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University of Wisconsin–Madison

COVID-19 message to human subjects researchers

(March 15, 2020)

To assist in our efforts to keep our researchers and human participants safe from exposures to COVID-19, we are writing to inform you that we are requiring a temporary hiatus in face-to-face (i.e. in-person) human subjects research interactions. Human subjects research that is conducted online or using other remote data collection methodologies (email, mail, phone, etc.) may continue.

Exceptions to this hiatus are therapeutic studies involving drugs or devices, or other research activities that are critical to the health/safety of patients or study participants. These studies may continue using face-to-face interactions. The determination of whether or not a research visit is essential to the health/safety of a participant is determined by the principal investigator, the participant, and the participant’s care provider, and should be informed by current public health guidance regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Even for therapeutic studies, we recommend moving toward remote data collection methods to the extent possible (for instance, telephone or electronic methods for screening or follow-up).

This hiatus will begin immediately and will be in effect until at least April 10. We will monitor the situation carefully and will reassess as that date approaches.

Please see the UW-Madison’s COVID-19 website for current information ( An FAQ page related to IRB requirements for protocol modifications will be available on Tuesday, March 17.  This FAQ page will apply to all IRBs (HS-IRB, MR-IRB, ED/SBS IRB). Please check this link at that time: Updates related to sponsored research programs can be found here:

Steven A. Ackerman

Nadine P. Connor