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Research Ethics Board to provide guidance during COVID-19 emergency

The University of Windsor Research Ethics Board will continue to be available to researchers and study participants by email through the REB mailbox — ethics@uwindsor.ca — and by voicemail at the Office of Research Ethics 519-253-3000, ext. 3948.

Both the REB email and REB voicemail will be monitored daily, even if Office of Research Ethics is closed. The REB will continue to respond to requests to revise for active projects and review of unanticipated and adverse events submitted by e-mail.

The REB encourages researchers to suspend or delay research projects that include in-person recruitment or data collection until the WHO Public Health Emergency of International Concern is over (https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus).

In some research settings in-person participation can be replaced with telephone or online communication. Considerations include the nature of the protocol, the type of participants engaged in the research, and any additional risk that may arise by switching from in-person to virtual communication. Revised participant consents or consent addendums may be required (e.g., to update privacy considerations with use of different communication channels). Requests to revise can be submitted to the REB through ethics@uwindsor.ca.

The REB also advises researchers to limit personal contacts, laboratory visits, or trips to clinics and hospitals for research purposes.

The REB reminds researchers with protocols that involve physical assessments and use of equipment that, even after the current concern is over, disinfection according to manufacturer’s standards is of paramount importance and single use accessories is advised. In the absence of manufacturers standards, thorough cleaning between participants is required and has always been a condition of REB clearance.

Where research staff are feeling unwell, care should be taken to stay home to prevent transmission of any illness. For further information from the University of Windsor, see: http://www.uwindsor.ca/coronavirus/303/coronavirus-faq.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 from Health Canada, see: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html.

If an immediate response is required, contact the REB chair at 519-253-3000, ext. 3709, or her cell phone: 226-346-1425.

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