In response to latest recommendations from the CDC, the University and the School of Medicine have issued updated guidance on COVID-19 safety. The OVCR has collected your questions regarding the impact of this new guidance on your research, and below you will find responses to the most frequently asked questions.
You may continue to submit questions, and this page will be updated as needed.
How can we know who has been fully vaccinated? As PIs or supervisors, are we allowed to ask our research personnel if they have been vaccinated?
Covid-19 vaccinations are not mandatory. We are relying on each member of our community to adhere to the guidelines based on their vaccination status and other considerations. Supervisors/managers should remind their personnel of the guidance, and ask them to follow it, based on their vaccination status, but should not ask them their vaccination status.
Are masks required for fully vaccinated people in hallways, elevators, lobbies, stairwells and bathrooms?
Yes, these areas, even in non-clinical spaces, are considered public spaces where masks are required regardless of vaccination status.
As a PI, can I ask my research team members for their vaccination status?
The Danforth Campus is asking students, faculty and staff to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status.
School of Medicine
Do research staff need to wear masks when sitting at open cubicles, if there are more than 30 people on that floor?
The Med School is already operating under the guidance that people can sit at their cubes unmasked, as long as the cubes are at least 6 feet apart, not facing each other and there are partitions higher than their heads when seated. However, when they walk around to common areas, such as coffee/water/printers/restrooms, etc., they should mask.
How does the new guidance effect those people who are unvaccinated or have other health risks (e.g. Immunosuppressed) and are in spaces that are too small to social distance (e.g. shared offices)?
Unvaccinated individuals are required to mask and maintain a 6 foot distance. If you are not fully vaccinated, speak to your supervisor about your need to have 6 foot distancing. People with medical issues (e.g. immunosuppression) that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, even if vaccinated, should also take precautions. Consult Occupational Health or your physician for guidance, and speak to your supervisor if you need an accommodation.
In some spaces, there are private offices and cubicles, but some studies might have research participants present in office areas, conference rooms, hallways or break areas. How will we know in advance to know whether vaccinated individuals in these spaces can unmask?
Individuals should openly communicate with nearby colleagues before bringing a research participant into private, semi-private, and non-clinical spaces. Hallways are considered public spaces, where everyone should mask. Research participants should not be brought into break areas where others are eating and drinking.
Can the requirement for face shields or eye protection for clinical research visits be reconsidered?
Any changes to personal protection equipment requirements for clinical and clinical research areas will be provided on the Faculty Practice Plan website.
In our lab, we have physicians come to the lab to do the bench work directly after the clinic shift. So in that case, the lab should be considered as non-clinic or clinic related?
If there are no patients or research participants in the lab, then the space should be considered non-clinical.
Can we have clinical trial monitors on site?
We still encourage remote monitoring when possible. If remote monitoring alone is not sufficient, the monitors are allowed to be in non-clinical spaces to do on-site monitoring. Visitors should still be screened, escorted, masked in the presence of others, and maintain physical distancing.
Do faculty, staff, and graduate students still need to work from home except when their presence on campus is necessary to complete their work, e.g., to work in a laboratory? Can we allow vaccinated grad students to work regular hours, unmasked, in shared office space?
Each Danforth school will provide guidance on their process for returning researchers/scholars (faculty, staff and students) to campus. Physical distancing is still required on the Danforth Campus. Individuals must have 6 feet of distance in a shared office, therefore scheduling may still be needed to achieve 6 foot distancing. Masking is optional for fully vaccinated personnel.
Will disclosure of vaccination status be required or voluntary?
The university is collecting data on vaccination status, and at this point in time, providing information about vaccination status is voluntary. However, we are encouraging people on the Danforth campus to submit their vaccination information, which will be critical for the Danforth campus to further relax COVID-19 precautions.
Follow these instructions to update your vaccination status. Note: Faculty and staff who received the COVID-19 vaccine through the university do not need to upload documentation.