*Published on October 23, 2020*

Dear Colleagues,

Much has changed since the Spring when we moved to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, our community has settled into an adjusted way of life—wearing masks and practicing healthy distancing—as we eagerly await a vaccine or new forms of COVID-19 treatment. Compliance with public health guidance remains strong on campus, and we have demonstrated our collective ability to maintain business continuity while remaining sensitive to the unique needs and challenges many are facing due to the pandemic.

The Fall 2020 semester has had a very successful beginning to the academic year with strong compliance across our global university system, robust testing, and extremely low positivity rates on the Boston campus. The university is now in the process of reassessing staffing needs on the student-facing side, as well as operational priorities, and we expect that there will be a need to increase staffing across campuses over the coming weeks and months.

In light of this, we are changing the policy for remote work requests. This updated policy will apply to all staff whose roles best serve the university community by being on campus. Some staff who have been working remotely, or a combination of remote and on campus, may soon be requested to return to campus or increase their presence on campus. In most cases, this will involve partial or staggered on-campus schedules. Your manager will alert you if any changes need to be made to your current schedule.

Under this new policy, staff who are requested to return to campus can seek a work accommodation through one of two options:

Option 1.  Staff who are seeking to work remotely must follow the Human Resources (HRM) reasonable accommodation process. Northeastern will provide reasonable accommodations for staff with disabilities or a pregnancy-related condition. Individuals with a medical condition listed in the CDC guidelines who may be at greater risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19 may qualify for a reasonable accommodation. Accommodation requests for remote work will be reviewed by HRM on a case-by-case basis.

Age. The university will no longer consider a person’s age the sole factor for approving a work accommodation. However, individuals who believe they are at higher risk or vulnerability due to their age may raise their concerns with HR by completing the appropriate section of the form in the link above. Please provide all required information.

Option 2.  Individuals who live with someone with a medical condition listed in the CDC guidelines may request a work accommodation. Please note that documentation of the medical condition of the household member will be required. Requests will be reviewed by HRM.

Please note that nothing in this policy affects the right of individuals to seek leave as needed under the Family Medical Leave Act. This update to the temporary work policy may be subject to change, given the evolving nature of the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as university business needs. Those asked to return to campus will receive more specific communication from your supervisor. We will continue to monitor density on campus and plan accordingly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your HR Business Partner or HR key contact. Thank you for your continued hard work as we navigate this time of enormous challenge and opportunity.


Michele Grazulis
Vice President & CHRO