Eastman Students

Coronavirus Information for Students


Important Information about Advising and Support for All Graduate Students

April 20, 2020

Dear Eastman Graduate Students,

I hope that many of you were able to participate in Graduate Student Appreciation Week last week, and appreciate your staying in touch with us and with each other!  As we begin the pre-registration process for fall 2020, the Graduate Office would like to provide you with the most recent information about our new UR Student system as well as the COVID-19 impact for graduate students at the university (https://www.rochester.edu/coronavirus-update/impacts-for-graduate-students/#ta) and specifically at Eastman (https://www.esm.rochester.edu/eastman-students/).  Please be certain to check these sites regularly.

  1. UR Student and Pre-Registration for fall semester: We are transitioning to a new system for registration via UR Student; you have received several emails about this change already.  Zachary Peterson, Graduate Advisor, has been offering graduate advising appointments prior to the pre-registration opening yesterday.  While individual advising appointments are available to all graduate students, students with another program advisor should consult them first.All requests for advising appointments with Mr. Peterson should be sent to zpeterson@esm.rochester.edu with your first and last name in the subject line.  Please provide 4 thirty-minute times that you are able to meet, as this will facilitate scheduling and avoid conflicts.  You will receive an e-mail confirmation of your appointment time with a Zoom meeting ID.Prior to your appointment, please be sure to complete the UR Student onboarding process, if you have not already done so.  The UR Student team has created guides to help you navigate this process (https://tech.rochester.edu/services/urstudent/). Should you require further assistance, please let Mr. Peterson know.
  2. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and Potential Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance: Some graduate students who are receiving teaching or research fellowships may be eligible for these government benefits.  If you completed a Form 1040 in 2018 or 2019 and reported your assistantship or fellowship as taxable income, you may be eligible.  While the university is not authorized to provide you with tax advice, you may learn more about support here: https://www.rochester.edu/coronavirus-update/impacts-for-graduate-students/#income
  3. Doctoral Comprehensive exams: The June comprehensive exam will be postponed until early in the fall 2020 semester.  Pending the NY State governor’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we are tentatively planning to offer two versions of the comp exam in Rochester, in late-September and possibly early October; in this way, we hope to accommodate all students who were planning to take the comps in summer as well as those who plan to take them in the fall.  Details confirming these dates will be sent to you immediately, as soon as we have clarity from NY State on social distancing and other coronavirus-related guidelines.  Also, we ask that you register for these exams directly with Deanna Phillips in the Graduate Office so that we can determine the best date for you and help you navigate the new UR Student system.
  4. Extension of Support: A number of you have expressed understandable concerns about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected your degree progress.  Especially for doctoral students who are teaching undergraduate classes, this crisis has increased the amount of time and energy you have had to spend in adapting to online instruction, and it has interrupted your research activity (with the closure of libraries and archives, aborted travel plans, and the like).  This matter has been an ongoing topic of discussion among the various graduate deans at the University of Rochester, and to date, no universal solution has been adopted.  A few departments whose support for graduate students comes from outside grants have been able to offer their doctoral students some options for degree extensions and support.  Unfortunately, university-wide, UR is not in a financial position to do this; as you may have heard in a recent communication from President Mangelsdorf, the University of Rochester, along with many other institutions across the US, is adopting a university-wide wage and hiring freeze across the board.  Every aspect of our institution has been seriously affected, and we are all in this health and financial crisis together.  That said, Eastman’s Graduate Office wants to hear from all graduate students who are experiencing unique and extraordinary challenges and we will do what we can to help you.  Please read on to see what we are able to offer you in terms of continuing support.
  5. Graduate student support systems: All TAs and DAs will continue to receive your tuition scholarships and stipends throughout the spring 2020 semester.  Most of you are continuing your TA/DA duties, and many of you have been leaders in helping the faculty convert quickly to online instruction.  Some of you have been asked to serve your department in new ways, since the positions initially assigned to you have been altered or have evaporated.  Please remain in contact with your TA/DA supervisor for details. All students who have UR health coverage may avail themselves of COVID-19-related health care for free.  This includes COVID-19 testing where medically necessary (consistent with CDC guidelines), office care or urgent care or Emergency Room visits, as well as Telemedicine/Telehealth visits. The university has created a Basic Needs Hub to facilitate campus and community resources for students in Rochester who are experiencing a time of critical need. The hub provides urgent, essential student necessities, such as food, clothing, housing, and access to academic tools.  Assistance provided through the hub is not intended to replace or supplement current student financial aid and it does not need to be repaid.  The mission of the hub is to provide short-term, temporary financial assistance during the COVID-19 crisis; priority is given to students with the highest financial need.  More information, as well as the form to apply for support, can be found here: https://www.rochester.edu/students/support/.The ESM Food Pantry has been up and running, and ESM students can arrange for an order and pick-up time by emailing reslife@esm.rochester.edu.  You will be asked to complete a pantry preference form, and orders may take one business day to process.

    The CARE Network is accepting and reviewing referrals and offering virtual appointments to students in need of support, wherever they may be. If you or someone you know needs help getting connected to a resource, or if you have a concern, but don’t know who to contact, please submit a referral at https://www.rochester.edu/care/.  Our Graduate Advisor, Mr. Peterson (zpeterson@esm.rochester.edu), serves as the CARE Network liaison for Eastman.

  6. Eastman Notes: This summer’s edition of Eastman Notes, the school’s alumni magazine, will be dedicated to our 2020 graduates.  If you are graduating in May, please send a photo of yourself, your degree and major, and a memory you would like to express for inclusion in this yearbook-style publication; please submit your information here.  The deadline for submissions is 30 April.

We are here for you – don’t hesitate to contact us!  Until we see you again in person, please stay healthy, stay safe, and don’t forget to wash your hands!

Warm regards,

Marie Rolf
Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

Other Important Information


The following individuals are serving as the Eastman COVID-19 Task Force.  Should you have questions that have not already been answered, the following individuals are prepared to assist you.

For Questions and Assistance