Project-specific COVID prevention measures should consider and address the following:
- A statement on specific COVID-19 risks in the proposed research location and/or setting. Consider the impact these risk factors will have on the study's variables and the validity of the data collected and overall study outcomes.
- General Procedures (following VCOM campus-specific procedures):
- For research involving human subjects, consider and comply with local health department guidance on COVID-19 screening for person-to-person interactions and interventions.
- Researchers are still encouraged to continue using virtual meeting tools, including phone and virtual teleconference, whenever possible.
- If in-person meetings are essential, follow VCOM campus-specific procedures for COVID-19.
- For those investigators physically located in space shared with other institutions (Virginia Tech, Gibbs Cancer Center, Auburn University, University of Louisiana Monroe and others), please ensure you have a communication plan that adheres to all site-specific guidance.
- Plan to Require and/or Supply PPE for unvaccinated participants and research personnel as well as those vaccinated individuals who choose to utilize PPE.
- Plans for Disinfecting Equipment and Surfaces:
- Document when to use hand wash station or hand sanitizing station, and who is required to maintain
- Establish enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures for high contact surfaces in the lab and common areas, as well as all shared equipment and surfaces (e.g., shared desks, countertops and telephones)
- For human subjects research, discuss ways in which the conduct of the study might be impacted:
- Do you still have the ability to recruit participants for your study?
- Does your recruitment strategy need to change? Can it change?
- Do you need new recruitment materials explaining COVID-19 related risks?
- Informed Consent
- Is there a virtual process or online tool for obtaining consent?
- What is the investigator's role in the consent process?
- Are you still allowed to use clinic facilities for consenting?
- Researchers and research staff who will interact with participants should be vaccinated and willing to disclose vaccination status to participants.
Risk reduction strategies will be discussed in the informed consent document signed by research participants.
In the event that a COVID-19 case is reported that originated with a participant or a member of the research team, the Principal Investigator is responsible for alerting the local health district (see additional resources below), as well as the VCOM IRB. For participants or investigators with a known exposure, all local health department guidelines must be followed.
Additional resources are available through the CDC.
- Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People
- Workplace Guidance and Strategies
- Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Ventilation
- Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)
- VCOM Local Health Districts:
- Virginia Campus: New River Health District (540 267-8240)
- Auburn Campus: Lee County Health Department (334 745-5765)
- Carolinas Campus: Upstate Regional Public Health (864 282-4138)
- Louisiana Campus: Region 8 Office of Public Health (318 361-7203)