Students wearing masks during field labs.


Health and Safety: The Rubenstein School will follow an approved Academic Year Resumption Plan (PDF). Our approach is based on the belief that health and safety of all members of our community should be our top priority.

Additional Resources

Assistance Beyond Campus

For food instability, the VT Foodbank can help folks access food & food-related assistance programs: / 800-585-2265.

Folks can also reach out directly for assistance: WIC or 3Squares VT, dial 2-1-1 (or text VTWIC or VFBSNAP to 855-11). Meals for age 60 + adults, call the Helpline: 800-642- 5119.

For legal issues related to COVID-19 including landlord tenant issues, utility issues, emergency housing, food, translated COVID info, new tax deadlines etc:

Resources to help Vermonters meet basic needs can be found through Regional Community Action Agencies. Organizations grouped by region/county here:

Student Resources

Course Modalities - Program Director Panel Discussion

Graduate Student Building Access

Graduate students are encouraged to work remotely.  In the unlikely event a student must work from Aiken, they will be assigned a study carrel in a pod.   No more than 2 students will be authorized to work in a pod at one time.  The process outlined in this document are designed to prioritize health and safety of our community during COVID-19 while giving RSENR grad students flexibility to self-schedule and manage building access.  Reservations need to be made in a shared calendar embedded in MS Teams that everyone can view and add to. 

• In MS Teams, join the Aiken Team by using this team code: zczf4r2

There are two channels: General and Grad Student Spaces. The calendars can be found in the tabs at the top of the page (Posts, Files, etc.). In the General channel, the calendar is called “building access”. In the Grad channel, it is called “Grad Spaces Shared Calendar”. Open the tab to view the shared calendar in your Teams dashboard.

  • You will likely need to login at this point.
    • Use your NetID email (ex. and password

The calendar will show reservations that have been made. You can click any of them to view details.

  • To add a reservation, click on a box and then click the “add” button.
  • In the window that appears enter the following:
  • Title – your name
    • Pod location – which carrel will you be using?
      • 303, 308, 312, grad lounge-303H.
    • Customize the date/time if needed
    • Description – purpose for visit
    • Click Save to add to calendar

    It is possible to add more than one reservation in a single time slot. This is okay if you are reserving different spaces. Remember, you can click on other reservations to view details. In general, try to choose empty time slots whenever possible. If you choose a time slot that already has a reservation, check the other reservations to make sure you’re not going to occupy the same space. 

    ***IMPORTANT*** Additional guidance

    • If you have elected the at-home option for the semester, your CatCard will not be active and you will not have access to the building on weekends, or from 6pm – 6am on weekdays when Aiken is locked.
      • At-home students should not be coming to Aiken regularly. Occasional visits for essential tasks (picking up academic materials, safety supplies, etc.) are allowable.
    • All visits on weekends and after hours on weekdays (between 6pm – 6am) must also be logged on the Aiken Shared Calendar in the General channel.
    • The Daily Health Check-In must completed prior to coming to campus.  

Graduate Assistance Scholarship - Pandemic Fund

The COVID-19 Pandemic during the spring semester of 2020 significantly impacted the progression of graduate student research programs.  These impacts ranges from a disruption in writing and analyzing data, to the loss of entire field seasons. Funding agencies are unlikely to provide additional funding to extend programs. No-cost extensions are most the likely outcome, leaving graduate students with reduced or no funding to complete their program.

In preparation for the reality of unfunded program extensions, the Rubenstein School has established a special Graduate Student Fellowship Pandemic Fund, through redirection of the Steven Rubenstein Scholarship established by the Rubenstein family.  Previously used to support doctoral students through their entire four-year program, these scholarship funds will be used to support students who have experienced a significant delay in their research program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and who do not have additional funding to extend their program. As of the beginning of spring semester 2021, twelve graduate students have benefited from this assistance fund which invested more than $100,000 in helping to get graduate students back on track.

The funds may be awarded to cover the following expenses:
• Partial graduate research assistantship (up to .50) for one semester, normally covered by a grant
• Associated graduate tuition normally covered by a grant
• Extraordinary costs of program completion that would have otherwise been covered by an expended grant
• Limited publication costs for theses or dissertations that would normally be covered by the grant

Award Criteria include the following:
• Evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly delayed or altered research progress at a critical juncture
• Evidence that the initial research funding was expended and will not be supplemented by the funding agency to ensure completion of the student
• Evidence of successful progress in the student’s research program to date
• Benchmarks to ensure successful completion of the degree, should funding be awarded

Requests (no more than 400 words) will be submitted by the graduate student’s primary advisor to the Graduate Student Services Specialist in full collaboration with the graduate student.  Faculty and students who can help extend the funding through requests of .25 GRA that may be matched by .25 GTA will be encourage, but not required.

Reviews of applications will be on-going on a monthly basis.  Requests should be made as far as possible in advance of the end of the student’s funding and with the full knowledge of the funding agency and grant administrator.