This advisory serves to inform Georgia Gwinnett College researchers involved in human subjects research projects who may have questions regarding how limitations of on-campus activities will impact the ability to collect data.

GGC is adhering to GDPH and CDC public health guidelines that include social distancing, hand hygiene, and mandatory mask-wearing while on campus, and researchers are expected to follow these guidelines. This includes research conducted face-to-face, such as interviews, or research conducted in a lab.

When conducting research off-campus, efforts should be made to avoid face-to-face human subjects research and to instead use alternative methods to collect data. In situations when face-to-face contact is required, all human subjects interactions must fully comply with all GDPH and CDC risk mitigation and safety guidelines or the risk mitigation and safety guidelines applicable in the jurisdictions where research is being conducted.

Researchers whose research projects had been previously approved by GGC’s IRB are not required to again obtain approval and may resume their previously approved research so long as they maintain the safety guidelines of GDPH and the CDC.

Researchers are encouraged to review COVID-19 guidance issued by the federal Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). In many cases, COVID-19 related precautions will not require IRB review. More from the OHRP:

  • OHRP advises that “actions taken for public health or clinical purposes, and not for research purposes, are not research procedures and therefore do not require IRB approval before being implemented. For example, if a hospital implements mandatory clinical screening procedures related to COVID-19 for all people who come to that institution, including research subjects, these screening procedures do not need to be reviewed by an IRB before they may be implemented.” More from the OHRP:
  • If the precautions you take with your study subjects are mandatory COVID-19-related precautions for all individuals who come to your college, school, institute, or department’s facilities, they are not research procedures and advance IRB review and approval are not required.
  • If you will implement precautions specific to your study subjects and the precautions are not mandatory COVID-19-related precautions for all individuals who come to your college, school, institute, or department’s facilities, submit an amendment for advance IRB review/approval.
  • If research procedures already described in an IRB-approved application will change to accommodate COVID-19-related precautions, submit an amendment for advance IRB review and approval.

The IRB is available for consultation regarding the possible need for changes to informed consent forms or research-related procedures. Any change to an approved study must be reviewed and approved by the IRB in advance.

Guidance is subject to change, so please refer to the site regularly for the most up-to-date information. If you have questions not addressed there, please contact the IRB at irb@ggc.edu.

Thank you for your dedication to the rights, safety, and welfare of research participants at GGC.