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COVID-19 Temporary Policy and Procedure

Petition to Request a COVID Modified Academic Plan (MAP)

The current COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges and we are currently facing unprecedented circumstances. As some challenges resolve over time, others may arise as the university moves forward with the plan to reopen campus and PhD students return to campus. This temporary policy and procedure provides information for PhD students who wish to request an arrangement to continue their PhD education activities (including assistantship responsibilities) remotely in the fall 2020 term.

We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to campus this fall. We understand that some individuals may be apprehensive about returning to campus. However, it is important to consider the extraordinary efforts underway at the university to promote a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff, while also following guidance from public health authorities. We are instituting a variety of safety measures on campus including testing protocols, mandatory wearing of masks, healthy distancing, contact tracing, daily readiness checks for individuals to perform prior to arriving on campus, and managing density in research areas and the classroom to promote a safe in-person learning environment. Detailed information about these measures can be found at the Reopening Northeastern website, Hygiene and Cleaning Protocols.

Finally, to additionally promote safety and wellness, the university is currently pursuing a COVID-19 viral testing process that will apply to members of our campus community, with a planned regularized process to be performed at a meaningful scale. More information will be provided as this initiative develops. Further information about these measures can be found at the university’s COVID-19 website. Being thoughtful and careful in these unprecedented times will serve students’ desire to be on campus and will support safety for our community.

The university welcomes questions and requests from those who may have specific challenges related to returning to campus in the fall. Please feel free to discuss with your associate dean for graduate education or the vice provost for the PhD Network prior to making a request. Please note that any information shared related to a request will be treated confidentially.

Requests to pursue PhD education activities remotely will be addressed on a case-by-case basis as follows. PhD students who are granted approval will receive a Modified Academic Plan (MAP), which specifies requirements in course registration and any relevant funding responsibilities. Please use this form to make your request.

  1. If you have a medical or mental health-related concern, diagnosis, or illness, or if you are in a high-risk category per the CDC guidelines, and wish to request to pursue your PhD education remotely, please choose Option 1 when you complete the form to send your request to Mary A. Barrows, Senior Director of Learning Strategies and Student Success at the Disability Resource Center.
  2. If you are requesting to pursue your PhD education remotely for any other COVID-19-related reason, please choose Option 2 when you complete the form.  When you submit the form your request will be sent to the Graduate Associate Dean associated with your PhD program and to the PhD Network.
  3. Should you prefer to address your request directly with the PhD Network please choose Option 3.  When you submit the form your request will be sent to Vice Provost Sara Wadia-Fascetti at the PhD Network.

There may be any number of other reasons why PhD students might request to not return to campus. Any reasonable request will be honored; the goal is that returning PhD students feel comfortable doing so.

Requests to engage remotely will be accepted from today until August 7 for the fall 2020 term. If during the fall term you do find that circumstances change after you have been approved for a MAP and you instead wish to return to campus during the fall term, please complete this link at the PhD Network website to coordinate arrangements and access. If you wish to return to campus, we fully encourage you to do so with coordination, but remind you that there may not be a classroom, a research lab, graduate student space, or other areas available for you given density restrictions put in place for the fall term. Finally, the spirit of this policy is that if you request to pursue your PhD education remotely, the expectation is that you will conduct all of your PhD education activities (coursework, informal out of class activities, research and assistantship responsibilities) remotely.

These guidelines are effective as of July 24, 2020, apply to the fall 2020 term, and are subject to change, given the evolving nature of the current coronavirus crisis.