COVID-19 Research Planning
Research Laboratory Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- With the transition to a “remote teaching and learning mode”, faculty, staff, and students should follow the official guidance provided by Chancellor Gold. See updates to this guidance.
- All professional travel is suspended indefinitely.
- This is not a campus shutdown. Rather it is strategy for “social distancing” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This primarily impacts classroom activities, but research activities should continue in a way that is as normal as possible.
- Remember this is a dynamic and rapidly evolving situation, so please frequently check campus updates.
- Please review our general guidance document for UNO researchers.
ORCA will be operational in the event of a campus remote working or social distancing status.
- Although the ORCA phone lines will still be open, we encourage email communications with the ORCA team as the main contact method.
- Lab PIs and individuals important for continued progress on funded research studies are deemed “essential personnel” and will be allowed access to their laboratories.
- PIs who have questions or foresee that progress will be significantly impacted are encouraged to contact their Program Officers.
- Prioritize funded research and do not allow unnecessary shadowing or internships.
- Larger labs with lots of essential personnel should devise a strategy consistent with social distancing (e.g. maintain 6 ft separation, work in shifts, etc.)
- Smaller labs should work on a “buddy system” to avoid a situation where they are the only person in a building in the event that an accident occurs (e.g. biological or chemical spill, fire, flood, etc.)
- Utilize good laboratory practices including the use of appropriate PPE, reducing clutter, regularly disinfecting surfaces such as benchtops, common equipment, and computer keyboards.
- In the event of an extended absence, have a plan to secure sensitive equipment, how to receive and store critical supplies, and how to access data.
- For human subjects studies, ensure you have access to the databases with contact information in case subjects need to be contacted to cancel appointments or monitored for safety during a trial. Follow guidance from the UNMC IRB.
- Encourage students and staff to make progress on tasks that can be completed in a remote situation.
- Stay home if you feel sick, have an underlying condition that could make you vulnerable to COVID-19, or are caring for an individual who may be vulnerable.
Human Subjects Research Update - March, 17, 2020
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to develop, and to reduce risk to subjects and to investigators, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research is imposing the following restrictions on human subject research.
All research which involves face-to-face contact that has no direct subject benefit should be halted. No further accrual, research interventions, or assessments may take place, unless done remotely. If you wish to modify existing research to perform interventions or assessments remotely you must submit a Request for Change in Protocol to the IRB.
In addition, new subject accruals for research which involves face-to-face contact and where there is only limited direct benefit must also be halted. Research interventions and assessments on already enrolled subjects may continue as long as those interventions can be performed with minimal risk to subjects and there is staff personnel available to complete those visits.
For now, studies with high prospect of direct benefit to subjects (such as cancer therapy trials, or similar therapeutic research) may continue as long as those studies can be conducted as adequate precautions are taken to minimize the risk of contagion and there is staff personnel available to complete those visits. Each research team should be assessing their studies on a case by case basis and make changes as they can to reduce risk to participants and research personnel.
If you will be continuing studies you believe meet the criteria above you must notify the IRB through the message portal in RSS.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Office of Regulatory Affairs at 402.559.6463 or email at IRBORA@unmc.edu.
Other Helpful Links
- UNO Campus Updates
- Funding Opportunities
- Nebraska DHHS COVID-19 Updates
- The United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity provided information to applicants and recipient communities in response to COVID-19
- The Council on Governmental Relations issued this webpage for Agency Guidance Specific to Federal Award Impact
- Special OLAW Webinar on March 19: Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care (includes flexibilities provided by the PHS Policy)
- Flexibilities for Assured Institutions for Activities of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) Due to COVID-19
- OMB Issued M-20-11, "Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations"
- NCURA published this webinar, "RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION IN A TIME OF DISRUPTION- The Impact of COVID-19 on University Research Environment and Management"
National Science Foundation Updates
- NSF Proposal Submission and Award Management Related to COVID-19
- NSF implementation of OMB Memo M-20-17
- NSF COVID-19 Website
- NSF Letter to Community
National Institutes of Health Updates
- NIH Proposal Submission and Award Management Related to COVID-19
- NIH Late Application Policy Due to COVID-19
- NIH Flexibilities available to applicants and recipients of federal financial assistance affected by COVID-19
- Guidance for NIH-Funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19'
Department of Defense