Dear PhD Students,
I’m writing as a follow-up to the emails you have received from the university regarding COVID-19. As you can see by the shift to online courses effective today (3/12) and a call to the community to reduce density on campus effective tomorrow (3/13), this is a rapidly changing situation that is being monitored daily.
We are committed to ensuring the continuity of your education as PhD students, which includes activities around research – the core of your PhD education. Our goals are to maintain the continuity of your education and associated research programs while also prudently reducing the density of people in research areas including graduate student office areas and laboratories.
Please note the following guidance about how to think about your research and coursework activities related to the University Messages:
- Effective today all coursework is to be delivered online. This includes PhD level coursework, including seminars and small special topics courses. All instructors and facilitators as well as students should participate remotely. Similarly, PhD Network programming has been converted to online delivery.
- PhD students and faculty are encouraged to use TEAMs (or other technology) to support spontaneous discussion and collaboration. TEAMs can be accessed by faculty and students using Northeastern credentials. It is also possible to invite individuals outside the Northeastern community to video meetings. PhD students may access TEAMs using their Northeastern email (without the husky), for example, [email protected] rather than [email protected]. The IT help desk (x4357) is available for support with TEAMs.
- Please engage with your faculty advisor about reprioritizing your activities so that you minimize your time in a laboratory. Ask them if you can perform activities remotely that do not require a presence in a graduate office or in a lab such as writing, exam preparation, literature reviews, and computational research.
- Deans have been working with faculty over the past two weeks in preparation for a full shift to online teaching. If you are teaching or supporting a faculty member teaching a class, please coordinate with your faculty contact and department chair to ensure that your courses can be taught remotely. Any course that you teach or support must be delivered online effective today. Review information about digital teaching resiliency and online learning preparedness.
- You are encouraged to deliver dissertation defenses (public and private portions) and take proposal exams remotely using a technology such as TEAMs.
- The PhD Network will continue to receive travel funding applications. The application review will continue on the current monthly cycle. All PhD Network travel support falls under the current university travel policies and as communicated on Tuesday this week all non-essential domestic and international travel is not permitted. PhD students may use their travel funds after the travel limitations are lifted. PhD students who have personally incurred nonrefundable advance expenses for upcoming PhD Network awarded travel grants can contact Margaret Wald, Assistant Director of Operations for the PhD Network, at [email protected] for guidance.
Whether you are pursuing your research and coursework on campus or from another location, please maintain social distancing standards with a minimum of 6 feet between people. Also, please follow the World Health Organization’s suggested safety precautions: washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough and sneeze into a tissue or elbow rather than hand, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Shared keyboards and mobile devices can easily spread unwanted viruses.
Your health is of utmost importance. If you are feeling sick, do not come to campus; do contact your medical provider. Please review guidelines and current information about traveling and returning to the USA, which includes guidance for individuals returning from a country identified by the CDC as “Level 3”. Monitor your heath and access care from your primary care physician if you develop symptoms.
Latest updates can be found at: news.northeastern.edu/coronavirus. Please continue to monitor this website for the most up to date information. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or contact WeCare at 617-373-7591 (between 9am and 5pm EST) or at [email protected], which is monitored 24/7.
Best regards, Sara
Vice Provost for the PhD Network
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115