Important COVID-19 Update

March 15, 2020

Dear Brandeis Students and Families,

With the daily if not hourly changes in local, state, national, and international policies with respect to COVID-19, Brandeis is continually updating our policies and guidance. With the possibility of travel restrictions in the greater Boston area and across the country in the near future, we are requesting all students who can leave campus housing do so as soon as possible.

More than 500 students have applied for permission to remain on campus, and this is making it very difficult for the Department of Community Living to assess requests. Students: if you do not have a significant health, safety or financial need to remain on campus, please withdraw your application to remain. This is for your safety, and the safety of our staff. The deadline for any new applications to stay is tomorrow, Monday March 16 at noon. We urge students who are seeking to stay because of the cost of travel to apply for a Student Emergency Fund Grant, which they can do by emailing emergencyfunds@brandeis.edu.

Also: Effective immediately, there will be no in-person instruction and all courses at Brandeis will go online, regardless of size. This includes labs and studios. Faculty have been notified that in-person exams planned for this week will need to be delayed until after March 25 and be conducted online. No students will be penalized for missing any online classes if they are doing so to move out of the university. If students have any issues with this, they should raise it with the department chair of the course.

The goal of making all classes virtual starting tomorrow is to help students leave sooner. With the increasing number of travel restrictions around the world, we do not want to put our students at a disadvantage for returning home because they feel they need to remain for an in-person course.

We remind students who have not yet left to practice social distancing. The CDC defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible." At Brandeis, groups of more than 20 are prohibited, and you should give serious consideration to further limiting the size of gatherings. Our staff have had to respond to a number of parties during the day and night at which students are not only failing to distance themselves but engaging in other risky behavior. Students who violate the policies in our Rights and Responsibilities handbook will be held accountable.

Students may be taking comfort in the observation that healthy young adults have generally not become very ill as a result of COVID-19. It is important to understand that social distancing is intended not only to protect individuals themselves, but potentially vulnerable people in their lives, including older relatives like parents and grandparents, friends who have conditions that compromise their immunity, and Brandeis faculty and staff. Even asymptomatic people can pass the virus. We all share a responsibility to protect not only ourselves but each other. We know that as Brandeisians this is a concept we all embrace.

Sincerely,

Ron Liebowitz, President

Lisa M. Lynch, Provost

Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President, for Finance and Administration