Coronavirus Research Continuity Guidance

Clarification for Researchers of Cornell COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines Effective July 1, 2021

Updated Monday, August 16, 2021

As of June 1, many of Cornell’s COVID-19 public health guidelines were updated to more closely mirror those of New York State. Further relaxation of the guidelines were made starting July 1. (See Provost Announcements May 24 and June 21.) Accordingly, the research reactivation guidance previously found on this page has been discontinued. Researchers and research visitors follow the same guidelines as other students, staff, and faculty, as they are amended from time to time, with the following brief set of clarifications. 

Students and visitors participating in research activities will follow the same rules as faculty and staff. Following the  July 30, 2021 Tompkins County health advisory and the Provost’s announcements on July 30 and July 31, all individuals are required to wear a mask when inside non-private spaces in campus buildings or facilities.  Further guidance on when masks must be worn may be found on the EHS website.  

General Clarifications

  1. Fully vaccinated researchers, including student researchers and visiting researchers, may conduct field research together without masks and may travel to field sites together without masks or social distancing.
  2. Sanitization of surfaces between users is not required for pandemic mitigation purposes. This does not affect sanitization required as part of research safety, for example in animal and human participants research.
  3. Undergraduates are allowed in research without any additional restrictions.
  4. High School students are allowed in research but not allowed currently to live on campus following regular NYS and Cornell minors’ policies. No vaccination or testing is required for minors.
  5. Visiting researchers, other center users, and support staff for equipment maintenance, who are on campus for no more than five days per visit, do not need to enroll in the Daily Check or surveillance testing. However, their hosts must inform them and they must agree in writing not to come to campus on any day that the answer to one or more of these questions is yes:
    • In the last 3 days, have you been feeling any different from usual? Have you had any symptoms linked to COVID-19?
    • In the past 2 weeks, have you been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone that you think might have COVID-19?
    • Do you have any reason to think that you may have been exposed to COVID-19?
    • Have you ever tested positive for COVID-19?
  6. Unvaccinated visiting researchers, center users, and support staff who are on campus for more than one week must enroll in the Daily Check and surveillance testing.

Human participants research

  1. The guidelines for human participants are the same as for other visitors to campus. 
  2. If the research requires human participants to be less than six feet from each other or from researchers, then taking the participant’s temperature and asking basic screening questions before allowing participation is required.
  3. Requiring voluntary research participants to be vaccinated and asking for proof of vaccination are acceptable practices in human participants research. It is not acceptable to require students who are participating in a research project as part of a class or academic program to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination.
  4. When proof of vaccination or results of screening tests are obtained, retaining such proof is strongly discouraged. Best practice is to have someone view the proof and then simply record having “cleared” the subject to participate.

For more information, visit the IRB COVID-19 FAQ page.

Published on: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 1:54pm