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Important Information About PhD Students and Research Activities on Campus

To Penn PhD students:

I know the last several days have been challenging with many messages, confusing information, uncertainty, and even disappointment. You may have learned already that Penn is asking all researchers to immediately prepare to discontinue all non-essential on-campus research activities on or before March 17.  This note provides additional information and guidance that I hope will help keep you updated and also provides clarifications around some questions you may have related to the news about non-essential research.

Because the University is prohibiting all non-essential laboratory work, PhD students conducting laboratory research should consult with their Principal Investigators and graduate group for guidance on how to continue with your research activities remotely. You should not be expected to enter labs unless in discussing this with your PI you are deemed to be essential to maintaining animal research or cell lines, etc.. All other students should be preparing to work on analysis, writing, etc..  We strongly encourage all PhD students to discuss with your advisor a plan for how you will conduct research remotely and you should actively make arrangements with your advisors to do so.

Please be reassured that if you currently receive a stipend, this will continue through the end of the semester as long as you continue in your coursework online and/or make the academic progress on your research that you and advisor agree is appropriate given this recent change. 

I strongly encourage all students to update your information in Penn In Touch. Share your mobile number, home address, and family contacts (with phone numbers). If you have a temporary address, please update that as well with the dates you will be at that address.

The University has created a student FAQ that is continuously being updated. Please check it frequently to get answers to your questions. As you can imagine, there are still many issues that have yet to be resolved, particularly around student services. Even though instruction has moved online, the campus support offices are still working and remain open but providing services remotely. You should know that most gathering spaces will be or are already closed. As additional decisions are made, the FAQ will be updated.

We continue to work on guidelines for depositing your dissertation this semester and will distribute more information when it is available.

We intend to support you as you complete your academic requirements remotely. My office is developing an FAQ about online courses for students, and it will be posted athttps://coronavirus.upenn.edu/students-families/student-faq shortly.

I know that this is yet another in a series of announcements that we are all adapting to.  I appreciate everyone’s flexibility as the University works through these unprecedented challenges. Please be sure to look out for your health and support yourself and each other. 

Be well,

Beth Winkelstein, PhD

Vice Provost for Education