LAST UPDATED: August 28, 2020
The suspension of in-person human subjects research will be removed as of July 6, 2020; however, research personnel are still strongly encouraged to conduct human subjects research via remote activity whenever possible.
All in-person human subjects research protocols, under the auspices of UNL, will be allowed to resume activities on July 6, 2020. Research personnel are expected to follow all University policies and guidance or relevant federal guidance regarding performance of in-person research protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNL researchers who plan to resume in-person human subjects research must first provide a plan to demonstrate how their interactions with research participants can happen safely:
- Step 1: If your in-person protocol requires interactions where you cannot maintain social distancing or other safety guidelines (e.g. completion of an MRI, use of eye-tracking) then you must submit a request for exemption for physical distancing and face covering guidelines and receive approval from the University. (Note, this request for exemption should not be confused with a certification of exemption through the IRB, these are separate and distinct approvals. Also, if the exemption form does not open properly the first time, try again using a different web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.) Once your exemption is approved, proceed to Step 2.
- If you can carry out your in-person protocol while meeting social distancing/precaution requirements, you do not need to submit the exemption and can start with Step 2.
- Step 2: Whether you require an exemption approval for social distancing/face coverings requirements or not, prior to resuming in-person research, you must submit a plan to your department to demonstrate how in-person interactions will happen safely. The plan must be in accordance with University policies and guidance to ensure appropriate protection against the spread of the virus. This plan is supplemental to the space reopening plan required for all laboratories and creative activity spaces that details how the space is used on a routine basis by employees and students. Researchers should submit the following in-person human subjects research plan for review and approval by their department/school/center chair/head/director. Each research group should submit a single plan that covers activities in all their active projects. Please visit this form for completion and submission of your plan.
- Once you have completed Steps 1 and 2, as applicable, and as long as you already have an IRB approved protocol, you may move forward with resuming in-person human subjects research.
Please read the FAQs (link at the bottom of this page) to ensure you understand how this notification impacts your research.
This webpage has been developed to provide information to the UNL Human Subjects Research Community regarding COVID-19 related questions as it impacts current UNL IRB operations. The online resource linked below will be updated frequently as new information or operations develop, change and/or are implemented.
We are also continually monitoring any updates from the UNL COVID-19 Task Force. In addition, please ensure you are also reviewing the Office of Research & Economic Development’s COVID-19 research planning website.
Overall, Principal Investigators (PIs) should prioritize the health and safety of human subjects when deciding how to move forward with research activities. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator, including faculty advisors for student research, to ensure all necessary changes and/or guidance is known and implemented accordingly to ensure the health and safety of researchers and research subjects.
In an effort to assist IRB staff accommodating numerous COVID-19 requests, please take an extra moment to review the below FAQs and any referenced policies thoroughly. Following review of the below, if there are any questions related specifically to your research and how it impacts your project, please contact the UNL IRB at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Rachel Wenzl, RCS Associate Director, at 402-472-8196.
UNL IRB COVID-19 Human Subjects Research Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)