Issued 5/29/2020

The following guidance is for teaching-lab instructors who are planning to use remote (at-home) experiments in their curriculum.  

  • EHRS must evaluate the use of at-home kits so that we can provide guidance on health and safety considerations. Email links/protocols to ehrs@ehrs.upenn.edu prior to the start of the course for evaluation.    
  • Consider utilizing vendors who offer kits specifically geared towards distance learning, such as Carolina Biological. Carolina has tested each investigation for safety and reliability in a home setting to ensure student safety and success. Their kits also come with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to implement safety precautions while performing these labs in the home.
  • Determine how you will provide the required PPE if it is not provided in the kit. Experiments that normally require a chemical fume hood or other specialized safety equipment are not permitted.
  • If using commercially available kits, consider whether students will be able to order kits to their home address. Some vendors ship their kits to schools and businesses only and not to individuals or a residential address.
  • Establishing safety precautions for at-home labs is very important. Just like in the laboratory, students need to follow safety protocols at home, whether they are using materials they assembled on their own or lab kits that arrived in the mail. Ensure that safety precautions/guidance is incorporated into the kit instructions.
  • Ensure guardians/residence owners are aware and approve of kit use, if applicable.
  • For additional guidance, click here to read The Chronicle of Higher Education article titled “How to Quickly (and Safely) Move a Lab Course Online.”

Below is a Distance-Learning Laboratory Safety Agreement Template that you can modify and distribute to your students in the method you prefer to promote responsible execution of work.