CAMB's Coronavirus Response and Operation Changes

Due to the university’s current guidelines regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), CAMB has developed, and will update continually, detailed information and resources for the following CAMB-wide topics, located centrally on this webpage:

CoursesRotations | Thesis Level Research | Thesis Committee Meetings | Thesis Defenses

For additional resources, please refer to:

For Penn and PSOM announcements, please refer to:

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Dan Kessler, Craig Bassing, the CAMB Coordinators, and/or the Program Chairs. Their contact information can be found on the CAMB Administration page.

To anonymously report COVID-19 compliance violations, please call 215-P-COMPLY or make an online report. If you are in a CHOP lab, please call 866-246-7456 or make an online report using "CHOP" as the access ID.

Information last modified September 28 2020 @ 10:10 AM EST


Courses for the Fall 2020 semester begin September 1, and will be mostly virtual. Please see the 2020 Fall Course List for which courses are being offered, and how they're being offered. Course descriptions, including updated syllabi, can be found on the CAMB Courses webpage.

If Faculty have any issues or need any assistance with their courses, they are encouraged to reach out to Kathy O’Connor-Cooley. Faculty should also refer to our Resources for Faculty Course Directors page.


First year PhD students and third year combined degree students doing a third rotation may set up an in-person or virtual rotation for the Fall 2020 semester, depending on their own comfort level for returning to the lab and the lab they choose. Please refer to the BGS iLab plan for what a remote rotation would look like. First year students need to select a rotation lab before September 21st. All decisions should be forwarded to your CAMB coordinator for record keeping.

Under Phase 2 of Penn's Research Resumption plan, which began July 13, student return to campus is still voluntary. If you choose to, you would need to “opt-in”. More information can be found in the Thesis Level Research section.

Thesis Level Research

As of May 13 2020, Penn released a Research Resumption Strategy Master Plan. This plan defines three phases for the resumption of research activities on campus.

Phase 2 of Research Resumption will begin July 13 2020. During Phase 2, labs will transition to 50% capacity, but graduate students' return to campus is still voluntarily. If you would like to return to campus, you will need to "opt-in". Opting-in does not permanently obligate you to return to campus. If you elect to opt-in and change your mind at a future date for any reason, you should contact the BGS office directly to record this change. To opt-in, you must:

  • Complete the Knowledge Link Opt In Certification here. If you have trouble getting the link to work, you should try using another browser or refer to this guide. You may also access the opt-in certification by logging in to Knowledge Link and entering “COVID-19 Opt-in Certification” in the Find Learning search function.
  • As part of Phase II, PSOM is implementing PennOpen Pass, a mandatory digital symptom monitoring and self-attestation tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at Penn. You can enroll by going to the PennOpen Pass website.

Please discuss lab activities and expectations with your PI in order to make an informed decision about opting-in. If you have concerns about the planning process or would like additional input, please each out to Dan, Craig, your program chair, your thesis committee, the BGS leadership, or the EVDCSO Office. To anonymously report COVID-19 compliance violations, please call 215-P-COMPLY or make an online report. If you are in a CHOP lab, please call 866-246-7456 or make an online report using "CHOP" as the access ID.

Thesis Committee Meetings

Until further notice, all thesis committee meetings will be held virtually through BlueJeans or a similar format. BlueJeans is recommended and supported by the University and PSOM. Please see our detailed instructions for setting up and starting a BlueJeans meeting. Plan for the usual 2 hour time block. We recommend doing a trial run beforehand to become familiar with the Whiteboard and Annotation App functions, which may be helpful while giving your PowerPoint presentations. Please reach out to your coordinator if you would like help with any aspect of setting up the virtual meeting.

Thesis Committee Chairs should schedule the student-only and mentor-only discussions prior to the scheduled thesis committee meeting.

Thesis Defenses

Until further notice, all thesis defenses will be held virtually on BlueJeans. Students with an upcoming thesis defense please contact the CAMB office. The student's thesis defense presentation will still be public, and will be recorded for the student to share later. The detailed process can be found on our Virtual Thesis Defense page. Please also refer to the BlueJeans Best Practices to help prepare.

Students aiming to deposit and graduate this December, please see these Virtual Dissertation Defense and Deposit Instructions from the Graduate Division office.