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Travel Guidance and Student Survey Update

Dear GSAS Students,

It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the fall term and the end of 2020, which has been such a tumultuous year. If you are traveling, please be sure to review the Guidance for Holidays & Travel provided by Harvard University Health Services. It is so important, especially during the holidays, to follow public health guidance and, if you plan to leave the area, to complete the Massachusetts travel form before returning.

I also want to thank those of you who completed the survey GSAS launched in October 2020, which asked how ongoing pandemic-related restrictions are affecting your ability to advance your research and impacting your well-being. Nearly 2,200 students responded—a 47 percent response rate—which has helped us gain a better understanding of the pressures GSAS students are facing.

Overall, the survey confirmed that students are experiencing delays in their research due to lack of access to campus spaces, resources, and people, as well as access to off-campus materials and research sites. The situation, coupled with the isolation from peers and mentors, is also having a detrimental effect on student well-being.

To address these issues, I have assembled a Scholarship Restart Task Force, charged with enabling GSAS students to engage in their research more fully. Through this group, GSAS is convening University representatives to investigate opportunities for safely resuming the research enterprise and to develop plans for implementing those recommendations. The Task Force will begin meeting shortly, and I will be in touch with more information in the new year.

I hope that you will have an opportunity to relax and recharge over the winter break. I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy new year.

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


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