December 23, 2021

Dear Northeastern Community,

As we prepare for the winter break, we want to share the university’s current plans for the Spring 2022 term, both to keep the Northeastern community informed and to give you time for your preparations.

Heading into January, Northeastern’s intention is to remain open, with in-person classes and research activity occurring across our global university system. To put this in simple terms: Our priority is to maintain continuity of learning and research while keeping our community safe.

One of the many lessons of the pandemic is that in-person learning remains the gold standard. For our lifelong learners and researchers around the world, the sense of community gained from working and discovering together continues to be invaluable. It is also worth noting that scientific research—including the work of Northeastern faculty—is essential to managing and minimizing the effects of the pandemic.

In Fall 2020, Northeastern became a national leader in safely reopening our campuses. We were one of the first universities to require vaccination, and we are now requiring booster shots for all members of our community. We continue to believe that vaccination is one of the most effective tools we have in managing COVID-19, and the latest science shows that booster shots are particularly vital as we confront the Omicron variant.

It is now clear that COVID-19, in various forms, will be with us for the foreseeable future. As we move into this endemic phase of the pandemic, our job is to continue to control Covid effectively, not let Covid control us. A key part of this will be less emphasis on positive case counts and laser focus on preventing severe illness and hospitalizations. In a community that is fully vaccinated, and boosted, our strategy should not be driven by positive cases. For perspective, last year Northeastern had more than 1,800 positive tests on its Boston campus, with a single known hospitalization.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will monitor developments constantly and be prepared to pivot if needed. We will continue to be guided by science and relevant data, often informed by our own faculty experts. If needed, we will work closely with faculty and students to enable the transition to hybrid or remote learning. As always, we will also take into account the local situation at each of our global campuses, including public health guidance.

We are also very aware that a dramatic increase in Covid infections—even among a fully vaccinated population—will create inconvenience and disruptions to daily life. This is especially true for faculty and staff with children or other caregiving responsibilities. We encourage all employees to engage with Human Resources and their immediate supervisor when issues arise that require flexibility and support. We are in this together.

During the break, the Cabot Testing Center on the Boston campus will remain open for individual and household testing. View their hours of operation for specific dates and times. We encourage everyone in the Boston region to take advantage of this service throughout the winter break. If you have questions about the booster or Northeastern’s COVID-19 protocols, you can find additional information in the Vaccine FAQs, email, or call a local COVID-19 hotline based on your campus’s location.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, our community joined together to become a model of flexibility, resilience, and mutual support. Together we will continue to match any challenge that comes our way. We want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work these past two years, whether in learning, teaching, conducting research, or helping our community flourish in other ways.


Ken Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning