Published August 31, 2020
As of today, we have updated guidance for undergraduate students participating in in-person research activities. Faculty who wish to have undergraduates participate in in-person research, must add the undergraduate to their research ramp-up plan, and have these reviewed by the entity that is reviewing and approving their plans (in some schools, this is done at the school level and at others, it is done at the department level). Remote research (reading the literature, preparing reports, analyzing data, writing code, developing algorithms, filling out surveys etc.) are still strongly encouraged as research activities, and all undergraduates may engage in remote research without being included in the research ramp-up plans.
Undergraduates can engage in the following in-person research activities:
- Laboratory-based research for credit or pay, as long as their hours are factored into the laboratory schedule and the plan approved by the Department or School where the research is occurring.
- Clinical research for credit or pay, as long as their hours in the clinical areas are factored into the plan approved by the Department or School where the research is occurring. Undergraduates should not be engaging in activities that require close proximity (within 6 feet) to research participants.
- Non-clinical human subjects research for credit or pay, as long as their hours are factored into the schedule and plan approved by the Department or School where the research is occurring. Undergraduates should not be engaging in activities that require close proximity (within 6 feet) to research participants.
- Community-based research if the undergraduate is included in the plan approved by the Department/School.
- Field studies as long as the undergraduate is factored into the plan approved by the Department/School.
All undergraduate students engaging in in-person research must be provided with a copy of the COVID-19 plans for their research area and any common areas that they will enter. These plans should be reviewed with the student prior to any work beginning. The PI of the research group is responsible for ensuring that the student has been properly trained and is adequately supervised, and the student must agree to follow the safety plans and guidelines. All undergraduate students coming on campus to work must complete the Return to Campus training in Learn@Work before coming onto campus and complete the COVID-19 self-screening each day.
Undergraduates can participate as an in-person research subject as long as the Washington University public health guidelines (universal masking when indoors, physical distancing of at least 6 feet, frequent handwashing, disinfection of commonly touched surfaces, daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms) can be followed during the course of the experiment, and the undergraduate is at low risk for developing severe disease according to the CDC guidelines. All this information should be documented in the research group’s plans.
See the guidance for undergraduate students in research during COVID-19 page for additional information.
Jennifer Lodge, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research