FAQ on COVID-19 

FAQ on COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unique circumstances and working conditions. Here are answers to frequently asked questions related to the Beckman Institute. This page will be updated frequently. View the campus COVID-19 website to stay up-to-date on campuswide issues.

An image of the COVID-19 virus

This page was last updated at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.

What does the process for returning to campus look like at Beckman?

  • All faculty, staff, and students physically on campus should have COVID-19 testing twice per week. The Beckman Institute’s atrium is one of these testing sites and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors will use the south rotunda entrance. The east entrance will offer swipe access only to those working or researching at Beckman.
  • We're aiming for about 50% occupancy. In-person access is meant for those who can't complete their work or research remotely. Those who can continue to work remotely should continue to do so. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions.
  • Campus will place Wellness Support Associates at the south rotunda entrance when classes start Aug. 24 to ensure compliance with testing requirements.
  • Anyone working at Beckman must complete the Division of Research Safety training, which takes about 15 minutes.
  • Every lab leader has submitted a return-to-campus plan to Beckman's leadership.
  • Beckman core facilities (Biomedical Imaging Center, Microscopy Suite, Visualization Lab) also have return-to-campus plans and are communicating with their user groups to provide more guidance.
  • The Division of Animal Resources has set up a process for labs to restart a reduced level of animal research. Visit the DAR's website and click on the link for the May 12 update.
  • Shipping and Receiving is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The ITS Help Desk is being physically staffed. Please email or call 217-244-2904 as your default contact method. If needed, a time to meet in person will be scheduled. Staff will be wearing appropriate PPE for all interpersonal interactions and do everything possible to maintain social distance.

What safety measures are in place for people working at Beckman?

  • Beckman distributed reusable masks and cleaning supplies directly to each lab. Each person working at Beckman receives two. If your lab needs more masks, please email Beckman Operations.
  • Our building has the same air handling concerns as most campus buildings. Most non-wet lab air is recirculated and we cannot guarantee a pristine environment in your individual office. However, campus does not require you to wear a mask if you're in a private space with the door closed. You must wear a mask in any public spaces at Beckman; we're an organization where people protect each other.
  • Beckman's traffic plan ensures proper distance in stairwells, elevators, and hallways. Please follow the directional signs. If you must evacuate because of an emergency, take the fastest route out of the building.
  • Beckman has removed furniture from the atrium and café, for now, to discourage gatherings of people. No side conference rooms are open. If you need to meet with other people, do it virtually.
  • Beckman's restrooms don't lend themselves well to social distancing. We recommend that one person at a time use the bathroom; knock and enter if it's empty.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are located at each building entrance and elevator lobby.
  • One person should use common kitchen areas at a time. More than ever, it's important that you clean up after yourself and wipe down surfaces you touch.
  • Beckman operations staff will frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces, like elevator buttons, light switches, and bathroom faucets.
  • If you develop symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please remove yourself immediately from proximity to anyone else, notify your supervisor, and go home.
  • Labs should keep records logging the dates, times, and room numbers of who is at Beckman. This information will be used for contact tracing if necessary.
  • If you share an office, please work out a schedule with your office mate so only one person at a time uses the space.
  • If your desk is located in a common working area, please work with your neighbors to maintain proper social distance.
  • Anyone working at Beckman should disinfect their work area at the end of the day. Need more supplies? Email Beckman Operations.

Is the air handling system safe at Beckman?

  • The majority of the Beckman Institute, except for the Division of Animal Resources area in the basement, is served by an air handler that has filters rated higher than the minimum levels suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
  • The air handling system at Beckman Institute introduces filtered, fresh outside air at all times. The building automation system trend data for this air handling system indicates that more than 50% of the volume of air supplied from this unit is fresh, outside air.
  • All campus HVAC systems, including the Beckman Institute's, are being physically inspected for proper operation before classes start.

What can I expect in the future?

  • Beckman is working with campus to host classes of 29 people or fewer in our auditorium. The auditorium is currently scheduled in the Fall 2020 course catalog for:
    • BIOE 498/598 HG, graduate special topics course on soft robotics
    • Six sections of ENG 100, freshman orientation for Engineering students
    • Two sections of ENG 101, introduction to engineering for non-engineering undergraduate students
    • TE 461, Technology Entrepreneurship
    • TE 566, Finance for Engineering Management
  • These classes will meet:
    • For one-hour segments at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays
    • Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesdays
    • Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursdays
    • No classes on Fridays
  • As we continue to make these plans, we’re looking for ways to make sure our researchers and staff members will stay safe. This is a chance to have many more people visit the Beckman Institute. While we want our visitors to enjoy their Beckman experience, we will be careful to control traffic. Minimizing risk is key. However, reopening is incredibly important for our campus, and Beckman is a committed partner.
  • Associate Director for Research Patty Jones is serving on the campus Research and Scholarship Working Group. The group is coordinating return-to-campus efforts. Patty will both share and help Beckman adapt best practices for research ramp-up efforts.
  • We will continue to follow state and campus guidelines to keep Beckman's community safe. As campus creates (and sometimes changes) policies, we'll continue to communicate those issues. You can read the most up-to-date campus updates on its COVID-19 website.
  • What Beckman departments will be working on campus?

    Shipping and Receiving will be back to normal hours, and Facilities and Operations staff members will be working on-site.

    The ITS Help Desk will be physically staffed. Please email or call 217-244-2904 as your default contact method. If needed, a time to meet in person will be scheduled. Staff will be wearing appropriate PPE for all interpersonal interactions and do everything possible to maintain social distance.

    Beckman core facilities (Biomedical Imaging Center, Microscopy Suite, and Visualization Lab) also have return-to-campus plans and will communicate with their user groups to provide more guidance.

    The Beckman Café is open for online ordering and contactless pickup.

    What Beckman departments will be working remotely?

    Most research administrative support and functions of the Director’s Office will be remote.

    The Business Office

    Staff members are all online, and you can continue to work with them to submit grant proposals, get financial reports, and more. You can find more information about sponsor information on the Sponsored Program Administration's website. In addition to contacting staff members directly, you can also reach the grants and finance teams using their general email accounts.

    Human resources

    All HR functions are still available and staff members are online. Please use the general HR email address to contact them.

    Communications Office

    Communications Office staff members are all working online, so you can still email about websites, social media, news releases, and more.

    Will Beckman host events this fall?

    Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beckman Institute will not accept space reservations for events supporting 50 or more people through Dec. 31, 2020. Specifically, this means Beckman's auditorium, atrium, and room 1005 are not available during this time. We look forward to more detailed campus guidance on how smaller meetings can be conducted safely and effectively. Beckman Institute staff members will support and implement such guidance to the best of their ability. See the Beckman conference room capacity page for more details about what spaces are expected to be available.

    What if I need a work-related supply to be delivered to my home?

    In extraordinary circumstances where items are necessary to satisfy a business need for the Beckman community on Beckman funds, items can be shipped to employee homes. However, the following guidelines must be followed.

    In all cases regardless of the purchasing mechanism, all shipments to employees’ homes must be pre-approved by the Beckman’s administration. Please request approval by emailing Director of Budget and Resource Planning Kelli Wendt. You’ll need to provide proof of approval with your standard P-Card transaction documentation.

    Purchases must continue to comply with the Illinois Procurement Code and System policies including, but not limited to, property accounting, payment of sales tax, and risk management.

    If a delivery to a university address is not possible, P-Card holders may authorize purchases to an alternative address in one of three ways. These purchases should only be made to ensure continuity for business operations. Purchases must comply with the P-Card program (see prohibited and restricted purchases):

    1. By P-Card using the University’s Amazon Group.
      Benefits to using the University Amazon Group include:
      • The P-Card holder can have purchases delivered to an employee’s home address.
      • Business Prime shipping usually arrives within two days. Employees do not have to wait for a reimbursement.
      • The University of Illinois’ tax-exempt status is already established.
      • Vendors do not need to be set up in iBuy/Banner.

      Requirements for using the University Amazon Group:
      • P-Card holders who do not already have access can request access by emailing Beckman’s department card manager, T’Chana Harden.
      • Purchases must be for a legitimate University of Illinois business need.
      • A P-Card holder should not purchase items for their own business needs that will be sent to their residence. Instead, they should work with the business office to identify another card holder who can complete the purchase on their behalf, which allows for independent review and approval.
      • The comments field in the P-card log should include a statement that the purchase was shipped to a non-university address due to COVID-19.
      • Documentation of departmental approval must be submitted along with the standard P-Card transaction documentation.
      • Each individual is responsible for returning the item(s) to the appropriate university business location once normal operations resume.
      • Equipment requiring a system-issued property tag must be tagged in accordance with system policy, in addition to completion of the Equipment Loan to Faculty, Staff or Student Employees form. Questions related to inventory should be directed to Beckman Shipping and Receiving.
    2. By P-Card directly with other vendors.
      The following requirements must be met:
      • Purchases must be for a legitimate University of Illinois business need.
      • A P-Card holder should not purchase items for their own business needs that will be sent to their residence. Instead, they should work with the business office to identify another card holder who can complete the purchase on their behalf, which allows for independent review and approval.
      • The comments field in the P-card log should include a statement that the purchase was shipped to a non-university address due to COVID-19.
      • Documentation of departmental approval must be submitted along with the standard P-Card transaction documentation.
      • Each individual is responsible for returning the item(s) to the appropriate university business location once normal operations resume.
      • Equipment requiring a system-issued property tag must be tagged in accordance with system policy, in addition to completion of the Equipment Loan to Faculty, Staff or Student Employees form. Questions related to inventory should be directed to Beckman Shipping and Receiving.

    By employee reimbursement
    University Payables will continue to process employee reimbursements in accordance with Section 8 Payments and Reimbursements of the Business and Financial Policies and Procedures Manual.

    • Employees making a purchase in compliance with the reimbursement policies for system business purposes should present the system’s sales tax exemption certificate when making a purchase.
    • The notes field in the expense report should include a statement that the purchase was shipped to a non-university address due to COVID-19.
    • Documentation of departmental approval must be submitted along with the standard TEM transaction documentation.
    • Each individual is responsible for returning the item(s) to the appropriate university business location once normal operations resume.

    If the options identified are unable to address your need for supplies or equipment, please contact the Beckman business office (either the grants or finance teams) for assistance.

    How is Beckman and campus tracking work expenses related to COVID-19?

    Campus is requiring the use of two new activity codes on all COVID-19 related expenses. This will allow the university to track expenses related to COVID-19 across all colleges and across the university. The codes are:

    • COVID. Use for internal expenses including but not limited to travel related expenses such as flight change fees, cancelled flights, cancelled registration fees and hotel fees and penalties; hardware and software to allow employees to work remotely; additional cleaning services; unexpected or premium shipping
    • COVIDR. Use for research and outreach activities for external audiences. This includes but isn’t limited to expenses associated with developing technologies, algorithms, testing procedures, and educational outreach activities related to COVID, please tag the expenditures with the COVIDR activity code.(Note that these expenses would not include base-salary labor costs related to the time being spent.) For all future expense related to COVID-19, please add the appropriate activity code to the CFOP in the iBuy or P-Card systems. Because the activity codes are not tied to any one fund, org, or program, they can be included with any CFOP.

    For previously processed expenses related to COVID-19 that did not include the appropriate activity code, please email Kelli Wendt, director of budget and resource planning. Please include as much information as possible in your email including the type of transaction (iBuy, P-Card, TEM), the transaction number, the vendor, the amount of the purchase, and the CFOP, the business office will complete a transaction in the financial system to add the appropriate activity code.

    How do I document my P-card and T-card purchases when I’m working remotely?

    Note that these temporary instructions are specific to the Beckman Institute:

    P-Card

    If the transaction includes an original receipt (examples would be Fed-Ex or the local hardware store), card holders can create a PDF with a log and a scan of the original receipt, then email it to Beckman’s finance team using the LN# from your log as the email’s subject. The card holder should maintain the original receipts and submit all required documentation hard copies to the business office by the end of the month in which the purchase occurred.

    This paperwork can be deposited in the tray located in the west door into the business office suite or in the drop boxes just inside each door of the business office suite. (This will minimize the number of persons in the cubicle area of the business office.) Business office staff will collect these documents periodically. Please be sure to include a copy of the log along with the original receipt to allow for ease of identifying the transaction.

    If the transaction does not include an original receipt after making a purchase from an online vendor, the card holder may choose to send a single email including a PDF copy of the log, the (non-original) receipt, and any appropriate back-up documentation to for reconciliation. The documentation should be sent to Beckman’s finance team. Please include the LN# from your log in the subject line of your email. Your email with the attached PDF will eliminate the need for you to bring any paperwork to the business office for this transaction scenario.

    TEM

    If the transaction includes an original receipt (for example, a gas or car rental receipt or a restaurant receipt for business meals):

    Once the transaction is submitted and approved by the submitter’s supervisor, the expense report will route to the Beckman business office for review and approval. The transaction will be reviewed using the ER attachments. The expense report submitter, along with the traveler, will be responsible to retain original receipts until they can be provided to the business office. As soon as is possible or upon the submitter’s return to the office, they will provide a cover page, the original receipts, and any back-up documentation for each expense report to the business office. This paperwork can be deposited in the tray located in the west door into the business office suite or in the drop boxes just inside each door of the business office suite. (This will minimize the number of persons in the cubicle area of the business office.) Business office staff will collect these documents periodically.

    If you are unable to bring any original receipts to the building, please contact the Beckman Finance Team to identify a solution based on your needs. Please be sure to include a copy of the expense report cover page along with the original receipt to allow for ease of identifying the transaction.

    If the transaction does not include an original receipt (examples would be an airline ticket whose receipt is emailed to the purchaser):

    Once the transaction is submitted and approved by the submitter’s supervisor, the expense report will route to the Beckman business office for review and approval. The transaction will be reviewed using the ER attachments. Your inclusion of the required documentation in the TEM system will eliminate the need for you to bring any paperwork to the business office for this transaction scenario.

    Where can I can search for tech answers myself?

    Campus has a searchable IT Knowledgebase that covers many typical questions associated with services like email, Box, Zoom, and others. And, Tech Services has published a page with many resources on staying connected and continuing key university activities while working remotely. It  has another page featuring best practices.

    What should I do if I have problems with the Beckman queue on the campus cluster?

    If you have trouble accessing or using the Beckman queue on the Campus Cluster, please contact the Campus Cluster Helpdesk.

    Can I connect to resources from home?

    Likely, yes. Some resources do require you to connect through the campus virtual private network service, but most do not. This Tech Services page includes links to, and information about, most of the commonly used campus services. If you need help installing the VPN client, read the Knowledgebase article or contact the Help Desk. The VPN service may become slow, so please use it only if you need to.

    All Beckman web applications are available without connecting to the VPN. The following Beckman resources do require connecting through the VPN:

    • The Beckman Personnel Database
    • All other databases
    • Files located on the file server
    • EMS administrative access
    • Using Remote Desktop to access your campus desktop computer

    Access to various research group resources are dependent on how those resources were configured. Please contact the IT person who maintains them.

    What can I do if I don’t have an internet connection at home, or if my internet connection is unreliable?

    You need a reliable internet connection. This Tech Services page offers a list of possible resources.

    How can I schedule calls or meetings from home?

    Campus provides two typical options:

    How do I keep Zoom secure?

    Because of issues with uninvited guests joining and sharing inappropriate content in Zoom meetings,  Zoom has disabled its file-sharing capability.

    To keep Zoom secure, you're encouraged to:

    How do I access my email from home?

    You can log in to your Exchange account via a web browser. For your account name, use your entire campus email address, NetID@illinois.edu. For the username, enter your NetID and NetID password. You will need to use two-factor authentication to access your mail.

    Can I move my files to a location I can access from off campus?

    If you want to move certain files to a resource available off campus, use Box. Learn more about the service and logging in.

    How can I continue my professional development during this time?

    The University of Illinois System Human Resources Services has provided a comprehensive guide to improving remote work and professional development.

    Campus has licenses for several online learning and professional tools available free of charge to members of the Illinois community. LinkedIn Learning offers thousands of video tutorials on business and technology tools. Thousands of Coursera classes are also available. Learn more about how to log in.

    What if I need to turn in my key to the Beckman Institute?

    If you are graduating or leaving campus and need to turn in your key to the Beckman Institute, please see information on our Beckman Security web page.

    What campus resources address COVID-19?

  • For one-hour segments at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays
  • From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays
  • From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays
  • No classes on Fridays