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University of Wisconsin–Madison

How will we know if we must suspend face-to-face human subjects interactions?


In the OVCRGE Phase 1 Research Reboot guidance (link is here), it was stated that at any time, UW–Madison may again suspend face-to-face human subjects interactions if events dictated the need to do so.

  • On March 15, 2020, UW–Madison paused face-to-face human subjects interactions for all studies except therapeutic studies using a drug or device, or those studies where in-person interactions were critical to the participant’s health and safety.
  • On June 1, 2020, a gradual restart of face-to-face human subjects interactions began with studies that could mitigate risks, had the potential for direct and meaningful benefit to individual participants, and that had approval from the relevant School/College/Unit.
  • On July 1, 2020, face-to-face human subjects research interactions were phased-in further to include all other studies, pending approval of restart from the School/College/Unit.


The dashboard below contains criteria monitored by the campus leaders to allow decision-making on continuation or suspension of face-to-face human subjects research interactions. Individual criteria or a combination of criteria may lead campus leaders to suspend most face to face human subjects research interactions, or to roll back particular activities.

OK: indicates that a particular criterion has not been reached and is within acceptable limits for face-to-face human subjects study interactions.

WARNING:  indicates that caution must be applied to a particular criterion, which may be approaching or outside of acceptable limits.

If another suspension of face-to-face human subjects interactions is warranted, study teams will be informed with an email message to PIs and on the webpage.

Points to Consider Decision Criteria for continuation of face-to-face human subjects research Level
1.    National, State, or local directives restrict public movements, such as safer-at-home orders. Directives not issued OK
2.    UW–Madison staff availability to serve critical campus functions Critical staff are available OK
3.    Capacity within local healthcare systems to accommodate treatment of COVID-19 cases Capacity is within acceptable limits OK
4.    Percent positivity rates of COVID-19 cases in Dane County and on UW–Madison campus No substantial increase over 7-day period OK
5.    PPE availability at UW–Madison for research use Sufficient PPE are available for research use OK
6.    COVID-19 test availability at UW–Madison for researchers and staff Testing is available OK