TO:Charles River Campus Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students
FROM:Gloria Waters, Vice President and Associate Provost of Research
Kate Mellouk, Associate Vice President, Research Compliance
Pamela Richmond, IRB Director, Charles River Campus
DATE:March 16, 2020
SUBJECT:COVID-19 Update on Research Activity

We are writing as a follow-up to our message of March 10 in which we provided guidance for preparing your laboratory to minimize the impact of disruptions related to COVID-19, and the guidance issued on March 12 from the CRC IRB office advising Investigators and research sites to consider procedures to keep participants and research staff safe.

Given the evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are attempting to limit the rate of spread of disease and protect our community as best we can, while limiting the loss of critical research resources and momentum. At this point, we are asking everyone to plan to minimize lab activity to the greatest extent possible, and to plan for the period of minimal activity to be ongoing for several weeks. The measures outlined below should be in place by 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 19. Our major goal at this time is to minimize social interactions, as well as the density of people in our lab by prioritizing the most critical activities. As much research as possible should be conducted remotely.

We are asking researchers to:

  • ensure that any work that can be done remotely is done off campus
  • delay or stop any work that can be stopped
  • limit the work done on campus to long-term experiments and activities that would generate significant financial and data loss if not completed; this includes work to maintain critical samples and animal populations
  • reduce the density in laboratories to 3 or fewer essential personnel
  • hold lab meetings remotely

Each PIPrincipal Investigator View Boston University's policy on... will be responsible for identifying essential personnel and prioritizing lab personnel if more than 3 people per lab sign up to be in the lab on a particular day. All labs must implement social distancing and other best practices and develop plans that minimize close contact.

Labs should consider the supply chain and reach out to sourcing for assistance in evaluating and addressing supply chain vulnerabilities.

For human subjects research, no human subjects should be tested unless there are very special circumstances. This includes on campus and field work. Exceptions to testing human subjects are:

  • testing subjects who have already begun to be tested and for whom testing is essential to avoid an irretrievable loss of data
  • human subjects research that holds the potential for direct benefit to the subject (e.g., investigational drug, devices, or surgical procedures) and the interaction is required to deliver that potential direct benefit
  • if you are testing human subjects, please contact Ann Zaia, Director of Occupational Health, at azaia@bu.edu or Occupational Health Services at 617-353-6630 to ensure that an appropriate screening protocol is in place

This is a developing situation. Please understand that while we are planning for a low level of continued lab activity, a further shutdown may be imposed on us, over which we will have no control.

For more information as it becomes available, please visit COVID-19 Updates for Researchers on the Research Support website, or submit questions using this form. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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