2021-2022 AY Guidelines for any Human Research and COVID-19

Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Allegheny College Institutional Review Board (IRB) hereby informs the Allegheny community that all research using human subjects must conform to the following guidelines established for maintaining human safety during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
As stated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Given the current circumstances, the research community is encouraged to prioritize public health and safety.

OHRP Guidance on COVID-19

Guidelines for fully vaccinated researchers:

All faculty, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated are permitted to go out into the community and engage in human subjects research. If possible, we prefer in-person, face-to-face research be conducted with participants who are also vaccinated.

Please note that the Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA) has a policy about visitors to campus that states, “All visitors to campus will be required to adhere to the health and safety protocols in place.” If your project involves bringing individuals to campus, please make sure to read ACHA’s rules found at https://sites.allegheny.edu/covid19/2021-2022-plan/ and speak to your COVID safety procedures in your IRB proposal. In particular, please note that unvaccinated visitors are not currently permitted inside of campus buildings.

Vaccinated students and faculty can be unmasked, on-campus if they are outside. Vaccinated students and faculty are expected to be masked when collecting data off-campus or indoors while on campus.

Guidelines for unvaccinated researchers:

For faculty, staff, and students who are unvaccinated, human subjects research needs to be conducted remotely (e.g., via Zoom or Google Meet) or must be conducted while maintaining a minimum of 6 feet distance from the participant for the entire research procedure. If you are unvaccinated you must be masked at all times (indoors or outdoors).

Ensuring Confidentiality

For research requiring remote interviews, investigators are urged to use online, college-approved platforms, such as Zoom or Google Meet. Up-to-date versions of these platforms must be used to ensure that security is maintained. When using online platforms to conduct research, investigators need to be sure that participants are adequately protected. Investigators also need to ensure that interviews are conducted in secure environments that protect the participants. For example, conducting interviews in spaces where conversations can be overheard or participants can be seen, must be avoided.

As would be expected in any data collection procedure, all data collected must be secured in a safe place and must follow IRB guidelines for protecting participants.

If you have further questions, please contact the IRB chair at IRB@allegheny.edu.

Updated October 8, 2021