COVID-19 and Spring 2021 Updates

Table of Contents

University of Kentucky

  1. Research
  2. Student Resources

UK Graduate School

  1. Graduate Admissions
  2. Academic Services
  3. Professional Enhancement

National Council of Graduate Schools



University of Kentucky



For guidance for researchers from University of Kentucky Research, see:


Student Resources

  • UK Student Health: Online Health Appointments  -
  • KORU Mindfulness classes online:
  • UK Learn Anywhere: Remote Learning Resources -
  • Big Blue Pantry:
  • Basic Needs:
  • CARES Act Emergency Grant for Students (available to eligible domestic students but not international students): Domestic students should check the FAQ on the Financial Aid and Scholarships site at . Note that the CARES funding is available to continuing (enrolled for summer or fall) domestic students who (1) have completed a FAFSA and (2) meet the Title IV eligibility requirements.  If you have students who believe they may be eligible but have not not completed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid; many students on assistantships or fellowships do not routinely submit one), then there may still be time to complete and submit one for a subsequent round of CARES funding.  Students should consult the above FAQ for more details. Financial Aid Counselor contact information is here:  Students should discuss options with the appropriate Financial Aid Counselor before pursuing completion of a new FAFSA. 
  • UK’s Student Emergency Fund (available to ALL students): Students (domestic and international) who are not eligible/do not meet the thresholds for CARES funding, and who are in need of financial assistance to meet basic needs, should contact UK’s Community of Concern/Basic Needs/Financial Wellness in the Dean of Students Office in SAL (Student and Academic Life) to request assistance from the Student Emergency Fund.  The referral form is here:  To be eligible for CoC’s assistance, students must be registered for a current (Summer) or upcoming (Fall) term.    Note that the form may be completed by the student in need of assistance or by an advisor or other faculty or staff member who is referring the student. 
  • Childcare and Dependent Grants are available to full or part-time students to help them pay for cost associated with their care through the Student Government Association. Some examples of what is eligible for funding are: diapers(child/adult), formula, daycare, and in home care. Should you have any specific questions please reach out to


UK Graduate School

**The Graduate School staff is currently operating remotely.  Please consult the "Who Does What" page to search for Graduate School staff by function, or consult our Staff Directory for a comprehensive staff listing.



ETS is now offering online testing for GRE and TOEFL starting March 27, 2020 in all countries except Iran and mainland China.

Additional online testing also available for:

If you have questions, all Graduate School Admissions staff are available via email, phone, or Zoom.




Policies on master’s final examinations, qualifying examinations, and doctoral final examinations during the COVID-19 disruption 

The Graduate School’s Academic Services Office stands ready remotely to accommodate any adjustments needed to help our master’s and doctoral candidates complete the defense/exam as planned. The following procedures are in place at least through the end of the spring semester.    

  • All defense/exams should be conducted via Zoom or equivalent. Since no common physical room will be used, please enter the word “online” on the examination form.    
  • New defenses/exams may be scheduled and conducted. If an already scheduled exam or defense needs to be rescheduled, please notify your Academic Affairs Officer who will work with you on establishing a new date. 
  • As per usual practice, all members of the committee must maintain contact for the full duration of the exam/defense. 


Recording Final Exam/Qualifying Exam results options: 

Option 1 – *Chair of committee saves the exam card as a pdf, then uses the “Fill & Sign” feature in Adobe to send to committee members and DGS. Once all have responded, the completed card should be forwarded to the Student Affairs Officer.

Option 2 – *Chair of committee forwards original exam card email to all members. Each member Replies All and votes in succession (an email chain) after which Chair forwards the complete email chain to the DGS. This can be done at the conclusion of the zoom meeting while all members are still online. DGS forwards to Student Affairs Officer.

Option 3 - *Chair of committee forwards original exam card email to all members. The members can electronically sign the card and indicate pass/fail (or print/sign/scan/attach in email) and send to committee chair with their decision. Once all members have replied, combine all “cards” into one pdf and send to DGS who forwards the single pdf to Student Affairs Officer. Alternatively, if card is digitally signed in succession (email chain), each one will be signing the same card.

*DGS or DGS’ Staff can be the person sending the exam card to all members of the Committee.


New Deadlines 

To view the new deadlines in effect for students seeking a December degree, visit our Key Dates page.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Graduate Academic Affairs officer assigned to your program. 




General statement on TAs/RAs/GAs during the COVID-19 disruption 

Through the 2020 spring semester, students on assistantships should continue their work assignments remotely insofar as possible.  Please see clarifications and reminders from Provost Blackwell regarding faculty and staff access to facilities during COVID-19 campus restrictions.  Supervisors of students on assistantships must provide clear direction and guidance on work expectations and provide meaningful alternative assignments as needed (such as research-related reading, data analysis, online trainings, planning for future research or teaching or service, professional networking, completion of online professional development modules, etc.). Understanding that the COVID-19 disruption is a trying and difficult period, supervisors must be careful to limit the work of their TAs, RAs, and GAs to no more than the standard workload, which for full-time assistantships is 20 hours per week, which should be performed remotely as much as possible.  Extenuating circumstances and health concerns related to the COVID-19 spread should be addressed immediately by the supervisor.  Supervisors are expected to follow the most current COVID-19 policies and guidelines issued by President Capilouto, UK Human Resources, Provost Blackwell, and their college Dean.  Supervisors of Research Assistants must also follow the most current policies issued by the Vice-President for Research. 


TA Observations and Evaluations 

Classroom observations (snapshots of a single class or lab session) of Types 1, 2 and 3 will be waived for the spring 2020 semester.  Observations conducted prior to midterm, and that have been shared with TAs for their responses and signatures, are welcomed for submission and will be archived by the Graduate School.  End-of-semester TA evaluations (all TA Types) will continue to be required for all TA Types, with an extended deadline for submission of July 1, 2020.  For Types 1, 2 and 3, the evaluation (which can be a checklist, rubric, or narrative) should note that a classroom observation was not conducted due to the sudden move to online instruction (or, note that an observation was conducted prior to the midterm disruption).  Evaluations must be shared with each TA for response and signature (actual or digital) before sending to the Graduate School.  


For Graduate Students: At-home Resources for Professional and Career Development 

While you are practicing physical distancing, why not take the time to establish and take full advantage of your free accounts for the robust online resources provided by the Office of Graduate Student Professional Enhancement.  Click on the resources below for details. 

Aurora (by Beyond the Professoriate)

Upcoming events from Beyond the Professoriate

Imagine PhD

20-Minute Mentor Commons

Also available to you is UK’s institutional subscription to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (click “Become a Member” and follow the instructions to set up your account). 

Various workshops and webinars will be offered via Zoom.  Watch the Graduate School website (under News & Announcements) for the schedule. 

The Office of Professional Enhancement has Zoom office hours available (schedule an appointment here) to discuss these and other resources (such as Preparing Future Faculty, Preparing Future Professionals, and GradDegree+).    



National Council of Graduate Schools

The Council of Graduate Schools has a central webpage for resources related to the COVID-19 crisis and graduate education. This hub includes information on recent CGS initiatives and programs; CGS member initiatives; federal and state policy information; information on financial aid; and resources for international graduate students. Check in often, since this resource will be frequently updated with new information as it becomes available.

For COVID-19 Legislative and Regulatory Updates, check here.

The Council of Graduate Schools has additional statements and resources on its Coronovirus webpage, including federal agency guidance (NSF and NIH, etc.), APLU member responses, and other information. 

CGS Calls For Action To End Racism And Injustice