A Staged Approach for Restarting UO Research Activity

Currently active recovery phases/stages:

Click here to review prior guidance from Stage 1 and 2.

Note: This webpage will be updated regularly to address new guidance.  Changes will be date stamped to highlight new information or policies. 

Updated October 13, 2021

Overarching Goal: To ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff while increasing research activity in a phased approach as public health guidance and safety conditions permit. The purpose of this document is to lay out a framework for staged re-engagement of on-campus research activities. Our framework is informed by the following principles and observations: 

Core Principles: 

  • We must support and protect the safety, physical, and emotional health of the research workforce.
    • Practical and safety considerations will dictate which activities are allowed in any given UO stage, space, or site.
    • Plans must be designed to protect research personnel from transmission of COVID-19 from research personnel, other UO employees and human subjects involved in research programs.
  • We must support and protect the wellbeing of human subjects research participants
    • Practical and safety considerations will dictate which activities are allowed in any given UO stage and space or site. 
    • Plans must be designed to minimize risks to human subjects including minimizing exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 while maximizing the benefits to human subjects
    • Plans for protecting at-risk populations, including those deemed higher risk for the impacts of COVID-19, must be strongly justified.
  • Planning and execution of fair, transparent, and accountable processes for access should engage the research community to identify needs and to find solutions that support our research mission.
    • Research groups and PIs will need to prioritize their on-campus activities, focusing especially on those that enable further remote work.
    • We must protect the careers of early stage faculty and researchers about to enter the job market.
    • We must also protect significant investments among our research community, including prioritizing ongoing longitudinal studies, cohorts, and associated data and prioritize efforts where clinical/direct public health services are benefiting the public. 
  • We will engage with leadership and health authorities regarding the best practices and will continue to comply with executive orders and health authority guidance from national, state, local, and university authorities.
    • Plans to re-engage research activities must anticipate changes in guidance and have provisions to adapt to new guidance, including the possibility that we may have to retreat to more conservative access to campus.
    • Plans will also need to describe procedures to ensure compliance with external orders/guidance and provide a mechanism for monitoring compliance internally.

Process for Reengagement in On-Campus Research Activities 

We understand that the disruptions to different types of on-campus research vary significantly across research areas. All plans are required to enable strict adherence to governmental physical distancing orders.  All research activities must comply with OVPRI enhanced cleaning and distancing guidance. 

Stages and Permitted Research Activities 

Click here to review prior guidance from Stage 1 and 2.

Stage 3: Implemented July 13, 2021

These guidelines apply to work completed on-campus, in the field, or with face-to-face human subjects research. All researchers must follow the guidelines described in the first section, “Research Activities and Safety Protocols.”  There are 3 additional sections that must be followed if applicable to your research. 

Research Activities and Safety Protocols

  • All research activities (i.e., lab meetings, research protocols, etc.) are permissible.
  • We encourage physical distancing and minimizing of close contacts, as defined by the CDC, where feasible. 
  • Follow all applicable OHA/OSHA, CDC, and/or UO policies on COVID-19 infection prevention and control.
    1. OHA Mask Guidance
    2. UO Mask Policy
    3. UO COVID guidelines and resources for infection prevention
    4. CDC and OHA infection control recommendations. 
    5. As part of these precautions, practice good hand hygiene.

On-Campus Research (if applicable)

  • Sanitize/disinfect high-touch point surfaces (multiple users, frequently touched) inside research spaces daily, including all shared equipment.
  • Follow all University and unit guidance for using any necessary on-campus services, such as research core facilities or IRB.  Consult with unit leaders before engaging in those activities.

Fieldwork (if applicable)

  • Follow UO travel rules and guidance and seek any required pre-approvals.
  • Follow guidance from any remote/fieldwork site affiliated entity (e.g. other school, institute, or location) to the extent that such guidance is not inconsistent with guidance issued by the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, or UO policies.

Face to Face Human Subjects Research (if applicable)

  • All research protocols are permissible, but activities that can be completed successfully while maintaining a distance of at least 6ft, should continue to be done in that manner.
  • Minimize direct physical contact with research participants through the use of PPE and/or physical barriers as needed.
  • Inform participants about the rules/guidance/activities allowed before their research visit.
    • Vaccinated research participants should follow UO/OHA guidance on masks as noted above.
    • Unvaccinated research participants may remove masks during a research protocol if it is required to obtain meaningful/accurate data. A physical barrier (e.g. plexiglass, face shield) must be used to separate research personnel and participants in cases where research personnel must be in the same room with an unmasked participant if either the researcher or participant is unvaccinated.
  • Discontinue human subjects research activities if participants and/or environment does not align with current CDC/UO guidance (i.e. mask compliance, unwillingness to follow safety guidance, etc.).
  • During periods of substantial or high spread, as defined by the CDC, only vaccinated research personnel should work with populations that are vulnerable/ have low vaccination rates (e.g. young children or immune-compromised), and that masks will be worn and physical distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible, following CDC guidance.