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Coronavirus Response Information

Information for Students

Jump to: General Information and Updates | Emergency Funding | Travel and Visa Status | Coursework and Academic ProgressComputer and Internet Access | Doctoral Students | Student Life | Student Well-Being | Newly Admitted Students

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.  

Your health and well-being are primary concerns. Please be assured that HGSE is working to develop contingency plans that prioritize your learning, your degree progress, and your well-being. We will also attend carefully to the needs of any students who may need to self-isolate or who cannot, for any reason, participate in classes or activities. Contact the Office of Student Affairs with questions and concerns.

General Information and Updates

Review the following: Student checklist: Navigating COVID-19 and Preparing for Online Learning

  • Beginning March 23, 2020, all course-related meetings and advising meetings should be conducted remotely.
  • To participate in online courses and meetings, each HGSE student has access to a fully functional Zoom account. You can find resources on the available tools on HGSE’s Learn Remotely site.
  • The Office of Student Affairs continues to be committed to supporting you throughout your time at HGSE. Please email them at Also, the OSA website lists staff member’s Calendly links so that you may set appointments or “drop-in” virtually, during normal business hours. For more confidential matters, such as health-related concerns, please reach out to KellyAnn Robinson.
  • To support our community, we need to know the most current mailing address for each student. This is especially important for tracking your time zone and so that your degree program, HGSE, and Harvard can support you from any location in the world. Please ensure your mailing address is up to date in my.harvard.
  • HGSE is offering individual coaching on Zoom for our students. In recognition of students’ varied needs in time zones around the world, these appointments are being offered nearly 24/7 until the start of classes next week. Please sign up here
  • Commencement: President Bacow announced that Harvard’s 369th Commencement Exercises will be postponed. We understand you may have many questions about the postponement and invite you to explore these FAQs from the Office of Student Affairs. 

HGSE COVID-19 Emergency Funding

If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the university’s shift to remote instruction in response to COVID-19, you may apply for emergency funds.

In light of Harvard University’s decision to move to fully online instruction beginning March 23, we understand that students may be experiencing especially difficult hardship and stress. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the university’s shift to remote instruction in response to COVID-19, you may apply for emergency funds. Qualified expenses are those specifically related to circumstance changes following the university’s COVID-19 policies and practices. These include but are not limited to:

  • Lost wages as a direct result of canceled work (as a reminder, all monthly teaching fellows will remain in their roles, though we will not require them to return to campus; research assistants should confirm continued virtual work with their faculty leads)
  • Food insecurity related to canceled opportunities to eat on campus
  • COVID-19 specific medical expenses related to personal or family illness

Please click here to access the application form. We will carefully review requests and respond expediently, with an anticipated response time within 72 hours. Most grants will be up to $300 during the initial funding round, though if there is additional funding remaining following the initial award round, we will consider supplemental applications from students with greater financial need. Out of equity for all students, we will make out best efforts to distribute funds across individuals before granting multiple awards.

Travel and Visa Status

  • Travel restrictions: We understand recent travel restrictions can be confusing and potentially stressful. For the most up-to-date information regarding travel, please review the university’s travel guidance here.
  • Student visas: There should be no impact to your visa as long as you maintain a full-time course load of study (including online Harvard courses). For further questions, contact Colleen Griffin at the Harvard International Office.

Coursework and Academic Progress for all Students

  • Add/Drop deadlines: As we navigate the shift to online learning, HGSE is extending the Add/Drop deadlines for spring full-term courses, spring second-half modules, and May term courses as follows:
    • Full-semester courses: Students may drop a spring full-term course if they are currently over-enrolled (e.g., enrolled in more than 32 total credits for this academic year) until April 1.
      • Students may change letter grade options to SAT/NCR, with the understanding that you must earn a B- or better to receive a SAT until April 1.
      • If you would like to make either of these changes, please email Charles Perreault.
    • Spring second-half modules: Students may add or drop spring second-half modules until April 1.
      • Students may change the grade option (from SAT/NCR to letter grade, or vice versa) until April 1.
      • These changes can be made in my.harvard.
    • May term courses: Students may add, drop, or change the grade option (from SAT/NCR to letter grade, or vice versa) up until the second class meeting.
    • We are extending the Education Entrepreneurship Summer Fellowship application deadline to Wednesday, March 25. For more information about the fellowship, please contact Keith Collar.
    • We are committed to making sure you receive the care you need while you are away from campus. Due to the extraordinary circumstances that we are all facing, we have implemented benefit changes to your Student Health Insurance Plan. Please review the university’s FAQs, which addresses these benefit changes.
  • Cross-registration: At this time, we expect all Harvard courses to go online beginning March 16, with the first course meetings post-Spring Break on Monday, March 23. Please confirm enrollment policy with the host school’s Registrar’s Office and/or your course teaching faculty.
  • Field-based work and practicum courses: If you are in a field-based site placement for your program (including TIE field experiences under T-598), you can direct questions to, and follow guidance from, your program director. If you are in a Field Experience (S-997), you may contact the Career Services Office directly with any concerns or issues.
  • Licensure considerations: Field placements and practica are a foundational and transformative training mechanism, and HGSE remains committed to that strategy. Review the guiding principles for licensure placements for more information.
  • Financial aid: As long as you complete your classes via the online format, there should be no changes to your aid (scholarships, grants, and loans). Federal Work Study (FWS) students should attempt to work remotely with the approval of their supervisor.
  • Career coaching: Career coaching will continue to be available and you can reserve time to meet with a coach via Hub. Efforts are underway to move career programming to an online format.

Computer and Internet Access


If you do not have access to a computer off campus, please contact the Office of Student Affairs to request a loaner computer.

Internet Access

To ensure students have access to wireless internet, we have compiled the following list of resources:

  • Comcast: Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots available across the U.S. to anyone for free, including non-Xfinity subscribers. A map of Xfinity hotspots is available here. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network and launch a browser. This service is available for the next 60 days, effective March 14, 2020.
  • Spectrum: Spectrum has Wi-Fi hotspots open for public use. A map of Spectrum Wi-Fi hotspots is available here. This service is effective for the next 60 days, beginning March 16, 2020. Installation fees will be waived.
  • AT&T: AT&T has public Wi-Fi hotspots available to everyone. Select attwifi or att-wifi from the list of available wireless networks. This service is available for the next 60 days, effective March 14. Learn more about accessing AT&T hotspots.
  • Note for students who are customers of any of the above providers: Comcast, Spectrum, and AT&T are promising not to disconnect a customer’s internet or assess late fees if the customer reaches out and lets them know that they are having trouble paying their bills during this period. Flexible payment plans will be available.
  • A full list of low-cost internet providers can also be found here.

Doctoral Students

Based on 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

We recognize that there may be questions and further complexity with respect to your doctoral student work. We are fully committed to maintaining continuity and progress for all doctoral students, and to working through the current circumstances with you: prioritizing our community’s health and safety and upholding our commitment to high-quality learning, research, and leadership development opportunities. To that end, below we have outlined information related to doctoral program milestones, dissertation and capstone defenses, Commencement, and program-specific activity such as the Research Doctoral Colloquia and Ed.L.D. Residency Launch.

Doctoral Program Milestones

Though we have switched to a virtual instruction model, we expect that all doctoral students will continue to make progress toward respective milestones. Coursework, research, and Ed.L.D. residency activity should continue. For Ph.D. students on track to conduct their oral defenses this spring, the Degree Programs Office will coordinate with students and committees to transition these to be held virtually.

To support doctoral research and work activity, the Ed.D., Ph.D., and Ed.L.D. program teams and your faculty advisers remain available to you for academic and overall guidance and support.

Given these extraordinary circumstances, we understand it may be the case that you experience complications or delays in your progress toward your doctoral milestones. Please remain in contact with us and the rest of the team in the Degree Programs Office, and be sure to communicate with your faculty adviser, if you anticipate significant disruptions to your progress (e.g., losing access to your data or field site due to travel restrictions, school or organization closures, etc.). For questions about disruptions or alterations to work you undertake as part of a faculty member’s project, please discuss this directly with the supervising faculty member.

NOTE: On Friday, March 6, the Harvard Provost’s Office communicated that all nonessential university-related air travel is prohibited. You must follow this guidance even if you have already planned travel related to your doctoral student work. Please refrain from planning future Harvard-related travel until the university provides explicit guidance to that effect.

Dissertation and Capstone Defenses

All dissertation and capstone defenses for the May graduation cycle will transition to a virtual model. Although specific details are still being worked out, the Degree Programs Office will be working with HGSE IT to design and support a virtual model with the goal of preserving as much as possible the features of face-to-face defenses. We will be directly in touch with all students who are defending this spring, in order to discuss how best to support your needs while also ensuring access to the event for other students, community members, family, and guests. For those who have already scheduled a defense date, please continue to hold the date and time on your schedule and on your defense committee’s schedules for your defense. We will go forward with the schedule as planned.

Information Sessions, Workshops, Research Doctoral Colloquium, and Ed.L.D. Open House

All research doctoral information sessions and workshops will be hosted virtually. Similarly, the Monday Research Doctoral Colloquium will also be moving to a virtual format. More information is forthcoming about the new colloquium schedule and format. The Ed.L.D. Program Open House for Admitted Students will be hosted online. The Ed.L.D. Program staff will be in contact with information about this and other important events such as the Cohort 9 residency launch and ramp-up for residency matching for Cohort 10.

Student Life

  • On-campus housing: Graduate students in Harvard housing have the option to stay in their rooms/units — with the caveat that the university may ask students to relocate to a different room or unit in effort to space students out and slow the spread of COVID-19. Students living in Harvard housing with questions about lease termination should contact the leasing office. The Office of Student Affairs is also available to help students understand their options for the remainder of the semester.
  • HGSE facilities: 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  
  • Student activities: HGSE has suspended all schoolwide events and gatherings, including events sponsored by any registered student organizations. If meetings can be held remotely, we encourage you to do so.

Student Well-being

Student Health

  • Harvard University Health Services is open and operating on a new model of care, until further notice.
  • What do to if you are feeling illHarvard University Health Services recommends that anyone with flu-like symptoms should call HUHS (617-495-5711) for advice. Students who do not have Harvard Student Health Insurance are encouraged to contact their primary care provider. For the health and safety of others, please do not go to a medical office or emergency room without calling first.
  • If you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms, contact your primary care provider and let HUHS know by emailing Health Services. Even if HUHS is not your healthcare provider, please notify them via email if you are tested for COVID-19, so they can continue monitoring the health of our community. If you have had exposure but no symptoms, please review and follow HUHS guidance on whether to self-isolate.
  • For students on the student health insurance plan, HUHS has implemented temporary benefit changes in response to COVID-19. For more information, please review their frequently asked questions.

Food Options

  • We recognize that closing Gutman Café, as of Wednesday, March 18, at 2 p.m., can present challenges regarding access to food options.
  • We strongly encourage any student who needs support covering food costs to submit an HGSE COVID-19 Emergency Fund application. These funds may be used to cover food expenses, and applications are reviewed on a daily basis.
  • There is an active list of Boston restaurants continuing to offer takeout and delivery; UberEats has also waived all delivery fees.
  • Students in Harvard residential halls will receive additional guidance about food options.
  • Should you have questions or need support, advice, or guidance on ensuring continued access to food options, please contact the Office of Student Affairs.

Newly Admitted Students 

We look forward to welcoming you to our community. Please stay tuned for more information.

>> Contact the Office of Admissions or visit the admitted students website.