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questions and answers are available

I am a postdoctoral scholar on a J-1 visa. Will there be a change to my visa status?

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No. For postdoctoral scholars on J-1 visas, the International Center (internationalcenter@tufts.edu, https://icenter.tufts.edu) has indicated that no change to visa status will take place since work hours and duties will not be curtailed.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 1:57pm

Will the IRB provide “blanket approvals” for modifications to study procedures to allow for remote/virtual participation?

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No, the IRB cannot provide blanket approvals for modifications to approved protocols, as each study is different and the changes in study procedures must be assessed based on a given study. You are welcome to come up with standard language to use in your modifications if you need to submit changes for multiple studies, but a modification will need to be submitted for each active protocol.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 12:30pm

Are the libraries open?

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Tufts libraries continue to provide resources and remote assistance for research and teaching, including consultations, workshops, and the addition of digital materials to our collections. Most Tufts Library spaces are still closed to the public. We have resumed some services that require staff to be on site, such as Scan & Deliver, and contactless borrowing of physical materials. Please visit the Tisch Library website to find library-specific information and contacts.

Please continue to hold on to any library materials in your possession. All due dates are extended to December, and all fines and late fees generated during the COVID-19 pandemic will be waived. If you must return materials for any reason, please use the 24-hour book return near the entrance of Tisch Library. 

Last update: Monday, Aug 17, 2020 - 10:16am

I am interested in doing COVID-19 research. Do I need approval to initiate such research?

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Yes. To ensure the needed resources are available and the appropriate safety measures are in place, all COVID-19 research projects conducted by Tufts researchers, regardless of project type and funding source, must be approved by the Integrative Safety Committee. To submit your COVID-19 research project for review, complete the form found here. The Integrative Safety Committee meets on a weekly basis to review projects.

You can also join the COVID-19 Research Group which meets virtually. This groups includes researchers from Tufts and Tufts Medical Center. For more information, please contact covid19research@tufts.edu.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:09pm

I am interested in doing COVID-19 research. Are there funding opportunities for this type of work?

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Yes. Sponsor agencies continuously release funding opportunities for COVID-19 research. A summary of what is currently available can be found here.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:08pm

I am a student whose research has been impacted by the suspension of on-campus research activities and/or face-to-face human subject research activities. What if this affects my ability to complete educational requirements?

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Please contact your faculty advisor and/or academic advisor with any questions or concerns about educational requirements for your course or degree. 

In addition, the OVPR has assembled a number of tools and other resources to help you meet your goals while working remotely. Please contact GPS@tufts.edu to schedule a consultation on how to utilize our Goal Progression Support (GPS) programming.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:07pm

What should I prepare for in a modification to submit to the IRB if I want to move to remote/virtual participation?

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Suggested modifications to study procedures and documents: 

  • Mail or email study materials; 
  • Transition to online questionnaires & surveys; 
  • Move to Telephone/WebEx/Zoom participation; 
  • Change compensation methods for studies that currently involve face-to-face payment; 
  • Add remote consent procedures, if standard written consent is required
  • Request waivers of documentation of consent (e.g., requests to use verbal consent with documentation in a consent log, or use “click consent” via secure survey) 

The IRB strongly advises researchers to use Tufts Technology Services (TTS) pre-approved resources (e.g., Qualtrics and WebEx/Zoom conferencing) in lieu of other apps or software when requesting changes to allow for remote participation. If requesting to use other online platforms or software, researchers should be prepared for delays in review and approval to allow for a Tufts Information Security assessment.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:04pm

Does the suspension of face-to-face human subjects research activities apply to international research and/or research at non-Tufts locations?

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Yes. Face-to-face human subjects research activities performed internationally and/or at non-Tufts locations are suspended. This includes work performed on behalf of Tufts by enumerators or contract organizations. 

Any exception requests must:

  • Receive approval from the PI’s respective school-based research dean and/or academic dean, and/or center director.
  • Receive an evaluation from Tufts Global Operations. Please contact Claudia Jackson or Elisabeth Keegan to submit study details and information about local COVID-19 infection rates, any country-wide or local advisories or orders and other relevant factors for assessment.
  • Receive approval from the Integrative Safety Committee (only after the above approvals are secured). To submit a request to the Integrative Safety Committee, complete the form found here. 

Note, as of August 1, 2020, face-to-face human subjects research where there is a lower risk of COVID-19 exposure resumed as part of Phase 2 of research ramp up upon approval from the investigator's respective Research/School Dean or Designate. Please see the research ramp up website for more information.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:03pm

Do I have to suspend human subjects research activities if they are not face-to-face?

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Research activities that do not involve face-to-face interactions with human research subjects and can occur remotely may continue. 
 
For studies that do not currently include remote/virtual participation or that need to expand remote/virtual activities, you may submit modifications to include this flexibility where appropriate. 

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:02pm

What face-to-face human subjects research activities are suspended?

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In keeping with the need to minimize social contact, almost all human subjects research activities involving face-to-face interactions are suspended until further notice. 

The only exceptions are for clinical and human subjects research studies where:

  • the research holds the potential for direct benefit to the subject (e.g., investigational drug, devices or surgical procedure) and the interaction is required to deliver that potential direct benefit; 
  • there is collection of safety data (based on clinical judgment of the importance of the visit to detect potential adverse events); 
  • the PI determines that an in-person visit is vital to the subject’s safety and/or well-being, 
    there is an Emergency Use / Compassionate Use / Humanitarian Use Devices (HUDs) of investigational drugs or devices; 
  • and/or the research has direct relevance to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the research cannot be conducted at another time (must be approved first by your research dean and or dean/center director, the Integrative Safety Committee and the relevant regulatory committees).

Note, as of August 1, 2020, face-to-face human subjects research where there is a lower risk of COVID-19 exposure resumed as part of Phase 2 of research ramp up upon approval from the investigator's respective Research/School Dean or Designate. Please see the research ramp up website for more information.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:01pm

I am a postdoctoral scholar. Will I continue to be paid if I am working from home?

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Yes. At this time all staff working at home will continue to be paid consistent with applicable policies, procedures, and performance requirements. If you need to take time away from your work while you are working from home because you are ill, use your sick time. If you need to take away from your work while working from home to care for a child who is home due to a school or day care closure, or to care for a dependent, use your family sick time. 
 
If you do not have any sick time available, or any other paid time off to continue your pay status, please discuss your situation with your supervisor or your human resources business partner. The university will advance sick time for up to 20 days so you may stay home during a COVID-19 illness, during an illness resulting from COVID-19 or to care for a dependent during this time.

In addition, the OVPR has assembled a number of tools and other resources to help you meet your goals while working remotely. Please contact GPS@tufts.edu to schedule a consultation on how to utilize our Goal Progression Support (GPS) programming.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 1:59pm

What are some examples of research activities that can I do while working from home?

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  • Writing grant proposals 
  • Literature review 
  • Writing thesis chapters or articles for publication
  • Conducting analyses 
  • Compiling data and/or synthesizing important research 
  • Complete additional online trainings and certifications 

For a full guide to remote resources and assistance, please see the OVPR’s Goal Progression Support (GPS) programming or contact GPS@tufts.edu to schedule a consultation.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 1:58pm

These FAQs are subject to change. Please check back here for the latest guidance. If you do not  find the information you are looking for, please send an email to COVID19@tufts.edu.