Update History

General Questions

What VPREDGE services will be available during this period?

Operations in all Vice President of Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education units (Office of Sponsored Programs, Graduate School, and Office of Research Compliance) are normal until further notice. Communication will be sent by our listservs, Vice President of Research and posted on this website if there are changes.

Can I continue my laboratory and/or field research?

The level of research activity that is allowable is dependent on the university’s current Research Operation status. Changes in Research Operation levels will be communicated through VPREDGE listservs. Refer to the Research Operations levels guidance document for further information.

Can I allow my research team, including GRAs and staff, to work remotely?

Yes, principal investigators/supervisors have this discretion. Please be clear with your expectations, and be sure you have made appropriate accommodations to allow the remote work with Human Resources.

What is the contingency plan for research animal care?

The Animal Resources Center (ARC) has a pandemic response as part of the overall disaster plan. MSU’s Attending Veterinarian and ARC staff are considered essential employees and will continue providing critical animal care during a disaster. In addition to the broad ARC disaster plan, MSU has taken additional steps for COVID-19 by developing a COVID-19 Disease Outbreak plan. Whenever there is a possibility that there will be a significant loss of staff or limited access to animals due to COIVD-19, the ARC will identify volunteers who would be willing and able to come to the facility, and work will be limited to life supporting activities.

I am a Graduate Student; can I defend my thesis/dissertation remotely?

Yes, the Graduate School recently provided guidance that the requirement to be physically present for the thesis/dissertation defense could be waived. Work with your advisor to discuss options, and contact the Graduate School if there are questions or concerns.

Do these guidelines for research and graduate education also apply to Montana’s Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and MSU Extension?

Yes, these guidelines apply to all research at MSU, including MAES and Extension.

Human Subject Research Questions

Is the Institutional Review Board (IRB) continuing to operate and review protocols and amendments?

Yes, the IRB continues to function by conducting reviews and meeting virtually as needed.

Due to COVID-19, I would like to stop conducting in-person interviews with research participants, and would like to conduct them by phone, email, video conferencing or online survey/software? Do I need to modify my IRB protocol?

Yes, if you would like to conduct research remotely, via phone, email, video conferencing or online survey/software, these changes must be approved in advance by the IRB as an amendment to your original protocol. Each situation will be reviewed and approved as rapidly as possible. The IRB staff is available at 406-994-4706.

Do I need to do anything if I choose to continue in person interviews?

Yes, research participants should be asked to complete a short screening for exposure to COVID-19 or symptoms of illness before they are scheduled for any study-related visits and in-person interactions. This specific screening should be done verbally, and this procedure does not require IRB approval. For appropriate screening questions please see COVID-19 IRB Guidance. Additionally, any in-person research needs to be consistent with MSU's current Research Operations Level.

Would you ever consider putting a hold on IRB work?

Yes, we would consider this if we received guidance from government and/or health officials that this was necessary. However, this is not the case presently, and we encourage safe practice of human research at this time.