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CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 NOTICE

Find out what you need to know to be prepared. Visit the University's information page and explore College level resources

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Have you tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

Please review the university's guidelines and notify Mason by completing the university’s secure COVID-19 Contact Form

Stay Connected While Taking Classes and Working Remotely

Both for routine and extraordinary events, it is helpful to be prepared to use technology tools that can help you stay connected with workplace operations and courses from a remote location. Get important information on the university's collaboration tools and gain access to available applications, services, and technologies. 

College Message Log

March 31, 2020: Checking-In/Sharing Resources

March 31, 2020, 9:15pm
From Dean Andalibi, #11 - Checking-In/Sharing Resources

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you and your families are healthy and safe. We have faced many adjustments in our lives over the last few weeks, but I am confident that in this “new normal” each of you is beginning to find routines that work for you.

In order to provide you with efficient access to information regarding the resources that Mason has made available to you, we have compiled the links to these resources below. As always, the most current and comprehensive information can be found on the main George Mason website - https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus.

There is also a host of other Mason websites that are focused on specific operations and activities. Depending on your responsibilities and interests you may want to review them.

Remote work toolkits were compiled by HR on the following topics - Successful Teleworking, Resilience, Well-Being, and Self-Care, Remote Recruitment and Onboarding, Managing Remotely

Supporting the whole faculty member - https://faculty.gmu.edu/supporting-whole-faculty-member-during-covid-19-pandemic

University Life - https://ulife.gmu.edu/coronavirus/

OSCAR - https://oscar.gmu.edu/about-us/keep-investigating/

Stearns Center - https://stearnscenter.gmu.edu/knowledge-center/instructional-continuity/

Registrar: Spring 2020 Grading Options - https://registrar.gmu.edu/students/registration/spring-2020-grading-options/

Admissions - https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid

ITS - https://its.gmu.edu/help-support/workingremotely/

Office of Sponsored Programs - https://osp.gmu.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-continuity-of-operations/

Office of Research Development, Integrity, and Assurance - https://oria.gmu.edu/

Patriots Helping Patriots (helping students in need), Giving Day - April 2, 2020 - https://giving.gmu.edu/. COS now has a dedicated Emergency Fund to help our students. CLICK HERE to donate to the COS Student Emergency Assistance Fund

The Center for the Advancement of Well-Being has created and curated a diverse variety of well-being practices and resources that can be accessed online. See: Thriving Together Well-Being Weekly.

Mason BurnAlong features hundreds of well-being video classes across more than 40 categories that are available on-demand anytime and anywhere. Topics range from fitness to mindfulness meditation. Many of the classes feature content produced by members of our Mason community. We can also invite friends, colleagues, and family members to join us through complimentary accounts, after we register ourselves. https://fit.burnalong.com/gmu/

I want to thank each and every member of the College of Science community for your patience, hard work and flexibility as we navigate this new and uncharted territory. Please let us know if you have any questions, or comments regarding the college’s operations and feel free to share your ideas, and/or stories with us.

Please stay safe,

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)
College of Science

March 20, 2020: Guidance for Faculty Utilizing Free Software Products and 2FA Update

March 20, 2020, 5:30pm
From Dean Andalibi, #10, Guidance for Faculty Utilizing Free Software Products and 2FA Update

Dear Colleagues,

I’m sharing text that was provided this afternoon to deans during our regular meeting with the Provost office regarding Zoom software, however, the implications generally apply to all non-Mason software, including Google apps. Please review the ITS link below for resources.

ITS has received many requests for Zoom to facilitate synchronous virtual instruction. ITS provides WebEx to all faculty, staff and students to meet this need, however there may be cases where WebEx does not meet the instructional requirement. While ITS is exploring an enterprise license with Zoom, this will take time as Zoom is processing a high volume of requests from schools and companies nationwide.

We are aware that some faculty have explored Zoom’s free service. We are not in a position to prevent faculty from using this resource and believe it is important that faculty are aware of the following:

The Zoom Terms of Service and Privacy Policy are made between the faculty and students who are signing up for the service and Zoom. Faculty should still practice best data privacy standards within the virtual environment: don’t post lists of students in the chat; don’t share e-mail address lists; never post grades in a chat, etc... Students cannot be forced to share information or download software. Mason does not have a contractual agreement with Zoom at this time and are not under any controls or protections regarding the use and maintenance of education records.

If a student expresses concerns that cannot be worked out through an alternative arrangement, faculty should contact the Office of the University Registrar at ferpa@gmu.edu.

ITS has compiled additional information and FAQs for faculty athttps://its.gmu.edu/knowledge-base/covid19-information-and-faqs-for-faculty/

Regarding the roll out of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):In case you were not aware, ITS chose to pause the 2FA for Office 365 deployment this week.  A bulletin  was posted on the ITS website earlier this afternoon:  https://its.gmu.edu/bulletins/update-regarding-two-factor-authentication-for-office-365/.

If you need IT assistance, please contact cosit@gmu.edu.

Please take care and stay safe.

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)
College of Science

March 19, 2020: Adobe Acrobat Pro

Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 10:55 a.m.
Adobe Acrobat Pro

All,

The university has a site license for Adobe Acrobat Pro  for all full time faculty and staff which you are allowed to use on up to two computers (only one at a time).   If you already have Adobe Acrobat Pro license, all you need to do is download and sign into Adobe using your Enterprise (School) Account and password (which is unique to Adobe).  If you have forgotten your Adobe password, there is a reset link to request a new password.  If you don’t have an account, you will need to put a request in with ITS.  All information including the request form,  download and installation instructions can be found online at:

https://its.gmu.edu/service/adobe-acrobat-pro-creative-cloud/

If you need Creative Cloud, please standby as currently there are no licenses available.  In the past, I would recommend purchasing a VIP license, but I expect they will be available shortly for free for all.  The university is working with Adobe to provide access.  Our new licensing beginning in June includes Creative Cloud for all full time faculty and staff. 

Also, if you are trying to get in touch with me, please email and include a contact phone number and I will return your call as soon as possible.  My office phone works also, but I screen calls due to a high volume of spam from vendors, so leave a message and I will call back ASAP.  

Best Regards, 

Dale

Dale Mary Pokorski, Director of IT and Security
George Mason University  | College of Science
3253 Exploratory Hall | 703-993-4657

 

March 19, 2020: Identifying Critical Research Projects & Activities

March 19, 12:45pm
From Dean Andalibi, #9, Identifying Critical Research Projects & Activities

Dear Colleagues

A significant number of you have identified critical projects and activities and have requested exemptions for these projects. We will be reviewing these projects and passing your requests on to the VPR’s office, which is the ultimate decision-maker at Mason as to which projects  fall into the “critical” category. Please keep in mind that the VPR is focusing on ongoing projects and will generally not consider those that may be coming on line in the future. Moreover, the justification for allowing graduate students to work in the lab will have to be very strong.

As I am sure that you are all aware, the current models are predicting that one third to over one half of the country will become infected within a year or so. As such, the likelihood of contracting the virus is high for any one of us, including lab personnel. Please also note that once someone is confirmed, all the necessary measures will follow. It is thus prudent to minimize the number of people who have access to the campus and its facilities, including the labs.

I want to thank in advance for your cooperation. Together we will weather this storm and our college will emerge stronger and more unified than ever.

Please exercise great caution and stay safe.

Ali 

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)
College of Science

March 19, 2020: Connectivity Options for Online Classes During Covid-19 Outbreak

Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 12:55 p.m.
Connectivity Options for Online Classes During Covid-19 Outbreak

At the heart of moving online, the telecom industry is offering some help in order to abide by “the keep Americans connected” mandate from the FCC. I have put together some information that maybe helpful to the students and faculty: 

  • Keep Americans connected
  • FCC agreement (.*pdf) stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots (mandate from March 13, 2020 – also included in the above link)
  • Comcast: follows FCC agreement, offers free Xfinity WiFi for 2 months to low income families (including non-Xfinity customers) plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
  • Charter/Spectrum Free Internet offer for 2 months
  • AT&T: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
  • Verizon: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
  • Sprint: follows FCC agreement. Providing Unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans (effective 3/18), giving 20 GB of free mobile hotspot to customers with hotspot-capable devices (effective 3/18)
  • T-Mobile: follows FCC agreement, all current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming), increased the data allowance, at no extra charge, to schools and students using their EmpowerED digital learning program to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month for the next 60 days.

Pritha G. Roy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Email proy4@gmu.edu
Phone 703 993 5105
Chemistry Website: http://chemistry.gmu.edu/

March 18, 2020: Updated Operations and Procedures

March 18, 2020, 7 p.m.
From Dean Andalibi, #8, Updated COS Operations and Procedures

Dear Colleagues,

Based on the escalating COVID-19 crisis I have a variety of new guidelines for COS operations. Please review each one carefully and let us know if you have questions.

  1. As of tomorrow, March 19, the Dean’s Suite no longer has consistent onsite personnel until further notice. We have posted a sign on the door indicating that the physical office is closed and that anyone seeking help should call 703.993.3622 or deancos@gmu.edu . The message on 703.993.3622 will be changed accordingly. Similarly, as of 5pm, Friday, March 20, other COS Offices will no longer have onsite personnel until further notice. They will post similar notices on their door and change the message on their general office number accordingly. Email and phone messages will be regularly monitored and responses provided. The offices will work remotely to support our education, research, and service missions. 
  1. All Department Offices should move as quickly as practical to close down onsite operations while maintaining remote operations. Remote operations should be in place no later than 5pm Friday, March 20.  The offices must maintain prompt remote services through phone, Webex, email and other means as appropriate. Please do not order additional office supplies, and consider canceling outstanding orders because it is unclear how those items could be received.  Exceptions will need to be made for research related infrastructure maintenance and instructional purchases if needed or if you are coordinating pick up with the mail room or Central Receiving.  When placing orders make sure you add a reachable POC to coordinate delivery.
  1. No student employees (undergraduate or graduate) may be on campus after March 18 without a waiver from the Dean (not Department Chairs or Center Directors).  It should be noted that waivers for undergraduates will be quite rare.  No waivers will be approved for anyone under 18 years of age. Email per previous guidance on this topic. tfede@gmu.edu .
  2. All employees (Classified, Administrative Faculty, and Student employees) who will be working fromhome must complete the telework agreement.  The electronic form is available at  https://flexwork.gmu.edu/flexwork-options/telework/.  Enter your supervisor’s name and email address in the “Supervisor” information area then enter Dan Taggart (dtaggart@gmu.edu) as the “Department Head”. This will automatically route the form to the college so you don’t have to make copies. On the next page, the “primary work location” is your normal office location, the begin date is today, and the end date can be as late as 8/24/20, depending on the individual employee’s needs. Employees should select the “Emergency or Intermittent Telework option”, then include  “valid until the COVID-19 emergency ends” and a phone number where they can be reached in the comments section.  Please complete these by next Wednesday, March
  1. Consider setting up your office phone to forward to your mobile phone or another phone. This requires your telecom coordinator to request the change.   You will then receive instructions on how to forward your phone.  However, someone needs to be physically in the office to complete the forwarding steps. Your other option is to consistently check your voicemail. There are other options which can be considered, but are not available immediately.
     
  2. For added security, please arrange for your office suites/labs to be placed into a swipe only access ASAP, but no later than Friday, March 20 at 5:00pm.  We will monitor university communications regarding building lock down and access and share this information when received. 
  3. Effective immediately, there should be no external visitors to facilities managed or operated by COS without a waiver approved by the Dean. tfede@gmu.edu
  1. As a reminder, contact the Stearns Center for questions about teaching, contact ITS Support (support@gmu.edu) for questions about email, VPN, and other central  IT functions, and contact your unit IT or  cosit@gmu.edu for COS or hardware specific problems. 
  1. A department chair or center director may authorize anyone in their organization to take home their desktop computer to support remote performance of their job provided that the equipment can be safely and effectively transported and operated.  For each loaned out piece of equipment, a form must be completed and approved by the department chair or center director. The form can be found at https://fiscal.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Assignment_Loan_Form.pdf.  Desktops may require special configuration before they will operate properly off campus. Please consult Dale Pokorski before taking a desktop home. dpokorsk@gmu.edu
  1. Anticipate that in the near future, all research will need to be performed remotely. This may not come to happen, but it is better to be safe and prepare for further restrictions. 
  1. Each PI should plan for how projects will be performed remotely, identify critical functions that cannot be performed remotely such as rebooting a server, and identify which project personnel could perform those critical functions on an as-needed basis. In some cases, there may be no practical way to perform a project without access to labs. In such cases, the PI should consider how to modify the project as possible to serve the program objectives of the sponsor.  The PI should communicate with the sponsor about the way forward. Please  follow the specific guidance provided previously to share your Business Contingency plans.
     
  2. Faculty, staff, and students who are being funded by research grants should continue charging to them for now and should do as much work from home as possible. PIs should be flexible with assignments and work with their teams to adjust tasking as possible.  PIs can reach out to OSP, pgillevet@gmu.edu  and ushaw@gmu.edu  and their sponsors for advice as needed. 
     
  3. A department chair or center director may authorize any faculty member, staff member, or student in their organization to take home lab equipment to support remote performance of a research project provided that the equipment can be safely and effectively transported and operated.  For each loaned out piece of equipment, a form must be completed and approved by the department chair or center director. The form can be found at https://fiscal.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Assignment_Loan_Form.pdf.

On a final note, please monitor communications from the University leadership, (President Holton, Office of the Provost, Safety, Emergency & Enterprise Risk Management) and our office. As always, we suggest you check with the main university website  https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus for the most up to date information.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)
College of Science

March 18, 2020: Research Continuity of Operations Plan

March 18, 2020, 6:45pm
From Dean Andalibi, #7, Research Continuity of Operations Plan - COS

Dear Colleagues,

As stated in the earlier communication from the Provost and VPR, (see below), to protect the health and safety of the Mason community, PIs must end all non-critical research activities conducted in both on- and off-campus labs and facilities, including leased facilities,  clinical settings and field sites,  by March 20 at the latest.  No undergraduates, individuals under age 18, or external visitors are allowed in Mason research labs and facilities effective immediately. Effective March 21, research in Mason labs and facilities will be restricted ONLY to critical activities, including animal husbandry, research related to COVID-19, and maintenance associated with essential equipment and materials

This has no impact on non-lab research  that can be conducted while working remotely from home – though keep in mind that students are not required to work remotely but can, with your guidance on remote tasks.

If you have critical research that requires access to Mason campuses or other specialized facilities, you should:

  • Convey this information via email to the Interim Associate Dean for Research, Pat Gillevet (with a copy to Ali Andalbi, Ute Shaw, and Teri Fede) who will compile information about critical research activities and share with the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Impact as appropriate. Submit this by 6:00pm tomorrow, Thursday, March 19. Your email should include:
    • Name, project information (e.g. OSP award number, IRB approval number) and synopsis of research project,
    • Information about why you consider this a critical research activity and how you will maintain social distancing,
    • Mason faculty, staff and students who will be working on the project,
    • Location of the project (include specific building and room numbers if on campus) or specific off campus location,
    • Dates that research team members will be working on campus, at another facility, or in the field,
    • Any operational support needed (for example, delivery of packages) with details.

If you have critical research infrastructure maintenance, supply needs, and deliveries or service that will require access to campus, please coordinate with your staff and develop and share a plan for dealing with these issues with the same group – Pat, Ali, Ute, and Teri.

The College of Science will continue to compile the research requests to assess the feasibility of continuing those critical research programs in a safe manner without jeopardizing the health of the community, either now, or in the near future.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) as well as COS Research Administration support staff will continue to actively support the research community during this time of reduced campus operations as staff will be working remotely.  Please be mindful that due to the remote operations, additional processing time may be required. Therefore, in particular with regard to proposal deadlines, please build in extra time (6 days instead of 4) before the deadline.  For issues of great urgency, please contact ushaw@gmu.edu , and pgillevet@gmu.edu , for guidance.

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)

College of Science

March 18, 2020, Instructional Continuity: Stearns Center and ITS Support

March 18, 2020, 9:40 a.m.
From Dean Andalibi, #6, Instructional Continuity: Stearns Center and ITS Support

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for your continued support as you work diligently to move our academic and research efforts, and our actual workplace to a virtual environment. Per the Provost’s recent email which follows, please review the guidance, best practices, and helpful resources available on the Stearns Center’s Instructional Continuity page and on ITS’ Blackboard Knowledge Base page to help support this transition.

It is very important that we remain connected, share information, questions, and feedback during this complex time. On an ongoing basis, I encourage you to review Mason’s main COVID-19 website, the recent messages from our college, and fromPresident Holton.

The department chairs and I will be communicating regularly with you, making every possible effort to keep you informed about issues pertinent to Mason’s plans, associated policies and practices and ways that we can continue to support each other and our students.

Again, thanks to each of you for your many efforts during this unprecedented situation. I am very appreciative and express my sincere gratitude.

All the best—stay safe, healthy and well.

Ali Andalibi
Interim Dean
College of Science

March 17, 2020: Wages and Student-Wages Employment

March 17, 2020, 10:58 a.m.
From Dean Andalibi, Update # 5, Wages and Student-Wages Employment

Dear Colleagues:

I want to make sure that we are supporting all aspects of the lives of our COS faculty, staff, and students to the greatest extent possible during these unprecedented times. This includes making sure our staff do not lose pay due to the changes to our operations.

As one of the best ways to slow the spread of this virus is by limiting in-person contact, please be creative and find ways that your wage and student-wage employees can contribute to the college’s ongoing operations without coming on campus. We trust that all of them will do their best to contribute to the greatest extent they can and, as such, should be paid 100% of their normal hourly wages, for the hours that they are usually scheduled to work.  Student- wages and wages working on federally-funded projects may also work remotely and be charged to the project as long as work is outlined, documented, and verified by the supervisor (highly encouraged). If remote duties benefiting the project cannot be outlined, alternative tasks and funding sources will need be identified.

If you have specific questions, please direct them to Ute Shaw for grant funded employment questions and to Teri Fede and Dan Taggart for general employment questions.

The latest university policy/language was shared late yesterday with the Deans and is included in this message below:

Until further notice, students who are employed (full- or part-time) by Mason in teaching, research or administrative roles, or who are engaging in research or providing support for research as part of their studies, should NOT be required to work in university facilities, whether on- or off-campus. Wherepossible, faculty and staff supervisors should make arrangements for students to work remotely.

If a faculty or staff supervisor believes it is essential that one or more students come to university facilities, whether for teaching, research, or administrative support purposes, they must request an exception from the Dean’s office via their department chair or center director (Please send the request to Ali Andalibi, Ute Shaw, Teri Fede, Pat Gillevet and Dan Taggart). Requests must state why it is essential that the students work onsite, when the students are needed for onsite work, where the students’ work will be performed, working arrangements for the students including supervisor support and social distancing strategies implemented, and contact information for the students.

I will consider and make decisions on requests made within 24-48 hours of receipt. No undergraduates, individuals under age 18, or external visitors are allowed in Mason research labs and facilities effective immediately. At this moment, campuses remain open. Libraries, computer labs, Mason operations and Mason administrative offices remain open as well. As we prepare for on-line instruction in the second half of this spring semester, all faculty and students are asked to familiarize themselves with instructional technology during the extended spring break. For guidance on instructional continuity, please refer to the the 3-13-20 message from Provost Wu.

Ali Andalibi
Dean(Interim)
College of Science

March 15, 2020: Research Continuity

March 15, 2020, 1:15 p.m.
From Dean Andalibi, Update #4, Research Continuity

Dear Colleagues,

In order to ensure the safety of our researchers and the continuity of research projects, we ask that all research heads comply with the following guidelines, consistent with those of the university (https://www2.gmu.edu/research-continuity-guidelines)

Designate your laboratory’s essential personnel. These individuals will have full access to the lab. Essential personnel must be at least 21 years of age and may include the laboratory head, research scientists, technical staff and graduate students. Please share this information with the Dean's Office.


Develop and implement a plan for maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) for all laboratory personnel. This could include creating work shifts and assigned days (to minimize the number for people in the lab), moving equipment etc. Please be sure to consider situations where working alone is not safe, or permitted. Moreover, please ensure that all surfaces, such as lab benches, chairs, desks, phones, etc. are wiped down with a disinfectant on a regular basis. This includes any equipment that can also be safely disinfected. General information on disinfection can be found on the CDC website. Please share this plan and the disinfection protocol with your laboratory personnel and with the Dean's Office.

A waiver must be obtained for all undergraduate students under the age of 21 working in the laboratory. Submit your waiver request to the Dean's Office.

Should any of the laboratory personnel experience symptoms of SARS-CoV-2, they must immediately inform their supervisor, quarantine themselves and seek medical help. 

Should this happen, it is the responsibility of the laboratory head to immediately alert EHS and the Dean's Office.

Please be flexible with your laboratory personnel and make sure that you address their physical and psychological health needs during this stressful period. Please note that whenever possible teleworking must be encouraged and enabled.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Please copy pgilleve@gmu.edu,aandalib@gmu.edu, and lvirgil@gmu.edu on all of the above

Ali

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)

College of Science

March 14, 2020: Event Cancellation Processes & Resources

March 14, 2020
From Dean Andalibi, Update #3 Event Cancellation Processes & Resources

Dear Colleagues,

(Including Fw: Update on Mason's Response to Coronavirus Outbreak, 3/13, 6:18pm)

Please use the attached event communications email and checklist to notify people about your organization’s event status.

Please cc Tracy Mason, our Assistant Dean, Strategic Communications (tmason11@gmu.edu) on your email notifying attendees of your event status so we can also amplify it on social media.

Best regards,

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)
College of Science

March 12, 2020: COS-Specific Information for Pandemic Preparedness

Thursday, March 12, 2020 11:20 a.m.
Message from Donna Fox - COS-Specific Information for Pandemic Preparedness

Dear Members of the College of Science Community:

Thank you for your patience during these uncertain times.  Since the university will be physically closed to students for the immediate future, we’d like to clarify some ways in which the College of Science will remain fully operational.

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS:
•       We want everyone to remain safe.
•       Students will complete the spring semester on time regardless of length of closure.
•       COS services (advising, requests for exception to policy, etc.) will be fully operational albeit in a different form.

KEEP IN MIND THAT PRESIDENT HOLTON HAS CALLED FOR ONE EXTRA WEEK OF SPRING BREAK.  Classes will resume online starting March 23.

DELIVERY OF LECTURES
All lectures will shift to online delivery. This may look very different for every class.  Some professors may choose to do videos of their lectures and post these on BlackBoard. Others may choose to hold their class times at the usual time of day ONLINE while using a discussion board.  There are many alternatives.  JUST BE SURE THERE IS CLEAR COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE PROFESSOR OF THE COURSE AND THE ENROLLED STUDENTS AS TO HOW TO PROCEED.

Every COS department chair will designate a tech person who can assist others in the department with this transition. As President Holton already indicated, “The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning and ITS have resources for faculty to migrate to virtual alternative instruction and for staff to be telework-ready as necessary.  Instructional continuity plans can be found on the Stearns Center website, and VPN information is available from ITS."

DELIVERY OF RECITATIONS
Recitations must still be conducted.  The course instructors must work with the recitation instructors to ensure that helpful work is provided online.  These can take the form of worksheets, problem solving, reading materials, etc.  The course coordinator should ensure that all sections of the same course have the same requirements.

DELIVERY OF LABS
Lab course coordinators have the option to move more critical lab topics to a later week in the semester while placing labs with less hands-on requirements in the weeks of the closure.  For labs during the weeks of closure, professors should post links to videos describing the specific techniques that should be covered in the session; provide worksheets or problem sets; open discussion boards, etc.  Remember that this is a national event, and there will be no negative consequences for delivering the content for a labs in an online fashion.

GRADUATE DEFENSES
Although it is a tradition to have public defenses of theses and dissertations, we do not encourage defenses to be scheduled in-person during the time of the university closure.  If it’s possible to postpone a defense to a date later in the semester, that would be ideal.  If not, chairs of committees will have to move to an online format and forego the public presentation.  Again, this would be a rare occurrence that is only instituted during this unique time.  Signatures on thesis and dissertation cover sheets can be obtained by emailing the cover sheet to all required signers. The deadline for the submission of the work will remain as May 1 for the Spring 2020 semester unless a change is approved by the university. Please be sure to check at   https://library.gmu.edu/udts for updates.

UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC ADVISING
All academic advisors will be available to help students with their academic planning.  Students should contact their advisors through the normal route.  If students cannot reach their advisors or if they are uncertain who to contact, they can email us directly at ugradcos@gmu.edu

STUDENT REQUESTS
We will continue to review and provide decisions on student academic requests.

FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS:  Please send your requests to cosgrad@gmu.edu
FOR UNDERGRAD STUDENTS:  Please send your requests to ugradcos@gmu.edu

•       Forms for most requests can be found at https://registrar.gmu.edu/forms/
•       If there is not a form for your specific request OR if you cannot fill out a form, you can still submit your request via email as long as you email us from your Mason account and you provide us with your G number.

For now, we are only addressing the issue of completing the SPRING 2020 semester.  As more information becomes available and necessary, we will ensure that it is shared with all faculty, staff and students.

Updates and more information about Mason’s plans and procedures can be found at https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus

This unexpected event will give all of us a chance to be creative and innovative!  Keep safe and healthy.  Let us know if you have any questions.

Donna M. Fox, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, College of Science
Off. for Student Aff. & Special Progs.
George Mason University

March 11, 2020: College of Science Continuing Operations

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 10:12 p.m.
Message from Dean Ali Andalibi #1 - College of Science Continuing Operations

Dear Colleagues,

I want to assure you that I plan to be in touch with the college community regularly during this challenging and uncertain period. I will do my best to provide you with updated college-related information in a timely manner.

In response to the latest update from the university, I want to share some initial and very general guidelines related to College of Science operations beginning on Monday, March 16.

  • Each unit leader should identify essential personnel that would need to have a physical presence on campus because of their duties. (e.g. Research labs, animal facilities)
  • Each unit should develop a brief business contingency plan for their group to operate remotely that includes communications strategy (with each other as well as internal and external inquires). Please share this with us.
  • All academic units in COS should stay operational, even if remote. For those units that will have a mostly telecommuting workforce, please use appropriate signage, and updated voice mail messaging to confirm the best way to get in touch with people who are working off-site.
  • Beginning on Monday, March 16 many in the university community will be actively engaged in providing support to faculty for the development of online courses. Help will be provided for students with questions. As of now, the College of Science Dean’s administrative operations will continue, although allowances for telework will be granted.

 There may be a need for virtual college meetings, or timely communications, so please do monitor your emails.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. The university dedicated website is the best place for updated information. https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus 

Best regards,

Ali

Ali Andalibi
Dean (Interim)

College of Science

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