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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Important Information on the COVID-19 Outbreak from GSBS

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Become familiar with changes at GSBS in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation so be sure to check back frequently.
med ed entrance

A number of changes in procedures have been put in place at GSBS because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Note that these policies are still evolving, so please check your email and our website for the latest information.

  • Classes – While the University message states that University instruction will be conducted virtually beginning on March 25, we are requesting that classes move to an online format earlier if possible. As I mentioned earlier, all of our classes, including Journal Club, Seminar and Research Presentations have a Canvas instance. The lead instructor should be sure that the Canvas course has the proper content and is published for student access. See below for information regarding virtual instruction.
  • Thesis Defenses – Thesis defenses scheduled for the remainder of the semester will be held online through WebEx. The student and their committee should participate from home if possible. The program coordinator will set up the WebEx and communicate the log-in information. Family members or the public may only attend via WebEx/Zoom. Note that in some circumstances, campus-based students, faculty, staff and only those required to attend may attend in person. Any external members or members of the public may participate only via WebEx.
  • Small Meetings (TACs) - Meetings that consist of only a student and the few members of a TAC committee be permitted.  However, they need to take place in a space where the attendees can be spread out.  That is, five people around a small conference table is not appropriate, but five people in a larger room would be allowed. Please be aware that use of WebEx for such meetings is preferred.
  • Lab Work – As lab work is, for the most part, an individual activity, students are permitted to continue their experiments and lab work. However, students should come in only for essential lab work. If work can be accomplished at home, students should not come in.
  • Events – All events through the end of April have been cancelled. This includes our Revisit Day next Friday, MD/PhD Revisit Days, student events and any lectures.

Virtual instruction can be taught through a variety of methods.

  • WebEx or Zoom – Classes can be taught synchronously through WebEx or Zoom. All students should be able to access the class through a link provided by the faculty member. The faculty member will need to lead the class from their home or office. We will not be setting up WebEx or Zoom in classrooms.
  • Canvas – Classes can be taught synchronously and asynchronously through Canvas. There are many ways a faculty member could utilize Canvas including sharing materials, recording and posting lectures, holding a live classroom session or moderating online discussions. It is vital that students are receiving the same level of instruction/lecture/training in the online environment as they would in the face-to-face classroom.

In addition to WebEx, the University now has an enterprise license for Zoom. As with WebEx, you can set up your own Zoom Room by going to and logging in with your Tufts credentials.

Please note that this is an ever-evolving situation and as more information/decisions are made, I will communicate with everyone. If you have any questions regarding setting up WebEx for your course, please contact your program coordinator. For other questions regarding virtual instruction, labs or events, feel free to email Dan Volchok.

Regards, Dan