COVID-19 Operational Updates-CFMRI

March 18th 2020

CRITICAL: Temporary Changes to Scanner & Building Access Policies

This is an update on the current status of the UCSD Center for fMRI. Due to the developing COVID-19 situation, the main entrance to the facility will be locked until further notice, beginning tomorrow (3/19/20). Building access will be limited to individuals with after-hours access privileges and all efforts are being made to limit on-site work to essential duties only.

The majority of the active imaging projects at the Center have indicated that the current plan is to postpone all human subject MRI sessions for at least the next 2-3 weeks.

New research guidance from the Vice Chancellor for Research (Email subject: “UCSD COVID-19 Research Guidance (Reducing On-site Activity)), was announced on 03/17/20. This guidance requires all research programs to develop a safety plan to substantially reduce on-site staff and to minimize exposure to COVID-19.

Our team has completed this process internally and will not be providing in-person support for any ongoing research projects. We will continue to make every effort to assist with operational tasks that can be performed remotely (e.g., establishing new projects in Calpendo, setting up user accounts, managing administrative requests, and addressing any imaging data questions or issues regarding previously acquired data).

In the event that your team is requesting an exception to the new regulations and you believe that your research might qualify for continued limited use of one of our imaging resources (e.g., phantom or animal imaging with limited staff present, etc.) please contact CFMRI staff at to discuss your current needs & plans.

It is the responsibility of each research group to submit project-specific compliance information to their departments and to comply with all safety and ethical guidance announced by the Vice Chancellor for Research.

Thank you for your continued support and patience during this global health emergency. CFMRI staff will be available in a research support role via email during the duration of the COVID-19 situation. Please navigate to for the latest operational updates.

Specific COVID-19 guidelines from UCSD are available here:

We hope everyone remains safe and healthy in the coming weeks.

March 13th 2020

COVID-19 Preparation, Prevention & MRI Suite Cleaning Policy

Faculty and staff at the UCSD Center for Functional MRI have been closely monitoring COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates from federal, state, and local health officials. The facility is currently operational and our team is making every effort to provide a safe environment for researchers and participants from the imaging community.

In addition to daily UCSD janitorial services and regular staff cleaning of commonly used equipment and surfaces with disinfectant wipes, we have significantly increased our efforts to provide a clean & safe environment for the research projects we support.

Effective immediately, we will be enforcing a more rigorous equipment cleaning procedure requiring all active research groups to use the provided supplies (Clorox wipes, Purell spray disinfectant, gloves, paper towels) to quickly wipe down all surfaces and equipment used during their imaging session.

A short cleaning checklist will be included with the standard MRI safety screening forms in the scanner console room and waiting area. Operators and (safety trained) study staff will be required to initial all relevant items that they wiped down at the conclusion of their session. The checklist will be filed in the same location as the screening forms at the end of each session. CFMRI staff will continue to perform extensive disinfecting of equipment on a daily basis, but effective cleaning between sessions will significantly improve our ability to maintain a safe facility. Larger trash cans have been added to the scanner console rooms to account for an increase in cleaning-related trash.

Use of the post-scan cleaning checklist is mandatory. Compliance will be assessed on a regular basis.

The checklist can be downloaded using the following link:

CFMRI MRI Suite Cleaning Checklist

Protective Gloves



Protective gloves should be used and changed frequently during your MRI session and the cleaning procedure outlined in the checklist (above).

Information on proper glove usage can be found here:

In addition to the typical supplies of gloves currently at CFMRI (exam rooms, scanner suite, prep rooms), an adequate supply of nitrile gloves has been added to all common areas including the waiting room, kitchen, conference room, and additional convenient locations throughout the building.

Hand Sanitizer & Hand Washing Locations



The CFMRI contains several built-in automatic hand sanitizer dispensers and hand washing locations. Frequent use of these resources is strongly encouraged.

Information on effective hand washing techniques can be found here:,89227

Locations of automatic hand sanitizer dispensers:
  • Exam room #1 & 2
  • Multipurpose room
  • 3T console rooms
Locations of hand washing sinks:
  • Main restrooms
  • 3T waiting area (near copy machine)
  • 7T prep rooms

Additional disposable bottles of hand sanitizer will be conveniently located in common areas throughout the facility.

Temporary Update to Cancelation Policy

Under our standard policy, it is important to mention that canceled scans are never billed. Canceled scan time that is not re-booked by another project results in the use of pilot hours equal to the length of the cancelled booking. Pilot hours accrue with every paid hour of scan time that a project uses and are bonus hours awarded by the Center to support the functioning of the cancelation policy. One of the primary purposes of our pilot hour system is to help projects effectively address last-minute cancelations. The current policy was developed through several iterations and extensive discussions with the user community and designed to address the specific needs and activities of our community.

In response to the current COVID-19 situation, the CFMRI is implementing a temporary policy to allow cancelations due to illness or public health safety concerns at any time up to 24-hours before your scheduled MRI session without the use of pilot hours to account for the canceled time. This policy modification will remain in effect temporarily during the current health emergency. Any additional changes to the policy will be announced to the user mailing list.

Please remember that in order for our imaging center to have the ability to offer a reasonably available booking schedule, we need the imaging community to be conscientious of other research projects when creating bookings. Our ability to maintain the current policy modification is completely dependent on your ability to book responsibly. If it is evident that projects are booking more time than they need (to generate more availability for their study) and making last-minute cancelations in most of their booked sessions, we will need to reevaluate the temporary policy amendment.

If you have any questions about the policy, please feel free to contact us at

COVID-19: UCSD Center for fMRI Operational Updates

We are committed to providing up to date center-specific safety information and operational updates. The user mailing list and this site will be used to provide regular information regarding the status of the imaging center and any changes in campus policies that might affect our operation.

Additional COVID-19 Information

UCSD Official updates: