Summer 2021 Research Operations Guidelines & Resources

Beginning July 6, 2021, PSU is removing several restrictions put into place during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. PSU remains at Research Operations Level 1 with the following changes:

  • Masks are still required when inside campus facilities
  • Physical distancing requirements are no longer in place
  • Occupancy levels in campus facilities may return to normal
  • On-campus events may resume

Procedures implemented over the past months that have helped RGS track critical information required for contact tracing when cases are reported will remain in place for the time being.

  • Faculty members must still submit requests to begin new projects (including field and human subjects work) and/or access new locations on campus. Please continue using department request sheets (columns E-Z and AG-AJ only) for new requests and submit those requests to your department chair for approval. Chairs will continue to compile requests and submit them to the research email address every other Friday at noon.
  • RGS will now only require researchers to submit information on the location, number of hours worked per week, name and contact information of personnel, and supervisors' name and contact information (columns E-Z and AG-AJ only) using the department request google sheet. This is critical information needed to provide access to buildings, especially for students and volunteers.
  • As always (and before the pandemic), new human subjects work requests require protocol approval through the IRB/HRPP. Contact the IRB office if you have questions.
  • Access to on-campus facilities still requires a PSU ID card and is granted through the research review process.

Please visit the University’s Coronavirus Response site for information not explicitly about resuming research and creative activities on campus.

Vaccination Questions | Return to Research Requests | Human Subjects Work | Fieldwork | Building Access | Travel | Laboratory Door Signage

Overview: How will Level 1 restrictions affect research at Portland State?

  • Please continue to use departmental request forms for submitting research requests (Columns E-Z and AG-AJ only).
  • Only submit requests for new personnel or access to new locations.
  • Most face-to-face human subjects work can resume if the HRPP or IRB approves the protocol and after approval by the Restarting Research Committee.
  • Essential travel is possible with supervisor approval using the normal travel authorization process.
  • If traveling for research purposes, submit a request using the departmental request form. 
  • Masks or face coverings are still required indoors while on campus.
  • Prepare for the potential of a return to Level 2.

Vaccination Questions

  • RGS encourages everyone eligible to get vaccinated. For information on PSU's vaccination policy, please visit the Coronavirus Response page.
  • Supervisors cannot ask employees or students about their vaccination status related to their activities as PSU employees.
  • If employees volunteer this information and it is relevant to work conditions, that information can be used to plan operations.

Return to Research Requests

  • RGS will continue to use the return-to-research request process to track who is working in research and where they will be working. This process supports contact tracing efforts and the development of safety plans intended to prevent transmission.
  • Beginning July 6, 2021, RGS only requires faculty members to fill out columns E-Z and AG-AJ on the department request sheets.
  • Faculty members should contact their Chair/Director to request access to their unit's current tracking sheet for research requests. RGS provides a unit template for departments' use, to copy and edit as needed.
  • Chairs/directors must review and approve requests then submit departmental requests to RGS every other Friday (July 23, August 6, August 20, etc.) Chairs/Directors: Please share the link to your department's sheet when emailing alerts of new requests to, and remember to clearly indicate which rows or tabs have new requests.
  • Return-to-research requests and the completion of the COVID-19: Maintaining a Safe Workplace training module are still the only mechanisms for obtaining access for students to building and laboratory spaces.

Human Subjects Work

  • Most face-to-face human subjects work can resume if the HRPP or IRB approves the protocol and after approval by the Restarting Research Committee.
  • Interviews and other methods may resume.
  • Medical or similar procedures that require prolonged close contact should still be avoided.
  • Work with vulnerable subjects should closely adhere to CDC and OHA guidance and, whenever possible, be conducted in an outdoor setting.
  • Follow CDC guidelines.
  • Researchers can require voluntary study participants to be vaccinated to participate in a human subjects study.
  • Proof of vaccination should be provided by attestation only; do not request to see vaccination cards or vaccine passports, etc.
  • If you have any questions, contact


  • Travel to field sites in group vehicles will be allowed if every passenger wears a mask or face covering and attention is paid to maintaining a high airflow in the vehicle's cab.
  • However, if the vehicle is not owned by PSU and everyone in the vehicle has volunteered that they're fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single shot of the J&J vaccine), then the choice to wear masks is at the discretion of the group.
  • For decision-making while at the field site, follow OHA/CDC guidelines.

Building Access

  • Access to buildings on campus will still require a PSU ID card.
  • Faculty and staff members can expect regular building access using a PSU ID Card.
  • Students, volunteers, or other non-PSU-affiliated individuals need approval through the RGS return-to-research request process. In addition, they will need to complete the COVID-19: Creating a Safe Work Environment training module available via D2L.
  • Additionally, non-PSU-affiliated individuals will need to have the department they're working with request an Affiliate Account through OIT and procure an ID card before being granted building access.


  • Essential travel is possible with supervisor approval using the normal travel authorization process.
  • RGS does not need to approve travel. Visit Viking Travel's website for their Pandemic Travel Update and Travel Guide, etc.
  • If the travel is for field research, then a plan should be submitted to RGS as per our normal COVID-19 procedures so RGS can ensure proper planning for safety and help with contact tracing if a COVID-19 exposure occurs.
  • If traveling out of state, review the specific state and country guidelines and COVID-19 requirements.
  • Remember that depending on local conditions and conditions where you are traveling that you may be required to self-isolate for 10-14 days.

Laboratory Door Signage

PSU has made great strides to standardized safety information provided outside of each laboratory door. However, each lab door needs to ensure that their placard is up-to-date and that proper emergency contact information is provided on the placard. If your sign needs to be updated, please fill out the Lab Placard Information Collection Form, and EHS will get you an updated sign. Other information provided on the sign that needs to be correct include:

  • Chemical hazard information
  • Other special safety conditions in the lab include radioactive materials, lasers, open IACUC protocols, biohazardous materials, etc.

If there are special and/or temporary conditions taking place in your lab space, please make sure you have an updated and current Research in Process sign affixed to each of your lab doors.

If you have any questions about laboratory door signage, please reach contact EHS.