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Updates for GSAS Students

Dear GSAS Students,

By now, I hope you’ve had a chance to review the message sent by FAS Dean Claudine Gay about planning for fall 2021. In her message, she outlines the steps necessary for a full return to campus, including access to important academic resources and teaching spaces. While the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to dictate what will be possible, Dean Gay is advising students to plan to be physically at Harvard in the fall.

If you are an international student currently living abroad, I encourage you to begin taking the steps required to obtain a visa, if you need one, as soon as possible. Please contact the Harvard International Office for guidance if you require it. Harvard is aware that many of you may face challenges or delays with this process. We will be in touch with more information when it becomes available.

If you left the area and require housing, the GSAS residence halls are accepting applications through May 1 and Harvard University Housing offers an alternative to the private housing market.

The fall is still months away and I know that many of you are experiencing challenges now. GSAS has been hard at work on the Scholarship Restart program, creating opportunities for students to access important resources and advocating for their expansion. This information is regularly updated on the Scholarship Restart webpage.

Quiet Spaces Program
GSAS worked with Science Center and Sever Hall staff to provide access to quiet spaces on campus to students prioritized by their program as having the greatest need. After a successful pilot, GSAS expanded the program to all students prioritized by their programs. If you would like to participate, please contact your graduate program for details.

Harvard Library Resources
After consultation with graduate program administrators, GSAS shared with Harvard Library a list of students who required access to materials. After review, it became clear that some requests can already be fulfilled through the library’s expanded virtual access, which includes “Shelf View” and other resources. For other requests, the library began reaching out to students to assess needs and develop digital or in-person solutions.

On-Campus Printing
GSAS has been advocating with Harvard University Information Technology to restart Crimson Print in a limited number of campus locations. We are hopeful that several printers will come online for those who need access to the Crimson Print service. In the interim, both the Boston Public Library and Cambridge Public Library offer free printing. (See the libraries’ websites for details.)

Travel Guidance
I know that many of you have been eager to travel for fieldwork and to access archives in the United States and abroad. The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs will consider petitions to travel from graduate students who need to undertake essential research. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity if your research requires it. The travel policy is regularly reviewed, so watch for updates in the coming weeks.

GSAS continues to work with our University partners on the next phase of the Emergency Support Initiative (ESI). We anticipate being able to share an update at the end of April. If you are graduating in May, please remember that you can take advantage of the ESI’s visiting fellow appointment.

This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for everyone, no matter where you are in the world, one that has impacted us all to varying extents and in different ways. If you are struggling academically or personally, please reach out for support. The clinicians from Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are available to meet remotely no matter where you are located, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. After-hours urgent care consultation is available nightly by calling 617-495-5711 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. ET and weekends 24/7. Use the patient portal to schedule an initial consultation or call 617-495-2042 to book follow-up, same-day, or urgent care appointments. If you already have a clinician, you can reach out directly for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

If you need support but don’t know where to start, I encourage you to connect with the GSAS Office of Student Services or with the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs, which holds regular office hours. Please be sure to take time away from your studies and take care of your emotional and physical well-being. The Center for Wellness and Health Promotion maintains a list of virtual workshops, classes, guided meditations, and other resources. The Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS continues to provide virtual programs that build community and help graduate students connect with one another.

Vaccine rollout plans and declining infection rates are encouraging signs that we are moving closer to a new, post-pandemic normal. I am eager for all of us to return to campus safely, engage fully in our research, and meet one another in person.

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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