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Important Update to Human Subjects Research and COVID-19

Dear UCA Research Community,

Institutional Review Boards (IRB) are charged with protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects and supporting the university’s research mission. Given that mission, the rapidly evolving circumstances regarding COVID-19, and the University of Central Arkansas’ focus on the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and the community, the Office of the Provost, the Sponsored Programs Office, and UCA’s IRB have come together to revise our standards related to research involving human participants that requires face-to-face interaction.

Effective immediately and until further notice, research interactions with human research participants must be performed remotely (e.g., phone or other university-supported online tools such as WebEx, Qualtrics, etc.), unless approved by the IRB Chair under one of two conditions (Exception for Essential Research Visits):

  • Condition 1: The research procedure(s) is essential to ensure participant health, safety, or wellbeing (see the Exception for Essential Research Visits described below).
  • Condition 2: Graduate students who must continue their research to graduate in the spring (see the Exception for Essential Research Visits described below).

Exception for Essential Research Visits

Please note: The need for face-to-face research visits is extremely unlikely given the UCA research portfolio.

Face-to-face essential research visits must adhere to current guidelines in order to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19 for study participants and research staff. To request an exception for an essential research visit, researchers must:

  1. Request permission from the IRB Chair (Dr. Jacquie Rainey, jacquier@uca.edu) to proceed with in-person research procedures.
  2. Using a series of screening questions, remotely screen all study participants just prior to an in-person visit for possible exposure to the novel coronavirusCOVID-19 or symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing just prior to an in-person visit. Questions to ask are posted below. Research participants with possible exposure or symptoms may not participate in face-to-face interactions until after the time recommended by current public health guidance. Remote screening prior to in-person visits does not require prior UCA IRB approval.
  3. Before each face-to-face interaction, ensure daily that all research staff who interact with participants are symptom-free and have not knowingly been exposed to COVID-19.
  4. Stay aware of and abide by all applicable recommendations, policies, and actions of federal and state public health authorities, University of Central Arkansas, non-UCA facilities where research is conducted, etc.

As of this posting, guidance in Arkansas includes not gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Please follow all CDC guidelines, including maintaining a distance of at least 6-feet to avoid the person-to-person spread of COVID-19.

Required Screening Questions

  1. Have you or members of your household traveled to a state with a Shelter-in-Place order in the last 14 days? Or to any state with an order similar to a Shelter-in-Place order, regardless of the term used by the state, in the last 14 days? If yes, Where?
  2. Have you or members of your household traveled internationally in the last 14 days? If yes, where?
  3. Have you or members of your household been diagnosed with COVID-19 (caused by

the Coronavirus) or been asked to self-quarantine due to potential exposure to the

Coronavirus?

  1. Are you or any members of your household experiencing flu-like symptoms?

Please do not hesitate to contact the IRB Administrator Kimberly Ashley-Pauley, researchcompliance@uca.edu) or the IRB Chair (Dr. Jacquie Rainey, jacquier@uca.edu) with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your understanding.

Dr. Patricia Poulter, Provost

Dr. Jacquie Rainey, Professor and Associate Dean, IRB Chair

Kimberly Ashley-Pauley, Research Compliance Officer


Research is the pathway to innovation in scientific and academic activities. In keeping with the core values of the University of Central Arkansas to maintain an atmosphere of intellectual excellence and integrity, the Office of Research Compliance provides support to faculty, students, and staff in their research endeavors. We work with faculty oversight committees to promote ethical and responsible conduct of research in the realms of human and animal subjects protections, conflicts of interest, intellectual property, and export control.

All members of the University community share responsibility for maintaining a climate of trust between scholars, researchers, and students, and between the academic community and the public. The Office of Research Compliance supports the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that all institutional, state, and federal regulations are being followed, while at the same time developing a system wherein all UCA researchers have adequate tools, knowledge, and support to maintain the highest ethical and legal standards of research conduct.

 

Contact Us

Research Compliance Office
Torreyson West, Ste. 328
Conway, AR 72035
Phone: 501-852-7460
e-mail: researchcompliance@uca.edu