*Published on May 19, 2021*

Dear Northeastern University Community,

From the beginning of the pandemic, Northeastern’s decisions have closely followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with local public health authorities. Today, we are revising our protocols for mask-wearing and physical distancing, based on updated recommendations from these same public health and government authorities.

Effective Saturday, May 29, Northeastern will no longer require fully vaccinated faculty, staff, students, visitors, and vendors on its Massachusetts campuses to wear masks indoors—including in residence halls, classrooms, dining halls, offices, fitness centers, COVID-19 testing centers, and campus buildings. This change is in accordance with Massachusetts’ updated guidance on mask requirements.

These are a few key clarifications:

Also effective Saturday, May 29, Massachusetts will fully reopen with no restrictions on gatherings sizes and density within buildings.

Northeastern will use the honor system in enforcing the new protocols for fully vaccinated people. We’ve trusted our community to “Protect the Pack” and our community has demonstrated its willingness to follow protocols that protect others’ health and safety. We will not require people to show proof of vaccination before removing their mask in a campus space. We also understand that people may have different comfort levels when it comes to removing their masks, and we respect anyone’s decision to continue wearing a mask even if fully vaccinated.

We will also treat people’s vaccine status confidentially, as we would do with medical information shared by employees. A students’ vaccination status will not be shared with faculty or staff, and we will not require faculty or staff to disclose their vaccination status.  This new guidance is one more step toward fully reopening our Massachusetts campuses this summer. It represents positive news that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, cases and hospitalizations continue to decline, and more than 351 million vaccine doses have been administered across the United States, Canada, and the U.K. On our own Boston campus, COVID-19 cases have declined to a weekly average positive test rate of 0.02 percent with 0 cases on most days.  Please see our FAQs for more detailed information on the new protocols, and contact NUCOVID19Qs@northeastern.edu with any questions. We will continue to adjust our approach based on public health guidance and will keep you updated as we move through the summer.

Ken Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning