*Published on May 20, 2020*

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

In a May 8th letter to the university community, President Joseph E. Aoun outlined the university’s plans for a phased return of faculty and staff to its campuses in the coming weeks with the intention of reopening classrooms and residence halls to students in the fall.

Our message today follows that announcement by sharing a detailed plan for a phased return to research laboratories and administrative offices across our network, starting in late May and early June.

In the coming days, we will begin the phased return of a small number of faculty, staff, and students working in critical research labs, and administrative staff working in critical functions that are difficult to perform effectively from off campus. A website guide outlines in detail the university’s approach to the phased return, including strict protocols we will follow to maintain low density and reduce the risk of infection.

The initial group of staff has already been identified and will be notified by their supervisors in the coming days. Researchers needing to conduct lab research, field research, or face-to-face human subject research, should complete the research resumption plan to build a plan and request a return to research.  It is important to note that we will not exceed a 25 percent capacity in buildings, labs, and workplaces, initially. For a period of time, employees invited to return to campus may choose whether or not to return. The university understands that there may still be challenges for people, such as lack of access to childcare, risks associated with underlying health conditions, and concerns related to public transportation.

As we carefully engineer a safe return to campus, each step will be informed by the core principles President Aoun shared with us, including “maintaining the health and wellbeing of the Northeastern University community—and the world beyond our campuses.” Following those same guiding principles, we will share a detailed plan on faculty and student return in the coming weeks. At each phase of the return, our planning will be guided by public health experts, and our own learning as an institution.

As always, we encourage you to monitor the university’s COVID-19 website for the latest updates. Northeastern’s first response to the pandemic leveraged all of our strength, resilience, and innovation as a community. We know we can rely on those same qualities as we work together on a safe and measured return in the months ahead.


Kenneth Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning

Jim Bean
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs