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Chef Dan Lopez wears a face mask as he prepares vegetables for one of the menu options available in the Forchheimer Building’s Main Street Café. (Photos by Jason Torres)

Einstein Meets the COVID-19 Challenge

Several Einstein teams stepped up to keep vital services running on campus last spring, when many people were asked to work from home because of the pandemic. These frontline workers have allowed the College of Medicine to continue essential operations around the clock. “A lot goes on behind the scenes,” says Neil Kaplan, chief of security and transportation. “The research here never stops.” 

There are research animals to be cared for, IT support to provide, lab orders to process, mail to deliver, buildings to secure, staff to feed, rooms to sanitize, and heating and cooling to maintain. “Some people took on additional responsibilities last spring and helped out in other departments as well,” says Joe Ben-Ari, director of design and construction. “They are proud to be a part of it all, to make sure our experiments can go on. They are truly selfless.”

Wearing full personal protective equipment to ensure both human and animal safety, staff members Lindann Depesa, left, and Alexis Castanon check on the research mice in the Institute for Animal Studies.
Multimedia systems engineer Elvis Cruz sets up the technology for a remote learning videoconference broadcast from Robbins Auditorium.
Richie Resto of the receiving department makes sure that supplies are delivered to labs.
Engineer Dario Vazquez of facilities management provides maintenance on the central boiler, which provides heating, air conditioning, hot water, and other steam-related services such as autoclaving and cage washing.
Sonia Torres of the housekeeping department disinfects a hallway.
Freddy Vasquez sorts the never-ending stream of Einstein mail for delivery.
The security team of Gary Francis, left, Marie Bailey, and Amaury Pena screen a visitor at the Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion.
A sign indicating an occupancy limit, which was created by the environmental health & safety team (pictured below), is posted outside an Einstein lab. Safety officers determined occupancy limits and posted signs outside more than 1,000 spaces on campus.
Members of the environmental health & safety team, from left, going up the stairs, include: Guillermo Olivo, Rose Chudkosky, Melanie Brown, Jeremy Heller, James Harold, Delia Vieira-Cruz, and Senior Director Anthony Chibbaro.
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