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Restarting Community-based Research Activities

Published August 17, 2020

Dear Faculty, staff and trainees involved in community-based research and activities,

We have posted guidelines for ramping up our community-based research, community engagement and community partnership research activities from red level to orange level. These research activities are typically in-person and are conducted off-campus in public and private community venues and field environments.

The orange level is a transition phase which allows the reopening of some in-person community activities, provided that there is a strong justification for in-person interactions. This phase can include research that can follow all the necessary public health guidelines. This phase should be used as a trial period for PIs to resume the minimum amount of in-person activity needed to test the effectiveness of new procedures and safety precautions to reduce risk to researchers and community participants before moving to a larger scale of community activity.

During this level, the research should ramp-up slowly, with adequate time to evaluate the effectiveness of the plans following each encounter. Each PI should evaluate how well the plans were implemented, whether physical distancing, universal face coverings, and if hand hygiene were appropriately practiced during the community engagements. Plans may need to be modified, or certain activities may have to be curtailed if these elements were not able to be done safely.

Even though we are announcing that we are moving to the orange level, there is no requirement to transition immediately. We continue to emphasize that transitions should not occur until after rigorous plans/controls have been put in place to ensure the safety of community participants, research personnel and others, both during initial ramp-up of in-person community research activity and long-term continuing activities.

It is anticipated that the duration of time spent in the planning process (prior to moving to Orange Level) will vary substantially across research groups, Departments, or Schools, and will likely occurring over a period of several weeks for most areas. PIs are strongly encouraged to engage their community partners and research personnel in the planning process.

To enhance the safety of our research community, please follow our safety guidelines, ensure that our community participants and partners do the same, ramp-up slowly, monitor the effectiveness of your plans over time and make any needed adjustments.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to

Jennifer Lodge, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research