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Coronavirus Response Information

Information for Faculty

Jump to: Faculty Well-Being | Teaching | Advising | Research and Sponsored Projects | Administration

Due to Governor Baker’s emergency order, which is in effect Tuesday, March 24 at noon, campus access is restricted to essential access only. If you require access to campus and your access is essential for productively advancing teaching and learning or research activity please request building access here.  

We recognize this has been a challenging time and are so grateful for your patience and flexibility as we work through the changes and policies. We are all working hard to prioritize public health practices while also maintaining our strong commitment to student support and high-quality learning and teaching.

We have outlined below details and information related to academic policies that may be influenced by this spring’s circumstances, as well as information and guidance about your research and day-to-day faculty work outside of teaching. Contact Academic Dean Nonie Lesaux with questions and concerns.

Faculty Well-Being

As faculty members, we have an important role to play in creating conditions for calm, safety, and hope in our community. Additionally, many of us are facing challenges with school and daycare closures, as well as a host of additional family-related issues, concerns about your courses and research responsibilities, and the general stress of social distancing and uncertainty. We also need to take care of ourselves. If you would like to discuss confidentially any health-related issues you may experience or accommodations you may need, please do not hesitate to reach out to Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Jessica Pesce.


Remote Teaching

Please know that HGSE stands ready to support you in every way. We are developing resources for the community to support course instruction online. HGSE is providing support for the use of communications technologies such as Zoom, which is available to all HGSE affiliates. Faculty should also explore the Harvard Teach Remotely site for best practices and tools.

Library Resources

Please review our step-by-step guide on placing materials on Course Reserves to learn more about how we support remote teaching for faculty and teaching teams.

Library Support: Gutman librarians are here to support faculty courses/modules. Do not hesitate to contact library staff for assistance.

  • Support with the Canvas Library Reserves Tool: Carol Kentner
  • Support with questions about copyright and fair use or a requests to help you find alternative sources: Use the Gutman Library Ask Us form, monitored Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
  • Explore the LibGuide on Faculty Services to find more library resources for faculty.


Grading Practices

There are a number of ways that faculty members may need to make adjustments and be flexible to accommodate students’ needs given the disruptions, stressors, and potential illness:

  • Due to campus building closures, students have received additional guidance about food options, as well as internet connectivity off campus.
  • Please feel free to provide extensions on assignments.
  • Some students may need updated accommodations, and related questions can be answered by KellyAnn Robinson in OSA.
  • Grading deadlines for faculty for Spring-1 modules will be adjusted as needed.
  • Students will be permitted to make changes to the grading basis (letter grade vs. satisfactory/no credit) of their semester-long and Spring-2 modules through April 1.

Office Hours for Students

Beginning March 23, 2020, all course-related meetings and advising meetings should be conducted remotely.

Attendance and honoring student responses to these new realities.

You may find that students need to be absent from class, and therefore, you may want to ensure your class is recorded.  If you do not already have your class recorded, and if you can, ask your faculty assistant or a TF to arrange with IT (email to have your class recorded and uploaded to your Canvas site.

  1. You should feel free to provide extensions on assignments, and grading deadlines for Spring-1 modules will be adjusted as needed.
  2. You should feel free to modify instruction as you see fit. This can include abbreviating the class, if necessary, or using time to create a space to create a sense of optimism and hope for your class after the break. These are only suggestions for those seeking ideas of what to do or say today:
  • Hopes/Fears/Commitments. You could allow students to help co-construct what they want the community to learn and be present with each other, even if the learning happens remotely. They could brainstorm their hopes and fears but also be led by you to turn those hopes and fears into commitments of the learning community. Questions such as these may be helpful: How do we want to support each other in the weeks ahead? How will we stay a strong community in this class? How do we want to show up for one another? How do we want to support one another’s learning?
  • Allowing students to honor their relationships in the course community. You can allow students to have a moment to say “see you soon” in whatever way feels right to them. Variations could include: (i) letting each student say one thing to the group for no more than X seconds or 1 minute each, depending on your class size and time available; (ii) Quaker meeting style (with no strict time limits or just creating a space for hearing their voices); (iii) some other way of allowing them to be connect to each other and stay in relationship with one another as a course community.
  • You can link what students may be experiencing to your class’s learning goals/content for the day. Without attributing to students what you assume they each are or are not feeling, you can still connect the domains we teach in – like learning, leadership, teaching, human development, and other domains – to the circumstances facing students. Some faculty are planning to share that their lesson is intimately related to how educators support students and families in difficult times and challenging circumstances (and that we think we all of us, including faculty ourselves, will learn a lot together if we commit to supporting one another’s learning and well-being despite the challenges).
  • You can simply honor what we are hearing from students and tell them that, in your own work, you are committed to supporting them. Many students are telling us all that they are concerned about (1) the possibility of not having a May Commencement, or not having any kind of Commencement; (2) losing time with friends and classmates on campus, and disrupting relationships; (3) moving out of housing and not knowing whether they will ever come back to the area; (4) losing out on professional network development; (5) losing out on the campus experience of daily activity, connection, and relatedness around things they care about. Worries about online learning are also expressed, but these topics of personal, social, and professional seem even more salient to many students at this very moment. You can honor this and express your commitment to remaining engaged, interactive, and supportive of them as whole people. Going online with courses won’t change that.


Doctoral Program Milestones and Advising

Many of our doctoral students are impacted by this week’s events — as course participants, as proctors and tutors in Harvard dormitories, as TFs, and even as researchers who were planning to travel for data collection. We encourage you to continue to provide support and guidance to doctoral students, and to be sure to connect with the team in the Doctoral Programs Office and/or OSA to take up any specific issues or inquire about targeted supports for individual students facing especially challenging circumstances.

Faculty should encourage doctoral students who need to retrieve materials from offices to do so by Wednesday, March 18, at 2 p.m

Research and Sponsored Projects


Travel for Research: To date, there is no overarching federal guidance relating to charges to awards of non-refundable travel, conferences, and related expenses due to COVID-19. As such, current guidance is that canceled fees on grant-related activities can be charged to sponsored funds if the cancelation is due to an external organization’s action, e.g. a vendor canceled a conference or site visit, due to the CDC travel restrictions (see CDC Level 3 Countries). If the forfeited travel is due solely to Harvard’s travel restrictions, the related expenses should not be charged to sponsored awards. However, individual exceptions may be acceptable, especially with individual sponsor approval. If you have this situation, please contact either HGSE’s Office for Sponsored Projects (HGSE OSP) (for sponsored awards) or HGSE’s Finance Office (for non-sponsored funds) to discuss options. If you are booking near-term future travel arrangements on sponsored or non-sponsored awards, purchasing refundable airfare is highly recommended and allowable.

Access to Off-Campus Research Sites: If researchers cannot get to a research site due either to Harvard or federal travel restrictions and progress in meeting research objectives and established timelines will be severely impacted or delayed, please contact HGSE OSP to discuss options if the work is sponsor-funded. Some options may include requesting additional time from the sponsor to perform work, requesting additional funds, or re-budgeting existing funds.

Meetings and Events

For meetings that were to occur on campus, consider in-person meeting alternatives, e.g., meetings conducted using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, conference calls, etc. For sponsored-funded on-campus events or conferences that are canceled, and this cancellation represents a change in the scope of work of the grant, please contact HGSE OSP to coordinate outreach to sponsoring agencies. For non-sponsored events, please be in contact with the HGSE’s Finance Office to discuss the non-sponsored financial implications.

For off-campus events that will be canceled or rescheduled, we recommend contacting the hotel or event venue you have contracted with to see what flexibility they will provide, and what the penalties will be for either canceling or postponing. From there, HGSE OSP or the Dean’s office can help you determine what course of action is most appropriate, including determining the impact to the scope of work of the grant as well as any financial impact. If sponsor-funded, consider whether a grant extension is needed due to the postponement of a conference. If cancellation of this conference represents a change in the scope of work or if you need help negotiating with the contracted hotel/venue, please contact HGSE OSP to coordinate outreach to sponsors. For non-sponsored events, please be in contact with the HGSE Finance Office to discuss the non-sponsored financial implications. If the cancellation is due to Harvard’s restrictions, then the fees typically should not be charged to a sponsored award. However, individual exceptions may apply, especially if sponsor approval is obtained.

Research Data

Local Data Collection: Some of you have local data collection efforts underway. If these efforts are taking place on the Harvard campus, we ask that you follow the overall guidelines in place (i.e., size of groups, social distancing, enhanced hygiene practices, including equipment and frequent contact-surface cleaning). As always, it will be important to remind participants that they may withdraw their participation at any time, particularly given current events. If these data-collection efforts are occurring at sites that remain open, it will be important to confirm that on-site research may continue while also adhering to any guidelines the site has put in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. As investigators and project managers, please ensure that you issue regular reminders to your data-collection team that they should avoid any such work if they feel ill, do not feel comfortable being on-site, or have existing health issues that place them at elevated risk. If you have any other questions about conducting Human Subjects research in light of COVID-19 issues, refer to the Harvard’s Committee on the Use of Human Subjects (CUHS) website for COVID-19 guidance.

Remote Access to On-Campus Research Data: As the university and HGSE work to support remote operations, we anticipate that research teams may need to rethink how they access and analyze research data sets. Successful remote research operations during implementation of COVID-19 precautions requires maintaining compliance with required controls. For more information, see the university's guidelines for remote research. If your research data use is covered by a data use agreement (DUA) or other contractual obligations or if an IRB has determined the data contain elements that are high risk (DSL4), please submit a protocol modification through the appropriate module (agreements for DUAs or ESTR for IRB protocols) and ensure the modification is approved before moving data sets to a new technology platform or changing pre-approved access lists. Harvard and HGSE research compliance teams will expedite reviews to the extent possible to support continuity.

It’s recommended that HGSE researchers review HGSE’s Tool Classification Matrix and research data security quick guides (Level 2 and Level 3) when considering alternative solutions for their secure transfer, storage, or collaboration needs. Researchers are also encouraged to consult with HGSE's director of security operations by contacting the IT Service Center should they have any questions about how best to address any remote work needs while maintaining compliance with their specific university- or DUA-determined research data security requirements.

Additional Agency/Sponsor Guidance

No additional formal federal guidance from other agencies has been released, nor has any formal guidance from common non-federal sponsors that fund HGSE research and projects with regards to managing grants impacted by COVID-19. Check back on the Harvard OSP website for updates and/or contact HGSE OSP with any questions.

Helpful Links:


FOTW Meetings and Faculty Committee Meetings

While student support and managing through the shift to online learning is our highest priority, bigger picture, we ultimately need to continue to move forward organizationally on a number of other fronts. We will therefore continue with our FOTW meetings and faculty committee meetings and workgroups as scheduled, but all meetings will be held virtually. Please keep all of those dates and times on your calendars and please watch for agendas and plans, links, and more details in due time.

TFs, RAs, and Student Employees

TFs, RAs, and hourly student employees will be paid through spring semester. TF appointments (through May 31) and other monthly and hourly student jobs are guaranteed. If your TF cannot work for any reason or be reallocated to other duties, the student’s pay will be guaranteed through the end of their spring appointment. Contact Brendan Russell with questions or concerns.

Visiting Scholars

We have postponed or canceled arrivals by any visiting scholars scheduled for this semester. Those who are already here must abide by our guidelines and policies, as would any other member of the university community. If you are the faculty sponsor of a visiting scholar, we ask that you ensure they are aware of and conform to all guidance and practices.

Campus buildings Access

Due to Governor Baker’s emergency order, which is in effect Tuesday, March 24 at noon, campus access is restricted to essential access only. If you require access to campus and your access is essential for productively advancing teaching and learning or research activity please email