the facility or allow them access to your microscope during the reserved time slot.
  5. Movement within the Life Sciences Complex requires the wearing of a face mask.  Upon entering the facility, do not remove your mask and proceed directly through the main lab to the appropriate scope room. Please be cognizant of other researchers who might be in other rooms and avoid contact.
  6. If you have not yet used the Microscopy Suite since the COVID protocols, discuss the protocols with Tom, review the SOP, and confirm with Tom that you understand and will abide by these precautions.
  7. Day to day equipment maintenance is handled and/or coordinated by Tom; please inform him (harper@pitt.edu) of any issues or concerns with the instruments.

Transporting Samples:

  1. While transporting samples remember to follow safety protocols that are already in place, such as using secondary containers.
  2. Do not leave any secondary containers in the Suite after you are done.
  3. Do not leave any microscope slides and samples in the microscopes or in the facility after the experiment is completed.

Basic requirements for COVID safe usage of the Microscopy Suite:

  1. Wear a mask at all times while in the Microscopy Suite
  2. Wash hands with soap and water before use (there is a sink inside of room 101A within the Suite)
  3. Disinfect microscope both before AND after use as follows:
    1. Spray provided disinfectant on a paper towel and wipe off the keyboard, mouse, arm rest area of the desk and chair. DO NOT substitute any other disinfectant.
    2. Make sure you dispose of paper towel and Kimwipes inside the trash can.
    3. Do not remove any supplied protective covers.
    4. Commonly touched surfaces on instrumentation will be disinfected according to manufacturer specifications.  Instrument specific disinfectant will be provided and cannot be substituted. Please speak to Tom Harper for instrument specific details and follow the instructions posted in each room.
  4. Ensure that area surrounding the equipment is clear, clean, and disinfected.
  5. Wash hands with soap and water after use.


If the University must shutdown the facility and access to the Microscopy Suite, Tom Harper is responsible for shutting down the instruments properly.

New User Training:

Potential new users should contact Tom Harper by email to schedule a training. Do not come to the facility without an appointment. Tom confirm a time with the trainee and reserve the instrument time in advance.

  1. Please check with Tom to determine if you need to bring any materials to the training session.
  2. One and only one trainee is allowed per training session. Come alone at the scheduled time.
  3. Per EHS recommendation, a face shield along with a disposable face masks must be worn by both trainer and trainee during the training session, as they might be closer than 6 feet.
  4. Upon entering the Microscopy Suite, users should wash their hands at the sink inside of room 101A within the Suite then proceed to the
  5. During training, staff will demonstrate procedures on the scope, including disinfection, then the user will go through the procedures while the trainer observes.

COVID shutdown and cleaning:

  1. Cleaning procedure for the microscopes after it was found to have been recently used by a person who is diagnosed with a COVID infection.
  2. All users will be notified by email that the microscope was used by a person who tested positive or is showing symptoms for COVID as required by the University of Pittsburgh Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
  3. Block scheduling and access of the microscope and the room in which it is located as required by current EOC guidelines.
  4. Disinfect the entirety of the instrument and its surrounding area by wiping every surface down with an approved disinfectant as required by the current EOC guidelines
  5. Notify all users by email when the tool is available for use, and make it available on FOM.