Given the unprecedented changes to business operations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, RTI International has been working with clients to adjust work plans, deliverables, and schedules as needed to continue the work while protecting the health of our staff and the public with whom we interact, and complying with public health restrictions. In many cases, work can be redesigned to use remote data collection strategies. We will collaborate closely with clients to restructure work activities and reprioritize deliverables to accommodate the pandemic.
RTI is taking a phased approach to resuming in-person data collection. The decision to resume collection on a particular project or in a particular geographic area will be based on the data and science available at the time, including guidance from CDC and WHO and direction from state and local governments. RTI Field Management is working closely with RTI’s Infectious Disease Response Team, which includes physicians, risk management professionals, and public health experts, to mitigate risks to data collection staff and study respondents. Specifically, we are:
- Monitoring reliable data sources to determine when it is appropriate to resume in-person data collection activities in a given area, and to be ready to suspend or alter our activities should local conditions indicate this is appropriate
- Identifying equipment needs for in-person field data collection, such as masks and gloves
- Establishing a supply chain to obtain and distribute this equipment directly to data collection staff
- Reviewing project-level protocols, processes, and materials to minimize risk to data collection staff and study participants
- Exploring modifications and alternatives to in-person training
- Establishing guidelines for safe travel by air and automobile.
Public health is a core competency of RTI, and our scientists and technical experts are engaging experts at peer institutions and public health officials on many fronts, adding their expertise to the global fight against COVID-19. As governments, businesses, and other organizations take measures to help mitigate the spread of the outbreak, RTI reinforces our commitment to our employees, our clients, and our mission of improving the human condition.