UW Research

August 18, 2021

For the Record – COVID-19 Special Edition, August 2021

Revised COVID-related Requirements for Human Subjects Research

Effective immediately

Updated 8.23.2021 to add clarity to mask exceptions

Mandatory indoor mask policy for everyone. The University implemented a mandatory indoor mask policy for all individuals on August 13, 2021, regardless of vaccination status. A mask or other suitable face covering is required indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators and shared vehicles. The masks must fit well and be of high quality. See the UW EH&S webpage for COVID information.

Researchers and study participants are expected to comply with these requirements regardless of the location at which the in-person research interactions will occur. Specific facilities and organizations (such as UW Medicine) may have their own, more restrictive, policies. The HSD COVID webpage has more information in the form of Questions and Answers.

Masking. All study participants and research team members who will have in-person interactions must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

Exception #1: Participants may be unmasked for an essential study procedure if the procedure cannot be performed with a mask, but study staff must always be masked. Examples of essential study procedures conducted in-person: study-required eating or drinking; bronchoscopy; dental procedures.

Exception #2: Participants under the age of 2 who:

  • Are under the age of 2
  • Have a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that makes it hard for them to wear a mask
  • Are deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate
  • Have trouble breathing, are unconscious, or are unable to remove a face covering without help.

Exception #3: Studies that have worked with UW EH&S to adopt mitigation strategies when neither study staff nor the participant can be masked.

Social distancing (6 feet or more). If any study team members or study participants are not vaccinated, they must observe distancing when indoors and (when within a 6-foot distance from others) outdoors. All individuals are encouraged to distance if in a crowded setting or in areas that are not well-ventilated.

Exception: Unvaccinated participants are not required to observe social distancing during an essential study procedure if the procedure cannot be performed with social distancing. All participants must be masked unless an Exception described above applies.

Contact HSD at hsdinfo@uw.edu if you have questions.