Faculty expected to return to campus for spring semester per updated remote work policy

Matt Yan, news staff

In an email sent to all faculty Oct. 22, Northeastern updated its remote work policy for the Spring 2021 semester. Faculty are expected to return to campus “to teach their courses and conduct their research and service,” according to the email from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Madigan. 

“We now have a new normal at Northeastern,” Madigan wrote. “In light of this, we are changing the policy for remote work requests for the spring 2021 term. For the spring 2021 term, except as outlined below, we expect faculty to return to campus to teach their courses and conduct their research and service.”

Madigan outlined two options for which faculty can request remote work. 

Faculty at higher risk under the CDC guidelines, as well as those with disabilities or a pregnancy-related condition, may qualify for remote work under the first option, Madigan wrote. However, age will no longer be a sole determining factor. 

The university will no longer consider a person’s age alone as the sole factor for approving a work accommodation,” he wrote. “However, individuals who believe they are at higher risk or vulnerability due to their age may raise their concerns with [Human Resources Management] by completing that section of the form in the link above.”

The second option is for faculty residing with someone with a medical condition or at increased risk to COVID-19. 

Madigan cited the policy change due to “strong compliance across our global university system, robust testing, and extremely low positivity rates on the Boston campus.” 

While faculty are expected to return, requests for remote work will still be accepted and addressed on a case-by-case basis. Requests must be submitted by Nov. 6. 

Madigan noted that this policy is subject to change “given the evolving nature of the current coronavirus crisis, as well as university operational needs.” 

“We recognize that the limits of this temporary policy may impose burdens on faculty that were not the case in the fall term and we will endeavor to help,” Madigan wrote. “We look forward to welcoming faculty and students back to campus for the start of the spring term.