COVID19 Restart

Instructions to Restart Research in AIRC at Modified Operations Level 2 (updated on May 29, 2020):

1.      Read through OHSU’s current COVID19 modified operations guidance, as well as the AIRC Return to Research plan (created on 5/20/2020, posted on 5/29/2020), and determine if your study or studies can restart at Modified Operations Level 2 in AIRC. 

2.       Submit the requiredR2R request PI form (https://o2.ohsu.edu/covid-19/research.cfm) for approval by your departmental chair/director. 

            a.       When preparing, please read through the AIRC Return to Research plan and ensure questions in the Appendix are addressed for your specific protocol.

3.       Once approved by your departmental chair/director, send AIRC the approval notification and the R2R request PI form to:

          a.       For human MRI studies:  Email Dr. Wei Huang.  Please copy Laura McMahon and Bill Rooney.

          b.       For animal MRI studies: Email Dr. Marty Pike.  Please copy Laura McMahon and Bill Rooney.

          c.       For fixed tissue, phantom, QA/QC, and development studies: Email Dr. Wei Huang.  Please copy Laura McMahon and Bill Rooney.

4.       Following AIRC review of your R2R request PI form and approval, you will be able to begin scheduling at AIRC again through iLab for the approved protocol.

When Scheduling in iLab, please remember:

  • Leave 1 hr gap between human studies (between your study and the preceding study, and the following study, respectively), and 30 min gap between animal studies with different operators.  AIRC will increase operator hours to better accommodate demand. But as courtesy to our operators, we request that schedulers keep MRI sessions as clustered as possible.  Please send Outlook emails to schedule AIRC operators per the usual method (here’s how to schedule an AIRC Operator) or schedule Bill Woodward through his iLab calendar.
  • Note that we cannot “lock” iLab to block scheduling of studies that have not been approved to restart at AIRC.  It is the PI’s responsibility to make sure your team schedules MRI studies only after all approvals have been obtained
  • Mock Scanner – please check the 3T schedule when booking.  Try to stagger so that your use of the mock scanner room does not coincide with a 3T study to reduce hallway traffic and infection risk.  If you need to schedule the mock scanner during a 3T scan, please email AIRC so we can try to plan accordingly with flow of staff and visitors to maintain physical distancing.  With reduced staffing within the AIRC, staff availability to open the mock scanner door will be limited.  If your group does not have a key for the mock scanner, please email Laura McMahon to work on a key request.
  • With reduced staffing within the AIRC, the doorbell will not be monitored.  Please plan with visitors accordingly if they need to step out of AIRC during a study.  Your staff must remember to bring their badges for door opening. 
  • External trained operators are allowed to conduct MRI studies.  However, they must communicate with AIRC when scheduling so that they will be directed to AIRC operators on how to follow the updated sanitization and disinfection methods before and after each study.

When considering your plan to restart and interact with human subjects, please note the AIRC’s Human Subject Guidelines, which are outlined below and in the attached AIRC R2R plan under section 6.

In addition to normal MRI safety screening and research subject preparation procedures, it is the PIs’ responsibilities to follow university policies and CDC guidelines in screening human subjects, as well as their staff members who accompany the human subjects to AIRC, for COVID-19 symptoms and/or COVID-19 test results to minimize risks for virus transmission during MRI study procedures in AIRC. Each research group has individual responsibilities for their human research subject interactions and preparations such as:

  • Screening potential human subjects before coming to campus via current OHSU policies, e.g., phone screening for COVID19 symptoms as per CDC guidelines (such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.), exposure to individuals with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, and COVID-19 test results if available. Subjects should also be screened for asthma, heart conditions, immunodeficiency, and other known pre-existing conditions that make human subjects more vulnerable to COVID19.
  • Limiting visitors in AIRC (i.e. only research subject or research subject and parent or guardian, or partner living in the same household)
  • Limiting study staff in AIRC (i.e. only one study coordinator if possible)
  • Study staff, human subject, and visitor should wear PPE (i.e., mask or face covering) at all times while they are inside AIRC. Research groups will be responsible for providing PPE to their study staff, human subjects, and visitors before arriving at AIRC and for ensuring they wear PPE inside AIRC. AIRC will provide PPE if there is a need.
  • Bringing subjects to the AIRC. This should be done with minimal exposure to clinical areas (i.e., using outdoor access to LBRB through Floor 1 doors vs. walking through hospital areas and indoor corridors)
  • It is encouraged to have clear communications with human subjects to ensure they notify study staff if they test positive for COVID19 and/or develop typical COVID19 symptoms within 14 days of their AIRC visit. If anyone tests positive and/or develops symptoms, the human subject and/or study staff, the study staff is required to inform AIRC staff so that they can take precautions and quarantine.

The attached AIRC R2R plan, will be refined as needed to accommodate best practices and be consistent with the most up-to-date OHSU guidelines for modified research operations at the time. If any statements within this document conflict with OHSU general guidelines (we have tried hard to be consistent), the OHSU guidelines should be followed.