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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Associate Dean's Message - September 9, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Our new academic year has started but please remember to take care of yourself and observe all the safeguards we have in place.
med ed entrance

Labor Day weekend is the traditional kick-off to a new academic year. However, this year is anything but traditional. While the labs have been reopened for about 3 months, and we have increased density on our campus, we are still not back to “traditional” in any sense. All classes this Fall will be remote and, as you know, our new first year students won’t start until January. While we are adjusting to the “new normal”, I want to acknowledge the stress we are all facing regarding COVID, racial injustice and the start of the term. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of self-care. While we all manage our stress in different ways, be sure to do whatever is best for you: Get some exercise, read a book, turn off the computer, take time away from your work to recharge. If you need someone to speak with, I am always available. Do not hesitate to reach out. And don’t forget about our tele-counseling service through Talk One2One. They are available 24/7 at 1-800-756-3124.

Some reminders:

  • I encourage everyone to come to campus only when necessary. If possible, arrange your lab work to minimize the number of days each week you need to travel, especially if you take public transportation.
  • If there are any issues in the lab/buildings/on campus regarding the COVID policies, or anyone not following the guidelines, you can let me know at; contact Linden Hu at; or use the anonymous reporting form
  • The GSBS Anti-racist Working Group has been meeting on a regular basis (details below) and are working on setting an agenda and creating an action plan. All meetings are open and I encourage everyone to attend if interested.
  • COVID-19 testing for GSBS students launches today. Please see my Friday evening e-mail for all the details.
  • Even when testing is in place, masks, social distancing and proper cleaning are still required at all times. Surveillance testing is designed to identify positive cases and curtail the spread. It is not preventative. The ability to limit the impact of COVID on our community lies with each of us.
  • Linden Hu will hold research office hour on Thursday, September 10 at 4pm. This session is for students only and will be an opportunity to ask about any issues that have come up with the research ramp up. See details below.

I am looking forward to the start of the term and what I hope is a slow but steady return to “normal”. 

Dan Volchok