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 - June 29, 2020
Opening Up Human Subjects Research Safely
All remaining human subject research IRB protocols which were halted due to the pandemic can apply to restart. Investigators must first complete and submit a Research Safety Plan using this link. Once received, the plan will be reviewed. The investigator may be asked for clarification if what is written is unclear. The plan must be approved before the research will be allowed to proceed. The person completing the form will receive an email confirming the form was successfully submitted. The plans will be evaluated in the order that they were received. The number received will impact how quickly the investigators receive a response. The IRB will communicate with the team if more information is required and to confirm that the team can proceed with opening their research once reviewed, pending any requirement for submitting an IRB protocol modification for review and approval through the RSS portal. Key elements that will be requested in this Human Subjects Research Safety Plan include the following:
- Confirmation that the researchers have permission to restart by the funding sponsor, particularly if the sponsor paused the study.
- Confirmation that the researchers have permission to conduct the study in the location(s) proposed with the name of the person they spoke to obtain permission, as well as what mask, visitor, eyeglass protection, or other guidance or policies required by each site.
- What, if any, modifications have been made to enhance safety, such as distance techniques, where it is reasonable to do so, as well as the masking and cleaning protocol to be used.
- What COVID-19 screening questions will be asked of each research subject, and when they will be asked and by whom
- Acknowledgement that the study team is prepared to provide and have their own cleaning supplies and PPE for the study.
If you have questions about the process or the form, please contact the IRB through the RSS portal. 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
- Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of Funding
- 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
- UPDATED MAY 19 - Guidance for NIH-Funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19
Department of Defense