03/25/20 | 4:30 pm | COVID-19 Update For Graduate Students

Academic Continuity | Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Timely Updates


  • All lecture/didactic courses moved to virtual/online modes beginning Monday, March 16th.
  • Information regarding Virtual Course Instruction as well as instructions for students are now on the Graduate School’s website.
  • While on-campus lecture classes have been suspended, the Graduate Dean’s office will remain open.
  • Qualifying exams, committee meetings, and thesis/dissertation defenses are now virtual.
  • All in-person seminars have been postponed indefinitely.


  • Research labs should have already implemented social distancing measures consistent with CDC recommendations, e.g., no more than 10 people in a group at once, at least 6 feet of separation at all times, etc.
  • But even further, according to the memoranda from the Office of the Vice President for Research, laboratories should be scaling down their research activities.
  • The physical presence of research trainees in lab should be limited to actual time for critical experiments and essential operations (maintenance of crucial cell lines and breeding colonies, experiments with direct life-saving impact, COVID-19-related research, etc.).
  • Additionally, all lab group meetings should be virtual.
  • If a research trainee feels unsafe or vulnerable in their research environment, they should let both the PI and Dr. Nicquet Blake in the GSBS Office (Graduate Students) know of their intentions to remain at home.
  • Unsafe practices can also be anonymously reported through the UT Health San Antonio Hotline (877-507-7317).


  • Travel to locations where there is an identified risk is strongly discouraged. With rapidly changing travel alerts and increases in the list of restricted regions, changes could occur while you are away that affect your risk and your return plans. Areas that currently are not considered high risk may quickly become high risk and could result in a mandatory 14-day (or longer) quarantine upon your return.
  • Students should continue to use travel tracker to record all forms of travel. You should also inform Dr. Nicquet Blake of your plans prior to your departure
  • All incoming/visiting international students and visitors is suspended until further notice.
  • All international business travel is suspended until further notice with a review scheduled every 30 days. This includes travel to international conferences. Any exceptions to this suspension must first be reviewed through the President’s office.


  • Do not hesitate to use the newly established COVID 19 hotline for questions related to COVID-19 exposures, transmission and screening.
        • As of June 1, 2021, the COVID-19 hotline has been decommissioned. Employees and students should contact Wellness 360 at 210-567-2788.
  • If you have any of the symptoms associated with COVID 19, call your primary care provider or Wellness 360.
  • You should be aware that social distancing can exacerbate social isolation.  Take the opportunity to reflect on your wellness strategies and use the counseling services/health care providers.  Also, be particularly cognizant and supportive of your fellow students and take proper steps should you see anything of concern.
  • The graduate school has also created GSBS Buddy Connections, a voluntary student-to-student support program developed to create bonds between the students of our 18 different academic programs. The goal is to provide some interpersonal interactions during these times, as well as facilitate networking and friendship.


  • Our in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for May has been cancelled.
  • Commencement programs for each school will be mailed, along with diplomas, to all graduates.
  • Defense forms requiring signatures, Forms 40, 41, 43, and Approval Pages, will now be accepted using Adobe signatures.
  • We remain committed to exploring other creative ways to further honor this occasion, including the possibility of a future in-person ceremony.
Article Categories: Academic, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Research