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Update on COVID-19; Moving Classes Online

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Families,

Over the past several weeks and especially in the last few days, as we continue to track the rapidly evolving COVID-19 virus, the College’s senior leaders and members of the Emergency Management Team have taken steps to keep our community safe while supporting the core mission of the College: teaching and learning.   

As of my writing to you, there are 92 known cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, the vast majority of which are linked to an employee meeting at a Cambridge biotech company. There are no reported or known cases of COVID-19 at Emerson, and the risk of community spread on our campus remains low at the present time. However, in the interest of safeguarding the health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff as well as members of the greater community, who may be more vulnerable to this disease, the College has made the difficult decision to transition all in-person classes to online learning for the remainder of the spring term according to the schedule below:

  • Friday, March 13 will be the last day of in-person classes on our Boston campus.
  • During the following week, March 16 through 20 there will be no formally scheduled classes at Emerson. This hiatus will allow the faculty and staff to begin the process to transition to online classes. Because a significant amount of learning at Emerson is highly experiential, this transition week will give faculty and staff sufficient time and resources to develop a new online learning environment. 
  •  Beginning March 23, classes will resume remotely.
  • The Boston campus will remain open to the conclusion of the Spring Term. Students will have the option to leave or stay on campus.
  • Housing and dining services will continue to be available to all residents–recognizing that some services might be curtailed.
  • At this time, no changes in course delivery are planned for the Emerson Los Angeles campus. We will, however, continue to monitor developments in California.

To our students: I understand that transitioning to online courses will be a significant adjustment. Please know that staff and faculty are committed to ensuring a positive and fulfilling learning experience for the remainder of the semester. 

To returning Kasteel students: I realize this has been an especially challenging week for you. New information will be forthcoming from the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement regarding your schedules for midterms and remaining classes.

To our faculty: I understand that, in many ways, we are asking you to rethink how you teach in order to help ensure our community’s health and wellbeing. Please know that you will have the College’s full support in making this transition, and we are confident that your innovation, creativity, and commitment to your students will get us through these difficult times. 

To our staff, we will rely on you in this time of transition to help us support teaching and learning in a new and different environment. Please know how grateful I am for your empathy, flexibility and understanding. 

We will continue to communicate with you in the days ahead. If you have questions, please direct them to or visit our FAQ, which we will update on a daily basis. 

With much gratitude,
Lee Pelton

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