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Community Updates: April 7

Positive Emerson COVID-19 Cases Reported

As announced previously, to date, three Emerson community members, including two students and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19. All three members have been recovering and isolating at home.


495 are working remotely and 95 remain on campus.


70 students are living in 2 Boylston Place. We anticipate that the number will continue to shrink in the coming weeks.  Approximately 54 percent of our students living off-campus have indicated plans to remain in Boston, with 46 percent returning to live at home or with a relative.

Emerson at Los Angeles

Seven students are living in the building along with four staff members and one faculty member. Seventy-five percent of ELA students are working remotely at their internships. The other 25 percent have special research assignments.  Attendance was near perfect for the first week of online classes.  Additional special on-line programming, and support services for students planning to relocate to Los Angeles, continue to prepare graduates for the challenging job market. Looking to the future, on-line advising for the Fall semester has started. Currently, 197 students are registered for the Fall term.

Student Employment

The College continues to employ and   compensate   students, who are functioning   remotely in roles

through both Federal Work Study and Emerson Employment. We fully expect that students will continue to have paid positions through the end of the semester.

Effective March 30, student employees (both Federal Work Study and Emerson Employment) who reported hours for the months of February and March will automatically receive seven hours of compensation at their regular rate of pay up until the semester’s end, as follows:

  • These payments will be automatic.
  • The first payment is set for Friday April 10.
  • Student Employment for the spring semester ends May 10, and the last payment for the semester will be issued Friday, May 15.
  • Students who have remote work assignments can work up to 13 hours each week through the remainder of the semester. These additional hours must be reported to be paid.
  • Students who are not working remotely will still receive seven hours of pay each week.
  • Students with Federal Work Study will see their Federal Work Study award amounts increased where possible. Once the maximum Federal Work Study amount has been earned, students will be shifted to Emerson Employment for the remainder of the semester. 

Student Financial Aid and Student Success

The Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Student Success remain available to students. Specifically, these offices will work with students to help them through any unexpected hardships that have arisen in light of COVID-19.

These offices will also work with families to help support continued enrollment at Emerson.


Though it is very early in the admissions funnel, to date, undergraduate enrollment for fall is trending strong, as of April 6: 300 new first year   deposits   compared   to    293 at same time  in  2019,    and    301  in  2018.  Like most colleges and universities, we have moved the deposit   deadline from May 1 to June 1.   

Teaching and Learning

An Emerson education is experiential, and undoubtedly the learning experience is different, but not diminished, as we exchange in-person classes for online modalities, both synchronous and asynchronous. 

The learning outcomes of the college focus on the following key skills and habits of mind: students’ abilities to experiment with creative processes and apply foundational theories and practices to their disciplines; to demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills, and to demonstrate competency in information, media and digital literacies; to integrate the liberal arts into the fields of arts and communication; to think critically and to demonstrate a commitment to diverse perspectives, and ethical practices. These can all be achieved in an online learning environment.

Our faculty are experienced and talented practitioners, artists, and scholars who are committed to achieving our learning goals. All of our classes integrate traditional scholarship with applied learning. Through iterative, design thinking, faculty are translating the learning goals in their individual classes using multiple modalities and tools. Students have different assignments and are participating differently.

As many art and music schools have shown, it is possible to learn fully and richly in an online environment with students practicing their craft and skill-development in an off-campus environment. The essence of an Emerson education is the special interaction between faculty and students, and also among students in a class, and this is preserved. 

Commencement 2020

As announced previously, Commencement 2020 has been postponed. Although it is too soon to commit to a new date for a Commencement Ceremony or Graduate Hooding Ceremony, please know that when it is safe to do so, we will hold an in-person Commencement Ceremony and Graduate Hooding Ceremony for the Class of 2020.  Additionally, a virtual celebration and recognition of the Class of 2020 will be launched in May 2020. Please stay tuned for additional communications and information in the coming weeks.

Summer and Global Programs

As many as possible on-campus, summer school classes will be moved online for both summer sessions 1 and 2.  Graduate and professional studies staff will collaborate with faculty to investigate whether some May intersession and pre-college programs can be created in an online format. The majority of the Global Pathway programs will be suspended this summer; global staff will work with a few faculty members to investigate whether a later-summer program at Kasteel Well campus is possible. 


The College continues to work steadily towards an agreement with Marlboro College to bring faculty, students, and endowment assets to Emerson.  We remain determined that an agreement will be finalized in late spring or early summer by both Boards of Trustees.  

Emerson and Tufts Medical Center COVID-19 Partnership

An agreement between Emerson College and Tufts Medical Center for use of Emerson College residential space is underway. Tufts will continue to use the hotel across the street from the hospital until either the predicted surge occurs and/or the hotel closes. At that point, Tufts will notify the College 96 hours in advance if its medical personnel need to take occupancy at the Paramount Residence Hall.

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