FAQ on COVID-19 

FAQ on COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unique circumstances as the State of Illinois enacted a stay-at-home order. 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 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 6, 2020.

What does the state's stay-at-home order mean for Beckman?

Beckman Institute building is now closed to all non-essential members. Essential members, who must be present for safety reasons, are aware of their duties. If any non-essential people must enter the Beckman Institute during this period, they will need the director’s permission. Valid reasons for a non-essential person to enter include a safety issue or if an urgent COVID-19 research need arises that can be met by Beckman facilities and personnel.

Director approval is required to enter the building. Please email such requests to Director Jeff Moore, and Associate Directors Kara Johnson, and Patty Jones.

How long will this last?

This situation outlined above will remain in effect until it is safe to modify. These changes are temporary and we will return to our normal posts eventually. For the latest information from campus, please continue to visit the campus COVID-19 website

Who will be at Beckman during the stay-at-home order?

Selected facility operations and other staff members do extensive walks through the building and maintain best practices regarding hygiene and upkeep. If unauthorized individuals are identified, notification will be sent to the institute director.

What's closed at Beckman?

Beckman as a physical facility is temporarily closed to non-essential faculty members, staff, students, and researchers. This includes:

  • The Beckman Cafe.
  • Shipping and Receiving. Do not place orders to be shipped to Beckman as no staff will be present to receive the order. If you have an order in transit or need to place a new order, you must work with the vendor and/or the shipping company to arrange for delivery.
  • Core research facilities. The Biomedical Imaging Center and Imaging Technology Group’s swipe card access for all users are disabled.

Which Beckman staff members are still working remotely?

Most of Beckman’s staff members are now working from home. This allows the institute to continue to serve you during the next several weeks, but these services will only be offered remotely.

For example, 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 functions are still available. Please use the general HR email address to contact those staff members. IT Services staff members are all online, so you can still email the help desk for technical issues. Communications Office staff members are all online, so you can still email about websites, social media, news releases, and more.

Our physical core facilities are now shut down. Biomedical Imaging Center and Imaging Technology Group staff members are available by email or teleconference to discuss your IRB or IACUC protocols, update schedules for future data collection, assist in data analysis, and more. The Visualization Lab is still able to help researchers with research visualizations, journal graphics, and cover images. To get started, email the Vis Lab. The lab also hopes to soon announce a remote option for using its software.

Staff members, research groups, and collaborators are encouraged to check in via virtual meetings, including Zoom and Skype for business. Remember that we are all members of the Beckman family, and family members take care of each other.

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 line as the email’s subject. The card holder should maintain the original receipts and submit all required documentation hard copies to the business office when work on campus resumes.

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 usual “TEM” tray in the business office team’s cubicle area at any time.

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. As soon as is possible or upon the submitter’s return to the office, they will provide a copy of the cover page, 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 usual “TEM” tray in the business office team’s cubicle area at any time.

Who can help me with technology issues?

The Beckman ITS Help Desk will be staffed during its normal working hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please use email or call 217-244-2904 to request help. We will get to everyone's questions as quickly as we can. If there is an emergency with the technical infrastructure that requires a person to be on-site, staff will enter the building long enough to resolve the problem and then return home.

Questions about any of the technical topics below can be directed at to the Beckman Help Desk. We will do our best to get you a timely answer.

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, and 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 campus resources address COVID-19?