Mar 13

COVID-19 update on AURA Operations and Facilities

AURA is actively monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak, with particular focus on the health and well-being of AURA staff, visitors to our facilities, and local communities, while continuing with Center operations.

This page will be updated as circumstances change.

For more information about changes at our Centers and Projects, please visit their webpages:
OIR Lab: Coronavirus COVID-19 Measures at OIR Lab
Space Telescope Science: STScI’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19
National Solar Observatory: NSO Policies and Practices for COVID-19
Vera C. Rubin Observatory: COVID-19 Update

Leer en español

March 25, 2020 – Update

The Gemini North telescope halted night-time operations Wednesday March 25, in response to Hawaii’s state-wide order to restrict movement of residents and visitors to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Essential systems will be maintained to keep the personnel, facility and equipment safe. Staff that are able will continue to telework to support our users and communities.

March 19, 2020 – Update

In response to the continued COVID-19 outbreak in the US and Chile, AURA is announcing the following changes at our facilities, effective immediately and until further notice:

Vera C. Rubin Observatory is shutting down construction activities on Cerro Pachón this week. The construction site in Chile will be secured as safely as possible given the incomplete condition of the facility. The Rubin Observatory Construction team has implemented maximum telework strategies across all sites and will continue to advance on any elements of the Project possible. Read more on the Rubin Observatory website.

STScI, NASA, ESA, and CSA have decided to delay the proposal deadline for JWST Cycle 1 GO proposals to no earlier than May 27th 2020. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide an update on the schedule on April 15th 2020.

Gemini North telescope is shutting down due to bad weather today, with instruments staying cold; they will assess the COVID-19 situation on Sunday regarding reopening on Monday.

AURA corporate, CAS, HR, are working in telework mode. Only essential personnel will access the buildings in Baltimore, DC, Chile and Tucson.


March 18, 2020 – Update

In response to the continued COVID-19 outbreak in the US and Chile, AURA is announcing the following changes at our facilities, effective immediately and until further notice:

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, SOAR, and Gemini South telescope will be suspending all scientific operations. The telescopes and instruments will be shut down safely over the course of this week and only a skeleton crew will remain on the mountains. The site is closed to visitors and all tours have been halted.

Scientific operations are still continuing at Gemini North in Hawai’i with remote observing and limited day-time summit crews. Public tours of Maunakea have been cancelled. The Gemini North office in Hilo is moving to teleworking only.

Kitt Peak National Observatory will be suspending all scientific operations. The telescopes and instruments will be shut down safely over the course of this week and only a skeleton crew will remain on the mountains. The site is closed to visitors and all visitor center functions have been halted.

All sites have suspended in-person educational activities and classroom visits.

OIR Lab staff are working in telework mode. OIR Lab buildings in La Serena, Chile and Tucson, Arizona are open to approved staff only.

Vera C. Rubin Observatory is reducing construction activities to essential work with the goal of getting the dome closed to weather before the winter season – however this situation is being assessed on a daily basis.

National Solar Observatory staff in Boulder, Colorado and Maui, Hawai’i are working in telework mode and construction at the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is in the process of being shut down.

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore is operating in telework mode, only essential personnel are allowed in STScI buildings.


 

Actualización de AURA 25 de marzo de 2020

El telescopio Gemini Norte detuvo las operaciones nocturnas desde el miércoles 25 de marzo, en respuesta a la orden estatal de Hawai de restringir el movimiento de residentes y visitantes para ayudar a frenar la propagación de COVID-19. Se mantendrán los sistemas esenciales para mantener seguros al personal, las instalaciones y los equipos. El personal que pueda continuará con teletrabajo para apoyar a nuestros usuarios y comunidades.

Actualización de AURA 19 de marzo de 2020

El Observatorio Vera C. Rubin suspenderá sus actividades de construcción en Cerro Pachón esta semana. El sitio de construcción en Chile estará resguardado de la mejor manera posible dada la incompleta condición de la instalación. El equipo de construcción del Observatorio Rubin ha implementado máximas estrategias de teletrabajo en todos los sitios y continuarán avanzando en cualquier elemento posible del Proyecto.

STScI, NASA, ESA y CSA han decidido retrasar la fecha límite para las propuestas JWST Cycle 1 GO a más tardar el 27 de mayo de 2020. Continuaremos monitoreando la situación y proporcionaremos una actualización a contar del 15 de abril de 2020.

Gemini Norte está cerrando debido al mal tiempo de hoy, con instrumentos que permanecen fríos; y evaluarán la situación de COVID-19 el domingo con respecto a la reapertura del próximo lunes.

AURA Corporate, CAS, y Recursos Humanos, están trabajando en modo teletrabajo. Sólo el personal esencial accederá a los edificios en Baltimore, Washington DC, Chile y Tucson.


Actualización de AURA 18 de marzo de 2020

En respuesta al brote continuo de COVID-19 en los EE.UU. y Chile, AURA anuncia los siguientes cambios en nuestras instalaciones, los que tendrán efecto inmediato y hasta nuevo aviso:

El Observatorio Interamericano Cerro Tololo, SOAR y el telescopio Gemini Sur suspenderán todas las operaciones científicas. Los telescopios e instrumentos procederán a cerrarse de manera segura durante el transcurso de esta semana y solo un equipo reducido de personal permanecerá en ambos cerros. El sitio estará cerrado a visitantes y los tours serán suspendidas.

Las operaciones científicas del telescopio Gemini Norte en Hawaii se continúan realizando de manera remota y con equipos reducidos en el cerro durante el día. Las visitas públicas a Maunakea han sido canceladas. La oficina de Gemini Norte en Hilo está encaminándose exclusivamente a la modalidad de teletrabajo.

El Observatorio Nacional Kitt Peak suspenderá todas las operaciones científicas. Los telescopios e instrumentos procederán a cerrarse de manera segura durante el transcurso de esta semana y solo un equipo reducido de personal permanecerá en las montañas. El sitio permanecerá cerrado a los visitantes y todas las actividades del centro de visitas han sido detenidas.

Todos los sitios han suspendido las actividades educativas presenciales así como las visitas de colegios.

El personal de OIR Lab está trabajando en modo teletrabajo. Las oficinas de OIR Lab en La Serena, Chile y Tucson, Arizona, están abiertos solo para personal autorizado.

El Observatorio Vera C. Rubin está reduciendo las actividades de construcción limitándose a actividades esenciales con el objetivo de cerrar la cúpula y protegerla de los rigores del clima antes de la llegada del invierno; sin embargo, esta situación se evalúa diariamente.

El personal del Observatorio Solar Nacional en Boulder, Colorado y Maui – Hawaii – está operando en modo teletrabajo, mientras que la construcción del telescopio solar Daniel K. Inouye está en proceso de cierre.

El Instituto del Telescopio Espacial, STScI, está operando en modo teletrabajo y solo se permite personal esencial en los edificios del Instituto.


March 13, 2020

Consistent with expert public health guidance AURA is instituting the following changes effective immediately:

Staff Travel

  1. Work-related international travel by AURA employees is to be halted immediately, with exceptions only as approved on a case-by-case basis by Center Director.
  2. Work-related domestic travel by AURA employees in the U.S. and Chile will occur only for essential activities that cannot be accomplished via remote participation or rescheduling for a future date. Director level approval is required for this travel.
  3. Depending on circumstances, staff returning from any trip (personal or professional) may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Visitors

  1. International travel to AURA facilities is to be halted immediately, with exceptions only as approved on a case-by-case basis by the Center Director.
  2. Visits from domestic locations (both within the US and within Chile) are to be halted immediately, with exceptions only as approved on a case-by-case basis by the Center Director.
  3. Essential visitors to AURA sites will be required to answer a questionnaire about their recent travel and location of origin before entering our facilities. An individual that has recently traveled internationally or to a U.S. or Chilean domestic area with a locally declared COVID-19 related state of emergency, will not be allowed access to AURA locations for a period of fourteen days.
  4. Personal visitors, including family members are not permitted inside work buildings at our mountain and base facilities without approval.

Workplace

Staff are urged to take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs:

  1. Washing hands frequently for at least twenty seconds or using hand sanitizers with 60% to 95% alcohol if handwashing is not available.
  2. Covering mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Refraining from touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Avoiding contact with sick people.
  5. Staying home if flu-like symptoms are present.

In addition to the above, social distancing, remote working and health precaution steps are being taken at our Centers to limit the risk of virus transmission.