The health and safety of of the DBBS community is our top priority. Please review the information below to learn more about DBBS’ COVID-19 protocols and policies.​​ 
For information on Testing, Contact Tracing and Transparency on the Medical Campus, please visit the FAQ page here​ (​).

Notice: The DBBS has become aware of cyber bullying directed at essential research personnel who must work on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to understand that each school has evaluated and approved the critical research that should continue.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Washington University does not tolerate abusive conduct irrespective of the medium. Please see the University’s Abusive Conduct Policy and Social Media Policy for additional information.  If you feel you are a victim or become aware of abusive conduct or cyber bulling, please visit the Abusive Conduct Policy for the appropriate next steps.

We are very grateful for the vast majority of university personnel that has come together to support one another during these unprecedented times.

Current DBBS Students​

Classes and Instruction

The Arts & Sciences spring 2021 academic calendar has been revised in response to feedback from students.  Please note the inclusion of "welness days" and "study days".  There will not be traditional spring break due to concerns about an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 because of travel-related activities.

The Provost and The Graduate School have indicated that all DBBS courses must follow this calendar:

Spring 2021 Semester:

  • ​Classes Start: (T) January 25, 2021
  • Wellness Days - No Classes, Assignments, or Assessments:
    • (T) March 2
    • (W) March 3
    • (W) April 12
  • Last Day of Classes: (T) May 4, 2021
  • Final Exams: (F-Th) May 7-13, 2021
Additional Study Days:  Following A&S guidance, DBBS spring course directors are strongly encouraged to designate 1-2 additional "study days" in which your class will not meet.

Course Delivery Mode:

·         Medical Campus: Medical campus activities that do not involve direct patient care or clinical education, including DBBS courses and journal clubs, should be conducted remotely while significant COVID-19 community transmission persists. In-person class meetings on the Medical Campus must be approved by the DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Education and should have educational objectives that necessitate in person education. (See section III for more information.)

·         Danforth Campus: DBBS courses that meet on the Danforth campus will follow policies and guidelines established for that campus.

High-quality, interactive remote instruction will be available in all courses for students in quarantine or who cannot come to campus.  Instruction may occur in a synchronously, asynchronously or in a hybrid manner.  Your instructors will be communicating with you about how their courses will be delivered.

DBBS courses will use the Canvas learning management system or will be meeting through Zoom video conferencing. Be sure to orient yourself to these systems. Please check your email and Canvas Announcements regularly for the latest information. If you haven’t already, turn on email notifications for Canvas Announcements.

Click here for more information about WashU’s Learning Remotely Student Resources.

Becker Library has established off–campus proxy login access for all DBBS students; click here for access.  You can also email to troubleshoot access to library resources.

Please note that there will be no risk of losing course credit while your course meets remotely. While we attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus, we also want to ensure that student training remains on track.

Student Organizations and Community Gatherings Policy

Journal Clubs

Journal Clubs that are curricular requirements must move to an electronic format, such as Zoom.  All other informal Journal Clubs and/or similarly planned events are encouraged to move to an electronic format.

Thesis Defense Process

All thesis defenses must be conducted electronically using Zoom video conferencing technology

This is available to all university community members and can be used to convert an event to an online platform with video and audio capabilities.  The Zoom technology can also record the event so that it may be shared at a later time. Please contact your Program Coordinator for assistance in arranging your Thesis Defense or if you have questions.​

Tips for Online Learning

Many of the same habits that served you well for traditional classroom learning also apply to online learning.

Remote Learning Etiquette infographic PDF of tips and suggestions for learning in an online environment.  Display it in your working area for a handy reminder.

This is a reminder for you and your friends and family.  For those that live with others, they may be tempted to expect more from you since you are not going to campus.  Remind them that you are still in school and have the same academic commitments.

The amount of time it takes do well in graduate school has not changed.  You will still attend just as many class time hours and will still need to devote as many hours to studying outside of class.

With online learning, potential distractions are everywhere – on your computer and even around you.  Some of you have made the choice to not use a laptop during class time.  This new format will require you to use a laptop or some other device to access class lectures.  For internet distractions, consider installing online tools for better attention and focus.  Around your home, set up a space you will use for “attending” class.  Remember, your professors and your classmates will be able to see what is behind you.

Minimizing distractions will help (see above), but you will need to prepare yourself to follow along with the lecture.  Use the opportunities presented by your professor to answer questions.  Take class notes just as you would if you were sitting in a classroom.  In other words, treat it as much as possible as if you were in class with the professor in front and surrounded by your classmates.  Practicing active participation and holding yourself accountable for your own success during this time will help you stay on track.

Tips for using Zoom

Here are some best practice tips for participating in a Zoom class:

  • Use good on-line etiquette.  Do not eat during class lecture and be mindful of your attire.  In addition, everyone will be able to see your facial expressions, even those who ordinarily would be sitting behind you in class.
  • Mute your mic when you are not talking.  This will lead to a better audio experience for all participants.
  • Pay attention to the chat feature on the right hand side of the screen.  Your professor may pose questions there for you to answer.
  • Everything your camera captures will be on display for all participants to see.  Make sure they are seeing what you want them to see and not seeing what you don’t.
  • Make sure you reach out to your professors for help if you need it.

Please contact your course instructors or DBBS staff should you need assistance.

Remote Learning Resources

Strategies for Learning Remotely (for Students)

CanvasCommon Issues and Concerns for Students​

The Graduate School - links to many WUSTL resources -

The Writing Center and Speaking Studio -

DBBS Becker Education Resources -

Remote Working Tips

Remote Learning Etiquette: This is an infographic PDF of tips and suggestions for learning in an online environment.

Biology Content

iBiologybiology videos

JoVE - videos of laboratory methods and science concepts

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

CosmoLearning​ - collects educational videos offered by hundreds of universities, educators, and professionals.

Research Tools

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)
Online education research and information library, Education Resources Information Center, or ERIC. ERIC database offers access to educational documents, journal articles, and non-journal literature. With collections that include educational association publications, conference papers, instructional materials, and research reports, ERIC is a digital library for research-intensive Ph.D. dissertations and projects.

Mendeley enables Ph.D. students to save and access research references and interpret these as PDF format. Doctorate students may properly organize their papers and work well in private or public. The website generally creates bibliographies and citations in any format.


Purdue OWL
A free online writing site, the Purdue Owl, was created by Purdue University to provide instructional materials in the field of writing for Ph.D. students. This online resource enables students to develop their writing skills through comprehensive lectures regarding the writing process while keeping in mind the fundamental techniques of proper writing. The APA and MLA citation guidelines are also featured on this site to help with proper citation and referencing on Ph.D. formal papers.

Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP)
Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP) is an online resource with searchable activities for the purpose of strengthening rules and strategies for editing and proofreading papers. It is a helpful online resource for effective writing, as it features basic and advanced grammar, sentence construction, and general writing rules and techniques.

General Resources for Graduate Students

National Association of Graduate-Professional Students​

Accommodations Resources

Be aware that changing instruction to an online format might affect your needs for accommodations as a learner/student.

Disability Resources (DR) staff are available to set up virtual meetings to discuss your scenario; to request or modify your accommodations, reach out to the team through the respective email address below:

Exam Accommodations:
Peer Note Taking:

DR staff is still available for intake for students who do not yet have accommodations. Appointments will be virtual. Click here to get started. Updates for disability accommodations and resources will be posted to the Teaching and Learning site.

If you have not shared your accommodation letters with your instructor, you must do so to ensure instructors can properly accommodate your needs during this transition to online instruction.  Please reach out to your instructors regarding exams and class structure, as we do not have details regarding how each professor will transition their class to an online format.

Review the Updated Syllabi. Consider how your disability-related concerns are impacted by new expectations, and make an appointment to speak with a DR staff about any concerns if you believe accommodations need to be adjusted.

Communicate with Your Faculty. Even if you did so at the beginning of the semester, provide your instructors a copy of your accommodation letter, and talk with them about your intent to utilize the accommodations. It is your responsibility to inform faculty of your needs and approved academic accommodations.

Request testing accommodations prior to tests: Online test platforms allow faculty to easily adjust established settings for students, particularly individuals needing extended time. If you receive DR authorized testing accommodations, confirm this need with your instructors. DR staff can assist you (and faculty) with questions.

When messaging faculty, be sure to carbon copy Disability Resources ( We welcome the opportunity to assist students in conversations with their instructors. Use the subject line: “DR Accommodations” (or similar).

Mental Health Resources

You may contact Student Mental Health Counseling directly at 314-362-2404 to set up an intake appointment. If there is a request for mental health support after hours, please call the Student Assistance Program (SAP) at 1-800-327-2255 and selection “Option #3.” This service is available 24 hours/7 days and everywhere in the United States. For more information on mental health supports, please see an email from Betty Feagans from April 15th entitled “Student Health Access – Your Health and Well-Being."​

​​​DBBS Faculty Information

DBBS COVID-19 Course Instruction Policies AY 2021-2022

I. Academic Calendar

Arts & Sciences courses follow this academic calendar:

Fall 2021 Semester

Classes Start: (M) August 30, 2021
Labor Day Holiday – No Class: (M) September 6, 2021
Fall Break – No Class: (M-Tu) October 11-12, 2021
Thanksgiving Break – No Class: (W-F) Nov. 24-26, 2021
Last Day of Classes: (F) December 10, 2021
Final Exams: (M-W) December 13-22, 2021

Spring 2022 Semester

MLK Holiday – No Class: (M) January 17, 2022
Classes Start: (Tu) January 28, 2022
Spring Break – No Class: (M-F) March 14-18, 2022
Last Day of Classes: (F) April 29, 2022
Final Exams: (M-W) May 2-11, 2022

II. Course Delivery Mode

  • Medical Campus: In-person class meetings on the Medical Campus must be approved by the DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Medical Campus classroom space is limited due to physical distancing requirements. (See section III for more information.)
  • Danforth Campus: DBBS courses that meet on the Danforth campus will follow policies and guidelines established for that campus.
Regardless of the delivery mode, all DBBS courses should follow these instructional policies:

  1. Canvas – All DBBS courses should: (i) be published in Canvas with a syllabus and (ii) ensure course-wide communication is available through Canvas. It is recommended that (iii) all digital course content is accessible in Canvas (may be hosted elsewhere, but linked in Canvas).
  2. Access to Instructor for Academic Support – All DBBS instructors are encouraged to hold weekly office hours or an equivalent help session that is open to all students. Office hours may be held online.
  3. Accommodations – All DBBS instructors should ensure that students receive their approved accommodations in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).
  4. Syllabi – All DBBS instructors should upload their syllabi into Syllabi Central and submit a syllabus by email to by the first day of the semester.

    A syllabus is more than a course calendar; it provides a comprehensive overview of the course, including: (i) course information and logistics, (ii) instructors and contact information, (iii) course description, learning objectives, and prerequisite knowledge, (iv) required materials, texts, and supplies, (v) grading and assessment metrics, (vi) assignments and exams, (vii) course policies, (viii) university policies, and (ix) resources for students.
    BBS instructors are encouraged to use the WU Center for Teaching and Learning syllabus template. 

III. Use of Medical Campus Classroom Space

DBBS education activities should generally be conducted remotely while significant COVID-19 community transmission persists. Faculty are encouraged to conduct courses, journal clubs, QEs, and Thesis Defenses remotely when possible to ensure sufficient classroom space for hands-on lab/clinical instruction and to accommodate others who must work from home due to personal commitments including children attending school online. 

To hold on-campus class sessions or other educational activities in fall 2021, submit a request through this Qualtrics link by April 30, 2021. Approval will depend on availability of classroom space. Preference will be given to classes with educational objectives that necessitate in-person instruction and GR1 required courses. 

After receiving approval for on-campus class sessions, a DBBS course may meet on the Medical campus only if rooms are available and when the following conditions are met. The teacher or activity organizer bears the responsibility to follow all guidance listed below:

  1. Operations Level.  Medical campus research operations level must be Yellow or Green. 
  2. Masking.  Well-fitting facemasks must be worn during all activities per WUSM or BJC masking requirements, as applicable.
  3. Outdoors.  Activities should preferentially be held outdoors rather than indoors when possible, particularly those activities conducted for purposes of recruitment or wellness.  Events held outdoors must also adhere to 6-foot spacing requirements, which will dictate capacity. 
  4. Principles for room usage:
    • Configuring spaces for physical distancing.  An appropriately sized room must be chosen to allow for at least 6 feet of distance between all occupants continuously.  This can be accomplished by spacing of chairs, tables, computers, and if necessary, removal of furniture, taping off chairs, or otherwise marking areas to encourage room users to maintain appropriate distance.
    • Maximum occupancy.  All rooms should have a listed maximum occupancy after configuring for physical distancing.  This information should be posted on signage outside the room and should be taken into account when reserving rooms.
    • The capacity limit for an education-related activity is dictated by the capacity of the room to continuously house all occupants at least 6 feet from each other.
    • List of available rooms with maximum capacity.  Educational teams should become familiar with all available rooms in their teaching area and their capacity for hosting different types of events.  Lists and maps of facilities with maximum occupancy as configured for physical distancing should be created and made available for teaching teams.  A list of shared WUSM education and student support spaces can be found  here (
  5. ​​​Hands-on training sessions.  For some activities where closer proximity work is required, such as skills training, learners should be assigned to the same pod or small group for the entirety of the activity to minimize mixing.
  6. Visitors.  Some recruitment and wellness activities may allow up to one visitor per learner if necessary to meet the objectives of the activity.  Visitors will count toward maximum capacity within spaces and must adhere to all screening, masking, distancing, hand hygiene and other procedures in place for the event.  The learner is responsible for ensuring their visitor is knowledgeable and compliant with the procedures. 
  7. Cleaning and disinfecting protocols.  WUSM spaces will be cleaned per the following protocol:  Hospital spaces will be cleaned per respective hospital protocols.
  8. Signage.  Signs with maximum occupancy and reminders for physical distancing, wearing face masks, avoiding food and drinks, avoiding unnecessary congregating, and hand hygiene should be posted at the entry and/or within every room used for educational purposes.
  9. Food.  Food should not be offered or consumed during any educational activities.  Meals may be provided for consumption after the completion of the activity.  Food should only be consumed in spaces where physical distancing >6 feet from others can be maintained at all times, and preferably outdoors or alone when possible.  Congregated meals should be strictly avoided.  Brief sips of drinks may be allowed with the expectation that masks are immediately brought back up after each sip.  Dining has been the main source of transmission on campus.

IV. More Information:

Remote Teaching Resources

DBBS has created a Canvas site to facilitate sharing of resources and pedagogy expertise among instructors in our courses. We have curated resources from the Teaching Center and established discussion board for DBBS instructors. We recommend that all DBBS instructors log in here to get started:

Contact the DBBS Curriculum Team if you cannot log in:

WU Center for Teaching & Learning resources:

Curated video resources for DBBS:

Canvas access and information:

Record your lectures in advance:
Danforth Campus:
Medical Campus:

Accommodating Students with Disabilities

Each instructor is responsible for the delivery of the course, assignments and exams for the remainder of the semester.

Students are still required to seek accommodations from the Disability Resource (DR) Office; be aware that changing instruction to an online format might affect student needs for accommodations. Please be flexible with students at this time.

If students have not shared their accommodation letters with you, they will do so to ensure you can properly accommodate their needs during this transition to online instruction. The Disability Resource office may be carbon-copied on these emails to ensure the student’s request for accommodations has been received and can be met.  Contact with questions or requests for more information.

Admissions in the times of COVID-19

The pandemic has affected all our lives. We know that many of you are worried that COVID-19-related disruptions to research and lost opportunities may negatively impact your application. We want to tell you that, as in previous years, we are committed to assessing each application holistically. We want to understand what drives you, what challenges you faced (in research and otherwise), how you responded, what you learned, and where you want to go? You can help us by describing this clearly in your essays. If COVID-19 impacted your research, let us know how, what you did in response, etc. We are all in this together. We look forward to reading your applications and meeting you virtually at first and, eventually, in person.​​

Campus Tours and Visits

At this time, visitors are not allowed on campus due to Washington University COVID-19 policies. We are working closely with local, state, and federal officials to slow the spread of the virus in the St. Louis community. 

We encourage you to access online resources and information for prospective DBBS students.​

DBBS Virtual Community Events/Meetings​

DBBS Town Hall #1

The first DBBS Town Hall (April 16th) covered policies and regulations related to COVID-19. Please find a comprehensive list of the agenda questions and answers submitted, relevant resources, and a link to a recorded version of the Town Hall here.

DBBS Town Hall #2

The second DBBS Town Hall (May 14th) covered mental health and mindfulness supports on campus. Please find a comprehensive list of the agenda, questions and answers submitted, relevant resources, and a link to a recorded version of the Town Hall here.

DBBS Town Hall #3

The third DBBS Town Hall (July 23rd) covered the DBBS Climate Study findings, anti-racist statements and programs, and programming and supports for international students. Additionally, the event covered questions related to COVID-19 policies. Please find a comprehensive list of the agenda, questions and answers submitted, relevant resources, and a link to a recorded version of the Town Hall here.

DBBS Town Hall for Incoming Students

The DBBS Town Hall for Incoming Students (July 24th) covered climate and current events, COVID-19 policies, and officially joining DBBS. Please find a comprehensive list of the agenda, questions and answers submitted, relevant resources, and a link to a recorded version of the Town Hall here.

Virtual Graduation

We want to extend a heartfelt congratulations to our DBBS 2020 graduates! While we cannot celebrate in our traditional ways, we invite you to explore the College of Arts and Sciences Virtual Recognition Ceremony. For information regarding the Chancellor’s message to all graduates and how to participate in future ceremonies, please see his statement. Importantly, the statement, in part, reads: 

"Graduating students who are unable to return for Commencement in May 2021 will have the option to participate in May Commencement or December recognition ceremonies anytime during the next five years, as their schedules allow. Details for how to register will be provided at a later date."​


Reorientation 2020 is for DBBS graduate students transitioning from their first year to their second. Reorientation 2020 was hosted on Canvas this year. All eligible DBBS students received a Canvas invitation to join the “course,” which allows students to work at their own paces.

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