COVID-19 Research Operations

This page provides information for the Princeton University research community on the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research.


Latest Updates

Changes to Human Subjects Research guidelines

Sept. 9, 2021

Updates have been made to the Human Subjects Research guidelines.

  • Pre-approved consent form language has been modified to reflect an increase in scope of authorities influencing Princeton University’s response to COVID-19.
  • All PU faculty, staff, students, employees, including those who may be acting as research subjects, must follow COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, asymptomatic testing protocols, and any other policy or guideline currently established by Environmental Health and Safety or Princeton’s University Health Services.
  • All researchers or research subjects, who are not part of the PU community, are considered Sponsored Visitors, must follow the Visitor’s Policy and must be fully vaccinated to enter PU buildings.  Any variance from the Visitor’s Policy must first be approved by contacting EHS and may also require a modification request to the IRB protocol prior to implementation. Note that Princeton’s COVID leadership team is currently considering vaccination and testing policies for sponsored visitors. This guideline will be amended as needed to reflect University policy. 
  • Research subjects who are not yet eligible for the vaccine (for example, children) may not participate in human subjects research until they receive special consideration and the required modifications are reviewed and approved by the IRB.    
  • Travel must be performed in compliance with current University permissible travel guidelines.

Read the full guidance here.

Updates to public health policies

July 1, 2021

The University has announced changes to the public health guidance for summer and fall. Here is a summary of policies that may affect researchers.

  • Vaccinations: All faculty, staff and students must be vaccinated or approved for a medical or religious exemption.  
  • Masks: Required indoors as of Aug. 11.
  • Daily symptom check: No longer required for vaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to it.
  • Do not come to campus if you are unwell.
  • Social distancing: No longer in effect.
  • Testing: Fully vaccinated individuals working on campus will be tested once per week. Unvaccinated individuals will test twice per week.
  • Building access: By card access only.
  • Visitors: Must be sponsored and approved prior to entering campus buildings. See the Visitor Policy and FAQs.
  • Travel: Visit the Pandemic Travel Guidelines.
  • Quarantine: No longer required except for students arriving from certain international locations.
  • Updates to the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-campus Research can be found in Section 5: Guidelines for Safe Research During COVID-19 Pandemic and Section 6: Building Guidance.
  • No updates are required to Resumption of Laboratory Operations Plans (RLOPs). As of July 4, 2021, resumption plans are no longer needed.

Read the memo from Princeton University.

Resources

Guidance and procedures

Revised guidelines for Resuming Field Research: Principal Investigators must submit a Field Research Plan indicating how researchers will comply with social distancing and hygiene practices while conducting field research. 

Guidelines for updating your Research Lab Operation Plan (RLOP): View instructions for revising and submitting changes to your plan to increase the permitted density of laboratory personnel from 160 square feet per person to 125 square feet per person.

Guidance for safe research during COVID-19 pandemic: View guidelines on social distancing, face coverings, lab coats, decontamination and disinfection, hazardous waste, training, shared facilities and equipment, general work rules, requests for accommodations, and related resources in Section 5 of the Plan for the Phased  Resumption of On-Campus Research (Environmental Health & Safety).

Building guidance for safe usage of building for research during COVID-19 pandemic: View practices for exterior doors, restrooms, elevators, hallways and stairwells, atrium/common spaces, conference rooms, hoteling/open work stations, break rooms, coffee makers/water coolers/refrigerators, meetings, vehicles, TigerTransit and public transportation, parking, time clocks, meals, mail and packages, and quiet rooms in Section 6 of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research (Environmental Health & Safety).

Guidance for resuming human subjects research: View guidance regarding all human subjects research conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, including research conducted off campus.

Guidelines for resuming field animal research: These guidelines provide for the safe conduct of field animal research once researchers have reached their field site, and apply to field animal research conducted off campus, including at Stony Ford, within the United States, and internationally.

Guidance for staff who must be on campus: View procedures for staying healthy and preventing the spread of COVID-19 from the CDC and Princeton's Environmental Health & Safety.

Princeton University Library's phased resumption of research services: PUL is phasing in library services for Princeton University faculty, researchers, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students.

Information for university contractors and vendors: Find out how to comply with New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines and the most recent version of Governor Murphy’s executive orders.

Purchasing supplies needed to support the resumption of on-campus research: Find information from Procurement on how to obtain supplies, given current availability and lead times.

Find more answers to your questions on our COVID-19 FAQs.

Health and safety

Guidance for safe research during COVID-19 pandemic 

View guidelines on social distancing, face coverings, lab coats, decontamination and disinfection, hazardous waste, training, shared facilities and equipment, general work rules, requests for accommodations, and related resources in Section 5 of the Plan for the Phased  Resumption of On-Campus Research (Environmental Health & Safety)

Building guidance for safe usage of building for research during COVID-19 pandemic

View practices for exterior doors, restrooms, elevators, hallways and stairwells, atrium/common spaces, conference rooms, hoteling/open work stations, break rooms, coffee makers/water coolers/refrigerators, meetings, vehicles, TigerTransit and public transportation, parking, time clocks, meals, mail and packages, and quiet rooms in Section 6 of the Plan for the Phased Resumption of On-Campus Research (Environmental Health & Safety).

Ordering personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies

Visit this site to find out how to order disposable surgical masks, cloth face coverings, disposable surgical gowns, hand sanitizer bottles, disinfectant wipes, and N95 and other purifying respirators. Faculty do not need to purchase these items from their own research funds. Faculty are advised not to hoard supplies, and consider instead slowly restoring reserves over several months.

Guidance on the use of face coverings

Find out when, where and how to wear a mask both on and off campus.

The right mask – a primer

Surgical masks, homemade masks and respirators have become a symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is the right choice to use? How do they protect us?

Forms and checklists

For questions about research continuity or operations, email: researchplan@princeton.edu.

Memos from the Dean for Research

Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti's memos regarding research during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Previous Updates

An important step towards normal research operations

June 8, 2021

With safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 now available, the University has made several changes to policies for on-campus research in science and engineering.

Read the memo

New field research guidelines issued

April 28, 2021

The Office of the Dean for Research has issued new guidelines regarding field research, defined as research conducted outside any laboratory, academic building or library at Princeton or other institution during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

View the guidelines

Memo on summer and fall expectations

April 25, 2021

Dean for Research Pablo G. Debenedetti issued a memo to remind  professors, department chairs and department managers in Divisions III and IV of the need to continue to follow health and safety guidelines during the pandemic, and to share expectations for summer and fall.

Read the memo

On-campus undergraduate research: summer 2021

Mar. 15, 2021

On-campus undergraduate research will be significantly limited for summer 2021. 

Read the memo with full information here