March 16, 2021

Dear Heller Community,

As noted in the message earlier today from President Liebowitz and other university leaders, we are preparing for a return to in-person operations for Fall 2021. Currently, we are gathering data and striving to develop comprehensive plans, including health and safety protocols, for fall operations. As you may imagine, these plans continue to fluctuate as COVID case rates change, vaccine distribution accelerates, and variants of concern are identified and tracked.

For now, here is what we can share about Fall 2021 at the Heller School:

In-person classes, to the extent possible

We are planning for fall semester classes to be held in-person, to the greatest extent possible. This means that we expect the large majority of faculty and students to attend class at the Heller School. It is possible that state- and university-level public safety restrictions will continue to prevent large classes from meeting in person at the same time. This may result in some courses being held as hybrid or “dual-mode” classes, in which some students attend in-person and others simultaneously attend online.

We are currently exploring the resources and supports that might be necessary to hold dual-mode courses, including: professional development, digital assistants, and improved technology in classrooms.

Accommodations for virtual learning when necessary

We anticipate that some faculty and students will request accommodations to continue full-time remote learning for the fall semester due to health concerns, travel restrictions, or significant logistical challenges. As we consider the fall a “transition” semester, some accommodations will be necessary. We are developing criteria and guidelines for requesting and granting remote learning accommodations (through the appropriate office of the school or university) for the fall semester.

Continued remote work flexibility

Over the course of this year, we have learned a great deal about how to work well in a fully-remote context. We anticipate some continued flexibility in permitting remote work, particularly for those whose job responsibilities do not require them to be in-person five days a week. Later this week we will distribute a survey to all faculty, staff and researchers regarding preferences for remote work schedules. Your input is critical to helping us plan for a safe return to Heller.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to develop plans for a safe and responsible return to the Heller School building. We will discuss all of this in greater detail at our next All-Heller Town Hall Meeting, on Thursday April 1st at 12pm (Zoom registration link). I look forward to seeing you and answering your questions there.


David Weil

Dean and Professor