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Comparative Biosciences Center COVID-19 Response Plan

CBC Operational Modifications During University Closure

The CBC is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and working with University Leadership to assure the health and safety of the University community, including the staff that maintain the University’s laboratory animals and the animals themselves. The CBC has a Response Plan in place, which will be initiated in the event that we need to limit operations or the University calls for shutdown of all but essential operations. The decision to limit operations or initiate other operational change is determined by University Leadership and we do not know how much advanced warning will be possible. University Leadership will dictate who will be permitted access to campus, which may entail employees who fill essential roles only. The CBC husbandry and veterinary services are considered to fill essential roles and I am confident that those who are filling those roles will make every effort to support the CBC daily operations. Additionally, we have identified a core group of CBC staff that will remain on campus to care for the animals, if such extreme measures are necessary.

Under the Response Plan, during periods of limited or essential personnel only operations, the CBC’s focus will be maintaining the animals by providing essential care, such as watering and feeding of animals in the CBC and satellites. Cage sanitization schedules will be modified. The CBC will not be able or expected to provide research support services, such as technical services, breeding, access to imaging equipment, imports/exports, Transnetyx genotyping services, ordering of drugs/ controlled substances, isoflurane cart rentals, room transfers, cage card requests, procedure and surgery room rentals, animal ordering and receiving, etc.

We recommend you plan and think about, in preparation for limited operations status, implementing actions such as reducing or cessation of breeding, unless critical to maintain the mouse strain, for the time being. Valuable or unique strains that cannot be easily replaced should be cryopreserved. The transgenic core has the capability to cryopreserve embryos and sperm, and do subsequent rederivation. We recommend evaluating the need for cryopreservation periodically as time and availability leading up to institutional closure may be limited. Please contact Rada Norinsky ( for more information.

We are supplementing our reserves of food, bedding and supplies needed for animal care. Please note that if certain supplies become limited, e.g. masks, gloves, it may be necessary to modify PPE requirements for animal rooms. In addition, in the event of reduced staffing, we may need to reduce cage sanitization schedules prior to a partial shutdown.

University staff who are not feeling well should NOT come to work.  Additional information about the University’s COVID-19 response is available at

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact any of us below:

Thank you,

Ravi Tolwani

Associate Vice President and Research Associate Professor

Comparative Bioscience Center

(212) 327-8566