Updates to Procedures Related to COVID-19

On behalf of the Integrative Safety Committee (ISC), we are writing to provide an update to

COVID19-related procedures as they pertain to research conducted on Tufts campuses,

by Tufts researchers in the field, or by those contracted to perform research on behalf of


1. Beginning April 1, 2022, the wearing of face coverings by researchers, and by

research subjects in the case of human studies research, will follow the

policy of the campus at which the research is being conducted. This change

applies to face coverings worn for COVID-19 related reasons only and does not

impact requirements to wear masks for other safety related purposes. Researchers

are asked to be vigilant regarding Tufts’ policy on face coverings, which may

change as COVID-19 incidence fluctuates in the community. Researchers and

research subjects are strongly encouraged to wear masks during face-to-face

activities whenever possible, even if not required by policy.

Boston: Wearing of face coverings by researchers and research subjects

will be optional on April 1, 2022.

Please note: Certain university spaces (e.g. TUSDM, HNRCA, CABCS)

may have stricter guidance that will need to be followed by researchers and

research subjects. Researchers and research subjects should follow the

face covering policy specific to the location where their research is


2. ISC review of domestic research activity, including all research involving

human subjects, is no longer required. At this time, no other mitigations

relevant to COVID-19 transmission are required, beyond adherence to the

appropriate face covering policy in place when the research is conducted. The ISC

will be available as a resource for those investigators who have questions about

how to safely conduct research that may have an elevated risk of COVID-19

transmission. This resource can be accessed by emailing

Tayling.Manoukian@tufts.edu  or Phil.Hinds@tufts.edu.

3. Human subjects research in an international setting will continue to undergo

review by the ISC. For guidelines for submitting international human subjects research plans for review, please contact Ann-Marie.Billig@tufts.edu

PLEASE NOTE:  The Tufts University Biosafety Office has released guidance to research labs that will be handling and processing human specimens, environmental samples, or other materials known or potentially containing SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). This also applies to human specimens in which the SARS-CoV-2 status is unknown. Work with unfixed human specimens requires the use of Universal Precautions and Biosafety Level 2 containment and work practices because all human materials must be treated as potentially infectious.

Moving forward, all human specimens of unknown SARS-COV-2 status, or have tested and were found negative, can be processed for diagnostic testing, histological analysis, nucleic acid extraction, and similar end-point procedures at Biosafety level 2 containment using Universal Precautions. Procedures involving culturing the patient specimens, or SARS-COV-2 positive specimens, need to be performed at Biosafety level 2 with enhancements.  Given these guidelines, all research involving the collection or analysis of human source materials will require registration with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). DRA will assist you with any needed registrations or amendments to current registrations for new studies.  

There is also a new training for Tufts personnel that will handling patient samples that may contain COVID-19: Biosafety Overview for Processing COVID-19 Patient Samples – Tufts University.

If your research involved human specimens, please contact Ann-Marie.Billig@tufts.edu to assist you in registering your research the IBC.

Human Specimens Research Resources