Northeastern University is planning a phased return of faculty and staff to its campuses in the coming weeks with the intention of reopening classrooms and residence halls to students in the fall.
In a May 8th letter to the university community, Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern, outlined a series of core values that will guide the reopening process including, “maintaining the health and wellbeing of the Northeastern University community—and the world beyond our campuses.”
Aoun said that plans for each of Northeastern’s locations will be accelerated or decelerated based on real-time COVID-19 data, and in accordance with guidance from public health and government authorities.
A group of university leaders is working on detailed plans to gradually reopen research labs and administrative offices starting in late May and early June. The phased reopening will be done in accordance with public health guidance, with protocols to support low density and help reduce the risk of infection. A robust plan for testing and contact tracing is currently being developed.
The university will prioritize the return of faculty and staff who can best complete their work on campus, including researchers who need access to labs and scientific equipment. The selection of these individuals will be determined by senior leadership.
For a period of time, employees invited to return to campus may choose whether or not to return. The university understands that there may still be challenges for people, such as lack of access to childcare, risks associated with underlying health conditions, and concerns related to public transportation.
In his letter, Aoun led with the university’s intention to offer onsite instruction and a residential experience for students in the fall. He emphasized the work underway to reimagine how space can be used for living, learning, and recreational activities.
The plan for student re-entry in the fall is underway and will be shared in the coming weeks.