Dear GSAS Students,

I hope you’ve had the chance to read President Bacow’s message about remote teaching and reducing the on-campus residential population, which is aimed at reducing risk of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) transmission. GSAS students are engaged in research and teaching throughout the University and around the world, meaning that we cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to developing protocols. I would like to provide the following high-level guidance that I hope will begin to answer some of the questions you may have. Because this is an evolving situation, please keep a close eye on your inbox, as we will continue to provide GSAS-specific updates.

Teaching Fellows
As President Bacow’s message notes, instructional staff are required to conduct classes, sections, and office hours remotely. Harvard offers Zoom for this purpose, and the Canvas site for every FAS course is enabled to use Zoom for remote teaching. If you have not already, I encourage you to sign up for a Zoom account and complete Zoom training as soon as possible. If you are teaching outside the FAS, please review information on instructional tools distributed at the local level.

Research and Academic Activity
As you read in President Bacow’s email, Harvard’s assumption is that all students will transition to remote academic and research activity to the greatest extent possible. This includes dissertation defenses, qualifying exams, and general exams. GSAS is working with our partners across the University to develop guidelines for lab research. You will continue to receive updates on this from GSAS; you should also review communications from the School/hospital your lab is based in.

Students Living in Residence Halls
As a way of lowering risk, Harvard is working to reduce the number of students living in residence halls.

  • Those in the GSAS Residence Halls who have an alternate off-campus place to stay should move out of the halls. For those who do not, Harvard may require that you move to another campus residence to minimize the population density in locations across campus. More details are forthcoming from the Office of Residential Life.
  • Those graduate students who are proctors and resident tutors in undergraduate housing will not be asked to move.
  • Those graduate students living in residence halls at our partner Schools should follow guidance from the local School dean.

I know that this is a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety, and we are committed to do all we can to safeguard the well-being of our entire community. Remember that Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services is available to help you manage anxiety and stress. Please do continue to monitor University communications and visit Harvard’s Coronavirus web page for more information.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

Important Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)