This page was updated April 26, 2021, with COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

We are excited to welcome new and returning students to Heller. The Heller School is offering both online and hybrid instruction for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, with a focus on educational excellence and engagement, and anticipates having most students and faculty back for in-person classes in Fall 2021. Read about our plans for Fall 2021 here. For Fall 2021, Brandeis University will require all new and returning students coming to campus to be fully vaccinated.

All students, faculty and staff coming to the Brandeis campus must fill out a Daily Health Assessment before arriving and sign up for mandatory high-frequency COVID-19 testing.

We are guided as always by our sense of duty to the Heller community and academic excellence in the way that we teach and learn. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this means prioritizing the health and safety of our community, along with equity and high-quality instruction, and evaluating our decisions by listening to community voices and drawing on the latest data. Please note that this plan is subject to change, should the evolving public health situation require it.

This page is regularly updated.

University-wide FAQs and information

Visit the COVID-19 Response: What's Now, What's Next website for details about health and safety, the COVID-19 Task Force report and more. Learn more about Light the Way for Brandeis, the university's campaign to help students in response to COVID-19.

Heller FAQs and Resources

Community Messages from Dean Weil

Students

Do I have to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus this fall?

Yes. To support our robust plans for the fall 2021 semester, and similarly to many other colleges and universities across the country, Brandeis University will require all new and returning students coming to campus to be fully vaccinated. Limited exemptions to this policy will be granted for medical or religious reasons.

Students must be fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine by the start of the fall term. Proof of vaccination should be provided before the start of the fall semester by uploading your completed vaccination card to the Campus Passport once you have received your full dose. Students who are vaccinated through on-campus clinics will automatically be verified within the Passport.

Please visit the Brandeis FAQs for additional information regarding the Brandeis student vaccination requirement.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine on campus?

Brandeis held a number of vaccination clinics for all Brandeis community members in May 2021. Please visit the Brandeis FAQs page on vaccinations for more information.

Will courses be online or in-person in Fall 2021?

We are planning for fall semester classes to be held in-person 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 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.

For Spring 2021, the Heller School continues to offer online and hybrid instruction for the spring 2021 semester, at the highest standard of educational excellence and with an emphasis on interactive pedagogy.

Will spring 2021 commencement be held in-person or online?

Spring 2021 graduation ceremonies will be held online, per President Ron Liebowitz's February 23 message. Heller students will receive follow-up information later this spring.

Can I use the Heller building to study?

Those who can study remotely should do so, with very few exceptions. When a compelling need to access Heller space arises, we will do our best to accommodate requests equitably and consistently.

To request permission to work or study at Heller, please contact Ravi Lakshmikanthan. If you wish to reserve a room or space aside from your own office, please submit a Classroom Reservation Request Form. 

Please send all requests at least 24 hours in advance.

Please see Dean Weil's Heller Building Use Protocol message for more details.

If I come to campus, what health and safety protocols do I have to follow?

For students who have been given permission to return to campus, please familiarize yourself with the Campus Passport portal detailed in Provost Lynch’s September 2 email. (Tip: add the Campus Passport to your smartphone screen as an “app” shortcut). You must ensure that your passport is green (or yellow), confirming that you are in compliance with all university health and safety guidelines.

This includes completing COVID-19 training, completing (and passing) the daily health assessment, and being up-to-date with asymptomatic testing. Remember: All members of the Brandeis community MUST complete the COVID-19 training whether or not you are accessing campus. Lastly, make sure you wear a mask, and be ready to show your campus passport when you enter Heller.

Heller has hired several student workers as Health Assurance Monitors. A monitor will be stationed inside the Heller-Brown main entrance to check your Campus Passport and confirm that you have permission to enter the building. They will ensure that you are wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth and will provide directions to those who are unfamiliar with the building layout. Please note that student monitors cannot grant building access on the spot to anyone who has not received permission in advance from Ravi.

  • Building hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. The building is no longer open evenings or weekends, as there will be no Health Assurance Monitors at those times.
  • Use the Heller-Brown main doors to enter and the side entrance of Heller-Brown (by the student mailboxes) to exit. You will need to swipe your ID card to enter. The Heller-Schneider entrance will be closed and locked. The entrance by Schneider G4 is reserved for community members entering the COVID-19 Testing Zone.
  • You may only use the office or classroom you are assigned.
  • Please make frequent use of hand sanitizer stations and new self-service cleaning supplies located in the classrooms.

Please see Dean Weil's Heller Building Use Protocol message for more details.

How do I learn more about COVID-19 testing on campus?

All Brandeis community members who come to campus will be required to submit samples for COVID-19 testing.

To schedule a test and for more information and updates, visit the Brandeis COVID-19 testing page.

What are the Massachusetts quarantining requirements for students traveling to Waltham from out of state?

All travelers to Massachusetts are required to quarantine for 14 days (a few lower-risk states are exmpted and listed on the Mass.gov site) and to fill out a form; the state penalty for violating the quarantine order is $500. All persons are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Students, faculty, and staff spending time on the Brandeis campus are required to participate in free, high-frequency COVID-19 testing; these tests are considered valid by Massachusetts for lifting travel quarantine. Brandeis will not accept any other test results to allow students out of travel quarantine. Brandeis recommends that students plan to quarantine in Massachusetts until they receive the results of their Brandeis-administered tests. Results from these tests usually take 24 to 72 hours. Additionally, consistent with Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the university is instructing community members who return to campus after international travel to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

How can I become part of the Heller community even if I am not in residence in Waltham?

A Heller degree is about so much more than the classroom experience, and we’re committed to providing the same level of care, attention and sense of community, regardless of the distance. We will offer an extended suite of online “wrap-around services,” including career advising, professional development opportunities, student services, mental health counseling and extracurricular opportunities.

Students can join Heller Student Working Groups or the Heller Student Association, as well as attend HSA-sponsored events and activities, like online trivia night. Other social activities include online “Coffee with the Dean,” a popular monthly program at Heller; “lunch and learn” sessions with faculty members; Sankofa Community Conversations and more. 

Will there be funds for students whose ability to earn income while in school is decreased due to COVID-19?

Student Financial Services administers the Brandeis Emergency Fund, which remains available to graduate students experiencing financial emergencies when other resources are not available. Please note that the Brandeis Emergency Fund cannot offer funds for tuition-related expenses. To apply for emergency funds, please complete an online application.

What is Heller doing to accommodate students with disabilities for online classes?

Students seeking accommodations regarding any part of the fall 2020 experience should submit proper documentation to the Student Accessibility Support Office.

If you have any questions regarding the accommodation process please contact Assistant Dean Ravi Lakshmikanthan (kanthan@brandeis.edu).

Who should continuing international students speak to regarding visa questions?

Please contact Executive Director of Global Program Sandra Jones (joness@brandeis.edu) or Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Services Ravi Lakshmikanthan (kanthan@brandeis.edu) for questions and guidance regarding your visa status.

Who should I contact with questions about Fall 2021 admission?

The application for the 2021-2022 academic year is now open.

It is our greatest desire to welcome our entire class in the spring, but we are subject to federal and state public safety and immigration policies. We will do our best to provide international students with updates regarding visa and public health restrictions. Admitted students with questions about the VIDOF or visa process should contact Marcie Mai, Assistant Director of Admissions. Visit the admissions FAQ page and the ISSO (International Students and Scholars Office) COVID-19 page for more information. 

Student Resources

Online Course Instruction

Zoom information, including beginner tutorials, FAQs and technical support, are available through the ITS Zoom page. Contact Marc Kiredjian (mkiredjian@brandeis.edu) or Ravi Lakshmikanthan (kanthan@brandeis.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.

If you need equipment to access your online classes, email borrowing@brandeis.edu. Although the library is now closed, library staff will make arrangements for you to pick up a laptop or other equipment. Students, faculty or staff can borrow what they need until the library reopens and students are back on campus. There will be no late fines, but there will be replacement fines if items are lost or broken.

Student Emergency Fund

Heller students are eligible for Student Emergency Fund Grants. These funds can be used to purchase equipment to access virtual classes, food assistance, travel assistance, etc. Contact emergencyfunds@brandeis.edu to apply for funds.

Mental Health Services

Heller is committed to promoting an environment of mental wellness and providing resources for the mental health of our student body.

The Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) remains available to provide care to students, on or off campus. Until further notice, all appointments including urgent care will be over the phone or via a HIPAA compliant platform. To reach the BCC, please call its 24/7 answering service at 781-736-3785.

  • The BCC remains available to provide urgent consultations by phone.
  • Telehealth may be provided to students who are located in Massachusetts and are currently active in individual care.
  • The BCC will not begin new counseling relationships with students until further notice; if you are seeking ongoing care please contact them. They will provide individualized resources and referrals.
  • Psychotherapy groups are suspended until further notice.

Other resources include: 

  • iHope Network: Videoconferencing therapy that is covered by many major health insurance companies, including Brandeis health insurance.
  • BetterHelp: Largest online counseling platform worldwide. They provide convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist.

Brandeis Health Center

The Health Center is open and available for student appointments as well as guidance. If you feel ill, are concerned about an underlying health condition or have questions about coronavirus, contact the Brandeis University Health Center at 781-736-3677.

  • If you have recently traveled to a country with community COVID-19 outbreaks or have been in close contact with a person with a known case of COVID-19 you should self-isolate and contact your health care provider for guidance. If you have no known risks for COVID-19 please make an appointment for care at Brandeis University Health Center by calling or using the secure patient portal to schedule your appointment. Notify the front desk of your symptoms upon arrival.
  • If you may have the flu or have underlying health issues that put you at greater risk for complications of a respiratory infection you should contact the Brandeis Health Center for guidance. There is treatment that can reduce the duration of the flu if it is identified early in the infection.
  • If you have no known risks for COVID-19 and have a mild illness you should practice standard health precautions including limiting participation in large group settings, frequent hand washing and practicing appropriate cough hygiene (cover your cough with a disposable tissue or your elbow). If you have a fever or have symptoms of a viral infection you should self-isolate until the fever goes away.
  • Notify your professors as soon as possible if you will be missing classes due to illness.

English Language Programs (ELP)

Students may meet online with our ELP consultants through either Zoom or Skype. For a writing tutorial, please contact Scott Moore at semoore@brandeis.edu. For an oral communications tutorial, please contact Angela Tribus Ramos at atribus@brandeis.edu.

Brandeis Library

Get up-to-date information on Remote Resources for Brandeis Library Users on the library website, as well as an evolving list of Frequently Asked Questions. The librarians for your programs are directly available to you as well.

Whom should I contact if I have more questions about student services?

For specific questions about student services, please contact Assistant Dean Ravi Lakshmikanthan (kanthan@brandeis.edu) or Associate Director Marc Kiredjian (mkiredjian@brandeis.edu). Brandeis also offers additional graduate student resources.

Faculty and Staff

Can I come work in my office at Heller?

Those who can continue to work remotely should do so, with very few exceptions. When a compelling need to access Heller space arises, we will do our best to accommodate requests equitably and consistently.

To request permission to work or study in the Heller Use Zone, please contact Cindy Thomas (for researchers), Ron Etlinger (for administrative staff) or Ravi Lakshmikanthan (for faculty and students). If you wish to reserve a room or space aside from your own office, please submit a Classroom Reservation Request Form. 

Please send all requests at least 24 hours in advance and see Dean Weil's Heller Building Use Protocol message for more details.

When will Heller employees return to work on campus?

Heller anticipates 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. During March 2021, all faculty, staff and researchers will be surveyed regarding preferences for remote work schedules. That input is critical to helping us plan for a safe return to Heller.

What health and safety protocols do I need to follow if I come to campus?

For employees who have been given permission to return to campus, please familiarize yourself with the Campus Passport portal detailed in Provost Lynch’s September 2 email. (Tip: add the Campus Passport to your smartphone screen as an “app” shortcut). You must ensure that your passport is green (or yellow), confirming that you are in compliance with all university health and safety guidelines.

This includes completing COVID-19 training, completing (and passing) the daily health assessment, and being up-to-date with asymptomatic testing. Remember: All members of the Brandeis community MUST complete the COVID-19 training whether or not you are accessing campus. Lastly, make sure you wear a mask, and be ready to show your campus passport when you enter Heller.

Heller has hired several student workers as Health Assurance Monitors. A monitor will be stationed inside the Heller-Brown main entrance to check your Campus Passport and confirm that you have permission to enter the building. They will ensure that you are wearing a mask and will provide directions to those who are unfamiliar with the building layout. Please note that student monitors cannot grant building access on the spot to anyone who has not received permission in advance from Ron, Cindy or Ravi.

  • New building hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. The building is no longer open evenings or weekends, as there will be no Health Assurance Monitors at those times.
  • Use the Heller-Brown main doors to enter and the side entrance of Heller-Brown (by the student mailboxes) to exit. You will need to swipe your ID card to enter. The Heller-Schneider entrance will be closed and locked. The entrance by Schneider G4 is reserved for community members entering the COVID-19 Testing Zone.
  • You may only use the office or classroom you are assigned.
  • You must wear your mask at all times, and it must cover your entire nose and mouth. The only exception to this is if you are in your office, alone, with the door closed. If you can comfortably open the window in your space, you are encouraged to do so.
  • Faculty and staff should utilize new door tags to request “full service” cleaning after using their space (these have been placed in every office).

Please see Dean Weil's Heller Building Use Protocol message for more details.

How do I learn more about COVID-19 testing on campus?

All Brandeis community members who come to campus are required to submit samples for COVID-19 testing.

To schedule a test and for more information and updates, visit the Brandeis COVID-19 testing page.

What if I don’t feel ready to return to campus?

If you are asked to return to campus, you may request an accommodation by contacting Brandeis HR (humanresources@brandeis.edu or 781-736-4474) if you are in a high-risk category or have a medical condition. Similarly, you may contact HR to pursue flexible work arrangements if you have caregiving responsibilities, household members with significant risk factors, or are anxious about working on campus.

What should I do if I need tech support to continue working from home?

The Brandeis Technology Help Desk continues to provide technology support and services to the Brandeis community via email or phone. For technical assistance connecting to university systems and services, email help@brandeis.edu or call 781-736-4357. Visit the ITS website for updates.

If you do not have access to sufficient hardware (such as a laptop or webcam) to work remotely, please contact Ron Etlinger (etlinger@brandeis.edu) for assistance.

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?

Faculty and staff will continue to receive regular emails with updates. For Heller-specific questions about building usage and health and safety, please contact Ron Etlinger (etlinger@brandeis.edu). Otherwise, visit the Brandeis Faculty FAQs and Brandeis Staff FAQs pages on the Brandeis site for more information.