OVPRI Human Subject Research Protection Blog

The VCU Human Research Protection Program is dedicated to facilitating ethically and scientifically sound research through robust review of research projects and through effective education and outreach to the VCU research community.

The HRPP reminds all investigators and study teams that masking indoors has been reinstated throughout the University and remains in effect for health system facilities. 

Study teams remain responsible for following all applicable federal, state, local, and institutional public health requirements, regardless of the vaccination status of the participants or study team members. 

Here are a few examples of times when VCU has indicated that a research participant may remove their face covering when they are at VCU/VCU Health:

  • If the research participant is eating. 
  • If the research participant is in a space alone, for example working in an office alone, they can remove their face covering if they wish to do so. However, the study team should have disinfection procedures in place. Masking in common areas and conference rooms is required. 
  • If the research participant is a patient who is receiving a healthcare service at VCU Health that requires unmasking and the study team is following the Infection Control procedures of VCU Health.
  • See the websites listed below for other masking details and exceptions. 

If a study protocol includes an activity that would require a participant to remove their face covering, and if the activity does not meet one of the allowable exceptions to the masking requirements, then the study team must either: 

  1. Pause the conduct of that study activity; or 
  2. Amend the study and change the activity so that it can be performed while participant wears a mask. 

Log a public comment to the IRB if your study elected (or is required) to pause any or all research activities. This keeps the IRB informed and provides written documentation for your study team about the conduct of the study.

For more information about masking requirements and public health measures, see the following websites: 

Categories IRB Members, News and Updates, Uncategorized
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