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R. Milton & Denice Johnson Center

COVID-19 Update

Given the declining rates of COVID-19 infections and Belmont University mask optional policy announced on February 23, 2022, the Belmont Institutional Review Board (IRB) will implement the following for in-person research at Belmont or conducted by Belmont investigators.

  • All in-person research (exempt, expedited, or full board review) may be submitted to the IRB for review regardless of research type or setting.
  • Investigators must follow current Belmont University COVID-19 guidelines or COVID-19 guidelines at outside facilities (i.e., hospitals/clinics), whichever is more stringent. Belmont University COVID-19 guidelines may be found at https://www.belmont.edu/covid/current-health.html
    • Masks are not required. If an investigator wants to include masking as a requirement in their protocol, this is permitted by the IRB. If a participant wants to wear a mask during participation, then they are allowed to wear a mask, unless this is explicitly stated in the protocol as an exclusion criterion (ex: protocol requires viewing of the full face in order to participate).
    • Investigators should allow participants to physically distance themselves if they choose unless this is explicitly stated in the protocol as an exclusion criterion (ex: the protocol requires the participant and researcher to interact in a setting not permitting distancing).
    • The Belmont University COVID-19 symptom tracker may be included in a research protocol. If a student researcher will be checking another student’s symptom tracker, then this must be clearly outlined in the informed consent for the participant.
  • Research conducted at outside clinical practice sites such as hospitals or medical clinics should follow the clinical practice sites’ COVID-19 precautions and describe those precautions in the research protocol.
  • Investigators with active in-person research protocols approved prior to March 25, 2022, may submit an amendment to align the protocol with the above guidance. Submission of an amendment is not required if an investigator wants to continue with pre-March 25, 2022 COVID-19 precautions (i.e., masking, temperature checks, etc.).
  • Any research that was previously paused or suspended may contact the IRB about moving back to active status.