Graham, L. et al
With the pandemic preventing people from socializing, attending in person classes and visiting loved ones in the hospital, one one university is pulling out all the stops to get their graduate students back in the lab by allowing them to work inside their fume hoods.
“We were really stuck on how to get grad students back in the lab without them constantly whistleblowing about the safety hazards from COVID-19,” said university Dean Thomas Braithe III. “We were just about ready to let them work from home, but then the Department Chair realized that there’s nowhere safer from an airborne virus than a fume hood designed to remove toxic fumes,” explained Dean Braithe from his home office. “The ventilation is simply unmatched!”
“Pardon? Can you speak up??” yelled Sabriyah Jamail, a PhD student working inside the lab’s fume hood. “It’s very loud and windy in here!!”
“So far I don’t have COVID, so I guess it’s been working out okay,” said Jamail, whose daily commute to the lab increases her risk of contracting COVID for her and her roommates. “Thought I’ve definitely inhaled some Piranha solution.”
On top of the forcing students back into the lab, the university requires all students to undergo weekly COVID testing on their own time and dime.
“If you don’t show a negative result, the university disables your passcode and can cut your funding,” said Jamail. “The nurse in the three hour line behind me looked pretty miffed when I told her that I spend most of the day cleaning glassware.”
Jamail admits that while the fume hood gets quite cramped with all seven grad students working inside it, the lockdowns have really freed up her time for research.