This is the latest in a series of regular messages to keep the Northeastern community updated on planning and decision-making related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We would like to reiterate that there is no higher priority than the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and others affiliated with Northeastern.
For several weeks now, the university has been developing a broad range of contingency plans to ensure continuity of learning and research. Over the past two days, for example, we have decided that our campuses in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area will move to online course instruction on Monday. This is based on a careful analysis of the circumstances in those regions. The university will continue to evaluate the situation in these locations based on guidance from public health authorities as well as our own local leaders and experts.
As spring break comes to a close, we continue to monitor the situation at all Northeastern campuses, with a particular focus on our Boston campus, the university’s largest and most complex operation. We have developed a rigorous decision-making protocol that integrates several critical inputs. These factors include—but are not limited to—guidance from public health authorities, operational and logistical conditions, and the need to maintain business continuity.
Our monitoring of this unprecedented situation has moved from daily to hourly to continuous—and we are prepared at a moment’s notice to take action that will safeguard our community and allow the university to fulfill its mission.
At the time of this writing (Sunday, March 8) we are in alignment with current public health recommendations, which do not warrant a suspension of on-site learning at the Boston campus. As of now, our peer colleges, universities and corporate partners are largely operating as they normally do—although several have enacted travel and other prudent restrictions, as has Northeastern.
In prior messages we have stated that if anyone is returning from a CDC Level 3 country, we ask that you self-quarantine away from campus for 14 days, which is in accordance with public health guidance. We also want to reiterate the importance of practicing good respiratory hygiene, which includes frequently washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and other critical steps outlined by the CDC. If you are sick, or think you are sick, please stay at home. Do not go to class, and do not go to work, and please contact your medical care provider.
We are well aware that conditions may change. If and when the university needs to make a material shift in operations, we will notify the Northeastern community immediately. Until that time, we recommend consulting the university’s dedicated COVID 19 website, which is updated as needed. The university’s official news source, News@Northeastern, is updated constantly and available through all major social media channels.
We appreciate that this is a stressful time for many members of our community. Rest assured that the university’s leadership stands ready to take decisive action as warranted.
Kenneth W. Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning
Senior Vice President for External Affairs