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Coronavirus Updates: See latest COVID-19 news from Harvard Extension School.

The following outlines Harvard Extension School’s plans to limit the spread of COVID-19 among the community. The plans are in accordance with the University’s response and we encourage you to also visit the general Harvard University COVID-19 information page.

The University asks that you contact Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) if you have been tested for COVID-19. Even if you do not usually get medical care at HUHS, please let them know if you are being tested or if you tested positive for COVID-19. This will help HUHS assess the impact on our community. Email them at healthservices@huhs.harvard.edu.

Below is information for students. Faculty and teaching assistants should visit the Faculty Handbook site for the latest updates and the Teaching and Learning site for support moving their courses online.

Classes and Resources Move Online

2021-22 Harvard Extension School Courses

We’ve made the difficult decision to offer our 2021-22 courses fully online for fall, January, and spring. In early fall, we will reassess our ability to add on-campus courses to our spring 2022 schedule if it appears safe for the Harvard Extension School (HES) student population to return then.

Because the health and safety of our students, instructors, and staff is our top priority, we made this decision using the most current COVID-related information available to us:

As of today, health trends remain nowhere near “normal.” According to many experts, attaining relative normalcy requires 75-80% of all Americans to be vaccinated, but they cannot predict a time frame for achieving that goal. Current national trends in COVID infections and deaths are down, but precariously so, due to these same experts’ uncertainty about variants and how long immunity lasts.

In addition, Most of you live far from campus, with 75% of you living outside Massachusetts. Therefore, “coming to campus” means traveling from another part of the country or world. It also requires, once you are here, studying with others in active-learning classrooms for long periods of time in close quarters. We do not yet know enough about future travel restrictions, classroom density protocols, social distancing requirements, or the University’s specific COVID-related policies (such as mandatory on-campus COVID testing) to execute these unique in-person courses successfully and safely.

You can be sure that HES is actively planning our partial return to campus in spring 2022.

See below for information regarding the on-campus requirement for our degree programs.

Harvard Extension School Buildings and Business Operations

  • Harvard Extension School (HES) administrative offices and classrooms are closed to visitors and students until further notice. HES continues to offer email, phone, web conference, and online student service and all departments are functional. Visit Contact Us. We want to answer your questions and concerns.
  • Academic Services (transcripts and verifications). While working remotely, the Academic Services continues to monitor email (academicservices@extension.harvard.edu) during regular business hours. Please allow 4-5 business days for processing transcripts, letters of enrollment, loan deferment forms, and education verifications. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate expedited mailing requests or in-person transcript pickups at this time.
  • Due to mailing delays and restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are suspending the mailing of printed certificates. If you have earned a certificate, you can download it at any time by visiting the Online Services Certificate Tracker. In addition, your certificate, along with courses and grades, are noted on your official Harvard Extension School transcript. If you have any questions, please email graduate_certificates@extension.harvard.edu.

Student Resources, Advising, and Admissions

  • ID Cards. To reduce campus density during the COVID-19 pandemic, new and replacement class participant library cards will not be available for the 2020-21 terms. Only admitted degree candidates and Pre-medical program participants are eligible for ID cards at this time. You may also email your questions to idcards@extension.harvard.edu.
  • Visit the Harvard Library’s coronavirus page to stay updated on their phased re-opening services. Use the Harvard Library Guide for Harvard Extension School for help with online researchHOLLIS, and more, and chat with knowledgeable staff through our Ask a Librarian service.
  • The Test Center in Sever Hall, Harvard Yard is closed.
  • 53 Church Street Computer Lab is closed.
  • Office of Career Services (for admitted degree candidates) have moved to online appointments only.
  • The Career and Academic Resource Center will continue and expand their free, mid-day live webinars open to all registered HES student on career and academic topics.
  • Dean of Students Office is ready to support students, please visit their website which hosts many COVID-19 related support services.
  • Advisors are standing by. Admissions, degree program, certificate, and premedical program advising continues via email and Zoom. We encourage you to connect with our advising team for individual support.
  • We are ready and excited to accept 2021-22 applications to our undergraduate, graduate, and premedical programs as planned.

Socialize Remotely

We want to direct your attention to Socialize Remotely, which is University-wide platform designed to bring us together. You can publicize your own creative online event to connect with other students or explore a variety of online gatherings designed by other students, faculty, and staff.

Thesis Writers

We expect that most of you will be able to finish your projects as originally planned.  However, some of you will certainly experience delays. Particular, if you were working in a lab or if your research methods required in-person interaction.  If you are experiencing timing issues due to the COVID 19 pandemic, please email thesis_questions@extension.harvard.edu with the subject line “COVID-19 virus – thesis proposal due date concerns.” We will work with you, along with your thesis director, to help ensure you have the time you need to successfully finish your thesis.

Harvard Extension School Prospective and Admitted Degree Candidates On-Campus Requirement, 2021-2022 Academic Year

We were inspired by the leadership of Claudine Gay, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who eloquently wrote: “We must ensure that the academic progress of our students is maintained, even if what that means must evolve.” We have evolved and re-imagined the on-campus requirement as a live, active learning requirement.

Live web-conference courses will continue to meet the on-campus requirement for the entire 2021-22 academic year, even if we later add on-campus courses for our spring 2022 term. These courses provide real-time engagement with faculty and peers, which meets the spirit of the on-campus requirement until it is safe for us to return to in-person learning here in Cambridge.

The new 2021-22 degree course search will be updated to display courses in the live, web conference as meeting the on-campus requirement.

This change is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not be continued beyond this academic year. Harvard Summer School (HSS) plans to be fully on campus in 2022, offering its usual on-campus 3- and 7-week courses. Consequently, also in summer 2022, the on-campus requirement will revert to the former pre-COVID policy.

This re-imagined on-campus requirement exception is not retroactive to any prior academic terms, but only for the upcoming 2021 fall, 2022 January session, and 2022 spring term. We appreciate your understanding and adherence to this policy as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

While we won’t be able to gather together in semester-long or weekend on-campus courses, we will find new ways to connect as a community online, including expanded CARC, Dean of Students, Admissions, Academic Advising, and Harvard Extension School Student Association (HESA) live webinars in order for us to engage in courageous and meaningful conversations.

And, of course, if the University decides that Commencement 2022 will take place on campus, we will be ready, with an abundance of enthusiasm and excitement.

Both Your Health and Education Are Paramount to Us

The faculty and staff are working around the clock to continue to offer you the highest quality academic experience. We thank you in advance for your cooperation as we navigate, to the best of our ability, this challenging and unprecedented global public health event.