Northeastern requests that students move out of dorms by Tuesday at 5 p.m., citing public health guidance

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern has requested that all students on its Boston campus move out of university residence halls by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. Northeastern is offering refunds and assisting those with special circumstances.

In a message to students, faculty, and staff on Saturday, COVID-19 task force co-chairs Kenneth Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning, and Michael Armini, senior vice president for external affairs, acknowledged the challenge this creates for students and encouraged all those concerned about vacating to contact Northeastern’s support and referral system, WeCare.

WeCare workers, who will be staffing the system in increased numbers, will receive and assess individual cases and can provide such assistance as approval to remain in dorms. The office can be reached by email at

“We understand that this is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone—here at Northeastern and around the world,” wrote Henderson and Armini. “Our decision-making has been—and continues to be—driven by the need to keep our community healthy and safe. By working together—and supporting one another—we can remain resilient during this unprecedented and challenging time.”

To allow students to focus on leaving campus, Northeastern has canceled class on Monday and Tuesday. Students who are on co-op but still living in residence halls are also expected to vacate, and those unable to complete co-op work remotely will receive academic credit nonetheless. With the exception of those who petition for and are granted the ability to remain, students will also have their room and board costs waived for the remainder of the semester.

The decision to vacate the Boston campus comes in the wake of President Donald J. Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and in anticipation of further travel restrictions that may complicate students’ abilities to return home. 

In making this decision, the university’s COVID-19 task force acted in accordance with guidance from public health officials, as well as with the infectious disease expertise of its own faculty. 

Further reducing density on the Boston campus—Northeastern’s largest and most complex operation—aligns with recommendations that individuals both avoid large social gatherings and distance themselves from others. The university will remain operational and continue to offer courses online.

The Boston campus is part of Northeastern’s global university system, which includes additional Massachusetts campuses in Nahant and Burlington and locations in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle; Toronto; Vancouver; the Bay Area; and London. 

The Boston, Seattle, and Bay Area campuses have already moved to online learning, and as of Monday, the Charlotte, Vancouver, and London campuses will also begin conducting courses online.

Northeastern urges students to contact their primary care clinicians if symptoms of COVID-19 develop at any point, regardless of recent travel destinations, and faculty and staff to contact their appropriate healthcare providers. (Medical resources available near each of Northeastern’s campuses can be found here.) Anyone who shows symptoms should self-isolate as soon as possible.

Official university updates to faculty, staff, and students will be issued via email and posted on its dedicated COVID-19 website

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