Opening Up Research

Important changes to research policies and procedures at Tufts during the COVID-19 pandemic

Following the update to the University's COVID-19 policies and procedures enacted June 1, 2021 and pursuant to State and local guidelines, the OVPR is announcing changes to a number of policies and procedures that have been in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes are effective immediately.

1. Research Space Density, Mask Wearing, Surveillance Testing & Dining  

  • Restrictions on occupancy of research spaces by faculty, students or staff are lifted; density increased to reflect 0 foot distancing
  • All core services can resume full operation.
  • 3-ply surgical masks must be worn in all Tufts spaces
  • Exceptions for close proximity research by the ISC and the related requirement for N95 respirators are no longer required for vaccinated individuals
  • Surveillance testing for COVID-19 to continue.
  • Indoor dining returns to pre-pandemic capacity and, as such, requires everyone, particularly those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, to use good judgment when it comes to their proximity to others while eating in any setting.

2. Research-related Travel

  • All domestic and personal international travel is allowed without restrictions. Therefore, Integrative Safety Committee (ISC) approval of domestic research travel is no longer required.
  • All Tufts-related international travel must follow the current review process, including approval by the dean or division VP’s office and review by the International Travel Review Committee (ITRC) for students and by the ISC for research-related travel
  • All travelers (personal and Tufts-related) must follow arrival quarantine protocols according to their vaccination status.
  • All travelers should be familiar with and follow local guidance at their destination.
  • Even if fully vaccinated, travelers should follow safe travel guidelines to protect themselves and others.
  • For details on arrival testing for both domestic and international travelers, see Testing at Tufts.

3. Domestic Face-to-Face Human Subjects Research

  • Allowed without ISC review unless categorized as containing procedures conveying higher risk of COVID-19 infection (as described on the OVPR website).
  • Research subjects who enter Tufts spaces must continue to respond to the COVID-19 questionnaire and must follow the Tufts University policy on wearing of face masks regardless of vaccination status.
  • Tufts researchers who interview subjects on the street or in indoor settings must wear face masks.
    • Subjects will be expected to abide by the rules governing the spaces in which the interviews occur (e.g. prisons, schools).

4. International Face-to-Face Human Subjects Research

  • All international face-to-face human subjects research must be reviewed by the ISC even if travel by Tufts personnel is not involved.
  • Given the wide variation in COVID-19 conditions internationally, mitigation plans are expected to vary depending on research site.
  • Tufts personnel and those working on behalf of Tufts must wear a face mask, and follow any local COVID-19 policies.
  • Research subjects are expected to follow local guidance.

5. COVID-19-related research not covered by one of the above policies no longer requires review by the ISC (e.g. remote surveys with COVID-19-related questions).

6. Hiring of individuals working abroad no longer requires ISC review. Export control review will continue.

7. A special town hall will be held on June 8, 2021 at 11 AM to discuss these policies and procedures and answer questions. Register for the town hall here.