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What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus usually causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Direct droplet transmission occurs when a person is in close contact (within 1 meter) with someone who is infected, and is exposed to respiratory droplets produced when that person coughs, sneezes or talks, or indirect transmission by touching an object or person with the virus (i.e., touching a doorknob or shaking hands), then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. Read Northeastern’s guidance on protection from the illness.

Northeastern is an inclusive community. We must be supportive of people who have completed their quarantine or met the requirements to discontinue infection control measures. It's also important to remember that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds.

Positive tests and contact tracing

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should immediately notify Student Health Services at, and employees who test positive should notify their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources. Additionally, faculty and staff are required to report positive and presumptive student COVID-19 cases and exposures to Student Health Services. Positive tests set in motion a process of notifications and reports that vary by case. Positive tests for individuals who have been on campus are sent through an interdisciplinary team that addresses additional documentation as well as safety, cleaning, tracing and notification considerations.

On-Campus Regulations


Following the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masking indoors will continue to be required at all University locations this fall. Students, faculty and staff must wear a face mask or face covering when visiting University locations and in public spaces including outdoor spaces if social distancing cannot be maintained. Masks are not required when alone in a private office, personal residence hall room or when dining in a designated eating area.

Students may collect their mask at the Welcome Desk in Village Square on the Main Campus. Employees who have not already done so may collect their mask by using the Facilities Management request form

Vaccine Initiative

Beginning August 23, 2021, Northeastern will require all students, faculty and staff who are taking courses or working on campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021-22 academic year. Students, faculty and staff must provide evidence of being fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccination, or demonstrate progress towards full vaccination no later than August 23. It is understandable that this timeline may pose an issue for some. In that case, individuals will have the option to test before arriving back on campus. We also acknowledge that some individuals have health conditions or other reasons why they cannot be vaccinated. For those individuals, regular COVID-19 testing will be required. 

COVID-19 Testing

Students, faculty, and staff who are on campus and who have not provided evidence of vaccination are required to participate in weekly on-campus saliva-based COVID-19 testing


The Centers for Disease Control continues to advise that social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” be implemented in all public spaces as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19. Proper social distancing means staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Social distancing should be practiced in combination with other everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to avoid spreading germs.

Current Actions

(Updated Jan. 25, 2022)

January Return to Campus

Northeastern has updated the Interim COVID-19 Policy, which we encourage all to review prior to coming to campus. The University expects all employees and students to return to campus on Jan. 31, 2022. 


Northeastern has adopted an Interim COVID-19 Return to Campus Policy, which we encourage all to review prior to coming to campus. The University expects all employees to return to campus on or before Aug. 16, 2021. All remote operations will also conclude at this time.

Student emergency grants

Northeastern has been awarded about $11 million through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II), which is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in December. About $3.035 million is required to be distributed to students directly. HEERF II money will be distributed to our students based on the number of credit hours they are taking during the Spring 2021 semester, as of Jan. 25. Northeastern students will receive $47 per credit hour. Additionally, Pell recipients will receive an extra $18 per credit hour. In addition, Northeastern has about $174,000 left from the original CARES funds that were awarded in March 2020. These remaining funds will be awarded to students who were enrolled during the Summer 2020 term. These students will receive $16 per credit hour. Additionally, Pell recipients will receive an extra $9.70 per credit hour. Read more in President Gibson's announcement.

Student fees

In July, Northeastern updated its student fees to introduce a new fee structure for remote learning courses. Face-to-face classes will be held to a minimum to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community, so most students will pay a reduced amount in student fees in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. Courses with a face-to-face component are charged the standard fees, which total $80.35 per credit hour. Online courses are charged only the standard Online Course Fee of $65 per credit hour. This fee supports the infrastructure needed to deliver online instruction and support student needs inside and outside the classroom. Remote learning courses will be charged the Online Course Fee ($65), the Student Union Fee ($9.25) and the Campus Improvement Fee ($5) for a total of $79.25 per credit hour. This results in a reduction of $1.10 per credit hour from the total of all mandatory fees of $80.35. Read the University announcement for more information about student fees.

Events and meetings

Virtual or hybrid meetings are strongly encouraged. In-person meetings require a record of attendance.


All University locations, including El Centro and the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, are receiving additional cleaning. Northeastern is employing measures such as disinfection of high-touch surfaces and common areas, such as classrooms, washrooms, stairwells and gathering spaces. Read the Deep Cleaning FAQs for more information.


Facilities Management has created a form to request personal protective equipment (PPE). Requests are made at the unit/departmental level, and are only approved by deans and vice presidents. Deliveries will generally be made within one week of the request’s approval.

Plexiglas or space assessment requests should be emailed to Facilities Management service request at

Student Emergency fund

Northeastern has designated the Student Emergency Fund to help students who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Details on donating or applying for assistance are available on the Student Emergency Fund site.