Support during COVID-19 pandemic



last updated March 7, 2022

UCSF Response to COVID-19 | UCSF Guidance for Researchers UCSF COVID-19 Coping Guide

All PFCC's plans align with UCSF’s policies and guidance. We have worked to establish strategies to support for gradually increasing laboratory research activities while keeping staff and all users safe. Everyone – regardless of vaccination status – must wear a mask or face covering at all indoor locations at UCSF.

In addition, to make everyone at PFCC comfortable please wear your UCSF identification (ID) badge above the waist with the respective vaccination stickers visible while at PFCC. Keep in mind the pandemic is not over yet, if you feel sick please stay home and take the necessary precautions.

As you may be aware San Francisco and UCSF is being impacted by the latest surge of COVID-19. Please be compassionate and respectful of your colleagues.

We continue to appreciate your feedback as our team continues to adapt to these new procedures.

Updated procedures at PFCC 

Phase 5 - new COVID-19 surge, March 2022

  • Business hours with staff support: weekdays 8a-6p;
  • Please note: the Core is open 24/7 for trained users, we would recommend that only SuperUsers use cell sorters after hours. SOPs for Unassisted instrument setup for Analyzers and Cell Sorters.
  • Our Team is working Onsite and Remotely.
  • Please email [email protected] for any questions or requests. Staff is handling communications, consultations/troubleshooting, virtual trainings remotely. Our email wait and response times may be longer than usual due to staff’s limited availability. Allow for at least for 24hrs for response time, for urgent matters you can call our Help-Line 415-745-2150.


  • Directive on population density: altough density limitations have been lifted, please allow for 6-ft distance between people. Only 1 person per instrument allowed (with staff included).
  • Scheduling and booking of instruments is (and has always been) mandatory, schedule instruments in advance. [Linked Calendar] option removed on most instruments.
  • Be respectful of time and be efficient. Start and finish on time; If you have not scheduled any of the instruments or are using past your scheduled time, you will be politely asked to exit the Lab;
  • No big groups allowed on the instruments. We encourage the Use of Chrome Remote Desktop if any training/shadowing of new lab trainees in the Core facility are planned;
  • We encourage the Use of Chrome Remote Desktop for all the labs willing to monitor their sorts remotely;
  • Operator Assistance and Guidance requests will be accommodated. Please follow the established workflow to request it; first come, first served.
  • Cancellation policies will remain in place, although if a cancellation request is due to health concerns related to COVID-19 or shelter-in-place the fee will be waived.


  • Instrument reservation is required before entering S854-S864.
  • PPE is mandatory. Bring your lab coat as there are none available in S854-S864; Handle all bench / instrument surfaces with gloves on.
  • Do not loiter in the room longer than necessary and limit your trips in and out of the room.  You need to make sure you are allowing for social distancing in the area. If possible, have one person from a lab perform experiments for the group to reduce the number of people utilizing the core space. 
  • EH&S will be regularly monitoring for social distancing compliance and if we have a large number of individuals in the room during a walk through or individuals not following UCSF policies we could have overall occupancy levels reduced.
  • If you are feeling sick please stay home and do not feel pressured to come and use the instruments!  If past the free cancelation deadline please email [email protected] to help take care of your reservation, and we will waive the cancellation fee.
  • No COVID-19 samples can be accommodated at PFCC unless fixed;
  • Human Primary samples (PCR negative) are permitted and can be safely run in our BSL-2 laboratory (S854-S864) and sorted in all of the sorters with certain BSL-2+ level practices in place. PCR negative samples from Respiratory or GI tract will be limited to be sorted on the FACSAria Fusion “Jabba the Hutt” (enclosed in BSC). Please read these considerations when Sorting Human Primary Tissue and SOP on how to deal with Clogs;
  • Please practice good hygiene and social distancing; Only one person per equipment allowed;



  • PPE is required when in S854-S864, bring your own lab coat, none are available at S854-S864;
  • Handle all bench/instrument surfaces with gloves on;
  • Practice good hygiene. Remove gloves before leaving the lab. Wash hands with soap and water at the sink;
  • To reduce viral transmission, please spray and wipe the bench and equipment surfaces with EtOH (70%) or Bleach (10%) Before and After Use using the spray bottles available in S854 and S864;
  • Please don’t leave materials in the room. We need to keep the desks and benches clear of clutter to make it easier to wipe down between people. Make sure that any used materials are placed back in it’s locations (pipettes, tips, tube holders, …), and trash in the respective bin and not left on the bench.
  • PFCC has resumed our Training Program since May 12, 2020, please register through iLab to attend the available classes.
  • All group classes taught via Zoom and will continue being provided in virtual format until further notice, check the schedule and availability on iLab;
  • Hands-on training have been adapted and resumed since June 2020, following institutional safety guidelines.

It’s important to us that you feel safe and comfortable coming back to the Core. We appreciate your patience and your feedback as our team develops new policies and procedures. We will keep you updated and send regular communications through our listserv. 

Feel free to submit your feedback and suggestions in our new SUGGESTION BOX!

thanks for you cooperation. Take care and be safe!

From: Claudia Bispo, and the whole Flow Core team!

Covid-19 communications & other support - The most recent UCSF advice/guidelines can be found here: 

UCSF Response to COVID-19 | UCSF Guidance for Researchers  |  UCSF COVID-19 Coping Guide

    Helping users during the pandemic

    • On-call virtual consultations: Zoom Office Hours Mon 1-4pm, RSVP here and use Zoom ID 118-010-154
    • On-call troubleshooting: email [email protected] or call Help-Line 415-745-2150 leave a voicemail with your contact and the issue details

    External Educational Resources on Flow and Mass Cytometry


    External COVID Biosafety Resources