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Important Message Regarding the 2021 Spring Term

Dear Members of the Emerson Community,

I hope this note finds your families and you safe, well, and, perhaps, even rejuvenated as we approach the end of this year and the expectant beginning of a new year. As preparations for the spring semester continue on our Boston campus, we have been closely monitoring guidance from government and health officials while COVID conditions continue to evolve and shift around the country and across the globe. I am writing to you today to inform you of several important updatesto the College’s reopening plans for the 2021 Spring Term, which we are implementing to help keep our community safe while minimizing, as much as possible, disruption to our students, their families, and our faculty and staff.

The 2021 Spring Term will begin on January 19, as previously scheduled. However, to comply with recent guidance issued by state and local officials, we have made the following changes to Emerson’s 2021 Spring Term reopening schedule for the Boston campus:

●      The Spring Term will begin with online instruction from January 19 through January 29.

●      Flex learning in-person classes will begin February 1.

●      Residence Halls will now be open for move-in January 21 through January 24.

●      On January 4, all residential students will receive information from Housing and Residential Education (HRE) with directions for selecting a new move in time. Please check the housing portal for these details. This will include information about requesting a move-in time prior to January 21.

●      No undergraduate classes, except for remote students currently enrolled in online-only courses, will be held on January 21 and 22.

●      When residential students return to campus, they must quarantine in place until receipt of a negative test result. After that period, residential students will continue to quarantine through the end of the day, January 29, during which time students will be permitted to leave their assigned residential spaces to pick up meals, check mail and attend medical/testing appointments. Most campus buildings/spaces other than residence halls and dining facilities will remain closed during this period.

●      We recognize that there may be students facing hardships, who will require an exception to the adjusted move-in schedule. Exceptions may be provided for students living on campus who are:

○      International students who are subject to visa/immigration requirements

○      Individuals who would experience significant financial hardship if required to change travel plans

○      Individuals who would not have a safe place to stay between January 13 and January 21.

●      Students residing off campus are encouraged to return to Boston as they are able and should follow travel and safety precautions.  The Emerson COVID Testing Center will be open to students who live off campus beginning January 25.

●      Students who are participating in the Global BFA program in Paris or at one of our other partner institutions should monitor communication from those locations.

●      Campus offices are currently closed for break through January 3. We appreciate your patience while we work to respond as soon as possible.  Email is the best method for communicating prior to January 4:

○      For questions regarding housing hardships, please contact

○      For questions regarding financial aid hardships, please contact

○      For general inquiries, please contact

The College will move forward with the safety measures established for 2021 Spring Term as previously announced. Details about testing for students, faculty and staff will be shared next week.

Undergraduates, including ELA Students, studying remotely – No changes to the academic calendar or instructional modality.

International Students – We recognize that international students may have very specific concerns; follow-up communications will be made to all international students. The Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement (IGE) is closely monitoring circumstances in our students’ home countries, travel guidance, and developments related to the anticipated reopening of U.S. Consulates.

Graduate Students will have registered for classes in the listed course modality. All Flex classes will be online, as indicated above, from January 19 through 29. Graduate classes will be held on January 21 and 22.  Existing online and low residency programs will follow their previously announced format. The Speech@Emerson and Digital Marketing Data Analytics (DMDA) programs will follow their own published calendars.

Faculty and Staff – Michaele Whelan, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, has written directly to faculty. Shari Stier, Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, will send a message to all employees with return-to-campus information.

Throughout this most challenging year, I have been deeply inspired by the ways in which Emersonians came together and committed to the well-being of the College and each other. Together, we completed a successful fall term, while maintaining one of the lowest COVID positivity rates among colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.

The creativity, ingenuity, and determination of our commonwealth of learning give hope for the endless possibilities of the future that awaits us on the other side of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

The College is collaborating with the state immunization program to establish a vaccination plan.

I look forward to seeing you on campus very soon, and until then, I wish you a continued restful, happy and healthy holiday break.

Lee Pelton

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