In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) has issued some revised policy related to human participant research.

To Oberlin College Faculty and Staff:

Effective immediately and until further notice, ALL research involving face-to-face contact with participants should be performed remotely (e.g. by phone, Zoom, or other means). Exception: Course-based student research involving interviews/oral histories which may be done “in-person” if the participant is currently in residence with the researcher, and the researcher practices appropriate social distancing and health practices (refer to Federal Government Guidelines) , and adheres to any state or local ordinances regarding COVID-19.

Changes to a study’s protocol to replace in-person research visits with “remote” options must be approved in advance by the IRB as a Protocol Amendment. Please submit your revisions to and put COVID-19/study protocol in the subject line.

Currently, the IRB is still accepting new applications for review and will continue to review application revisions throughout the academic school year. If a new protocol has face-to-face contact with human participants, it will not be approved at this time. Additionally, faculty advisers of student research projects are required to notify their students and ensure that all research conducted is compliant with these policies.

As we experience the impacts of COVID-19, the IRB wants to reiterate that the primary concern and responsibility of the IRB is for the safety of research participants and also researchers. We appreciate your flexibility and patience.

Any questions can be sent by email to the IRB at .

Daphne John
Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences
Chair, Oberlin College Institutional Review Board