UVM UpdateI am writing to provide you with further guidance related to the university’s evolving response to COVID-19, and the implications it may have on graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on campus.

As you may know, classes have been cancelled on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17. Classes will resume by way of remote instruction on Wednesday, March 18.

Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Responsibilities

While undergraduate residential students have been encouraged to not return to campus, we recognize that graduate students typically have different and less communal living situations. In addition, they often have research projects that need their ongoing attention.

Given the information available at this time, faculty and staff will be on campus, and campus offices and services will remain open. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are expected to continue their work in support of our research enterprise and their individual graduate studies.

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who may have been traveling[1] during the spring recess should observe the health and safety guidance and recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control, and noted on the university’s COVID-19 website.

It is imperative that we are aware of the location of graduate students who are working with collaborators in locations outside of the United States. If you are currently abroad and did not notify the Office of International Education before your departure, please send contact information to the Office of Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College at ovprgc@uvm.edu. Include your location and when you expect to return so the university can keep you informed and provide any necessary support upon your return.

Research Continuity and Planning

The Research Administration offices are closely monitoring guidance issued by external funding agencies and the federal government. They have also initiated planning discussions and activities on campus. The planning efforts of individual researchers are critical to the university’s ability to maintain research continuity. Please consider alternative methods by which your research could continue if it becomes necessary to curtail normal operations of the university. As part of this, it may be especially helpful to identify and prioritize activities and projects for which delay or suspension would result in the loss of valuable research materials or abilities.

Information and Communication

The COVID-19 website is a resource for the latest policy decisions and other useful information.

The health and safety of our entire campus community is paramount. We urge you to review our website as well as those of the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health for information on how you can take care of yourselves, and how your actions and preventative measures can contribute to the overall health of our campus community.

Questions may be sent to COVID19@uvm.edu or asked through our COVID-19 information helpline that will be staffed from 8:30-4:30 daily (and this weekend) until further notice. The helpline number is 802-656-HELP.

We deeply value the vital role that graduate students and postdoctoral scholars play in UVM’s academic mission. We will provide you with further updates as the situation evolves.

[1] Anyone who travels to a country with a CDC Level 3 travel advisory (currently China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran) and CDC Level 2 (currently Japan) is required to self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days upon their return to Vermont.