UNB! News New England

Cambridge Research Institute Creates Plan To Test Reopening The Workplace

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — A research institute in Cambridge wants to test a plan that is supposed to safely bring their employees back to work. The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard believes if they are careful, they can prevent infection in the workplace.

Their experiment could reportedly start within a few weeks and run as long as five months.

“We can actually build data and that’s what scientists do, we want to build the data to inform the decisions to go back to society,” said Galit Alter from the Ragon Institute.

Faculty, researchers, technicians, other staff could sign up to return on a voluntary basis. They would be divided into two-to-three shifts to maintain enough room for six-feet of social distancing.

Workers would have their temperatures taken twice a day and they would disclose any symptoms upon arrival.

All staff members would be tested for coronavirus and for antibodies each week.

“We have to build in a kind of safety net where we test people on a regular basis to make sure that they don’t carry the virus without knowing,” said Boris Juelg, also from the institute.

If someone tests positive, the Institute would do tracing of everyone they came in contact with at work and those colleagues would be retested. If a second person tests positive, the institute would sequence that virus, then check to see if the transmission was among staff or outside of the workplace.

This plan has been submitted to the Institutional Review Board of Partners Healthcare.

“We are accustomed to this level of being careful and so it’s not something unusual or new to us. So I think the question is if we can implement it properly, does that mean that we can keep that curve flat and if we can do that, then I think we’re in business,” said Alter.

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