University of Southern California


Community / Field Research Guidance

Research in the community / field can resume under a strict set of guidelines, approval processes, and information tracking procedures, as described in the documents listed below.   PIs and study personnel must determine what infection mitigation practices are in place at each of their community research sites and ensure that appropriate measures can be achieved to protect research personnel as well as human subjects and staff at sites, including highly vulnerable populations (e.g., older adults, persons with health issues).  Investigators must develop detailed plans for the research activity and have it approved by their research dean and EH&S, per the guidelines below.

All USC researchers must uphold the USC COVID-19 safety standards regardless of the location of their research.  If the location of the research requires higher standards, those must be observed.  If the location requires lower standards, USC standards still must be maintained and followed by all study participants; those who do not wish to comply with USC safety standards cannot participate in the study.  Rare exceptions must be reviewed by EH&S.  Principal Investigators have the responsibility for collecting and storing data for the purpose of notifying USC Student Health about potentially exposed non-USC study participants or other individuals encountered in the course of the community / field research in cases of COVID-19 diagnoses in research study personnel.   The process for such data collection, storage, and mandatory deletion is explained in the documents below.  For work involving human subjects, PIs must complete an attestation as part of their IRB submission process, as explained in the documents below.