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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 Research Reboot guidance 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.


For safety information for face to face human subjects research, go to:

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.



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

5.    PPE availability at UW–Madison for research use

Sufficient PPE are available for research use

6.    COVID-19 test availability at UW–Madison for researchers and staff Testing is available OK