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COVID-19 is an evolving emergency that created financial instability and challenges for members of our community. The pandemic has not affected all members of our community equally due to inequities in work environments, access to reliable internet, health care and health insurance access, and childcare needs. This can be scary and stressful and we are very sensitive to the unique challenges faced by our graduate students. We encourage you to let us know when you experience financial challenges related to COVID-19 so that we can coordinate with other units on campus to identify potential resources.
This page lists resources and questions that may be particularly pertinent to graduate students. We care about our graduate students and their loved ones. We are working to support those with needs through identification of resources and other mechanisms. As we obtain additional information related to graduate students, we will add to this page.
We know that the current economic situation has affected searches for jobs. One resource available to all graduate students is the Career Center at the University of Mississippi. The Career Center assists with job searches and the application process and is a resource also available to recent graduates. Additionally, MS Grad Jobs is a place where many employers list positions within the state of Mississippi.
Links to Information Related to Food and Financial Insecurity Resources
The UMatter page located at https://olemiss.box.com/s/57kof5njl7wae096c50ue5g8swovhwzl lists a number of resources including several related to food insecurity and community resources. The Food Bank is also open and operating for members of the campus community. Students can find more information about the UM Food Bank here. Other local resources related to financial needs resulting from disruptions caused by COVID-19 can be found at https://twitter.com/McLeanUM/status/1240324766894080001?s=20.
For graduate students who have lost employment (or are currently unemployed), directions for applying for MS unemployment can be found at https://mdes.ms.gov/. Specifically, students experiencing lapses in income may immediately seek unemployment benefits through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). We recognize that the unemployment insurance, which provided substantial financial support for some individuals, has current lapsed. If there are additional Federal actions to provide support for unemployed individuals, we will work to update this information.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Information and the application for SNAP can be found at https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/economic-assistance/snap/
Women, Infants and Children’s Nutrition Program (WIC) – WIC is a special supplemental food program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children under five years of age. WIC helps you and your baby get healthy foods and healthy advice in the first years of life. You can find more information at https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/41,0,128.html
The stimulus package also offers temporary relief for federal student loan borrowers (individuals should ensure they understand the implications of suspending their payments on eligibility for other student loan repayment programs).
Due to the ever-evolving nature of this pandemic, updates are subject to constant and rapid change.
What About My Graduate Assistantship?
Do I have to come to campus for my assistantship?
The University of Mississippi is working to promote the safety and health of our campus community. Where individuals can complete their work remotely, they are encouraged to do so.
The University of Mississippi considers graduate assistants to be employees and asks that graduate assistants review and follow the guidance offered in communication to UM employees (see https://hr.olemiss.edu/coronavirus/). Graduate assistants should consult with their supervisors or department chairs to determine what adaptations, if necessary, are being made to practice social distancing and how/where they should report to work. The Graduate School has encouraged supervisors to be responsive to the needs of graduate students who may be at increased risk due to COVID-19 and/or who have childcare challenges. If a graduate assistant has not been able to identify accommodations related specifically to COVID-19, please contact the Graduate School at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can understand your situation and help identify solutions.
Supervisors of graduate assistants shall provide mechanisms for graduate assistants to practice social distancing. Supervisors may modify the nature of the work, location of the work (e.g., remote work or access to a non-shared office), or structure of the work setting to support social distancing. When the operational needs of the unit allow, graduate assistants may telecommute.
Graduate research assistants are also encouraged to review the website for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. They provide important guidance on research as it relates to the COVID-19 emergency (see ORSP COVID-19 FAQ).
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