*Published on August 11, 2021*

Dear Northeastern University community,

As Northeastern plans for the fall term, we continue to closely monitor global health conditions and adjust our COVID-19 protocols based on expert guidance.

Indoor Mask Requirement

In every campus where public health guidelines allow, Northeastern will operate at full capacity with classes held in person. As students travel to our campuses from around the world, we wish to start the fall term with a measured and cautious approach that takes global travel and increased campus density into account. As a result, in July we announced fall testing requirements on our U.S. campuses.

At the start of the fall term, fully vaccinated and unvaccinated students, faculty, staff, visitors, and vendors will also be required to wear a mask indoors—effective when students move into university housing or on Monday, September 6 for faculty, staff, and students not in university housing.

This updated requirement applies across all of Northeastern’s global network of campuses. Masks will not be required outdoors or when someone is alone in an office or in their own room in university housing.

Along with the resumption of routine testing, this updated mask-wearing requirement will protect community health as we transition to a new academic year with increased density on our campuses. We will monitor health and safety conditions continuously and revise these protocols as the fall term progresses.

Vaccination Requirement Reminder

Although testing and mask-wearing are important safety measures, vaccination remains the most effective way to protect our community against the spread of COVID-19. To comply with university vaccine requirements, all students, faculty, and staff on our U.S. campuses must complete the Vaccine Verification form—found on services.northeastern.edu/wellness—to verify their vaccination status, request a medical or religious exemption, or indicate that they need help accessing the vaccine. Vaccine documentation is due by August 15 for students and by September 8 for faculty and staff.

Given our plan to conduct frequent surveillance testing, we expect to see some positive cases even among the fully vaccinated. Fortunately, the data show that most of these cases will be mild and that the vaccines offer very effective protection against severe illness. It is important to remember that positive tests among a vaccinated population are not the same as positive tests among an unvaccinated population, which we monitored closely last year. To help clarify this for our community, we will be updating the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

We are starting the fall term with a cautious approach, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over but that we have powerful tools—the vaccine, masks, and testing—to protect our community. Please review our COVID-19 FAQs for more details on the updated protocols or contact NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu with questions.


Ken Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning