** In compliance with the latest Public Health Order directing all residents of six Bay Area counties to shelter in place until at least May 3, the lab continues to limit on-site functions to those deemed government-essential. All employees who can work from home will continue to telecommute.**

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Since December 2019, there has been growing concern about an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

SLAC leadership and Stanford University are actively monitoring the developing situation with respect to the spread of the disease and potential impacts to lab and university functions. This is an evolving situation - staff should check SLAC Today and this page for the latest memos and guidelines.

This page is intended to provide information relevant to the SLAC community and should not be considered comprehensive or to constitute medical, legal or other advice that can better be provided by experts in those areas.

Please note that many of the links on this site require a SLAC login.

Guidelines, Resources and Frequently Asked Questions 

Table of Contents

Site Info


What is the current site status at SLAC? (last updated 04/01)

In compliance with the latest Bay Area Public Health Order, SLAC has ceased all on-site functions except those deemed government-essential. Staff should refer to the memo from March 31 for further details. We understand that many people are juggling responsibilities such as homeschooling children and caring for family members, so we will continue to look for ways to work with staff to make this situation as manageable as possible.

Can I come on site to pick up some things? (last updated 03/18)

Starting Tuesday, March 17, only staff identified by the senior management team as being required on site will be allowed access.

Anyone entering through the Main Gate will need to scan their badge, and unauthorized individuals will not be allowed through. The security team at the gate will have a list of authorized individuals on hand, as well as methods for escalation if your name should be on the list but isn’t.

Alpine Gate will be closed during the curtailment period.

What if I have PPE on site at SLAC that I want to donate? (last updated 04/01)

Please contact SLAC’s emergency manager, Lance Lougee, with the location of your PPE and he will arrange to have it added to our inventory.

How do I know if I’m required to continue working on site? (last updated 03/18)

Your leadership should have contacted you with details on which programs and operations will continue through the shelter-in-place period. If you are still unsure, speak with your manager.

What do I do if I'm ill and have been asked to work on site? (last updated 03/20)

If you are ill, don't come to work - stay home and self-isolate. Notify your supervisor and contact OHC if you have COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath). If you have been tested for COVID-19, please contact OHC and log into the Stanford employee health portal using your SUNet ID and password to complete the COVID Case Evaluation Form. OHC staff will follow up on positive cases. If you test positive, please consult with OHC before returning to SLAC.

For all other illnesses, the guidance is to stay home for 72 hours post recovery. Contact OHC if you have questions.

Will the SLAC Occupational Health Center be open? (last updated 03/20)

OHC on-site services will relocate to Stanford OHC at 484 Oak Road, Room B15. The office in Building 28 at SLAC will close beginning Tuesday, March 17, however calls (650-926-2281) and emails (slac-ohc-staff@slac) will be answered by the same healthcare professionals as usual. When calling, please identify yourself as a SLAC employee as there may be differences in the process.

SLAC EMTs are still available on site 24/7 for medical support such as first aid.

Is Shipping & Receiving operational? (last updated 03/20)

Shipping & Receiving will be operating with a reduced staff from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Deliveries arriving at SLAC will be accepted and held at Shipping & Receiving until the workforce curtailment ends. Items received will be scanned and processed through PeopleSoft, with a barcode attached for property control where needed.

No deliveries will be made to buildings except those relating to essential projects and COVID-19-related research. Please contact Dan Demott or Bill Zangara with questions.

Will the IT Help Desk be available? (last updated 03/18)

There will be no walk-up Help Desk support on site during this period. If you have an internet connection, the Help Desk will be able to provide support remotely. If you don’t have internet, you can call 650-926-4357 for telephone support. Due to a surge in telephone calls, it's recommended that you leave a voice message instead of waiting on hold - there is additional staff monitoring voicemail.

Will the cafeteria (SLACafe), Starbucks or gym (ARCAS) be open for those who are still on site? (last updated 03/18)

ARCAS, SLACafe and Starbucks will be closed.

Will janitorial services continue?(last updated 03/24)

In support of the county shelter-in-place order, janitorial services will be reduced accordingly to support only those functions deemed essential to the laboratory. Currently, those functions include the following:

  • Security services – Building 053, 1st floor only
  • Cryo-EM and FIB-SEM support of COVID19 research – Buildings 006 and 057
  • Computing services – Building 050, 1st and 3rd floors

All regular janitorial services will be provided at the above locations only (restroom cleaning and supply stocking, conference room and break room tables and countertop cleaning). All cleaning is currently conducted utilizing a disinfectant agent. Please note – there is a national backorder on most sanitizer supplies. While we placed an order for additional hand sanitizer stations, sanitizer refills, and disinfectant wipes through Stanford, we have no expected delivery date due to current supply shortages.

What if I’m unable to work from home and have not been asked to continue working on site? (last updated 03/18)

In the event that you are not working on essential on-site activities and cannot work from home, we have enabled the "Site Curtailment - WS" leave code in all employees’ timesheets. Please discuss with your supervisor in advance.

I didn’t get a chance to submit the mileage for my fleet vehicle(s) before leaving the site. (last updated 03/18)

SLAC Fleet Services will not be charging any fees for custodians who were unable to submit vehicle mileage information before leaving the lab.

Occupational Health Center (OHC) Guidance

The following answers to health-related questions from SLAC staff about COVID-19 have been provided by Dr. Rajan Puri and Dr. Richard Wittman from Stanford and SLAC’s Occupational Health Centers.

What are the symptoms of the virus? (last updated 03/14)

If symptoms occur, they usually occur within the first 2-7 days, but the incubation period is 2-14 days. Early COVID-19 symptoms can include a sore throat and dry cough. Fever, fatigue, wet cough, muscle aches and chills, and shortness of breath are commonly described, with fever (38°C/ 100.4 °F) and respiratory complaints the most common in those who seek medical care.  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and productive cough are less common symptoms, although they have been present in a lower percentage of positive cases. In more severe cases, infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The current evidence is that most cases (~80%) of COVID-19 appear to be mild. Those with chronic underlying medical conditions appear to be at high risk for serious complications. This may include those with heart/lung issues, diabetes or those with immune-compromising conditions. Read about COVID-19 Symptoms from the CDC.

I’ve seen recommendations that we wipe down groceries when we bring them in and store them for several days before using them. Is this advisable? (last updated 04/03)
There are no recommendations from the county or CDC that we wipe down or quarantine groceries, and there is no current evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging, despite the time-limited presence of viral RNA on certain surfaces.  We recommend washing unpackaged foods as standard practice for fruits and vegetables, and continuing to eat a healthy and balanced diet given the more severe impact of COVID-19 in those with diabetes and elevated blood sugar.  

The decision to wipe down packaged groceries is an individual one that comes down to risk tolerance, and it may be best reserved for areas that may come into direct contact with our hands and mouths repetitively, such as the top of a milk carton, bottle, or a can.  Given that SARS-CoV2 is an enveloped virus that is easily killed during the disinfection process, washing our hands frequently and/or using alcohol-based cleaning gels continues to be a high-value and important practice, particularly after contacting high-touch areas in the grocery store and other public spaces.

Do doctors expect the COVID-19 fatality rate to drop as testing becomes more widespread? (last updated 04/03)
Yes; this is usually the case as more and more tests become available. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. We do know that health care systems that are overwhelmed see much higher fatality rates, and that’s a major driver for why we’re sheltering in place.

What does it mean to be "immunocompromised"? (last updated 03/14)

When someone is immunocompromised (immune-compromised), it means that their immune system has a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. This may be caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as cancer and leukemia/lymphoma, diabetes and certain genetic disorders. It may also be caused by cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, as well as by medicines used for common conditions, including steroids/prednisone and rheumatoid arthritis medication.

What are the procedures to follow for self-isolation? (last updated 03/14)

Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This includes any situation where you may come in close contact with others (face-to-face contact closer than 6 feet). For example at social events, work, school, restaurants and public gatherings. See Stanford's one-page information sheet for more details on self-isolation.

What is the benefit of being tested? What is done if there is a positive or negative result (with mild symptoms, or severe ones)? (last updated 03/14)

This is an excellent question and gets to the core of the difficulty with the current public health response. Individuals with COVID-19 shed virus early in the disease course, and often in high amounts, typically peaking before day 5 of infection. Testing early would allow for identification of those who are ill at a stage when self-isolation could reduce viral exposure to the community, and as a result, slow the spread of disease. Testing negative can mean you might have another illness such as the flu or cold, which can overlap with some of the symptoms of COVID-19.
Testing positive will allow you to get treated faster and hopefully make you feel better before things get worse. Testing those who are most ill when they present to the emergency room or hospital is also beneficial, as it can help identify patients who might rapidly progress to respiratory distress and who may benefit from earlier implementation of various therapeutic options, such as medications under study for COVID-19.

Is it possible to contract the virus more than once? (last updated 03/14)

There have been some scattered reports of patients testing negative and then weeks later testing positive.  Current data supports that individuals with COVID-19 actually begin developing protective antibodies very quickly, for some as early as 6 days into the infection. By 14 days, most have a robust and strong neutralizing antibody response. Viral shedding for many viruses can extend beyond the period of infectivity, as is the case for COVID-19, but after 2 weeks, studies have not found these viral particles capable of causing disease. However, there are recent reports of possible fecal-oral transmission.

Is there any expectation that the testing availability, capacity and turnaround time will improve? (last updated 03/14)

Right now this is difficult to predict, as supply shortages are reported in the national media. Stanford has developed its own FDA-compliant test and its lab can process these samples for the hospital and Stanford Express Care.  Stanford results are usually back in approximately 24 hours. However, currently,  there are some delays due to the increased demand and results may take longer. Large labs, such as Quest and LabCorp, currently have around 2-3 day turnaround times for test results. Stanford is ramping up its testing capacity, but many local hospitals are also sending their tests to Stanford, which increases the volume beyond the Stanford Health Care population.

Wouldn't it be better if everyone with potential for having COVID-19 was isolated and tested, even if for many of them the symptoms are mild? (last updated 03/14)
It is indeed true that testing early and often would be the most effective manner to accurately identify who best to isolate to reduce disease transmission. Unfortunately, due to lack of testing availability to date, clinicians have been limiting testing to those who are most sick.
In the absence of wide-scale isolation measures, such as seen in China and Italy, this essentially means that COVID-19 will likely continue to spread, absent another factor that may slow or halt disease transmission, such as a medication or vaccine. Having individuals stay at home when feeling the first sign of illness, and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene, however, may also have significant positive impacts. Limiting events where one sick person may infect tens to hundreds (such as at a large conference), can modify the disease curve.

Do COVID-19 symptoms include anything beyond cough, fever and shortness of breath? What about sneezing, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, swollen glands, etc.? (last updated 03/14)

Early COVID-19 symptoms can include a sore throat and ostensibly swollen glands, although we have not seen the latter described in case reports. Fever, dry cough, fatigue, wet cough, muscle aches and chills, and shortness of breath are more commonly described. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are less common symptoms, although they have been present in lower percentages in positive cases.



What if I get sick while working from home? (last updated 03/20)

If you become ill, self-isolate and continue to monitor your symptoms. If your illnesses worsens, contact your physician, especially if you have a fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have been tested for COVID-19, please contact OHC and log into the Stanford employee health portal using your SUNet ID and password to complete the COVID Case Evaluation Form. OHC staff will follow up on positive cases. If you test positive, please consult with OHC before returning to work.

Stanford provides guidance on preventing illness and maintaining both physical and mental well-being.

According to the CDC, people at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 include older adults and those with severe chronic conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. Learn more on their website. We encourage employees to follow the CDC’s preventive hygiene guidance. When these measures are practiced with diligence, the spread of disease is greatly minimized.

How do I start telecommuting? (last updated 04/03)

Coordinate your telecommuting plans with your manager and complete the temporary telecommuting form, then submit to your Business Manager. Below are tips and guidelines on getting set up.

What is the purpose of the temporary telecommuting agreement form? Can we streamline it? (last updated 04/03)

The form helps us comply with Stanford requirements and will be required for anyone who qualifies to receive the internet stipend (see Cardinal at Work FAQs for more - but note that the Stanford temporary telecommuting agreement form is different to SLAC’s). It also helps set expectations between managers and employees on continuing to work productively during the shelter-in-place period, and document who has SLAC property with them during this time.

This temporary form, which is different to our standard telecommuting form, was put together quickly in response to a rapidly changing situation. HR is working to streamline the process, so that renewals or changes to agreement conditions can be done easily.

If I already have a regular telecommuting agreement, do I need to complete the temporary one? (last updated 04/03)

Yes. The parameters in the original full-scope agreement are different from those in the temporary one. If you are working from home and you haven’t completed the temporary form, please work with your manager to fill it out and submit it to your organization’s business manager.

What if the space in my home does not meet all the criteria on the temporary telecommuting agreement (such as fire extinguisher or bookcases bolted to the wall)? (last updated 04/03)

The points listed in the tables following the letter are tips and recommendations for a safe and optimal workspace at home; these are not required for the purposes of the temporary shelter-in-place order.   

What do I do with the completed temporary telecommuting form? (last updated 04/03)

Once managers have signed the agreement, please send to your organization’s Business Manager, who will channel them through to HR.

Will I continue to be compensated during the curtailment of on-site operations? (last updated 04/03)

All staff will continue to be compensated during the curtailment period.
Everyone should be communicating with their manager to identify things they can do to be productive. Charge your usual codes for productive hours, and use the “Site curtailment - WS” code where necessary - see internal memo for further guidance. The purpose of the site curtailment code is to ensure you continue to be compensated during this period. Neither does it have an expiration date; it’s designed to help us respond appropriately to evolving circumstances.
In line with DOE guidance, SLAC is paying for work covered by the curtailment code through our normal “leave rate,” which covers the cost of sick time, vacations, jury duty, PTO, etc. That rate is normally roughly 18% of our labor cost. When the curtailment ends, we will reassess and adjust our leave rate so the cost is distributed out over our normal budgets.

Are casual employees still only paid for hours actually worked, as usual, or are they able to use the curtailment code? (last updated 04/03)

Casual employees will continue to be paid only for actual hours worked, as usual.

For employees hitting the vacation accrual cap but not able to spend vacation time in the way they had planned, will there be any allowances made for people to exceed this cap? (last updated 04/03)

No; employees are encouraged to use vacation time with their manager’s approval to enjoy some time off to prevent capping out their accrual.

Will the IT Help Desk be available during the shelter-in-place order? (last updated 03/18)

There will be no walk-up Help Desk support on site during this period. If you have an internet connection, the Help Desk will be able to provide support remotely. If you don’t have internet, you can call 650-926-4357 for telephone support. Due to a surge in telephone calls, it's recommended that you leave a voice message instead of waiting on hold - there is additional staff monitoring voicemail.

Will any Computing services be affected by the shelter-in-place order? (last updated 03/18)

The Computing team plans to keep all services available during this time.

What if I’m unable to work from home and have not been asked to continue working on site? (last updated 03/18)

In the event that you are not working on essential on-site activities and cannot work from home, we have enabled the "Site Curtailment - WS" leave code in all employees’ timesheets. Please discuss with your supervisor in advance.

Will I continue to be compensated during the curtailment of on-site operations? (last updated 03/14)

All staff will continue to be compensated during the curtailment period.

Are there any precautions I should take if I use my SLAC laptop at home? (last updated 03/11)

Employees who are approved to telecommute must have the appropriate equipment and access to systems, and meet the cyber security requirements for using work technology in their homes. When employees connect to the SLAC network via VPN, the system is inspected to ensure it meets the SLAC security requirements before being granted access. All systems are required to be fully patched and have antivirus installed and up to date.  For reference, please see SLAC’s minimum IT equipment security requirements (password required).

See Computing’s Remote Worker Toolkit for more information. 

How do I get on the SLAC computer network from home? (last updated 03/16)

Many remote tasks, such as email and productivity applications, do not require access to the SLAC network. For the tasks when internal network access is required, SLAC computing has a detailed guide for connecting to the lab's Virtual Private Network (VPN). There are further instructions on working remotely in the remote worker toolkit as well.

Please be aware that in a case where a large number of employees are using the SLAC VPN simultaneously, there's the possibility that bandwidth could be constrained. For this reason, please run the VPN only when required, not by default. 

In general, disconnect from the SLAC VPN when you no longer need it and re-establish the connection when it's needed. If you have applications or services that don’t work when connected via home or outside networks, then use VPN. Otherwise, leave the service available for others. Additionally, when using SLAC VPN, limit or reduce use of applications that have steady continuous network use – e.g. when using tools like Zoom where you don’t need to access SLAC applications or services during the meeting, disconnect from VPN.

How can I make sure my home workstation is ergonomic? (last updated 04/01)
The shelter-in-place order does not allow employees to come to SLAC to retrieve existing equipment, but you can get a virtual ergonomic evaluation of your home setup and work with the ergonomist and your supervisor to obtain equipment that you need. See internal memo for more guidance.

How can I get my SLAC voicemail from home? (last updated 03/16)

Staff can access SLAC voicemail from offsite by dialing in to 650-926-4242.

In addition, in response to the curtailment of onsite work, SLAC computing has enabled a feature that will forward SLAC telephone voicemails to the associated SLAC email. When someone leaves a voicemail it will trigger an email notification to your email inbox with an attached .wav audio file.

If you have any issues or questions regarding this new feature or other aspects of SLAC telephone service such as call forwarding, please contact phone-admin@slac.stanford.edu.

How can I stay connected with colleagues while I'm working remotely? (last updated 03/13)

With many SLAC staff members working from home, it's important for communication and collaboration to continue. Fortunately, Stanford and SLAC provide many tools to you free of charge to make that possible. 

SLAC Computing's collaboration support page contains details on how to connect to several of these, as does Stanford UIT's collaboration tools page.

Recommended tools include:

Instant Messaging: Stanford/SLAC Slack - chat and collaborate in real-time with SLAC colleagues (SLAC on Slack (internal) and Stanford UIT's Quick Guide to Slack Best Practices)

Audio/Telephone/Videoconferencing: Zoom - professional-quality teleconferencing and virtual meetings (Best Practices for Effective Video Conferencing

Google Collaboration: G Suite (Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.) - enterprise access to cloud-based collaboration on Google's most popular applications (Stanford G Suite Services - use SUNet login)

Microsoft Collaboration: Office 365 (Microsoft Word, Excel, SharePoint, Teams, etc.) - enterprise access to cloud-based collaboration on Microsoft's most popular applications (SLAC Office 365 - use SLAC login)

Restart Planning


When will SLAC return to normal operations? (last updated 04/01)

On March 31, San Mateo County Health extended the shelter-in-place order until at least May 3. A determining factor in how long the shelter-in-place will last is when the number of new COVID-19 cases per day stabilizes and then starts to significantly decrease. However, the lifting of the order doesn’t mean operations will immediately return to normal.

To prepare, the lab has formed a Restart Planning Task Force, led by Jeff Sims. Restarting will be a complicated process, executed carefully and in stages. Representatives from mission and mission support functions are involved in this effort, and leadership will inform their organizations when their restart activities can begin.

Will the schedule date for LCLS-II first light be moved out? (last updated 04/01)
The lab is discussing with DOE how the shelter-in-place curtailment of on-site activities may affect the schedule, including considerations of moving project milestones. The impact will ultimately depend on how long the curtailment lasts.

How SLAC is Helping


What research is SLAC involved with to help with the pandemic? (last updated 04/01)
SSRL was turned back on during the week of March 23 with the intention of supporting COVID-19-related research. Several of the beam lines are optimized for remote use, allowing research to be conducted with very few people needed on site. In the same way that research at SSRL has contributed toward a better understanding of past epidemics such as the SARS coronavirus and Zika virus, we now hope to understand the atomic structure of the COVID-19 virus.

The Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM Facility is also being used to aid in COVID-19-related research. Cryo-EM allows us to study single particles without the use of crystals, making it easier to see the structures of cells. One of the unique capabilities at our facility is the ability to create 3D images of cell structures.

Equipment is being installed in the Arrillaga Science Center (Building 57) to supplement research already taking place in Building 6. Of particular interest to our researchers is how the virus enters a cell and interacts with cellular components.

What can SLAC and our employees do to donate supplies or help the community? (last updated 04/01)

SLAC is involved in efforts by both Stanford and the Department of Energy to help with medical equipment shortages. Stanford’s Haas center is also working on creating a website with information on how to give back locally, which we will share with staff when ready.

The DOE’s Office of Science has formed a working group with representatives from all 17 national labs to tackle a number of challenges, such as producing medical masks using 3D printing and increasing the capacity for COVID-19 testing. We have also, along with the other labs, provided the DOE with information on what excess PPE we have that could be provided to support healthcare.

SLAC has also formed a working group at the lab to coordinate with the DOE and to connect Stanford with this process.

The Communications Team has compiled a list of ways in which individuals can help the community, and created a Slack channel to connect people interested in contributing. See the SLAC Today article for more.

What if I have PPE on site at SLAC that I want to donate? (last updated 04/01)

Please contact SLAC’s emergency manager, Lance Lougee, with the location of your PPE and he will arrange to have it added to our inventory.



Can I still travel for work? (last updated 03/16)


ALL official DOE travel - domestic as well as foreign - is now mission critical only (with an extremely high bar on international travel per the Secretary). All approval notifications sent on Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Travel@SLAC are null and void. Please note: If travel occurs, it is at the risk of the traveler and will not be reimbursable.

Please do not submit any new travel requests unless it is to expense costs associated with COVID-19. All auto-approved Concur domestic travel is null and void until further guidance is provided by leadership. If you have canceled a trip related to COVID-19 and there are no costs associated with the travel, please recall your travel request. If there are costs associated with COVID-19 please submit your expense report and include COVID-19 in the title of the expense report.

Please see the COVID-19 Travel FAQs and Reimbursement Guidance on the Travel Website to guide you through the process or reach out to Travel@SLAC for assistance. SLAC's travel managers thank you for your patience through this fluid situation!

What about personal travel? (last updated 03/17)

While personal travel is up to your discretion, the lab advises against it. See the CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel for more guidance. Also refer to the following question about returning to the lab following travel.

If I do need to travel, when will I be allowed back to SLAC? (last updated 03/17)

If you (or a spouse/housemate) are returning from travel, you will need to receive clearance by the SLAC Occupational Health Center (OHC) (650-926-2281) prior to coming on site. The OHC clinicians will conduct phone interviews as part of the risk assessment process, with clearance typically granted after 14 days. This includes personal travel.

Events & Tours


What's happening with SLAC events? (last updated 04/02)

Face-to-face meetings and events have been postponed or cancelled until further notice except in cases where they can be conducted virtually.

How do I get reimbursed for cancelled events? (last updated 04/02)

SLAC staff affected by cancellations of external meetings and events, such as the APS March Meeting, should pursue refunds for registration and travel costs where available. See the COVID-19 Travel FAQs and Reimbursement Guidance for details.

When will SLAC resume tours? (last updated 04/02)

All SLAC tours are cancelled at this time until further notice. We will be taking guidance from public health officials when planning the resumption of tours and other events. Please check our website for updates on public tours and educational tours.

What are the plans for summer internship programs? Are they cancelled, and will we have other opportunities for students? (last updated 04/03)

We are exploring what can be done for each of these programs, including discussions with DOE on the programs they sponsor and with mentors within the lab to see if it’s practical for students to work on projects remotely. In doing this, we need to consider not just the work itself, but whether it can offer the intern a safe, meaningful and productive learning opportunity if done remotely. At this time, we anticipate that internships will proceed only if they can be managed virtually.

User Info


How will visitors and Users be affected by the temporary curtailment of on-site activity at SLAC? (last updated 03/14)

Visitors and Users will not be allowed on site during this period. The User Offices will update the community with updates as they develop.

COVID-19 Resources