Coronavirus Pandemic – PPPL Public Events Suspended
Princeton Strong news – Princeton, NJ: US Department of Energy Office of Science PPPL reports – To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19, and to help protect the health and safety of our community and staff, all public events at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab have been suspended until further notice.
In an abundance of caution around the coronavirus pandemic, and in light of presumptive cases in the Princeton area, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is curtailing operations and sending employees home to work effective 5 p.m. today, Friday, March 13, until further notice, Laboratory Director Steve Cowley announced today. There are no presumptive cases at the Laboratory.
“There is absolutely nothing more important than the health, safety, and well-being of our staff and our community,” said Steve Cowley, PPPL director. “Given the current situation with the coronavirus, we are sending staff to work from home, keeping only essential staff on site, and limiting access to our Laboratory.”
The business of the Laboratory and its mission in the service of the nation will continue, Cowley said, but only staff necessary to keep critical operations and experiments going will be allowed on site. Many of the 500-plus staff members can work remotely. All staff will receive their full pay and benefits, he added.
The decision to have staff work remotely was made following medical guidance that social distancing can help prevent the spread of the virus, Cowley said. “We are doing everything we can to help protect our community,” Cowley said. “We will continue to operate the Lab remotely; our world leading research will continue unabated.”
The Lab had already canceled all public events on March 10, including tours, the popular Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday Lecture Series, and the Young Women’s Conference in STEM education.
PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit energy.gov(link is external)/science.