Lesley University is monitoring the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) situation, offering guidance, support, and regular updates. The health, wellbeing, and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of our extended community, are always first. Please read the following information, policies, and key decisions, and check this page for regular updates.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information
We thank you and your families for your patience as we work through the evolving details of our Fall 2020 plan for Lesley students.
Related Articles, News, and Stories
Read about virtual learning at Lesley, how we honored our 2020 graduates, and more.
COVID-19 within the Lesley University Community
Respect for Privacy
We are committed to supporting our colleagues, students, and the broader community through the challenges presented by COVID-19.
In the event that members of the Lesley community test positive for COVID-19, we ask that you be respectful of their need for privacy.
Getting Help if You're Concerned about Exposure
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 please contact your primary care physician.
If you have been tested, please notify Lesley University at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may take appropriate steps to support you and protect the Lesley community.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Lesley's Counseling Center
In this time of uncertainty, we know many of you are struggling to make sense of everything that is happening. Lesley's Counseling Center continues to support our students the best way they can. At this time, the Counseling Center can only offer some current clients counseling services via teletherapy. They are also happy to help you locate resources and referrals that are near you.
- Email email@example.com or call 617.349.8545, and leave your name and number in a message. The Counseling Center is checking voicemail and emails each day, and a member of the team will be in touch with you.
Resources on the Counseling Center's Web Page
Visit the Counseling Center's web page for resources such as crisis hotlines, meditation apps, and more.
Health and Safety
We encourage you to continue to take steps to keep yourself and those around you safe. Although most of our employees are working remotely, we do have some who continue to report to campus. We have provided guidance on health and safety, enhanced our cleaning protocols, and are doing our best to support their safety and wellbeing.
Social distancing, wearing a cloth face mask in public, and frequent handwashing are essential. Please continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Cambridge Board of Health, and Governor Baker.
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated June 18, 2020
Lesley University has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The University intends to use no less than 50% of the funds it receives under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
Under the CARES Act, Lesley University will receive $998,930 from the Department pursuant to its Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.
As of June 16, 2020, the institution has made $460,650 in emergency grant funds to 1,181 students.
The University estimates that 2,353 students were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus would be eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
The institution has distributed a questionnaire to the 2,353 students determined to be eligible and as of June 16, 2020 has received 1,181 completed questionnaires which were used to help determine for whom and in what amount to award the Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.
Eligible students were notified by email, provided instructions, and a link to an application to request Emergency Financial Aid Grants. Students were also directed to our Lynx Solution Center at: solutioncenter.lesley.edu for additional information and guidance.
Q: IS LESLEY UNIVERSITY STILL OPEN?
A: Yes. Students attending summer sessions continue their studies online and faculty, most staff, and administrators are working remotely to provide the same level of office operations and services as before. Further information is available on this webpage.
Q: WHY IS LESLEY MAKING THESE DECISIONS?
A: These are uncertain and, at least in recent history, unprecedented times as we navigate this worldwide pandemic. The university is proceeding with an abundance of caution for the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff, and other community members.
Q: WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?
A: On the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Q: WHAT ARE HEALTH EXPERTS RECOMMENDING?
A: Watch for symptoms, wash your hands, wear cloth face coverings in public, and practice physical distancing. According to the CDC, symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Also, assess whether you have traveled from a place experiencing widespread reported cases of Coronavirus, or if you believe you’ve had contact with someone exposed to it. If so, experts advise self-quarantining at home, if at all possible. Consult cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
Q: ARE CAMPUS EVENTS BEING CANCELED?
A: The university has postponed all on-campus events and major celebrations. We are reviewing next steps, all with an eye toward the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community members. Our goal is to resume full on-campus operations at a later date, when it is prudent to do so.
Students and Parents
Q: DID STUDENTS COME BACK TO CAMPUS DURING THE SPRING SEMESTER?
A: No. Lesley University did not hold classes on campus through the end of the Spring semester.
Q: DID STUDENTS RETURN TO CAMPUS TO MOVE BACK INTO THE RESIDENCE HALLS?
A: No. Lesley University moved all classes online through the end of the Spring and Summer semesters.
Q: ARE STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR A ROOM AND BOARD REFUND?
A: We provided residential students a credit for room and board for the time between spring break and the end of the Spring 2020 semester. The amount of credit was applied toward any outstanding balance on your student account. If the credit resulted in a refund, it should have been issued in April. Students who have not already signed up for direct deposit accounts should do so by logging into their student account at Lesley.afford.com. As the credits are posted they will be viewable at Lesley.afford.com as well.
Please contact us at 617.349.8760 with any questions. We anticipate providing students with the option to select a refund or a credit for the pro-rata portion of room and board payments, accounting for the time the student is away from campus. There are a number of governmental regulations and guidelines that must be taken into consideration to make sure we structure these refunds or credits properly for you so we appreciate your patience as we await guidance from the Federal government.
Q: WHAT ABOUT STUDENT EXCHANGE AND STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS?
A: Our students typically participate in a variety of programs. Over the course of the Spring semester, a number of programs were either canceled or moved online including all Lesley Exchange Partner programs. We have been in contact with all of our study abroad students regarding their individual circumstances to support their transition. International faculty-led travel courses for Spring 2020 that had not commenced prior to Spring Break were canceled. We are carefully considering courses planned beyond the spring semester.
Q. WHAT ABOUT MY INTERNSHIP OR FIELD PLACEMENT?
A. Lesley has come to the difficult decision that any field placements and internships that have not been cancelled will remain remote/online participation experiences until future notice for the Spring 2020 semester and through the Summer 2020 semesters. We came to this decision after our faculty and field offices contacted students, faculty, sites, and the licensing boards to determine how to best move forward. During this time, please be in contact, virtually, with your practicum/internship supervisor and/or your school's field training/internship office.
For students in licensure programs, you will (or will have) received communication from your school's field offices that remain in contact with external regulatory bodies. For specific guidance, please refer to those correspondences.
Our Field Placement Offices remain your partners in experiential learning throughout this situation and will guide you through this transition. Field experience and internships are key parts of a Lesley education and we recognize how difficult it is to imagine long-term on-line engagement as a replacement for face-to-face contact. As the situation continues to rapidly evolve, we will review the circumstances again when the state and national declarations of emergency are lifted and we will be guided by ongoing consideration of state and health agency recommendations.
Q. WHAT ABOUT SUMMER RESIDENCIES?
A. Summer residencies are either switching to an online format or have changed their timing.
Q. I’M AN ACCEPTED STUDENT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
A. Our admission decisions won't change because of the current pandemic. Please proceed as follows:
If you are an accepted undergraduate, take a virtual tour of our campus and learn more about our programs. If you have questions, please contact Undergraduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.349.8800.
If you are an accepted graduate student, take a virtual tour of our campus and learn more about our programs. If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Selmo, Associate Vice President of Graduate Admissions: email@example.com; 617.349.8300.
Q. IS LESLEY STILL ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS?
A. Yes. And we have a very flexible approach and can work with you if you've experienced disruption due to the global pandemic. Additionally, we've extended our commitment deadline.
If you are applying as an undergraduate and have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.349.8800.
If you are applying as a graduate student and have any questions, please contact Barbara Selmo, Associate Vice President of Graduate Admissions: email@example.com; 617.349.8267
Q. I’M A STUDENT (OR PARENT): TO WHOM SHOULD I DIRECT QUESTIONS?
A. Nathaniel Mays, Dean of Students
Faculty and Staff
Q: I NEED ACCESS TO MY OFFICE, WHAT CAN I DO?
A: If you need access to your office or need to come to campus for a short period of time, please contact public safety at 617.349.8888 to inform them of your plans.
Q: WHAT KIND OF CLEANING IS BEING DONE ON CAMPUS?
A: We have adjusted our campus cleaning protocols, with special emphasis on frequently touched areas.
Q: WILL TRAVEL TO OVERSEAS CONFERENCES BE ALLOWED?
A: No. All Lesley-sponsored foreign travel has been suspended until further notice.
Q: WILL TRAVEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES BE PERMITTED?
A: Any essential work-related domestic travel via airplane or Amtrak requires Cabinet-level approval, even if you have already obtained department approval.
Q: WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL/VACATION TRAVEL?
Questions should be directed to the following individuals:
Student and parent questions:
- Nathaniel Mays, Dean of Students
- Jonathan Jefferson, Interim Provost
- Michele Trifiro, Director of Campus Safety and Services
- Nathaniel Mays, Dean of Students
Teaching and Learning
Here are some important changes to how courses will be delivered and other events.
Moving Courses Online
As of March 23, 2020, we moved our undergraduate and graduate courses online for the Spring and Summer semesters.
Regrettably, the university will not return to in-person instruction before the fall. Students should continue to check their email for information from the university and for instructions from faculty about their courses going online.
We are working on the implications of this shift for studio courses, labs, internships, the Threshold program, and other types of courses or activities. We are sharing information as it becomes available.
As circumstances change, we will adjust our plans accordingly. But given what we know at the moment, we believe this is the wisest course of action
Grading Policy for Spring 2020
After careful consideration from faculty, the Registrar’s office, and other affected constituents, the grading policy for the Spring semester and Spring Term 2 changed. Key points are:
- Default grade for all classes will be pass/fail (P/F)
- Students can request letter grades instead (opt in) by April 8
- Faculty have the discretion to allow their students to opt in for letter grades after April 8
- The Registrar and Information Technology will change the setting of all courses (except those already P/F) to allow either P/F or a letter grade
Note: While a grade of P (Pass) does not impact the GPA, a grade of F (Fail) does have an impact. In computing grade point averages, Pass (P) is not included, but a Fail (F) is always included except when a course has been repeated.
Guidance for Faculty
Please see the Provost’s previous communication for initial guidance in the email archive on the bottom of this web page. The Provost and E-Learning and Instructional Support team (eLIS) will share additional information to support faculty.
Additionally, the grading policy for Spring semester as well as Spring Term 2 was changed. Please see communication from Dean of Faculty Diana Direiter for details. The highlights are:
- Default grade for all classes will be pass fail (P/F)
- Students can request letter grades (opt in) instead by April 8
- Faculty have discretion to allow their students to opt in for letter grades after April 8
- The Registrar and Information Technology will change the setting of all courses (except those already P/F) to allow either P/F or a letter grade
Guidance for Staff
Staff members are very important in supporting our students and keeping the university functioning. We have moved to an online learning format and employees are working remotely. Employees can access guides and instructions for Lesley's technology and systems on the Information Technology help portal, including Microsoft Office 365 products, online collaboration tools, software, phones, and more. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Additionally, Lesley has purchased an enterprise site license for Zoom’s Video Conferencing software. These licenses will be available to all current faculty, staff, and students. Each user should receive an invitation email directly from Zoom to their Lesley email address. For questions or help with training, visit our resource page for more information.
University Travel and Meeting Policies
Contagion patterns are not well known and global hotspots are ever-changing. With that uncertainty, we need to make prudent choices to protect the health of our own community and the broader communities we belong to while continuing our educational mission.
Effective immediately, and in step with new advice from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the following policies are in place.
- We are suspending all Lesley-sponsored international travel for all students and employees.
- Any essential work-related domestic travel via airplane or Amtrak requires Cabinet-level approval, even if you had already obtained department approval.
- We encourage everyone in our community, students and employees, to weigh whether domestic travel is essential.
We discourage Lesley community members from personal travel to international locations. However, if you must travel to another country, please review the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page before leaving. We urge you to weigh the risks and potential consequences for yourself and others if you travel to any nation where the CDC reports “widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission” of COVID-19.
Further, as new outbreaks occur and government travel restrictions shift, be aware that if you travel outside the United States, you may encounter difficulties in returning. If you return from a country where there is sustained transmission (Level 3) or from a U.S. outbreak location, according to the CDC, you will be asked to self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Please self-report any travel to a CDC travel advisory of Level 3 or Level 2 region or to a U.S. outbreak location to Michele Trifiro, the Director of Campus Safety and Services, at email@example.com.
Study Abroad Canceled for 2020-2021
Updated August 5, 2020
Given the pandemic’s global impact and ongoing international travel restrictions, Lesley has made the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 international travel.
This includes study abroad, exchange programs, and faculty-led programs scheduled through mid-May 2021. Programs planned for next summer will be reviewed in the spring of 2021.
Learn about symptoms, staying healthy, university resources, and other information.
Symptoms and Staying Healthy
Symptoms of the Coronavirus occur between 2 and 14 days of exposure and include fever, cough, body aches, and shortness of breath.
Self-Reporting Your Diagnosed Illness
Students diagnosed with seasonal flu, or with a confirmed Coronavirus diagnosis or exposure, must notify Student Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty and staff diagnosed with seasonal flu, or with confirmed Coronavirus diagnosis or exposure, must notify Human Resources at 617.349.8787 or email@example.com.
Effective steps you can take every day to protect yourself from this and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public at all times—pursuant to orders from the Cambridge Board of Health.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (such as Purell) when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces, such as tabletops and doorknobs, with disinfecting wipes.
Who Is Most At Risk
Currently, individuals who are most at risk of developing COVID-19 are those who have traveled to areas of sustained community transmission or have been in close contact with a person confirmed to have the disease. Visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website for up-to-date information.
Coping with Anxiety and Increased Stress
We recognize that events like these can cause anxiety and increased stress. If you would like to speak with a counselor, students can contact our Counseling Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fear and anxiety can also lead to social stigma, and it's important that we counteract stigma and provide social support within our community and beyond, treating each other with dignity and respect.
External Resources and Duration of the COVID-19 Outbreak
Unfortunately, we know very little about COVID-19 right now and cannot estimate the duration of the outbreak with any certainty. This is an emerging infectious diseases with little clinical experience to make informed predictions.
For more information, here are a few external links:
Email Communications from Lesley University
Here is an archive of the email communications we have sent to the Lesley community regarding the Coronavirus.
Summer communications to the Lesley community.
August 4, 2020: Lesley University Fall Updates
July 28, 2020: July Updates from President Steinmayer
July 15, 2020: Update on the Fall Semester
July 14, 2020: Update on Our Support for International Students
July 8, 2020: Supporting Our International Students
June 12, 2020: A Note on Fall Planning
Week of April 25 - May 1, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
April 27, 2020: Message to Lesley Students from the Lesley Commencement Office
April 27, 2020: Message to Lesley Faculty & Staff from the Lesley Commencement Office
April 30, 2020: Message to the Lesley Community from the office of Public Safety
Week of April 18 - April 24, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
April 21, 2020: Message to Lesley Staff from President Steinmayer
April 22, 2020: Message to Lesley Alumni from President Steinmayer
Week of April 4 - April 10, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
April 10, 2020: Message to Lesley Students from President Janet Steinmayer
April 10, 2020: Message to Families of Undergraduates from President Janet Steinmayer
April 10, 2020: Message to Lesley Faculty and Staff from President Janet Steinmayer
- Week of March 29 - April 3, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
Week of March 22 - 28, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
March 27, 2020: Message to Lesley faculty and staff from President Janet Steinmayer
March 26, 2020: Message to Lesley students from Provost Margaret Everett
March 24, 2020: Message to Lesley students from Provost Margaret Everett
Week of March 15 - 21, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
March 20, 2020: Message to Lesley Faculty & Staff from President Steinmayer
March 20, 2020: Message to parents from President Steinmayer
March 20, 2020: Message to students from President Steinmayer
March 19, 2020: Possible Case of COVID-19
March 18, 2020: Campus office access protocol
March 16, 2020: Coronavirus Update, Work from Home Begins Tomorrow.
Week of March 8 - 14, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
March 13, 2020: Coronavirus Update - Internships And Field Placements
March 13, 2020: Communication Regarding Alternate Work Arrangements
March 13, 2020: Coronavirus Update - Events and Campus Information
March 12, 2020: Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions Resource to Parents
March 12, 2020: Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions Resource
March 11, 2020: Message from President Steinmayer to the Community
March 10, 2020: Guidance for Meetings, Events, and Business Continuity
March 10, 2020: Update to the Lesley Community on Travel Policies
March 10, 2020: Letter to Faculty from Provost Margaret Everett
We are continuing to closely monitor developments around COVID-19 and potential impacts on our community and university operations. You can read university information on the COVID-19 webpage here, which will be updated frequently as our planning continues and we receive new information. I am writing to you now to help us prepare for the possibility that classes may be unable to meet in person. While we do not yet know if this will be necessary, we can develop readiness now by ensuring that all instructors are familiar with core technology tools to facilitate remote teaching.
I have asked Kris McElroy and John McCormick in E-Learning and Instructional Support (eLis) to provide a curated list of the most helpful tutorials and resources to assist you. We are fortunate to have a strong team of instructional design and academic technology support in place to assist you. We are sharing a few initial requests and links. You will be receiving more information from eLis and from my office in the next few days.
- Every Lesley course, regardless of modality, has a course shell in Blackboard. If you have not already done so, please be sure to add your syllabus to your course shell(s). You can find a tutorial on adding your syllabus to courses here.
- Familiarize yourself with the Announcements tool in Blackboard. It will be essential for your students to know where you will be communicating any updates or information about course changes throughout the term, and how they can communicate with you. This tutorial on Announcements will help orient you.
- Familiarize yourself with the Discussion board. This will be an essential tool for many courses should you need to move instruction online. See the tutorial on discussion boards.
- Review your syllabus now. Begin thinking about your learning outcomes and identifying critical assignments and activities. How might you be able to adapt some of these to an online environment? This tutorial on adding content to your course is also helpful.
Should a closure become necessary, I recognize it would be a daunting task to quickly adapt all courses to an online environment. We do not expect that faculty should adapt their curriculum with the same level of detail and design of a standard online course.
We also recognize that it will be challenging to replicate the plans you have for face-to-face classes in an online environment. Some courses, such as labs and studios, may not be adaptable to the online environment. Should we have a closure, we will deal with these on a case-by-case basis. We will provide as much support as possible. I know we are all focused on providing the best academic experience for our students and ensuring that they can complete their semester as planned. I thank you all for your flexibility during this period of uncertainty.
Margaret Everett, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Week of March 1 - 7, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
January and February, 2020 communications to the Lesley community.
February 28, 2020: Coronavirus Update and Travel Information
January 31, 2020: An Update on the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
January 27, 2020: Lesley Community Advisories
Dear Lesley Community
As students arrive back on campus and we find ourselves in the midst of the winter cold and flu season, I want to remind you to be vigilant in taking precautions to prevent the spread of illnesses. Practicing good hygiene and ensuring that you have your flu vaccination will help ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community. Also, please know that the University is monitoring the global concern for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) coming out of Wuhan, China, and will continue to keep the Lesley community informed.
Seasonal Flu and Cold:
Following simple measures can help lower your risk of getting sick. Measures like, washing your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds of scrubbing) or using alcohol-based hand cleaners, coughing/sneezing into a tissue and disposing of the used tissue immediately into a trash can (if you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands), avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, which accelerates the spread of infections, avoid close contact with others who are sick, if you are sick, avoid contact with others (including parties, meetings, and events), do not share glasses, eating utensils, water bottles, cigarettes/vapes/JUULs, lipstick/makeup, etc.
And please get your flu vaccine (it’s not too late to benefit from it). For all Lesley students who receive their care at Lesley University Student Health Services, flu vaccines are still available at the Health Center. If you have not yet received one, make an appointment by contacting Student Health Services at 617.349.8222, or simply stop by the clinic Monday through Friday between 9:00AM and 3:00PM. For all other members of the community, please contact your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or an Urgent Care to get your flu vaccine. If you think you may have the flu, please stay home and consult your Primary Care Provider and please notify the University. Students should contact Student Health Services and faculty and staff should contact Human Resources so that we can track the flu virus and the area can be disinfected thoroughly. Students are encouraged to call first and speak to a nurse about their symptoms by calling Student Health Services at 617.349.8222 before making an appointment or walking into the Health Center.
We are closely monitoring the situation with the novel Coronavirus coming out of China. While we have no indication that Massachusetts or the Lesley campus are affected, we are working diligently to ensure that our clinical staff is prepared if someone presents to Student Health Services with symptoms and a clinical history that may indicate the novel Coronavirus.
We will continue to update the Lesley community as additional information becomes available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Keep in mind that the prevention measures as described for the flu and other illnesses are also your best protection against Coronavirus.
For anyone who recently returned from China (particularly the Wuhan area): If you feel well, please follow the routine advice listed while you go about your daily activities. If you develop respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of travel, call Student Health Services or your personal healthcare provider for a phone consultation.
Kerry Folkman, Community Nurse Practitioner (CNP)
Director, Lesley University Student Health Services
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