Dear Graduate Students:
We know that many of you have been waiting for more information about fall semester and are wondering how information going out to all students pertains specifically to you.
As you consider whether you are ready to commit to an on campus experience in the fall semester, some of you have asked whether something like the “At-Home” option available to undergraduate students is available to graduate students.
Graduate program requirements vary widely so a single option that pertains to all is not realistic. Depending on your program, you may need to be on campus, or you may have the flexibility to have some or all of your fall courses completed remotely.
To help students make choices that support on-campus or remote activities, the Schedule of Courses (SOC) has been revised to include four different attributes that are defined below (see Column 6 in SOC, labeled ATTR for attribute). Graduate students will be able to alter their schedules starting July 24.
INPR: in person classes
MIXD: some in person sessions and some synchronous remote sessions
REMT: assigned meeting time but will meet live online at that time rather than in person
ONL: asynchronous online format with online discussions, activity, and content, but no scheduled meetings
- In addition to this information in the SOC, you should be in contact with your program or advisor for specific information. Examples of important considerations are program course sequencing that may impact your schedule in the future, required in-person professional practica, access to a laboratory for bench research, and assistantship duties.
- For those interested in being on campus, you can participate in a mix of in-person, online (asynchronous), and remote (synchronous) instruction.
- For those who would like to participate remotely, and whose other constraints allow this option, you should choose only online or remote courses. Be aware that the remote courses will meet live online at the (Vermont) time listed in the SOC.
- Keep in mind that 9 credits are required for full-time enrollment and 5 credits for half-time enrollment for graduate students
- International students in F-1 status in the U.S. currently have no restrictions on class delivery choice other than maintaining full-time status.
- International students who are outside of the U.S. may enroll in online courses, but there may be implications for their F-1 status (and in turn visa processes) depending on whether they are enrolled full-time or part-time; students should consult the Office of International Education for details. Note that students may not hold UVM employment if they are outside the U.S.
- Students with on-campus courses will be required to complete Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) training and sign the Green and Gold Promise, pledging to follow all social distancing and health and safety protocols, including regular mandatory COVID-19 testing and health screening checks. Details about implementation of these components will be forthcoming.
- There is no specific category of an “At-Home” option for graduate students to choose in advance of registration. However, if you are able to develop a completely remote schedule, there will be an option to recognize that status and exempt you from the Covid-19 testing protocol. You would not be able to change your registration to include any fall in-person courses or attend any class meetings, laboratories or clinical experiences in person. And you would not have CATcard access to on-campus facilities. The only on-campus access you would have is to the Center for Health and Well-Being.
- Those of you selecting UVM Student Health Insurance Plan will be able to access care at your home location in the United States.
- There will be no change in academic year 2020-21 tuition or comprehensive fees regardless of your mix of courses.
- Please contact Student Financial Services (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding any change to financial aid options if you will not be in the Burlington area.
Additional Information Regarding Health and Safety
- The UVMStrong Fall 2020 Planning Team has been working closely with Vermont State officials to ensure that campus operations, residence halls, and classrooms reflect the high health and safety standards expected of all Vermont higher education institutions. Our fall return will look different than in the past as there are several expectations to be met. Overarching guidance comes from the State of Vermont Mandatory Guidance for a Safe and Healthy Return to Campus.
ARRIVAL QUARANTINING AND TESTING
- If you are coming to campus in the fall from outside the Burlington region, you will need to meet current quarantine regulations and these differ based on your current location and means of transportation being used to get here. You can determine your specific quarantine requirements through this Interactive Tool. For planning purposes, below is state guidance about quarantines based on the distance individuals need to travel.
- Home state: If traveling to Vermont in a private vehicle without making a prolonged stop, quarantine at home for 14 days immediately prior to traveling to Vermont (individuals may complete a shorter quarantine if they receive a negative COVID-19 test after day 7 in their home state and travel directly to Vermont without breaking the quarantine); OR
- In Vermont after public or multi-family transit to Vermont: If traveling to Vermont with people from multiple households, via bus, rail or commercial airlines, individuals must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Vermont (after day 7 the individual may get a COVID-19 test and upon receiving a negative result, end their quarantine); OR
- Non-quarantine counties: Students traveling to Vermont from a non-quarantine county as identified by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development on August 1, who travel in a private vehicle without making a prolonged stop, may arrive without completing quarantine.
- Those receiving tests 48 hours before coming to campus must travel directly to campus in a personal vehicle.
- Once on campus, all students (no matter where they are from) will be provided a test conducted within 48 hours of arrival.
- All students will again be provided a second test 7 days after arrival.
STUDENTS WHO QUARANTINE IN VERMONT
- Students may quarantine in one of the following locations:
- At a private residence in Vermont, including the student’s Vermont apartment (for off-campus students); OR
- At a lodging property in Vermont including hotels and short-term rentals.
COVID-19 TESTING AND HEALTH SCREENING
- All students will be required to complete a daily on-line health screening before you are able to attend classes or be on campus
- All students who will be on campus will be required to participate in twice-weekly sampling and testing for COVID-19*. This process will be available on campus and at no cost to students.
*Update 7/27/2020: Testing intervals are under discussion with UVMStrong's public health and medical experts. All students will be tested frequently throughout the semester.
CLASSROOMS AND INSTRUCTION
- Face coverings are required to be worn by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors when in the presence of others and in public. Students will be provided three reusable face coverings. Students and faculty are required to wear face covering or other PPE in the classrooms, labs, studios, etc.
- Students, faculty, and staff are expected to observe strict social distancing of 6 feet while on campus. The occupancy of classrooms, labs, lounges, study spaces, meeting rooms, and other designated common areas have been adjusted so that students, faculty, staff and visitors maintain strict social distancing of no less than 6 feet per individual.
Cynthia Forehand, Dean, Graduate College