UF COVID-19 Updates and Information for Graduate Students



Dissertation Defense and Qualifying Exams:

Master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation defenses should continue as scheduled.  Physical attendance at the thesis and dissertation defenses will be limited to the student and their supervisory committee under conditions that maintain social distancing.  Zoom (https://uflphi.zoom.us) or other electronic medium may also be considered as an option to allow committee members or others to virtually attend the oral presentation.  The Graduate School has temporarily waived the requirement for the Supervisory Committee Chair/Co-Chair and the candidate to be physically present during the final thesis or dissertation defenses.   Additional updates related to these guidelines can be obtained by emailing the UF Graduate School at gradschool@aa.ufl.edu.


Information on COVID-19 impacts on UF research and sponsored program operations is published at https://research.ufl.edu/covid-19-updates.html.

The graduate school has approved a general plan for College of Medicine Graduate Assistants to work from an off-campus remote location during the current COVID-19 pandemic. A potential work plan for graduate students might consist of a combination of the following assignments:analyze data and outline future experimental designs (this could be done individually or collaboratively)

  1. analyze data and outline future experimental designs (this could be done individually or collaboratively)
  2. manuscript development
  3. prepare grant/fellowship applications
  4. work on thesis/dissertation chapters
  5. read scientific literature
  6. attend journal clubs, lab meetings, seminars by zoom or other electronic platforms
  7. prepare research talks or posters presentations for data discussions/meetings
  8. take online courses and become proficient at using databases relevant to scientific training
  9. carry out computational modeling or bioinformatics analyses
  10. maintenance of research laboratory facilities/resources

The work plan should also include the mentor’s plan for providing regular guidance (i.e., input at least several times a week by phone, email, or zoom), and identify essential resources, supporting their student’s activities.


Spring 2021 in-person graduation weekend will occur only if the threat of COVID-19 is overcome through the widespread administration of a vaccine. If that does not happen, we will postpone them. 

Doctoral Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, April 29, 7pm-9pm


International Student related issues:

The UFIC has a page dedicated to COVID related issues for international students, here: https://internationalcenter.ufl.edu/

Emergency Financial Aid:

UF short term loans

Health Insurance- Gator Grad Care:


Student Well-Being: Managing Concerns and Emotions about COVID-19

News reports about the coronavirus, together with concerns that the virus could become more widespread, is raising a number of concerns and making some people worry.

Below are some additional tips to help you put information and concerns in perspective, manage your worry, and maintain a positive outlook.

  • Seek accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information:
  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control.
  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
  • Maintain your normal day-to-day activities and keep connected. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.
    • Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry.
    • If your day to day activities are disrupted by college closings, attempt to create structure in your day by: scheduling a normal bedtime and wake up time; structuring your time with hobbies, homework, reading, etc.; scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family
  • Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such as the UF Student Health Care Center, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals. The CWC has a list of suggested apps that can help. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about on-campus and off-campus resources that are available. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others, or contact the CWC. We have an online training called Kognito that can help give you the skills to talk to others. Your campus community is here to help!
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy we always strive to treat one another with as we address this challenge together. Be aware if your behavior or attitudes change towards others from another country and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the Coronavirus. Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become less compassionate and more fear based.

Recognizing Distress – A Self Checklist

It’s not unusual to experience some — or even several — of the types of distress listed during times of uncertainly and stress.

  • Increased worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic or work performance or performance of other daily activities
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger or irritability, or noticeable changes in personality

Seeking Support

If you notice these signs in yourself, reach out to family and friends for support, and engage in your usual healthy coping strategies (e.g. moderate exercise; eating well; getting adequate sleep; practicing yoga, meditation, or some other mindfulness activity; take time for yourself; engage in a hobby or other fun activity, etc.)

If your distress continues or gets to the point that you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, then seek professional help. The CWC has on-call counselors available for consultations at our Radio Road location (3190 Radio Road) during business hours (8am-4pm). Give us a call at 352-392-1575 if you need to speak to an on-call counselor.

Adapted from: University of Indianapolis – “Psychological Tips for Managing Coronavirus Concerns” (https://www.uindy.edu/studentcounseling/scc-news-updates) & American Psychological Association- “Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus” (https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/view-coverage)

Below are some additional sites that may be useful:

UF HR:  https://hr.ufl.edu/covid-19/?utm_source=April+UF+At+Work+List&utm_campaign=cc9e5cc9bd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_23_06_45&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0d46aa0388-cc9e5cc9bd-407208673

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

CDC:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html

Hopkins: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

UF Health: https://bridge.ufhealth.org/response/covid-19-coronavirus/

Alachua County: https://alachuacounty.us/Depts/EM/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Florida: http://www.floridahealth.gov/

Archived Memos:

Memo from Dr. Rowe to Provide Guidance on GA Work Plans

Memo from Dr. Rowe for GA’s with Updates Re: COVID-19