UPDATE: Summer Programs at Brandeis 2020

April 24, 2020 

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

In light of the ongoing requirements to maintain physical distancing and restrict gatherings on our campus to address the COVID-19 pandemic, we have regretfully concluded that we must move all of our planned in-person campus courses for this summer, including the undergraduate summer school, the Master’s degree programs at Heller and IBS, and all precollege programs to an online format.  In addition, athletic camps and clinics, and other on-campus residential programs have been canceled for the summer.

We know this news is disappointing for many, but our first priority will always be the health and safety of our community.  Residential summer programs that must rely on social distancing and severe restrictions on activities and gatherings would nevertheless pose a significant public health risk to our students, faculty, staff, as well as their families and the greater Waltham area.

In addition to these changes for our campus-based summer programs, all Brandeis-approved summer study abroad opportunities are canceled. Brandeis will not approve academic credit and will not be able to provide logistical or emergency support for students who choose to participate in a study abroad program this summer.  The Office of Study Abroad is reaching out to students who had been approved or were applying to study abroad programs for this summer in order to share more information and recommendations about alternative ways that they can receive credit or complete requirements.  For students planning on participating in fall study abroad programs scheduled to begin before August 15, the Office of Study Abroad requests that you contact them to discuss back up options.  We will announce a decision on our study abroad programs for the fall semester by early June.

I am sure that you are wondering what all these decisions about summer mean for our fall semester.  The COVID-19 Emergency Task Force is reworking its many working groups so that they examine various scenarios for possible re-starting on-campus operations this summer and the options for the fall term.  We will be guided by state and federal policies, and the scientific research and evidence on testing, prevention, and treating COVID-19. We will follow up with more details on this effort for community input in the coming weeks.

I want to express my deep gratitude to all the staff who have remained working on campus over these past weeks. You have kept our campus operations going, fed our students and staff, and kept our buildings and grounds clean and safe, ready for our return. I also want to thank our faculty, for the many ways you have re-imagined your courses as you switched to remote instruction, but especially for the time many of you have taken to reach out to our students and connect with them outside of class time.  By doing this, you show that you recognize that the move to remote learning and leaving the supportive in-person environment of our campus has been more difficult for some than others. I want to express my admiration for the many ways our staff have re-imagined their work, from admissions and career counseling, to student advising and engagement, to mental health counseling, to library services, to the arts and to at-home health and fitness, to name just a few areas. Finally, I want to recognize the care and understanding our students have shared for their peers, their professors, and for the staff working on their behalf.  Your advocacy and support for all in our community is a testament to your commitment to using your knowledge and talents to help repair the world, and is an inspiration to all of us. 

With deep appreciation and gratitude,

Lisa M. Lynch, Provost