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March 11 Graduate Student Email

March 11, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

We write to share an update on the evolving situation with COVID-19. As you know, all courses, both graduate and undergraduate, must be taught entirely online by March 23rd, if not before. The original guidance was that they would continue online until April 5th; they are now to remain virtual until the end of the Spring 2020 semester.

Undergraduate students have been asked to return home at this time and remain home for the rest of the semester, if they are able to do so. This measure is being taken in order to reduce the number of students on campus, thereby mitigating the transmission of the virus and improving our ability to care for those who may become sick and isolate those who have been exposed. The only undergraduates who will be allowed to remain on campus are ones who meet one or more of the following criteria:

A senior who must conduct lab or other Princeton-based research on campus that’s required for your senior thesis;

A student who faces housing insecurity (homelessness or a precarious living situation);

A student who faces financial insecurity;

A student previously certified “independent for the purposes of financial aid”;

An athlete still in competition and required to be on campus;

Currently residing in “family housing.”

An international student may fall into any of the categories above.  Other criteria for international students include those:

Who have immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions;

Whose home is in a country currently designed at a Warning Levels 2 & 3 and USDOS Levels 3 & 4 for COVID-19.

Whose home is in an area with extremely limited internet connectivity.

Graduate students are, of course, in very different circumstances than undergraduates. Many of you call your residence on this campus home, many of you are international students, and many of you need to be on campus to conduct research. You are therefore not required to leave campus, and your housing situations will remain unchanged.

However, any graduate students who have another residence available to them and who will be able to continue to make academic progress remotely are encouraged to consider doing so. Graduate students who elect to leave campus and complete the spring semester remotely will be allowed to cancel their housing contracts immediately. Provided you continue to make reasonable academic progress, your funding will not be impacted.

These are difficult and challenging times. We are deeply grateful to all of you for your understanding, flexibility, and community spirit as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

Please find below information concerning life on campus at this time.

Hours of operation

University Health Services, campus libraries, and Dillon Gym will be open with revised schedules.  Information about extended or reduced hours for these and other facilities is available on this website.

Events

All student organization events will be canceled, postponed, or held remotely.  Other campus events will also most likely be cancelled or postponed, including events sponsored by the University, departments, or other units.

Virtual community

Facilitated by the Office of Wintersession and Campus Engagement (OWCE), this page  winter.princeton.edu/virtual contains resources for Princeton students to reduce social isolation and encourage connections while many on-campus opportunities are suspended due to COVID-19 precautions.

The page will be updated frequently with details about additional virtual activities.  Contact Leanna Jahnke or Judy Jarvis in the OWCE to learn how to organize a virtual event.

Dining

From March 23rd on, Procter Hall will be open for normal operating hours.

As is standard practice, Procter Hall will be closed for dinner the week of spring break (March 14th-22nd). During that week, meals will be available from Whitman dining hall to box up and take back to your room to promote social distancing. The Whitman dining hall will be open for brunch (10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) and dinner (5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.). Continental breakfast will also be available at Procter Hall that week.

For additional details please see https://dining.princeton.edu/.

Seeking support

This crisis is provoking wide-spread anxiety.  You may be experiencing stress related to concerns for yourself, your family, or your friends.  Please remember the many campus resources available to support you.

The Graduate School staff are always available to answer your questions and assist you in whatever ways we can. Graduate students who are facing financial hardship as a result of the situation should reach out to the Student Life team at the Graduate School. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) can be reached at (609) 258-3141.  Virtual CPS counseling sessions are being offered as well.  Do reach out to our campus life centers, to the Office of Religious Life, and to other campus support resources.

We want to thank the many students who have reached out to share their concerns and express their support for working together to keep us all as safe and healthy as possible. As always, we are grateful to the leadership of Graduate Student Government and Undergraduate Student Government for their input and support.

We deeply appreciate the work of so many faculty, staff, and students who have responded thoughtfully to this public health emergency.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions.

With our concern and best wishes,

W. Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life

Sarah-Jane Leslie, Dean of the Graduate School

 

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