Penn State Town Hall: Response to Novel Coronavirus – Graduate School

good afternoon and welcome to the virtual graduate school townhall sponsored by Penn State today today we will be discussing the university’s response to the novel coronavirus and focusing on what this means for graduate students we held similar town halls last month for students faculty and staff and as with those town halls were implementing social distancing and conducting them online only streamed here at live events we have been soliciting questions for over a week and we’ll do our best to get to as many of them as possible today or after this session today with us we have executive vice president and provost Nick Jones vice provost for graduate education and Dean of the Graduate School Jeanne Vascellaro sonken associate dean for graduate student affairs Sarah ADIS senior associate dean Michael Vader ami associate dean for graduate education equity and chief diversity officer for graduate education Stephanie Jeanette Preston and vice provost for global programs Roger Brenly first Provost Jones I understand you’d like to say a few remarks Provost Jones thank you this first mistake at the Town Hall it’s it’s great to be here and have this opportunity to engage with you all directly in the town hall that been referenced last month we did take some questions that that were particularly relevant to graduate students but we realized after that event that there were many many more questions out there among this population to which we had not responded the idea of having a special Town Hall focused on graduate student needs and interest in questions emerged and and here we are so I appreciate everybody’s participation we look forward to responding to your questions and I hope that our responses will be value to you Thank You Provost Jones now dean vassal ADO’s yung Caen would you say a few words yes thank you Ben I want to echo Provost Jones sentiment that first and foremost the health and safety of our entire community is really our absolute top priority and I want to point out that we all have a responsibility to do our best to ensure this for each other we also recognize that as for all students the continuity of course delivery is critical for graduate education as well and our intention in the Graduate School with all of our programs and our graduate faculty is to deliver a quality experience in this piece through remote teaching and instruction and learning and that takes a lot of different forms in graduate education and we’re committed to that quality delivery in each of those I also want to say emphatically that the Graduate School is committed to the success of every one of our students and we really appreciate the understanding and the flexibility and frankly we’re inspired by the resiliency of our students that they’ve demonstrated we also recognize and we’ve been responsive to this and we will continue to do so that there has to be flexibility at this time and that includes flexibility with respect to the academic policies of Graduate Council that cover all graduate programs the flexibility for graduate school processes and rules and that’s to assure that all the activities that have had to pivot to be remote research scholarship delivering essential activities but also the flexibility to assure that each individual can take care of themselves their families and the ones that they care for and we will continue to be responsive in that respect and finally I want everyone listening to know that everyone on this panel I will say personally I have been inspired by the university leadership president Barron and Provost Jones commitment to student success all of the graduate school administrators those on the panel and others our whole staff that’s behind the scenes and they are Oh a student-centred and I would point out that dr. Brantly who literally walked in the door immediately raised his hand and said he wants to be part of this because our commitment for student success and that we are very invested in you thank you and we have brought together several people from different aspects of the Graduate School today to answer as many questions from various angles that you have submitted as I said we’ve gotten several of them many many of them over the last few days and we will ask as many of them as possible in the time we have today

first Provost Jones this question is for you graduate students with assistantships are asking if they’ll still be paid after April 30th this was of course a topic that came up at the previous Town Hall yes been graduate students who are paid on trainees ships assistantships or fellowships will have their payment continue this tie can continue consistent with their of the appointment letters that they received for the spring I know there have been some questions about the April 30th date that was provided by president Barron that applies to employees of the universities but covered by the time period indicated in their spring letters thank you and as a follow-up will graduate students who are working part-time on campus maybe in residential dining which group do they fall in on as far as the April 30th deadline that’s it that is a more complex issue that the university made a commitment to support all employees including full-time and part-time employees through until April students who have wage payroll type jobs in in the areas that you mentioned fall under that general category the university is working very hard as we speak to come up with a strategy beyond April 30th to maintain operations where we’re necessary and continue to support to the extent possible but it it is too early to be able to make any any commitments for those types of positions at this time beyond the April 30th date thank you and to continue with the financial topics Dean Vascellaro sonken will graduate student stipends be cut or reduced next year for current students as a result of this so been at this time there are no plans by the University to reduce stipend level grades for the upcoming academic year for fall 2020 or a spring 2021 thank you very much Sarah ADIS this question is for you and it’s sort of a broad term but we have several people wondering how does the university decide what research is quote/unquote essential great thanks for this question you know we realize how difficult it is to have to step away from an ongoing research project there’s so many exciting and important things that are going on however given the situation with the kovat 19 pandemic the health and safety of our graduate students the Penn State community and the State College community are paramount given this the decision was made to reduce all non-essential research related activities on campus so what is the essential research basically it’s defined as activities that would generate simple significant sample or data loss would pose a safety hazard or would endanger patients if they’re discontinued it also includes ongoing research activities that are related to koban 19 and we’d like to applaud all of the researchers who are using their expertise to combat various aspects of the pandemic for a full list of activities you can visit the website for the office of the senior vice president for research individual colleges might have provided more specific guidance to your research advisors as to what’s considered essential research in your discipline and just as a brief follow-up if someone is unsure where they fall under or where their research falls under who should they reach out to for graduate students you should talk to your research advisor your research supervisor to see if your research is considered essential or not thank you for that Stephanie we have a question for your for you and just what can pencil in with their finances during this pandemic as so many people are Stephanie could we get you to unmute your mic please and I’ll repeat the question what can Penn State do to help graduate students struggling with finances for both our residents as well as our world campus present students understanding that there may be furloughs and layoffs or even expenses that have come with it stay at home border Penn State the University has created prioritize our alumni and friends collect dollars for students who may be in need specifically for those in urgent need in addition to that students may also access their

colleges as well as their to practice and may be able to direct them to other funds that may be available furthermore we also have our multicultural students we have the college who may also have funds available or on being able to direct them thank you and just to follow up are there are any options if they lack the actual physical things they need I’m thinking computers internet is there any way that the university can provide or loan equipment for that to them they can access the information for these resources and remote learning that yes there’s a mobile request once as a request thank you very much Michael Vetter army we have a question for you and many students were very interested in how the university would conduct grading during this and it was announced that schools would be going into a pass/fail option but that created some other questions and how will that pass grade of impact any residency requirements thanks Ben appreciate the question as you mentioned we did release guidance on optional alternative grading for the spring semester last week and there are an extensive set of fa Q’s that go with that but graduate education is complicated and we obviously didn’t cover everything so I’m happy to answer this question this refers to the residency requirement for our research and professional doctoral students and the short answer is that spring 2020 will count towards the residency requirement for students that are enrolled full-time but I’d like to add two important details the first is that this semester will count regardless of whether students choose to keep the quality grades they’re signed by their instructors or if they choose the alternative grading system and secondly I do want to also point out that this semester will count for full-time enrolled students despite the fact that many of them are off campus because of the physical distancing requirements that the governor has asked us to enforce thank you for that and I mentioned briefly we have a website in addition to the ones they’ve mentioned backslash virus info and if people mention resources during the course of the townhall we’ll make sure that we post those resources into that one central location that’s backslash virus info is the latest up-to-date information on everything that the university is doing with regard to corona virus both University response and going across all the science and research that we’re doing in this area as well so as again that website is backslash virus info Roger Brantley we have a question for you and we’ve heard reports from all across the country that international students are being targeted or passed and blamed for this pandemic what is your message to our international community today I really appreciate that question because it allows us to get straight to the importance of our global work here at Penn State just this week the president of Penn State dr. Eric Barron wrote an article called we are one community and you can find it on the kovat 19 Update web site of the University I encourage you to read it I’d like to read an excerpt of it for you because we can be assured that Penn State is deeply committed to our international community dr. Barron wrote as a new coronavirus spreads around the world so unfortunately do cases of xenophobia or discrimination against individuals of East Asian descent as members of a community of learners and teachers and scholars we have a responsibility to avoid not only falling prey to these bet biases but to actively address these ugly prejudices that have no basis in fact I’d like to remind all of you that international student scholar advising is available at eight one four eight six five six three eight four excuse me six three four eight let me repeat that eight one four eight six five six three four eight and we are here to help you with all your issues related to your engagement in the community and your intercultural learning we value our international population at Penn State

our global work and teaching academics and research and engagement require that our international students are part of the heartbeat of this University we benefit from your presence and we want you to feel that you are welcome and you’re respected at all times thank you for that and welcome to the University Thank You Dean yankin the next question is for you what is the university doing to support graduate students in their individual academic goals this is a really important question and I want to start by saying that one of the hallmarks of the model for graduate education at Penn State is our ability to accommodate individual students academic interests and for students who are in research degree programs their individual research interests they come here because of the research expertise of our faculty and aligning them with being able to work in those domains so there are a whole variety of curricular models to accommodate individual students interests for example we have things called areas of emphasis or concentration we have options dual title degrees elective courses and for students who are in those research degree programs they can select electives that are specific to the focus of their research problem I also want to emphasize that all of these curricular flexibilities have continued throughout the current situation and faculty and our graduate programs are very much focused on making sure that students who are pursuing research have avenues to continue to do that whether it means helping them identify information resources so they continue with some of their work it may be helping to redirect the sequencing of what they do in their research such as focusing on literature reviews or a proposal writing at this time but the goal is to make sure that they can continue to pursue those individual interests and be successful thank you very much Sarah ADIS we have another question for you and if a graduate student doesn’t feel safe specifically regarding the coronavirus if they don’t feel safe completing their assistantship activities what resources are available to them to seek help while also maintaining anonymity yes so the health and safety as we’ve said of graduate students is our utmost concern one resource iron Environmental Health and Safety has a clear set of procedures for those who are conducting essential research on campus to follow that include guidelines for social distancing and for cleaning lab spaces with everything from equipment to computers still everyone who is doing research in these labs should follow all of these recommendations if you don’t feel safe doing your research what you should start with is by talking to your research supervisor or your graduate program leadership I’d like to note that the university has clearly stated that a graduate student cannot be required to come to campus to do research if you feel that you can’t have this type of discussion with your research advisor or with your graduate program leadership what you can do is you can contact me I serve as the Ombudsman for all graduate students at Penn State I can help you in navigating these types of situations with insurance of maintaining confidentiality if you request it and as allowable by the Penn State policies and laws thank you and we’ll make sure we have contact information for your office posted it as well Stephanie we have another question for you and this topic is on the mind of many of our students that are graduating both undergraduate and graduate students and they’re thinking about their career and how are they going to get a job in this extra tough time and so how is the university planning to help them do that are they’re going to host career days as they normally do in person what are the options there right now the office of friendly would like to fill out the survey it’s og and he is in this survey would plan on collecting information with regards to remote social activities as well as professional development by students

that we can offer in addition to this information I know dr. charity has been in contact with career services without career services here on campus and they’ve offered one-on-one counseling students with regards to their professor their careers and whatnot that be also working with host a number of that’s very reassuring to students I’m sure Penn State is known for the efforts they put into helping their students find careers after they graduate so thank you so much for providing that information on how that’s ongoing Michael we have another question for you and given that the university has granted tenure timeline extensions to faculty many graduate students are wondering if they’re going to get an extension in their degree process as well can you address that for us sure Ben as dean fossilization can set at the beginning the commitment of everyone in the Graduate School is to ensure the success of our students and so consistent with that goal last week when we released the guidance on optional alternative grading we also released guidance extending all of the major graduate counsel time limits virtually all of them by a full year I do want to be clear this is to provide extra time as students need it it’s not a requirement that they must take one where we certainly hope students can finish in as efficient manner as possible and you can see all the various policies that were impacted by this guidance again on the graduate schools covered 19 website which you can get from our homepage as well that’s good all of our overachieving students can continue forward and graduate on time we wouldn’t want to stop that thank you very much absolutely Roger we have another question for you and can international masters students who are anticipating graduating dismay be granted conditional PhD admissions in the same program many of them want to stay here legally until their home country opens up and more international travel opportunities arise what a wonderful question talk about overachieving students that’s a terrific question you know in the eyes of of an i-20 and the international students listening will know what I mean by that there is no such thing as a conditional i-20 so you have to be admitted to receive an i-20 so the first thing we spell encourage all of our graduate students are thinking about go not to a PhD to do is is to go to your departments go to your program advisers and have that conversation now many of you have been wonderfully successful in your graduate work many of you will be admissible to your PhD opportunities and we certainly encourage you to have those conversations if you apply and your program admits you then our colleagues an international student advising can quickly process an i-20 for you so that’s it’s a really wonderful question and I want to give a very positive answer I will just give this one caveat Ben and that is that every single international student has a slightly different arrangement from every other and so it’s very very important that you you go to I start and that you fill out an e form called submit a question and that question can go straight to an adviser in our international student services and they can come back to you with an answer and help you with your very individual circumstances of course you can also call that number that I gave a little earlier that’s the eight one four eight six five six three four eight number and they’ll be delighted to help you there as well so the messages please go and explore the opportunities with your doctoral faculty and advisers and know that the international student services are available to assist you with the i-20 as soon thank you very much and then you can tell all your friends and family that you also received your doctorate from Penn State and make them all very jealous exactly Nick Jones we have another question for you what is the plan for the Graduate School commencement ceremonies I know that commencement in general is a very important topic right now to many people it’s been thanks for that question and I know that there are certain to be some some of you listening right now who we’re planning on participating in our graduate school commencement ceremony this may and must be very disappointed personally I may be the Provost of the University but I am also the father of a

graduating student than we two share your disappointment that we can’t it was announced a little earlier this week hopefully most of you saw it that the university plans on Saturday May 9th a virtual commencement ceremony for the entire University with the exception of the College of Medicine Dickinson law and Penn State law those those three academic units will have their own ceremonies because they’re on a slightly different academic calendar from the rest of the university that ceremony that virtual ceremony will be presided over by president Barron I will also participate in it and in that ceremony the president will confer degrees on all assembled quote/unquote assembled students and including graduate students and undergraduate students from all of our campus locations the intention is that this will be followed by a special ceremony that is being developed by the Graduate School which desires to do that special recognition of graduate students and maybe at this point I’ll hand over to Dean yankin to say a few words about what is envisioned for that graduate school ceremony so Thank You Provost Jones let me reiterate that we’re all disappointed that we can’t have our normal graduate school commencement ceremony but we are certain that we’ll be able to provide after the university level ceremony we are working together with all of our graduate programs and colleges to plan some virtual things that will be meaningful to each of our graduating students and recognize we have a very large graduate school with a very diverse number of programs and programs and fields and we want to be sure that we include components in the way that we celebrate the achievement of having your degrees conferred that reflect that diversity so stay tuned and we will have information coming out on how the Graduate School plans to recognize and celebrate those students who are graduating so that you don’t have the disappointment of not knowing how truly thrilled we are to see you complete your degrees as semester and then if I may add in addition to the virtual ceremonies on May 9th we are planning also in in the fall to find a way that we can invite graduates back to campus should they be able to attend for a more intimate physical celebration those plans are still being developed that’s a little bit off into the future right now we’re focused on making a May 9 if event as as meaningfully as we can possibly make it thank you both and thank you for letting people know that there are still plans to have an in-person gathering and honoring of the all the hard work I know that’s been a topic many people were concerned with but obviously that’s a lot of things are in motion there and things need to be decided including what happens with across the country because we don’t know what’s happening next week let alone next month so thank you both for for that information but Michael I’m gonna follow up with you and this does present a question of the physical diploma and how are the graduates going to get that will they be mailed to students how does that be accomplished yeah thanks Ben it’s an important question let me just on a personal note like Provost Jones like the share folks disappointment I had two children planning to graduate both from Penn State in May one at Penn State York and one here at the lifelink program and I suspect my son graduating and Penn State Europe I had the same question currently the diplomas are scheduled to be mailed mailed physical mail on June 22nd I said currently because as we all know things have been in flux a little bit but that is the current plan that is a little later than normal and so I do want students who are graduating to know that once the spring 2020 grades have been posted and all the requirements complete and that those include things like having your master’s thesis or your doctoral dissertation accepted once all those requirements are complete students can request a letter of certification from the Graduate School that will attest that all the requirements have been complete and they can use that until they’re able to get their diploma or their access their transcripts thank you very much I’m sure that’s also comforting for people who are going to either be looking for into the job

market or again continuing that education here at Penn State I’m sure we could make that happen if they stay here real easy though absolutely Dean young can another question for you and what is happening with graduate assistantship fellowship and trainees specifically in the summer and fall how will they be impacted sure and I can certainly appreciate students having concerns about that I I do want to again emphasize as Provost Jones pointed out the students who are on current appointments for this semester for spring those are continuing as they were committed to and so for a student on an assistantship their full terms of offer will be met and just to remind people that stipends are dispersed for the spring semester those last stipends will be dispersed in May so they should expect that to happen summer will progress and as always summer appointments and summer funding are the purview of the students graduate program their departments and in the case of students who are on assistantships for example or summer support that come from funded grants and contracts the faculty p.i and so those are still within those individuals and departments per views they are already moving forward we have summer appointments beginning to be submitted and so students if they have not already would be hearing from their programs and their departments I will say fall B as we have all been saying this situation is driven by the corona virus pandemic and every day the information about that changes there are so many things that are impacting what can happen a week from now or a month from now that we really would be premature in trying to speculate in any way what might be happening for the Fall I also want to assure students who are on the question included fellowships and traineeships I believe and so we are in contact at this time there is no information that we have received from federal agencies that fund traineeships fellowships for example NSF graduate research fellowships there is no information right now to indicate that those are being impacted for the immediate future and our office of graduate fellowships and awards administration are in contact with program officers for those federal agencies and those programs and for those awards that are centrally administrator for example NSF fellowships come through the graduate schools office of fellowships in the wars administration if we hear any change in that we will be reaching out directly to students let them know and I would also encourage students to periodically check with the website for the senior vice president for research there is a great deal of valuable information on there regarding the flexibility that the federal agencies that fund many of the grants and contracts on which students are supported are providing flexibilities at this time and so there’s additional information there thank you very much and we’ll make sure that we either have that information or link it on that side I mentioned earlier again backslash virus info I realize we’re throwing out a lot of websites and phone numbers for everyone but we will do our very best to centralize all resources so you can find everything you’re looking for Sarah yes I have another question for you and this comes from a graduate student who is worried that if they need to take a leave of absence due to kovat 19 will they still be able to keep their insurance and this is a great question I know the leave of absence policies and definitely health insurance can be incredibly confusing so to start with I want to say if anyone becomes sick with kovat 19 or is caring for someone with koba 19 the first order of business is taking care of your health and your well-being contact your health care provider follow their guidance and take care of yourself so in terms of what is a paid leave IRS’s an unpaid leave so I’m going to start with the second part of the question first paid leave is for students who are currently enrolled and are supported by a graduate assistantship fellowship or traineeship and the support package is going to continue during the leave unpaid leaves really apply to students who are taking

the leave for an entire semester or more and that’s because support packages cannot be provided to students who aren’t actually enrolled in courses the only other case where an unpaid leave might apply is if the funding can’t for some reason be continued due to the requirements of a support package during a leave of absence so now I’ll come back to the health insurance question starting with emphasizing that every graduate student whether you’re unfunded or self paying is eligible for a short-term leave of absence of up to three weeks that will have absolutely no impact on your health insurance plan or your funding package if you’re in this situation and are able to you should let your instructors your research adviser your graduate program head know what is going on students who need a little more time to recover to care for others are eligible for what we call an extended leave of absence during this time given the current circumstances with the pandemic graduate student financial support packages which include the stipends and the health insurance subsidies should continue through the end of the semester even when graduate students aren’t on leave and that’s barring any exceptional extenuating circumstances and the other key piece of information is that the premiums that are paid for the insurance during the spring semester actually apply to the full coverage year so you will be paid your insurance will last through that August 12th and given how confusing this can be I’m happy to answer any questions from a student or graduate program about a leave of absence or funding packages or health insurance during a leave thanks thank you and if I have any questions about my health insurance can you help me to that would you probably have to talk to HR on oh all right but thank you very much Roger we have another question for you what guidance and resources can the university offer international students and this is a very real concern for many of our students but for these international students whose visas may be expiring thank you Ben it’s a very real concern and I’d like to make an observation and then give some guidance the observation is that a visa per se is just a travel document that ensures that you’re allowed entry into the United States once you in the United States your legal status as a student or a scholar in the United States is actually related to other documents that might be your i-94 marked D s or it could be a valid i-20 or ds-2019 along with your valid passport you don’t need to leave the United States when your visa expires or to renew your visa even if you want to change your F and J status you can probably do that from within the United States so we strongly encourage you to talk to our international student scholar advisors before you think about travel especially at this point in time what I suggest you do is go to I start again and go to the submitter question e form and let’s see if we can help you specifically with your concern but again the expiry of your visa is not the critical issue here the critical issues are you maintaining that other documentation so do let us help you with that thank you very much for clarifying that and I’d like to take this moment and we’ve collected many many questions and some of the things that people have asked are highly specific to their own personal situation as Roger indicated earlier and if you have a very very specific to your needs question please reach out to the people that we’re mentioning and they can help you through those we’re trying to make this Town Hall as broad to help as many people as we can at once without delving into the hyper specific questions but we are trying to again provide information that will help everyone thank you and Michael we have another question for you and this comes from a graduate student who is looking at that pass/fail option again and they’re wondering if they can take a deferred grade you know many people feel that there’s just a little bit of pressure on them right now but they’re hitting their stride and they think they can catch up and you know really excel and maybe earn that a that they’d love to have on the transcript is that an option the deferred grade thanks Ben you know we know that our graduate students are incredibly resilient and talented and we’ve certainly provided guidance to provide some flexibility so they can

meet the goals of their courses during the semester but we also recognize this is an incredibly challenging time for everyone including our students whether it’s family obligations or other other pressures related to what’s going on and so yeah absolutely the Graduate Council has a deferred grade policy also known as DF and let me quote the policy for it because I think it applies perfectly when work is incomplete at the end of a semester because of extenuating circumstances and I think we can all agree this applies here to potentially so a DF allows additional time after the semester formally ends so students can complete the work and receive the appropriate grade based on their level of accomplishment in the course requirements and so I would say for students who have fallen behind because of the current situation they should speak with their course instructor and request the DF so that they can have that additional time we have asked the Graduate as bleeding young Kim mentioned earlier we’ve asked a graduate faculty to be flexible under the current circumstances and this would certainly be case where that would apply thank you you very much Nick gents we have another question for you people are wondering looking ahead to the summer session and as has been the case now is it going to be synchronous teaching or will we be moving to asynchronous teaching for that summer session expand when we made the decision the strategic decision in the middle of the semester to flip from with residential instruction to remote instruction we also made the decision that that we would make that synchronous – this was a change that we imposed in the middle of the semester there was a lot of complexity associated with doing that and we felt that moving to synchronous instruction was really best for everybody and that has proven I think in hindsight to have been a good decision although it’s not been without some challenges because of students in different time zones and and so on and so forth as we think about the summer first we will be getting some guidance out soon we have a group that is working very hard on figuring out the best strategy for some of course delivery and and I would say that what we’re thinking about is is how to take everything that we have learned from the spring semester and our experience with synchronous delivery couple that with everything that we know through many years of world campus experience in asynchronous delivery and and really leverage both of those to the maximum benefit of our students and and the university so I anticipate what what you will see emerge in the summer is is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous delivery designed to really support our students in the best way possible and we should have I’m anticipating within days there will be information and guidance coming out from the university about our directions for the summer thank you sir and I know there was a lot of concern as you mentioned people are in different time zones people might have difficulty connecting to that synchronous but we’ve heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of people saying you know that they’ve really enjoyed and appreciated this is there anything you can share with us along those lines around the synchronous delivery you mean yes yes one of the things that that actually we anticipated to some degree but I think the degree to which it has been effective has really surprised us and that is we the the benefit of being part of a learning community really has emerged very powerfully in the last of four weeks and we’ve seen just how much students appreciate the power of their real-time learning environment that develops in in asynchronous delivery mode and that that I think the degree to which that has being significant has been a surprise to us and so again as we move into the summer we want to try to capture as much of that community development aspect in in this hybrid mode that really leverages both our expertise in asynchronous and synchronous to the maximum benefit of our our students thank you sir you really could anticipate that in a situation like this where we’re all clearly as we are today social distancing we’re not in the same studio together but that’s a way for students to check in on each other and feel that sense of community as they’re hearing there from the teacher at the same moment together even if they can’t be there in person so again thank you for that information that is absolutely

correct Ben and I think sometimes we underestimate the power of the virtual environment I was in a meeting earlier today and I never thought that I would actually say this but I felt emotion in that meeting about a topic that was being discuss and it was really surprising to me just how that that that emotion came through in that particular community in a very powerful way so I think we can sometimes underestimate what what can happen in these virtual communities and virtual environments thank you and it’s nice to see all of your faces but you know we have a question for you now and people are interested to know what kind of relief is out there and congratulate assistants receive help through the coronavirus aid relief and Economic Security or cares act that’s understandably a question with respect to the cares Act and let me clarify first that the university does not determine who is eligible or not eligible to receive benefits under the cares Act certainly the question is being raised for example about the extended unemployment benefits that are described in the cares Act and so first as I said the university is not the entity that determines eligibility for given group of individuals we have higher education and here in Pennsylvania because those funds are allocated to the states and it’s really up to the state in this case the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to determine who specifically will be eligible for those benefits so we are waiting at this time for some clarification back on that very question and we appreciate people’s patience as we are being patient to hear we’re all waiting to hear and learn more about a lot of these topics and again I’m going to plug the website again please bookmark these websites and revisit them often and we’ll be posting the information as soon as we have it that website is backslash virus info thank you thank you very much and Stephanie we have a question for you and this is from a graduate student that is concerned moving forward if they’re afraid that they may have contracted coronavirus can they get tested and what might that cost graduate student information regarding cost with regard to their policy changes to ensure that we offer the best health to help clear possible information regarding that will be posted to the grants website shortly after this broad broadcast regarding the cost leaving with those students thank you for that Sarah we have a question for you now and this is a bit complex but our graduate students allowed or expected to be working towards their dissertation if it’s an on time sensitive experiment in the lab while still of course maintaining that social distancing thanks Ben so I’m actually a microbiologist and have spent a large chunk of my life in a lab and I can really appreciate how difficult would be not to be able to go into the lab and do those experiments however given the governor Wolf’s orders state to stay at home as well as the university’s decision to reduce research on campus if you are not performing essential research you should not be coming to campus to do those experiments no matter how much you might want to do so as I said before if you’re not sure if your research is considered essential talk to your research advisor if you are staying at home you can and should continue your research remotely this is a time to do those data analyses you might have been putting off to do some writing the proposal get a draft of a paper maybe even the introduction of your dissertation started you can keep up with the literature your advisers should also be continuing with group meetings and periodic check-ins to help you with these activities writing and proofreading can very much be done while implementing social distancing thank you very much Roger we have another question for you now and this is a question from international students and they’re

wondering will they be allowed to arrive this fall yeah great question at a macro level much will depend on the position of the US government and currently the u.s. Department of State is monitoring kovat 19 with the intention that we will return embassy and consulate staff around the world to their posts as the conditions allow of course that’s going to be flexible in timing and way I think we can anticipate a situation where depending on the kovat 19 transmission some countries open up earlier than others but that said we do expect the emphasis of consulates to re-establish visa appointments when it’s safe to do so we do a scientist pate there will be some backlog so it’ll be very important to watch those consulate names websites as we move along of course here at Penn State we remain committed to a residential offering for all our students this fall semester however like our government there’s such a an impact around Kovach 19 right now that we really have to monitor this carefully all the while recognizing and considering the global mobility of our international graduate students and so we’re currently evaluating multiple alternative and novel ways of continuing remote learning while also planning for a residential experience that way we believe we can give you the very best academic offering possible as as the time allows these discussions of course will continue and they’re dynamic in nature but please do let us help you individually if you have specific timelines or specific issues related to to the fall semester that you would like to discuss and yes go to the ice stop and fill out that submitted questioning form very good very good sir Michael we have another question for you and many doctoral students were planning to defend and submit dissertations and summer 2020 session and but they have also had their data collection in writing and research impacted by kovat 19 oh there was some accommodation that we’ve spoken about for people who were graduating in spring will there be a similar or any common accommodations for those who are planning to graduate in summer 2020 then you know I think it’s fair to say the graduate school celebrates when when students finish their degrees that’s why we are here to help students do that and so we certainly understand the concerns of those students were really close and and concerned as you said we did extend the deadline in the spring and we will be looking at the both the thesis and dissertation submission deadline for the summer as we get a little closer and I can say we anticipate being able to provide a little bit of flexibility again as we did in the spring I do want to point out however that like students understand that those deadlines are set so that we can account all the post submission processing that has to be completed in time so that degrees can actually be conferred and at the moment with all of that processing taking place at the homes of staff members and not in the office it’s not quite as efficient as normal so we’ll certainly provide whatever flexibility we can but we appreciate students understanding as well thank you danyoung can we have a question for you and what will happen to new students who were starting this summer and they were planning and hoping to be appointed to wage positions so man that’s a good question certainly we are looking at having new students participating in graduate education during the summer and so what I would tell those new students is to contact their graduate program where they have been applying and to ask them for information about the summer wage appointments as I’ve mentioned previously it’s actually the purview of the individual programs and departments with respect to summer wages and they would be able to give them information on that and and again for continuing students those appointments are beginning and they will have information as well from their graduate programs and departments thank you Nick Jones we have another question for you and this is one of those looking forward questions so perfectly all right if we don’t have all the answers at this point but what impact does the university anticipate this is going to have on admissions in the fall and as a result the courses that are offered oh boy here let me look at my drawer and see if I can find my crystal ball to answer

that one well I think as probably those those who have been watching University announcements can attest you know about a week ago we talked about grading grading now policy for graduate students during this unusual semester we just announced earlier this week what we’re doing for commencement which of is at the end of the grading period and I said earlier in the conversation that we’ll be issuing guidance very soon on what we’re doing for the summer so you can imagine that the fall is a little bit a little bit further off but we do have to be thinking about it because decisions that we are making now are obviously have an impact on on where we will land in the fall it’s a little bit hard to talk right at this moment at the beginning of April about what we’re anticipating for graduate students in terms of enrollments I would just offer that that all of the data we’re looking at suggest that for both graduate students and indeed for undergraduate students that interest in Penn State remains high applications remain high pate accepts at the undergraduate level which we are tracking remain significant so at this point the interest in Penn State is out there and remains both the undergraduate and the graduate level one of the important things that we are focused on doing is is making sure that that those students who have accepted the invitation to attend Penn State are stuck to us and that we don’t lose them over the summer you know we do not want our students undergraduate or graduate to be thinking that their educational goals and and vision needs to be negatively impacted by a virus this is a very important message that we want to want to get out there once you have committed to Penn State Penn State will stand by you and so we’re very optimistic that as as we start to emerge from this acute period of the challenge that we we will see admissions remain robust even though the the the entry of our students both graduate and undergraduate to the university may be a little bit different from what what one had originally anticipated but that robust nonetheless so that that is my my optimistic read on the situation thank you and as always stay tuned to the websites there and that will be the source of the latest information thank you Michael one more question for you and how should students plan on making up for lost clinical hours obviously things are a little different right now and people thinking about those ones they need to graduate yeah thanks man this is actually a really important question and and like many things that you read you scroll I have to say it depends I’ll give you two really broad answers to this in some cases those clinical our requirements are set by external accrediting bodies or licensing bodies and so those are not under the control of the university I can say that I know our program leaders in those programs have been in touch with those agencies to determine what kind of flexibility they might provide and so students in such programs should talk to their program heads for other cases those requirements are established by the particular graduate program as part of that program to ensure that the students get all the knowledge skills and attributes necessary for success in their field and so in cases where it’s a program requirement as I mentioned before we’ve asked programs to biess to be flexible and to do that in the context of not delaying student graduation but ensuring that students still do meet their program objectives so they can be successful when they leave the university and take on their careers thank you we are running short on time but I do have to ask this final question for Dean young can because it was frankly very encouraging when it came in and this person asked if there was a way for graduate students from certain fields like biology to contribute to solving this pandemic that we’re all facing right now and first I want to applaud our graduate students like the student who submitted this question who have reached out in really generous and selfless ways with an interest in bringing to bear their disciplinary expertise and their graduate training to help solve this problem and what I would say is as with any very complex and impactful problem this will require a multitude of approaches to solve but that includes individuals who have expertise in biomedical and life science fields like biology and immunology it includes social and behavioral sciences

we’re all aware of how important behavior is by individuals like social distancing and self-quarantine are necessary it includes individuals who have expertise in computational fields epidemiology and so we have a tremendous assets here at Penn State in the form of our research institutes and in particular those under the senior vice president for research there is a special initiative right now with funding for seed grants for projects to address the coronavirus and solutions through the Huck institutes for the life sciences in collaboration with the Materials Research Institute the Institute for energy in the environment the Institute for a computational and data Sciences in the Social Science Research Institute and I would encourage those graduate students like the student who submitted this question to reach out to those Institute directors and to see what opportunities they are to bring their support and expertise to bear and we will provide the information on those individuals and their contact information with the questions and the answers that are posted and I want to thank that student and all the others that have that tremendous intent in mind thank you thank you truly Penn Staters impacting the world Provost Jones do you have any final thoughts for the community today Provost if you could unmute your microphone those are brilliant thoughts and I want to hear them yes they were and I will try to remember them yes thank you babe so at least I began and ended the same way forgetting to unmute so I do want to address something that I’m sure some of you may have seen and that were quite sensitive to and that is there’s been a bit of rhetoric nationally about our graduate students have have felt that they have been considered or treated by their home institutions during this period of extraordinary challenge and and and stress and and that is is something that I read with with considerable interest and I’m actually feel pretty good about the fact that here at Penn State that has absolutely not been the case from day one when when the coronavirus our first emerge is something that we as an institution had to deal with in in a in a strategic and a tactical manner I stepped in for president Barron and put together a series of tasks groups to fashion the university’s response and one of the things that that was noteworthy to me is that in almost every one of those task groups the the topic of supporting our research Enterprise and supporting our graduate students and the the educational aspirations of that post those students was top of mind in all of the conversations so it was really gratifying to see that and and of course befitting of our status as a research intensive University so I really appreciate the fact that we had the opportunity to do to do this town ball I hope that the answers to our to all your questions were helpful and I want to sure assure each and every one of you that from day one our graduate students have have been a major focus for the university and and you all will remain a focus as as we move forward and eventually put put this challenge behind us so thank you all for listening and thanks for being part of this conversation I do want to thank Nick Jones Regina Vascellaro sonken Sarah ADIS Michael Vera Romney Stephanie Jeanette Preston and Roger Brenly all for answering questions today truly thank you so much I also want to thank our community for coming together and submitting these questions and really coming together as a community during this unprecedented challenge facing us all if we all continue to do our part and limiting our social interaction doing things via zoom like we are today be vigilant with your personal hygiene and quarantine yourself if you feel sick we can tackle this challenge together one more time please bookmark and continue to visit backslash buyers info for the latest updates and information on the university’s response the link will be here on live events thank you all and have a good evening