Northeastern announces plan to reopen classrooms, residence halls in the fall


File photo by Brian Bae

Northeastern has postponed the start of next semester and canceled spring break.

Hannah Bernstein, news staff

Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun announced Friday in a university-wide email that senior administrators plan to return staff and faculty to their offices, resume in-person teaching with modifications and reopen residence halls for the fall semester. 

“To put things in very clear terms: It is our intention to reopen our campuses this fall and offer on-site instruction and a residential experience for our students,” Aoun wrote in the email.

To facilitate reopening, the university will implement new safety procedures including face masks, staggered business hours, increased disinfection and cleaning and an expansion of testing and contact-tracing. He also wrote that the SafeZone app, a tool already used by NUPD, will be used to sign into campus buildings.  

Some classes, such as large lectures, could still be delivered online while others could be hybrid or fully in-person. In order to follow residential density recommendations, Northeastern may expand student housing into “new buildings and communities.” The email did not say where those locations may be, or whether they will be similar to where Boston students may be housed. 

The university plans to slowly return staff and faculty to their research labs and offices beginning this summer, possibly as early as June. Administrators will prioritize staff and faculty who “can best complete their work on campus,” such as researchers who need access to lab equipment. Aoun said employees can still choose to stay home if they have concerns about pre-existing health conditions, child care availability or other issues.

As part of the summer reopening, an April 14 email from Housing & Residential Life informed students they may be eligible for Summer II housing if they were hired for a Boston-based co-op that cannot be completed remotely.

Aoun also addressed questions around dining halls, athletics and other on-campus student activities but said administrators are continuing to evaluate possibilities and have yet to make final decisions. Students will continue to receive more information about the “fall learning experience” as it becomes available.