Researchers who wish to conduct research at an off-campus site or conduct on-site field research (e.g. Koffler Scientific Reserve, Hart House Farm, Gull Lake) that does not involve any human participant Face to Face (F2F) components should complete the online Face-to-Face and Off-Campus (F2FOC) COVID-19 Review Form. The form is used for both F2F and off-campus research, but contains branching logic so that only questions relevant to off-campus research are asked.
Researchers are asked to send a copy of the completed F2FOC form (provided as a PDF when the form is submitted) to email@example.com. Researchers will be contacted by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) once that review has been conducted. If you have any questions in advance of submitting your form please contact OHS directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Toronto’s Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are now accepting submissions of F2F human research as one of two separate review processes. The REB review process focuses (as usual) on human research ethics issues. There is now a second review process by the Face-to-Face COVID-19 Review Committee (F2FCRC) specifically to assess the COVID-19 health and safety risks of the research being proposed. Approvals from both review processes are required before F2F research activities can commence.
Researchers proposing F2F human participant research will complete the Face-to-Face and Off-Campus (F2FOC) COVID-19 Review Form, and upload the provided PDF copy of the completed form to the Documents Summary (Section #13) of their My Research Human Protocols (MRHP) new submission or amendment. The F2FCRC will review the form and provide recommendations to the vice-deans/associate deans/vice-principals (research) and researchers on the project’s risks and health and safety requirements, and the REB will separately review the human research ethics protocol. If both the F2FCRC and the REB approve the study, an approval letter will be issued to the Principal Investigator to allow them to start or resume their study. As study submissions must be reviewed by both the REB and the F2FCRC before they can proceed, review times may be longer than normal.
Researchers should monitor the VPRI website periodically to ensure that they are aware of any changes to public health directives, and be prepared to suspend activities as required. Up-to-date information will be posted on the Face-to-Face (F2F) Human Research Review Status page regarding the review status for all risk levels so the research community is aware of what the F2FCRC and REBs are able to review.
|COVID-19 Research Risk||Research Method||Direct contact / close contact?||Approximate start (Provincial Roadmap)|
|Level 1||Interaction / observation||None or minimal contact, physical distancing can be easily achieved (e.g., interviews, computer-based experiments, non-invasive methods)||Step 1|
|Level 2||Intervention||Some physical contact (e.g., biospecimen collection, body measurements), physical distancing sometimes challenging to maintain||Step 1|
|Level 3||Physical treatment / manipulation||Sustained physical contact, participant breathing heavily, physical distancing not possible||Step 2-3|