*Published on March 12, 2020*
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We write to provide new updates and further clarity on the steps we are taking across a range of academic, student support, and campus operational functions to reduce the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the university community.
Co-op – Student Departures from Europe Are Underway. All Other Co-ops Ongoing.
In light of the federal prohibition on travel from Europe to the United States, the university is working with students currently on co-op and study abroad in the Schengen Area and in the U.K. to help them depart and return home immediately. We are working with host institutions and employers to determine whether students can complete their semesters remotely. If they cannot, we will work with each student to make sure they can continue their academic progress. Our goal is to make sure that every student successfully completes their term.
Students on co-op in the impacted locations should consult with their employers and their co-op coordinators to determine options for completing their assignments remotely.
Students currently on co-op at all other locations, including the U.S., are not impacted and should maintain their current co-op placements and follow guidance from their employers, if any, about remote work. Students who have concerns for their health and safety are encouraged to work first with their co-op employer to address their concerns. If those concerns are not resolved, they should reach out to their co-op coordinators, who will escalate as necessary.
The university is committed to supporting our students on co-op just as we support our students who are in classes. Students who have questions or concerns should contact WeCare at email@example.com.
Summer I Dialogue of Civilizations Programs Will Be Virtual or Canceled.
Previously, the university canceled all Dialogues planned for CDC Level 3 countries. All other Summer I Dialogues will—if possible—be offered virtually. In cases where faculty leading programs determine doing so is impractical, students enrolled in canceled programs who choose not to participate in another offering will receive a refund of all associated fees. The Global Experience Office will be contacting students to inform them of their options. A decision about Summer II Dialogues will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
University-Sponsored Travel Suspended, Exceptions Must Be Approved.
Northeastern has suspended all non-essential university-sponsored travel—international and domestic. In cases where in-person participation remains essential, any decision to approve future air/train (not auto) travel will be made by one of the university’s six senior vice presidents, with input from Northeastern’s Global Safety and Security Assessment Committee. If you have any questions or requests, please contact GSSAC at 617-373-7490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In light of the decision to suspend travel, faculty who have personally incurred advanced expenses for upcoming university-sponsored travel should contact the vice president and assistant treasurer in the Finance Division to request reimbursement.
Online Course Instruction Will Be Ongoing for the Duration of the Term. Help Is Available.
In addition to the Seattle, San Francisco and Silicon Valley campuses, all courses have moved to online delivery for the university’s Massachusetts campuses for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Semester and CPS Winter Quarter. Students who choose to move out of campus housing should continue to finish the term online. Students will not be required to return to Boston to complete current coursework and exams.
A determination will be made about CPS Spring Quarter and Summer I course delivery in the weeks to come.
As the Boston campus remains open and operational, faculty may utilize classrooms and classroom technology to record lectures and to teach online. Faculty who choose to teach remotely can receive assistance with online delivery from ITS and CATLR by booking a Microsoft Teams appointment at the Digital Resilience website. For hardware or home internet access needs, faculty should complete the ITS business continuity survey.
The University Remains Open and Operational. Remote Work for Faculty and Staff is Encouraged. More to Come on Athletics.
As all Northeastern campuses remain open and operational, lab and project-level research will continue as normal. Faculty, students, and staff engaged in research operations should continue to follow COVID-19 risk mitigation guidance related to minimizing disease transmission, travel, meetings, and social distancing.
On the Boston campus, dining halls, residence halls, the Curry Student Center, Snell Library, Marino and Squashbusters all remain open. Classrooms remain available for study and use by students and faculty individually or in small groups. (There is ongoing sanitization of campus facilities with high frequency use, including dining facilities, Curry Student Center, Snell Library, the Marino Center and Squashbusters.)
We are in constant communication with the NCAA and CAA regarding upcoming league and national championships, as well as the continuity of Spring intercollegiate varsity athletics. We will update the community as more information becomes available.
Gatherings on Campus Must Be Limited and Virtual. Commencement Contingency Planning Is Underway.
Consistent with public health guidance, large gatherings on Northeastern campuses will be limited to essential events only. All non-essential events will move to virtual format, unless impractical, in which case they will be postponed or canceled. Large events deemed essential must be approved by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and will be limited to 50 percent of available seating capacity to comply with social distancing requirements.
A team of university leaders is engaged in extensive contingency planning to explore options for holding Commencement. Recognizing that families need certainty in order to finalize travel arrangements and related plans, we expect to announce a final decision soon.
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We continue to be guided in our decision-making by the recommendations of public health authorities, and we remain poised to respond quickly to changing circumstances as necessary.
As always, we encourage you to continue to check the university’s COVID-19 website for the latest updates and changes to university programs.
Senior Vice President for External Affairs
Kenneth W. Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning