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 continues as an open campus with research and education alive on campus.  Through hard work and everyone doing their part following testing requirements and safety protocols, we have been able to create a new normal on campus with extraordinarily low positivity rates.  For those who have been to campus you have seen a revitalized Northeastern with students back on campus and enjoying the fall weather.  We are finding success in navigating the pandemic’s challenges and will continue to do so this summer when we expect to have students, faculty and staff again back on campus.

We understand that some of you may have particular challenges for summer that make coming to campus difficult.  Those of you in this position can apply for a Modified Academic Plan (MAP) pursuant to the following policy.

We are looking forward to engaging with PhD students on campus this summer 2021.  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 have instituted 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 Northeastern is Open website, Hygiene and Cleaning Protocols.  The university COVID-19 viral testing process applies to all members of our campus community.  Further information about these measures is available at the Testing FAQ 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 summer. Please feel free to discuss with your department chair, 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. All requests must contain a supporting rationale and you are encouraged to discuss options with your department prior to requesting a MAP.  PhD students who receive a COVID-MAP for the summer 2021 term must complete all activities research and teaching away from 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 May 10, 2021 for the summer 2021 term. Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, we recognize that PhD students may face an unexpected hardship in the future.  In these cases, PhD students may request a MAP later if this hardship interferes with on-campus activities. If during the summer 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 April 24, 2021, apply to the summer 2021 term, and are subject to change, given the evolving nature of the current coronavirus crisis.