July 29th, 2021

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) continues to monitor conditions in North Texas using metrics developed through collaboration with a team of faculty advisors.  These metrics indicate the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the DFW area is steadily increasing. Additionally, CDC guidance was recently updated to recommend fully vaccinated individuals wear face coverings in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. North Texas is currently considered a substantial transmission area. 

In light of the increased risk to human safety, effective immediately, researchers are required to elect one of the following options: 

  • Face Masks: Investigators can elect to voluntarily wear face mask while interacting with research participants. 

OR 

  • Proactive Testing Program: Regardless of prior opt-out status, investigators can enroll in the UTD proactive testing program. 
    • All researchers who choose this option are required to test negative for COVID-19 no less than one week prior to testing sessions with research participants.
    • The study PI is responsible for maintaining COVID-19 testing documentation for all study members.
    • Please note:  Research personnel not eligible for opting out of the testing program prior to the date of this memo must continue their enrollment in the Proactive Testing Program regardless of whether or not they choose to voluntarily wear face coverings. 

Additionally, all investigators are required to have face masks available for participants should they choose to wear a mask.   

For studies that have obtained IRB approval to resume in-person procedures are not required to submit modifications to facilitate the changes outlined above, unless changes are made to approved study materials (consent forms, recruitment scripts, etc.).

The Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) primary objective is to ensure the health, welfare, and safety of research participants and to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus during the course of human subjects research.

View training on Social and Ethical Responsibility of Conducting Academic Research in the Pandemic Era.

Please contact me at amanda.boone@utdallas.edu to address any questions or concerns.