Today, Washington State University announced revised COVID-19 policies in response to decreasing COVID-19 cases and the high rate of vaccinations. I am writing to provide specific research-related guidance associated with this announcement.
As disease prevalence decreases, the need for mitigation measures, such as those identified in our “Staged return to on-site research, scholarship and creative activities” also decreases. Still, individuals accessing or managing WSU facilities must adhere to the minimum requirements. This central WSU resource incorporates cognizant public health recommendations and is compliant with state, federal, and other guidelines.
With this central resource, effective immediately, there is no longer a need for research-specific guidance (previously found on this website), including:
- Staged return to on-site research, scholarship, and creative activities,
- Monitoring and managing compliance with staged return to on-site research, scholarship, and creative activities, and
- Exception Request: Staged return to on-site research, scholarship, and creative activities.
For research involving human subjects, please review the updated guidance found below prior to initiation or restart.
With gratitude to all faculty, staff, and students that collectively navigated the challenges faced during the pandemic with diligence and patience, we take another significant step towards resuming pre-pandemic levels of research and we are encouraged looking forward.
Please distribute this information to all researchers in your area. We will continue to update you on any additional announcements and/or further guidance that may impact the WSU research enterprise.
Questions should be directed to Levi O’Loughlin (general inquiries) or Joe Crossno (human subjects research).
Thank you again for your ongoing support of the WSU research enterprise and our efforts to resume research activities safely!
Human Subjects Research Guidance:
Effective immediately, with the exception of projects that specifically target participants known to be more susceptible to severe illness associated with COVID-19 AND where there is no anticipated direct benefit to those participants, all in person human participant research activities may resume without additional consultation with the Office of Research Assurances (ORA), Human Research Protection Program (HRPP).
If your project targets participants who are more susceptible to developing severe disease associated with COVID-19 and the research does not pose the prospect of direct benefit to your participants, you must continue to consult with the ORA/HRPP and/or the Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to resuming in person human participant research.
When preparing for a return to in person human participant research, consider the following:
- Return to in person human participant research is no longer dependent upon a written return to research plan.
- Any procedures solely implemented to comply with CDC guidance (e.g. workplace cleaning and disinfecting) or WSU policy requirements (e.g. masking and vaccines) do not require IRB approval.
- Any alteration in IRB approved procedures must be approved by the IRB prior to implementation.
- Any variance from CDC guidance or WSU policy requirement that impacts risks to participants (e.g. forgoing use of masks when unvaccinated) also must be approved by the IRB prior to implementation.