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The Office of Research Ethics remains open during the COVID-19 outbreak. As we slowly transition back to the office we continue to encourage you to continue to communicate with us through email. During this time we will do our best to respond to your communication and provide our normal level of service in as timely a manner as possible.

Human Participant Research Safety Plans are no longer required.

On July 21, 2021 SFU moved to a single university-wide Communicable Disease Plan that includes core public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. By adopting the Communicable Disease Plan this means that researchers no longer need to submit a Human Participant Research (HPR) Safety Plan if proposing to conduct in-person research. Instead, researchers can now indicate within their submission that they will follow the prevention measures outlined in the Communicable Disease Plan.

The BC Vaccination Card will be mandatory for certain discretionary activities, and SFU has developed and launched its Return to Campus Plan, which includes a mandatory declaration of vaccination status for all members of the campus community. For more information, please see the Research recovery guidelines below. Please note that because vaccination affects risk, and ethics approval is a risk-based process, the review of an ethics submission or amendment will take the above into account.

 

Research recovery guidelines

Remote HPR is still encouraged where possible, however in-person research is now permitted without having to submit an HPR Safety Plan. Instead, researchers must now indicate within their research ethics application that they will follow the prevention measures outlined within SFU's Communicable Disease Plan.

HPR and Vaccinations: SFU's research programs are also affected by the current stipulations in the Return to Campus Plan. The plan includes mandatory vaccination declaration for all members of the SFU community, and the requirement for a vaccination card to be produced for a range of discretionary activities. Principal Investigators have the right, but not the obligation, to add fully vaccinated status as inclusion requirement for research participants. In such a case the study consent form would clearly state that the participants would be required to provide evidence of their vaccination status at the start of the research study.

The fully vaccinated status as an inclusion criteria would also be clearly stated on all recruitment materials, including social media posts, so that participants will know right away whether they are eligible to participate.

For in-person research studies that involve SFU students as participants, once recruited to a research study, students move from being students to being research participants, where the requirement to provide evidence of their vaccination status may be required.

Principal Investigators can, but are not obligated to, require research study team members to be fully vaccinated for in-person research activities in order to mitigate the risk of COVID exposure. This may extend to all research study team members, including undergraduate and graduate student research team members.

For in-person research studies that involve SFU students as RAs, once assigned to a research study, RAs move from being RAs to being research study team members, where the requirement to provide evidence of their vaccination status may be required.

The consent forms for these studies would clearly state that the SFU research study team members are fully vaccinated, so that participants are aware of the steps the research team has taken to mitigate the risk of COVID exposure during the in-person research activities.

REB Review: If you wish to require fully vaccinated status as an inclusion criteria, please submit an amendment form that includes updated plans, consent forms and recruitment materials, as appropriate.

 

Last updated: September 15, 2021

Details

September 10, 2021 - Removal of all references to recovery stages and shift to Return to Campus Plan; Details on the option to require participants to be vaccinated, and what that implies for students and RAs; Removal of references to HPR Safety Plans and related reviews

July 29, 2021 - Content updated to reflect transition to Stage 3 of the Campus Recovery Plan

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