COVID-19 Information for Penn State Researchers

 


Official Communications | Managing Labs and Staff | Travel | College of Medicine and Penn State Health
Human Research Subjects | Animal Research Subjects| Grants and Contracts | COVID-19 Research| Unmanned Aircraft| Scientific Diving

 

Medical workers in laboratory.

The health of our Penn State community is critically important to us. As such, the Office of the Senior Vice President would like to share with you some important updates about the novel coronavirus situation, and we will continue providing updates as the situation unfolds.

The materials on this page are designed to help researchers think about necessary contingency plans, as well as to provide COVID-19-specific research information.

Remain flexible: Please be flexible and work with students or staff who may be facing health challenges to ensure their success. Students should be encouraged to stay home if they feel ill (as should you). Penn Staters may need support to finish a course or a work project if they are required to self-quarantine. As a reminder, students cannot be expected to share private health information with faculty.


Official University Communications and Updates

Official University communications, recommendations, and informational updates are being posted to the PSU Coronavirus Community Update Page.

Penn State has established key action groups, one of which is Research Support and Operations, to discuss and plan for a variety of considerations that could impact University operations. Please refer to this page regularly for updates relevant to the research community, and communicate the relevant portions to your colleagues, principal investigators, and other research team members.


Managing Research Groups, Labs and Staff

Principal Investigators should immediately begin preparing for all on-campus research to be reduced to essential research-related activities by March 24.

Please review the complete guidance for reducing research activities in Penn State labs here:

https://www.research.psu.edu/covid_labs

For Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) related questions, contact EHS at:

 

Undergraduate Research Experiences

Undergraduate and graduate students are permitted to continue working in labs if they are in town after November 20th. Students may not request to remain in an on-campus residence hall solely for the purpose of working in a lab. Undergraduate students, graduate students, external visitors, and visiting scholars must receive prior approval from the relevant academic dean for them to continue on-campus research.  Those who are already approved to work on campus do not need to be re-approved. All students and visitors must adhere to the standard operating procedures of the lab and be part of the person-count for square footage, scheduling, and any other relevant considerations. Faculty members cannot and should not require undergraduate or graduate students to come to campus, and undergraduate and graduate students who conduct on-campus research must be included in the research reductions and approaches to de-densification.  

Questions regarding staff time off or HR issues related to COVID-19 can be found at https://sites.psu.edu/virusinfo/faqs/.


Travel

All Other Penn State Research Personnel

The PSU Coronavirus Community Update Page provides information for those of you who are traveling to, from, or through countries rated CDC Level 2 and 3. Please be aware that anyone traveling through Level 3 countries will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Similarly, all visitors to campus (e.g., visiting scholars, faculty candidates) will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they have traveled to, from, or through CDC Level 3 countries, and thus you may need to consider canceling these visits or alternative forms of engagement with these individuals. University travel restrictions apply to everyone traveling on Penn State funds, including grants and contracts.

The most up-to-date travel information is available at: https://sites.psu.edu/virusinfo/traveler-info/.


Mitigating Impacts for Human Research Subjects

 This information applies to all Penn State researchers and personnel, including the College of Medicine and Penn State Health.

Revised standards for Human Subjects-Related Research Visits during COVID-19

The Revised Standards for Human Subjects Research were updated November 20, 2020.  Given the rapid acceleration of the prevalence of COVID-19, effective November 23 for the College of Medicine and all Penn State Health sites, studies involving in-person interaction with participants with no direct drug or device therapeutic benefit must pause. Research interactions with participants such as telephone contact, remote monitoring, or remote data collection may continue. Any observational study (whether inpatient or outpatient) that requires any additional in-person contact with subjects must be postponed until further notice.    

The Revised Standards apply to Penn State human subjects research, regardless of location, including international sites. All research that can be conducted remotely (via phone, Zoom, etc. – see FAQs below) should be conducted remotely.   

Due to biosafety concerns, and in conjunction with the CDC recommendations for specimen handling from COVID-19 patients, any study that aims to enroll COVID-19 subjects will require a modification to the protocol for IRB approval, which will include a biosafety review. COVID-19 patients cannot be enrolled on existing protocols without this modification approved. 

Please visit the Institutional Review Board (IRB) COVID-19 informational page.

Screening Patients or Research Subjects:

Information regarding the screening of subjects for COVID-19 is available on the College of Medicine Infonet and at  https://www.research.psu.edu/covid_orp_screening 


Mitigating Impacts to Animal Research Subjects

For COVID-19 information related to animal facilities and IACUC operations, please visit: https://www.research.psu.edu/covid_iacuc

 

Mitigating Impacts to Unmanned Aircraft Research

 For COVID-19 information related to animal facilities and IACUC operations, please visit:  https://www.research.psu.edu/covid_ua

 

Mitigating Impacts to Scientific Diving Research

 For COVID-19 information related to animal facilities and IACUC operations, please visit:  https://www.research.psu.edu/covid_dive


Impacts to Proposals, Grants and Contracts

For information related to proposals, grants and contracts, please visit: https://www.research.psu.edu/pandemic_response/grants_contracts

Please contact osp@psu.edu if you have any specific questions or concerns.


Research Involving COVID-19

Penn State is committed to research that has a positive impact on global health.

Sharing research findings: Please note that Penn State is a signatory on the Wellcome Trust statement supporting open access to research publications and preliminary research results related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more.

Sharing information within Penn State: The College of Medicine Special Pathogens and Penn State Health support staffs will be working to develop tools that allow sharing of selected information with relevant parties in the University. These developments, as well as Penn State Health's COVID-19 guide and a directory of canceled events will be updated here: https://med.psu.edu/coronavirus.