Travel for Data Collection: Commencing Summer 2020
This policy is only relevant to travel associated with data collection for research and scholarship. See additional university guidance for travel in general. A request to travel for data collection will only be considered if all travelers agree to comply with the terms and conditions below which includes a five day hiatus before returning to campus for any out of state travel as per WVU guidance as May 26, 2020.
The intent of this standard operating procedure (SOP) is to minimize the risk of COVID-19 disease transmission and protect the health and safety of personnel conducting research activities that involve travel. Failure to follow this SOP may result in suspension of that research.
No travel can begin until approved by the department chair (or unit manager) and College Dean (or designee); you should include all planned trips on one request if possible – if exact destinations are unknown, outline in general where the type of trip you are taking will be (e.g., we will travel to the Ohio River located closest to town X and collect samples for 3 days along the river). If there are any required deviations from the SOP, these must be approved by the Research Office.
- Faculty, students, technicians and other staff must not be compelled to engage in travel that they are not comfortable with. The faculty researcher will inform their staff that they have the right to refuse to engage in activities that could expose them to the public and obtain positive consent of their willingness to assume the risks involved. Everyone involved in the research will sign a University participation in research during COVID pledge, either the PI/Faculty Pledge or the Researcher Pledge.
- No International travel at this time.
- It is expected that travel funds for data collection must be externally sourced (federal agency, industry or foundation) or self-funded. Use of state funds for data collection purposes requires approval from your Dean (academic unit) or VP (if non-academic unit).
- Only non-human subjects data collection is allowed at this time.
- Travel for Data Collection SOP includes:
- List of all personnel that will be traveling, location, dates, and primary mode of travel (car or air) should be shared with the department chair per trip.
- Travel must be carried out in a safe way to prevent the spread of COVID 19 as much as possible. Each person on the team is expected to have a face mask and to use their mask when traveling.
- The data collection research must comply with the overall University guidelines for restarting research – if they cannot comply they must outline why and non-compliance must be for safety reasons and not cost or convenience.
- If non-WVU agencies or research partners are actively engaged in the research, the research should be engaged using the guidelines that are the most stringent unless expressly permitted by the partner agencies.
- No one should participate in any travel if they are feeling ill or if any members of their household are feeling ill. All participants must be provided with the University handout on the list of COVID symptoms that includes a link to the latest CDC guidelines and should self-isolate if experiencing any COVID symptoms.
- Field research guidelines must be followed for the actual conduct of the data collection research once at destination site.
- Car travel
- If traveling long distances, stops should only be made for fuel and restrooms. Sanitize and/or wash hands after these activities. Each person on the team should have their own hand sanitizer bottle clearly labeled with their name and bottles should not be shared. Hand washing with soap and water is an acceptable alternative and a highly encouraged practice every few hours.
- No more than two people may occupy the row of a vehicle to, from, and at the work site. Masks (i.e., cloth face coverings) are to be worn in vehicles when there is more than one person (unless said persons are already in the same household). If possible, travel with windows open. High touch areas (i.e., keys, door handles and steering wheel) must be disinfected before and after each trip and between drivers if there is a driver switch.
- Air travel
- If possible route travel through less busy airports (e.g., Midway vs Ohare).
- Wear masks in airport and on the plane, even if not required by the airline.
- To the extent possible, keep at least one seat between you and another person.
- Individuals planning to participate in data collection travel, should self-quarantine as much as possible before traveling.
- Only 1 person per room is allowed (unless they already occupy the same household)
- Purchasing of food, supplies and contact with society outside the research team should be limited to as few individual interactions as possible and masks should be worn in all interactions with the public.
- If a member of the team presents with any COVID symptoms the following steps
- The individual must cease field work and self-quarantine. It is recommended that faculty think through and plan for how this would work: will the person return home to self-quarantine or will they remain on-site? If they remain on-site, what procedures will be used to provide them food?
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can contact WV DHHR Hotline at 800-887-4304.
- The remainder of the crew may continue their work but must make extra efforts to isolate the crew from external sources.
- The individual can return to work if they test negative or are symptom free for at least 14 days.
- On return from any out-of-state travel
- You must take a 5 day hiatus before returning to campus. You may work remotely during this time.