*Published on March 28, 2021

Dear Students,

Last week, Senior Vice Chancellor Madeleine Estabrook sent a reminder about continued vigilance in following all health and safety protocols, especially wearing a mask and avoiding unsafe gatherings.

Unfortunately, over the last week we’ve seen a troubling rise in positive COVID-19 tests on our Boston campus, particularly among students. Our seven-day average positive test rate has risen to 0.34 percent—more than doubling from last week, with 114 students in isolation and 109 students in quarantine. Given this concerning trend, I want to convey three important reminders:

First, please take responsibility for your health and safety by avoiding risky situations. According to our contact tracing experts, the increase in local cases is directly linked to behavior, through gatherings both small and large, dining in groups without distancing, as well as travel. Most people in our university community are not yet vaccinated. It is still not safe to gather with people living in different households if they are not wearing masks and practicing healthy distancing. Please also be aware of the current risk posed by virus variants that can lead to increased transmission.

Second, protect your classmates’ and our communities’ health and safety by giving complete and honest information to our contact tracers. Remember, our contact tracing team is bound by law to protect your privacy. They will not reveal your identity to close contacts. They will not report where you were or what you were doing to close contacts or Northeastern administrators. Their goal is to help you stay safe and to stop the spread.

Third, recall that sanctions for unsafe behaviors are still in place. Over the past few weeks, we have unfortunately had to take significant action in response to students violating safety protocols. Although contact tracers will never report on the behavior of individual students, we need to respond to unsafe behavior when we hear it reported from others. Please remember your actions can lead to serious consequences.

With roughly one month remaining in the spring term, we need to continue to do everything possible to prevent additional positive cases in our community and to stop transmission. We believe in our Northeastern students and in your commitment to your education and to each other. Stay the course to protect yourselves, your friends and classmates, and our whole community.


Ken Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning