Campus Research Restart
Information for Research during COVID19 – June 18, 2021
OVCR Operational Information
Illinois and Chicago are in Phase 5 of Restore Illinois/Protecting Chicago. Current advisory recommendations made by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health to reduce COVID19 transmission are in effect. Current guidelines and information will be updated as needed.
Human subjects research Frequently Asked Questions (Updated March 31, 2021)
Research and COVID19
Research protocols that can be conducted without face-to-face contact are encouraged to continue to use IRB-approved alternate procedures. Protocols that are open and involve face-to-face contact are reminded to use masks, maintain six foot distance whenever possible, and use handwashing/sanitizer. All protocols that include face-to-face contact with subjects requires Human Subjects COVID19 Review. Applications to open or re-open IRB approved protocols should be submitted to OVCR through: https://uic.infoready4.com/#manageCompetitionsDetail/1817478 (UIC login is required). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about these requirements.
COVID19 Vaccines are available for all people >age 12 who work or live in Illinois (effective May 13, 2021)
All UIC faculty, staff and students are encouraged to be vaccinated. Researchers with human subjects or COVID19 patient materials contact are a priority group for COVID19 vaccines. Please visit https://hospital.uillinois.edu/primary-and-specialty-care/infectious-diseases/covid-19-coronavirus/vaccine or https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-plan-overview for more information about scheduling vaccines.
Ongoing COVID19 Precautions for All Researchers
All previous protocols remain in force: do not come to work if sick/symptomatic, wash your hands/use sanitizer, maintain social distancing of 6 feet, wear a mask, and avoid touching your face. If you have any symptoms or have been exposed to COVID – DO NOT COME TO WORK.
Visit this CDC website to learn more about COVID19 symptoms and how to prevent spreading the virus. Many symptoms of COVID19 mimic those of other, less serious illnesses. If you think you might have any symptoms of COVID19 do not come to work – call your healthcare provider or UI Health at 866-600-CARE to consult with a health care professional about whether you need testing and what you should do if you are having symptoms that include fever, cough or shortness of breath.
If you have had close contact (at a distance of less than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID19, you need to quarantine for 14 days. See UIC isolation and quarantine guidance. Call your healthcare provider or call UI Health at 866-600-CARE to determine if you need testing and to schedule COVID19 testing.
1. Animal Research and Care
The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) veterinarians and staff will continue to keep our animal research facilities open and provide care for all research animals. Staff have been added to withstand limitations to our workforce from illness and quarantine. In the event COVID19 cases continue to increase, BRL will suspend training wet labs, facility orientations for building access and lab visits. In addition, BRL will limit animal orders and ask investigators not to initiate new non-critical/non-COVID19-related research projects. These guidelines may change as circumstances change.
2. Research Resource Center
RRC core facilities will continue to maintain all research services within the limitations provided by city and state guidelines. RRC cores have moved many interpersonal interactions to online platforms where possible. These are now being used for meetings, project development, training and troubleshooting. All shared equipment rooms are limited to one user at a time per instrument; recommended social distancing and PPE use, along with limits to room occupancy, should be observed. Shifts are being scheduled to decrease personnel interactions and lower exposure risks for our staff and core users.
3. Human Subjects and Clinical Research
Please note: UI Health requires FACE SHIELDS in addition to masks for all face-to-face contact with individuals that occurs at a distance of less than 6 feet, regardless of subject’s COVID19 status. If a research protocol includes contact that is less than 6 feet away from a subject, both a face shield AND a mask should be used. Face shields are able to be cleaned and reused and are readily available from UIC central supply and other PPE vendors in the iBuy system. Please check with your college’s administrative environmental/facilities lead or procurement group to obtain face shields for your research staff. BioRAFT registration through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration Environmental Health and Safety Office is still required as this allows contact tracing and monitoring of staff training requirements. See https://research.uic.edu/covid-19ovcr/researchrestart1 for additional information and links to BioRAFT.
Should COVID19 infection prevalence rise again and/or the State or City require new restrictions on activity, IRB-approved studies may again be required to defer face-to-face non-therapeutic activities. The OVCR COVID Research Advisory Committee, led by AVCR Jonathan Klein, will continue to make these assessments with close collaboration from faculty and healthcare system leadership.
As has previously been noted:
- Therapeutic studies and COVID19 studies are able to continue without change.
- Studies that are able to be conducted without face-to-face contact with subjects are able to continue without changes.
- The IRB will continue to expedite review of modifications needed to allow studies to be conducted without face-to-face contact.
- COVID19 therapeutic studies in UI Health settings will continue to require coordination with the UI Health CMO and CNO Offices through the COVID Research Advisory Committee.
Please email email@example.com with any questions. Also, as always, please let us know if you are experiencing any issues or problems with your research protocol.
4. OVCR Administrative and Compliance Functions
There are no planned changes to any OVCR administrative or compliance services. The OSP website landing pages will be updated with any changes in sponsor-specific guidelines or program updates relevant to research.
OVCR Operational Information
Guidance by Office
Latest Update: 6/15/2021 - Information provided on October 19, 2020 remains current
Access to the main BRL office entrance and COMRB Animal Facility north entrance is available to all staff M-F from 8:30 AM to 4:00 pm. All research staff and visitors entering the BRL and COMRB animal facilities during this time must complete an onsite temperature check and a wellness survey to obtain facility access through these two entry points. Card readers at other entrances are inactivated M-F 8:30 to 4:00.
Card readers at all entrances will be activated between 4:00 PM and 8:30 AM M-F as well as on weekends and holidays.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirement
All research staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask or face covering upon entering animal facilities. Face masks as well as gloves and hand sanitizer will be available at all animal facility entrances. To conserve PPE, research staff are allowed to wear the same masks between animal rooms. NOTE: All PPE, including face masks, must be removed and replaced when exiting from BSL2, chemical hazard, or quarantine rooms prior to entering another room.
Social Distancing & Occupancy Limits
Social Distancing: Research staff working in animal facilities must practice social distancing, i.e. maintain a six-foot distance whenever possible. The nature of some research projects precludes social distancing in which case it is imperative that staff are wearing a full complement of PPE.
0ccupancy Limits: No more than one lab group (maximum two people) should be present in an animal or procedure room at a time. Research staff must follow room specific occupancy limit signs posted throughout the animal facilities at all times.
Room Scheduling: To promote social distancing, BRL has developed an online calendar to schedule rodent animal room and procedural space use within the BRL, COMRB and MBRB animal facilities. This calendar can be found under the “Room Request Calendar” quick link. You will need to select a building, the room type (animal room vs procedure room) and then choose from the list of room numbers to access an individual room calendar. Room use should be scheduled sufficiently ahead of time (at least 30 minutes in advance). Room use without scheduling in advance will be on a first come first serve basis until the next scheduled activity occurs.
Latest Update: 6/15/2021 - Information provided on March 25, 2020 remains current
Updated FAQs: (March 25, 2020)
- How should I communicate with OACIB?
In response to the COVID19 pandemic and recommended social distancing, OACIB is operating remotely and will continue until further notice. During this time, general questions and concerns, and protocols and protocol modifications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line appropriately completed. A member of the OACIB staff will respond to the inquiry and/or acknowledge receipt of the submission. Do not submit questions or documents to a specific employee during this time.
- Will my submission be reviewed?
Please note that during this time of remote operation, OACIB will triage submissions in order to accommodate projects with active ongoing animal experiments. The highest priority will be given to protocols undergoing triennial renewal and in “Just in Time” as well as modifications to protocols in which animals are currently being used in an experimental study. New protocols and/or modifications requesting to conduct new experiments will be considered a lower priority as research staff are not to initiate new studies at this time. As a result, protocols and modifications categorized as low priority may experience a delay in the review process compared to previous submissions. The intent, however, will be to review all submissions in as timely a manner as possible during this unprecedented time.
Latest Update: 6/15/2021 - Information provided on November 16, 2020 remains current
- COVID19 OSP Information (Updated: November 16, 2020)
Latest Update: 6/15/2021 - Information provided on June 3, 2020 remains current
As of June 8th, Research Resources Center (RRC) cores will begin to work on all projects and services as well as open shared equipment schedules. There will be new guidelines issued by each core due to COVID19 for the use of shared equipment, sample drop off, etc. We expect delays for new projects and services due to the collection of backlogs, and we kindly ask for your patience and understanding during this transition time. Please reference each core’s new user guidelines before requesting services, projects, or scheduling equipment. All questions or inquiries must be sent over email and/or scheduled over phone call/video conference call. ( Updated: June 3, 2020)