*Published on November 16, 2020*

Dear Northeastern University community,  

As you make your plans to travel during the Thanksgiving break, I write to provide an update on Northeastern’s requirements and guidance for leaving and returning to campus safely.  

We urge all community members, both those traveling during the Thanksgiving break and those who are not, to remain vigilant. Our contact tracing team reports several patterns contributing to transmission: having dinner with friends, not wearing a mask when talking to friends, people seeing family or friends from out of town, going on a weekend trip with a small group, and not being evaluated by a clinician when symptoms develop. The risk of contracting COVID-19 in a public space, such as a restaurant or bar, may also be increasing. Avoid these and other situations that increase the risk of becoming infected or inadvertently spreading the virus to friends, family, and colleagues.

Share Your Travel Plans 

If you are a student living on campus or in the Boston area and are planning to travel outside of Boston during the Thanksgiving break, we ask that you use this pre-departure travel form to indicate your travel plans for the break. By knowing your travel plans, the university can best support you in a successful close to the fall term and in promoting a safe and healthy trip, both for yourself and for the communities that you will be visiting.  

Staying in Boston  

Northeastern’s dining and residence halls are open for the Thanksgiving break, and we welcome you to stay on the Boston campus if you choose not to travel. Travel and social gatherings are known to carry significant risks. Staying on campus allows you to continue taking your COVID-19 tests and attending courses in person without the interruption of quarantine upon your return. The Cabot Testing Center will be open with reduced hours, so please make sure you make your appointments at least a day in advance and visit the testing center on time to stay compliant with the testing requirement. 

Traveling from Boston for Thanksgiving  

Please get a COVID-19 test before you leave and wait for a negative test result. During the trip and after arrival, following Northeastern and CDC health and safety guidelines is critically important—for your own and your loved ones’ safety. Small gatherings of any type outside of an immediate household are a major cause of transmission. Minimize your contact with others, wear a mask, and keep six feet of distance between you and others. If you do travel, we ask you to  consider finishing your courses and finals remotely. Your exams and classes will be available remotely, and your faculty will fully support you as you finish the term.  

Returning to Boston  

If you decide to travel and return to campus, Northeastern requires students to follow these guidelines upon their return:  

Students should complete the travel return form when they return to the Boston area.  

Faculty and staff who travel outside of the state will need to follow Massachusetts guidance on travel when they return. If they travel from a non-exempt statethey may come to campus for a COVID-19 test and should follow state guidance to quarantine away from campus until they receive their result.   

Travel in the Global Network 

For students in our global network, we urge you to continue following Northeastern’s health and safety guidelines—mask-wearing, healthy distancing, and minimizing contact with others—over the break. If you must travel and return to campus, please follow your state or province’s re-entry guidelines on return.  

Please consider this guidance carefully as you make your plans for the break. Remember to keep our team updated on your plans through the travel forms in the Wellness Portalso we can fully support you in a successful close to the fall term.   



Ken Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning