Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Research

August 17, 2021

To: Faculty, students and staff; including Department Chairs and Department Lead Administrators 

Dear Colleagues,

I write first to inform you that, to better align with overall Yale public health protocols, we are retiring our previous ‘Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3’ COVID research reactivation stages in favor of the ‘red, orange, yellow, green’ alert levels that the rest of the university currently employs. Registration through EHS Integrator, implemented to monitor and track on-campus personnel and COVID-specific safety plans during the pandemic, will also be eliminated. The research community will still be required to adhere to all on-going University safety measures such as the current mask mandate and any other mitigation measures indicated by the Public Health and Safety committee. 

The only COVID-specific research guidance that persists applies to research involving Human Subjects and/or Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork. That information is summarized below:

Beginning in May of 2020, Yale required all researchers conducting human subjects research and/or research at off-campus locations to take extra steps before resuming or initiating their research activities. Those steps were designed to mitigate COVID-19 transmission risks to researchers, subjects, and the communities in which Yale researchers work around the world, and they were overseen by two specially appointed committees of faculty, trainees, staff, and administrators: the Human Subjects Research Review Committee and the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork Review Committee. Although current circumstances continue to demand enhanced attention to research safety, we are streamlining our review and education processes. 

The following changes will go into effect on August 18, 2021:

  • Researchers engaged in human subjects research will be required to complete a supplement to their existing or new human subjects protocol(s), and review of these supplements will be undertaken by members of the Yale Human Research Protection Program. 
  • Researchers planning to conduct research at any off-campus locations should complete a newly developed educational Travel Self-Assessment before traveling or initiating off-campus research–whether that research will be undertaken directly by Yale affiliates or those (e.g. local contractors) acting on their behalf. Some campus units may require submission of a copy of this self-assessment in order to disburse research funds. 
  • Researchers planning off-campus research that is covered by a human subjects protocol should take both of the above steps. 
  • Researchers whose plans have already been approved through the EHS Integrator process or who have been exempted from review via an earlier self-assessment tool do not need to re-submit their plans. 

Please visit the COVID-19 Guidance page on the Research at Yale website for more detailed information about these new processes. 

Michael Crair
Vice Provost for Research