COVID-19 Guidance for Research at the College of Education

Message from the Office of Research

March 25, 2020 Update:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released additional guidance for funding agencies in response to COVID-19. Consistent with the recommendations of COGR outlined in the previous update, federal grantees are to follow institutional policies for research activities including the charging of salaries and benefits to research grants. In response to this guidance, funding agencies are allowing grantees to charge costs for idle staff and those working on reduced capacity to grants for short-term interruptions to regular workflow as long as the long term effort matches the proposed effort. Principal investigators must track effort for idle staff and sponsors are encouraging research to continue remotely. If you have employees working hourly complete the telecommuting form sent by Loretta. In order to remain responsive, principal investigators are encouraged to consider alternative data collection strategies, pursuing research dissemination activities, conducting data analysis, and other work on projects that can be done remotely and without access to research sites. If changes to research procedures are needed, principal investigators must amend their IRBs to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Please see UIC’s Office for the Protection of Human Subjects webpage for more information on updated IRB procedures.

The indication from principal investigators around the College of Education is that most work will continue as proposed with minimal changes in effort. However, if special circumstances or questions arise, please contact Daniel M. Maggin (dmaggin@uic.edu).

March 18, 2020 Update:

On March 13, 2020, Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker announced the closure of all Illinois public and private schools in an effort to contain COVID-19. The Office of Research (OoR) recognizes the potential impact on timelines and expenditures associated with sponsored projects both within school contexts and at other partnering research sites suspending activities due to the coronavirus. The following message provides guidance to principal investigators on addressing issues related to interruptions on research activities. Please read the information below and contact the OoR with any questions.

The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) advises grant recipients to follow institutional policies regarding travel and working remotely. Currently, UIC is restricting international and domestic travel and the COE is encouraging discretion and opportunities for research personnel to work remotely. Please refer to university and COE communications regarding migrating staff online and complete necessary forms to approve telecommuting for staff.

Regarding interruptions to project timelines, COGR advises principal investigators to contact project officers as soon as anticipated delays are expected. Given the closure of many research sites due to COVID-19, it is important to contact the assigned agency personnel as soon as possible to discuss the anticipated interruption and determine an appropriate course of action. Possible remedies for the closure include (a) no-cost extensions or (b) the use of the excusable delay clause. The resolution depends on the nature of the work, the extent of the delay, and the discretion of the project officer and agency. As such, it is critical that principal investigators reach out to their project officers and develop a plan of action immediately. OoR is prepared to assist principal investigators communicate with funder personnel should questions arise.

In the event that COVID-19 requires investigators to modify their existing IRB protocols, the Office for the Protection of Human Services (OPRS) developed procedures to expedite temporary modifications. Please refer to OPRS procedures outlined at the link below. In addition, OPRS developed a FAQ page that outlines current operation procedures and information related to interrupted research.

Finally, the university and funding agencies have disseminated a number of communications regarding sponsored projects. Please see below for links. OoR will update the list as relevant information comes in. Please contact Daniel Maggin (dmaggin@uic.edu) if questions arise.

If you have further questions, please contact: