The Bowdoin Institutional Review Board (IRB) announced last week that any research requiring in-person interaction with subjects, previously approved or exempted, should stop immediately. The announcement applies to faculty, staff and student research.
The decision was made by the IRB in consultation with the Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs Elizabeth McCormack due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
If students desire to continue pursuing their research projects that involve in-person interaction, they can petition the IRB to continue research, change the research interactions from in-person to remote or delay their research until the IRB lifts the restrictions.
Students who petition the IRB to continue their research must prove that the benefits of the study outweigh the risk of the coronavirus and must modify their consent form to explain the higher risk of contracting the virus to participants. Changing research interactions from in-person to remote only requires informing the IRB and does not need official approval.
The IRB will continue to review and accept new applications for research projects.