Research Restart Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions related to resumption of IU research under COVID-19 pandemic
Yes, research that can be conducted remotely, should continue to be for the foreseeable future. Similarly, parts of research that can be conducted remotely (e.g., writing, literature research, analysis of results and data, team meetings, presentations), even if connected with research that requires facilities or equipment on campus, should be conducted remotely when possible.
Research that requires special facilities, equipment, in-person contact with research subjects, access to protected data, or otherwise cannot be conducted remotely should be conducted on campus, provided that it may be conducted consistent with these guidelines.
Yes. “On campus” includes any facility owned, leased, or used by IU researchers, including satellite facilities and facilities controlled by third parties and other locations in which fieldwork or similar research is conducted.
For field work and other research conducted in facilities under the control of an entity other than IU, researchers must comply with the policies of that third party and with applicable law in that jurisdiction, in addition to these guidelines.
For research in patient care areas, it is especially important that researchers adhere to all requirements in effect for those areas.
Yes. As they become available, links to other restart reports will be provided.
The IU School of Medicine has already communicated its phased approach to restarting research by using this checklist. The school is using a similar checklist for restarting clinical research, which can be found within the IU School of Medicine research restart FAQ. This information is available on the IU School of Medicine Coronavirus COVID-19 website. Any specific questions about restarting research at IU School of Medicine should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research and related activities that can be conducted remotely are ongoing and may continue.
Research that requires special facilities, equipment, access to protected data, in-person contact with research subjects, or otherwise cannot be conducted remotely may be conducted on campus beginning June 1, 2020, provided that it can be conducted in compliance with these guidelines.
All researchers must fill out the Return to On-Campus Research form in advance of returning and no later than July 1, 2020.
There are two exceptions to the June 1, 2020, resumption date for on-campus research:
- On-campus research activities that are “essential” under the university’s Essential Research Activities Guidelines are currently permitted and may continue consistent with those guidelines until July 1, 2020. As required by the university’s Essential Research Activities Guidelines, PIs designating their research as “essential” must have completed the appropriate informational form.
- Research that requires the facilities of a third party may begin June 1, 2020, or at whatever date the third-party specifies, whichever is later, provided that the research can be conducted in compliance with these guidelines and with any requirements specified by the third party.
It is the committee’s hope that all on-campus research that can be resumed consistent with these guidelines will be able to restart no later than July 1, 2020.
These dates may change in the face of new information about COVID-19, new outbreaks, or changes in the capacity of our communities to respond.
Yes, prior to the resumption of on-campus research, PIs or research facility manager must first obtain the permission of campus research leadership. Permission may be obtained by submitting this online form, specifying that:
- The lab or other facility is prepared to comply with the requirements of these guidelines;
- Research personnel are aware of their responsibilities under these guidelines and have completed the Community Responsibility Acknowledgment form available online at [to come]
- The research will comply with all requirements of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Review Board (IRB), and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), as appropriate, including any special guidelines relating to COVID-19;
- The lab or other facility has access to the necessary PPE, disinfecting cleaning materials, and other supplies required to operate safely;
- The department chair, school dean, or other official to whom the lab or other facility reports has approved the resumption of research; and
- Any additional requirements imposed by campuses or schools for resumption of on-campus research have been met.
The requirement for permission is not intended to slow the resumption of on-campus research, but rather to ensure that on-campus research resumes in an orderly and safe manner, local and campus leaders are aware of which activities are resuming, cleaning services and other operations in buildings in which on-campus research is resuming are prepared, and that the university has accurate information about on-campus research activities that have resumed.
On-campus research activities that were designated as “essential” under the university’s Essential Research Activities Guidelines may continue without additional authorization until July 1, 2020, provided those activities otherwise comply with these guidelines. To continue the research beyond July 1, 2020, the PI/faculty member or designee must also fill out the return to on-campus research form no later than July 1, 2020.
There are a number of requirements outlined in the guidelines. These include:
- Maintain 6-foot physical separation between all individuals. In the rare cases in which this is not possible, those situations should be kept to the shortest time possible and surgical face masks should be worn.
- Work together to dedensify research facilities to no more than one person per every 60 square feet. Steps to achieve this include limiting the number of people permitted in a facility at any one time, working in shifts, and scheduling shared facilities and equipment. Sometimes a density of no more than one person per every 60 square feet cannot be maintained. Those situations should be kept to the shortest time possible and surgical face masks should be used. Incidental encounters with other people (e.g., passing in a hallway) are unavoidable, but should be reduced whenever possible, for example, by not sharing passenger elevators and limiting the number of people in restrooms and other common areas.
- Wear a cloth or similar face mask whenever the researcher is inside a university building or other research facility, except when alone in the individual’s own private office. The university will provide all researchers needing to work on campus with two reusable cloth masks. Researchers should have a mask with them at all times when on campus. Researchers are responsible for laundering their own masks.
- Use appropriate PPE whenever required by the nature of the research activity.
- Clean research equipment and “high-touch” surfaces in shared spaces. Shared equipment should be cleaned by each user, using appropriate disinfecting cleaning material provided by the university, both before use begins and after it is completed. Similarly, researchers should frequently clean “high-touch” surfaces (e.g., door handles, drawer handles, faucets, etc.) in shared spaces. The university will increase regular cleaning of common areas, but not scientific or other specialized equipment.
- Maintain good personal hygiene. This includes washing hands for at least 20 seconds with antibacterial soap (which the university will provide) regularly throughout the day and upon entering and before exiting all buildings, using hand sanitizer (which the university will provide) when hand-washing facilities are unavailable, and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Ensure symptomatic colleagues stay or return home as soon as symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing) develop.
- Comply with the university’s policy on checking for symptoms of COVID-19, testing for COVID-19, tracing people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, and quarantining people who test positive for COVID-19 or who are likely to have been exposed to it, as described by the Restart Committee.
- Participate in a “buddy” safety system so that any researcher working alone in a research facility in which dangerous chemicals, equipment, or other material are used has an identified “buddy” working elsewhere in the building or who is in contact electronically and is aware of the researcher’s presence in the facility.
- Complete a Community Responsibility Acknowledgment, available online.
- For research in patient care areas, researchers must also adhere to all requirements in effect for those areas.
- For fieldwork and other research conducted in facilities under the control of an entity other than IU, researchers must comply with the policies of that third party and with applicable law in that jurisdiction, in addition to these guidelines.
Colleagues who have a risk factor that poses a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are strongly advised not to participate in on-campus research at this time. These include:
- People 65 years and older
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
- People with severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
Students are critical to research at IU, and research plays an important role in their education, especially for graduate students. However, students also pose special concerns.
Graduate students may participate in on-campus research consistent with these guidelines. Graduate students should consult as appropriate with their faculty supervisors and/or graduate program advisors.
During the summer, undergraduates generally will not be permitted to participate in on-campus research. Exceptions may be approved by campus research leadership or the Vice President for Research in the unusual case in which an undergraduate’s participation is critical to the success of the research or the research is critical to their progress towards their degree, the student’s home is in the vicinity of the research facility, and the student wishes to continue participating in research and can do so in compliance with these guidelines.
In order for an undergraduate student to be considered for permission to engage in on-campus research, the undergraduate student exception request form must be filled out and submitted for review and approval.
No student—graduate or undergraduate—should be required or pressured to participate in on-campus research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visiting scholars are permitted in university research facilities provided they comply with these guidelines and have completed a Community Responsibility Acknowledgment and Agreement.
Visitors who are performing specialized services such as repairing equipment or providing training are permitted in university research facilities provided they comply with these guidelines.
Visitors who are making deliveries should remain outside of labs or other research spaces to the greatest extent possible; buildings housing research facilities should designate spaces to receive deliveries and from which researchers may collect those deliveries.
Casual visitors and researcher friends and family members are not permitted in university research facilities.
Research involving laboratory animals, human research subjects, or biological materials must also comply with the requirements of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Review Board (IRB), and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and any special guidelines that those committees issue.
Please contact your campus IACUC administrator, the Human Subjects Office, or the IBC office with further questions.
IU’s travel policy currently permits only “essential” out-of-state domestic or international university travel. Other out-of-state domestic or international travel on university business is prohibited. That policy is currently being reviewed.
For domestic travel only, the university will consider travel for research “essential” and permit it provided that:
- the research activities to be undertaken cannot otherwise be carried out without travel;
- the travel takes into account the considerations identified by the CDC for domestic travel; and
- fieldwork and other research conducted in facilities under the control of an entity other than IU complies with the policies of that third party and with applicable law in that jurisdiction, in addition to these guidelines.
Research that requires special facilities, equipment, access to protected data, in-person contact with research subjects, or otherwise cannot be conducted remotely, but that cannot be conducted consistent with these guidelines, will be reviewed on an individual basis by campus research leadership and the Vice President for Research, in cooperation with the Office of Research Compliance. Requests for exceptions should be sent to email@example.com describing the nature of the research, why it cannot be conducted in compliance with these guidelines, and why it should not wait until the pandemic has ended.
Effective Monday, June 1, 2020, all faculty, staff, students, contractors, suppliers, vendors, and visitors are required to wear cloth face coverings in all hallways, elevators, public spaces, and common areas, and when entering all IU buildings.
Cloth face coverings must also be worn in office spaces and outdoor spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
Wearing a face covering is not required in private offices or when alone in a space.
If your research protocols require N95 masks, surgical masks, disposable gloves and disposable gowns for which you do not have adequate supply to last 30 days, you may request these items using the appropriate IU Purchasing form.
Other specialty PPE for research may continue to be ordered through normal p-card or Buy IU processes.
For additional information regarding central supply of PPE by IU Purchasing, please visit the IU Purchasing COVID-19 Resource Center.
Daily pick-up or delivery of PPE ordered through the IU PPE warehouses will continue until supply chains normalize.
Be prepared to supply your name, department, protocol number, and account number for recharge to a unit or grant (IU Internal Audit and Purchasing will set the recharge rate).
Pick-up Location - IU Bloomington
1203 E. Matlock Road (Old Marching 100 building)
Monday - Friday, 9-11 am and 1-3 pm only
Delivery: Items are delivered to the location specified when completing the form. Monday - Friday, 8-11 am and 1-3 pm only.
Delivery: Items are delivered to the location specified when completing the form. Monday-Friday, 11am - 3:30 pm only.
Delivery information for regional campuses is available on the IU Purchasing COVID-19 Resource Center webpage.
The CDC has made clear that hand-washing with soap for 20 second or more is preferable to using hand sanitizer. Labs and other research facilities with sinks should use handwashing and not rely on hand sanitizer, especially since hand sanitizer is in high demand. If you have an immediate unmet need for hand sanitizer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
Use surgical tape (available at any drugstore) to tape the top of your mask to the ridge of your nose. This is what doctors do to prevent upward airflow that causes glasses to fog. Or you can place a folded tissue between the upper edge of your mask and your face. Cloth masks are less likely to fog than paper masks.