COVID-19 Information

Coronavirus Information and Resources for the GCB community

Due to the university’s current guidelines regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), GCB has developed, and will update continually, detailed information and resources for the following:

For BGS students:

For Penn Announcements, please refer to:

Information last modified September 17 @ 4:00 PM EST


The nature of this situation is changing rapidly, certainly daily at this stage. Even though we’re practicing recommended social distancing, we are absolutely available on email or can set up a virtual call to talk directly at any time, so please do reach out to either Maureen or Ben if you have any questions or concerns.

Virtual Resources for students

  • Counseling & Psychological Services
    CAPS remains available to students during these unprecedented times. Services may be performed via phone or video conference, as well as in person.
  • Student Health Service

    SHS providers are available by phone 215-746-3535 for medical advice and consultation.

  • Safety and Penn Transit
    Penn Public Safety and the University District Ambassador Program are available to provide Walking Escorts from 10:00am until 3:00am between 30th & 50th and Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue. Students can call 215-898-WALK(9255) to Request a Walking Escort. Penn’s on-demand Evening Shuttles, Penn Accessible Transit, and other medical transit services will continue to operate as normal. Shuttles provide free transportation from campus stops to anywhere in the service boundaries between 20th & 50th and Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue.

  • Students with children
    The Family Center has gathered virtual resources for students and postdocs with children.

  • International students
    International Student & Scholar Service's (ISSS) advisors are available by email or virtual advising appointment. ISSS has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19 and is holding a series of virtual town halls to answer student questions and concerns.

  • Graduate Student Center
    The Grad Center has specifically organized Spring 2020 Resources for Graduate & Professional Students, a collection of resources and opportunities for virtual engagement to help you stay connected and academically successful while campus operations are suspended.

  • Penn Libraries
    The Penn Libraries is working to increase virtual resources and services to support faculty and student; see their Virtual Support for Teaching and Research Guide. In addition, they have been working with academic publishers to make additional virtual content openly available. Even though the Penn Libraries buildings remain closed, subject librarians are standing by to support online teaching, research, and learning throughout the rest of the semester.

  • Weingarten Learning Resources Center
    The WLRC staff continues to support students by providing academic assistance (e.g., individual consultations with learning instructors, tutoring) through virtual platforms and by overseeing implementation of accommodations for students with disabilities. 

  • Career Services
    Career Services is committed to serving students remotely. Schedule a phone or video appointment; learn more at their website

Thesis Level Research

You can read Penn's plans for Research Resumption here. If you are planning to return to campus for research, please complete the Opt-In form on KnowledgeLink, available on this page

Reminder that students should raise any questions or concerns about the return process with anyone with whom they feel comfortable.  Options include their mentor, graduate group chair, thesis committee chair or other thesis committee members, other faculty members, other lab members, fellow students, or the offices of BGS or EVDCSO.

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 contact Maureen if you need assistance with setting up 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 if any questions come up.

Thesis Defenses

Until further notice, all thesis defenses will be held virtually on BlueJeans. Maureen will contact students with more information.