This page was updated on June 30, 2021 with Brandeis' COVID-19 policies for the summer of 2021. 

We are guided by our sense of duty to the Heller community and academic excellence. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this means prioritizing community health and safety, equity and high-quality instruction. We base our decisions on community input and 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 Brandeis' COVID-19 Response: What's Now, What's Next website for the most up-to-date information about university health and safety policies. Brandeis' Summer 2021 COVID-19 policies are listed here. 

Community Updates and Messages


Am I required to attend classes in person for Fall 2021?

Yes. All students are asked to attend class in person in Fall 2021, to the extent that state and university rules allow. All students are expected to be on campus for Spring 2022.

There will be some limited exemptions from this requirement, listed below. Contact Ravi Lakshmikanthan (, Assistant Dean Academic and Student Services, for COVID-related exemptions and questions related to the fall return to campus. Students requesting an exemption should do so by Monday, August 2.

Exemptions for returning students:

We will evaluate requests to study online on a case-by-case basis—no request is guaranteed. Returning students may request permission to continue online for the Fall semester for the following reasons:

  • Students who obtain a medical or religious exemption from Brandeis University. 

  • Students who plan to graduate in December 2021 and are unable to secure short-term housing in the Waltham area. 

  • Students who are experiencing extreme, pandemic-related obstacles to their ability to study in person. Examples may include new/unforeseen caregiving responsibilities, extreme financial hardship, or being unable to travel due to international regulations.  

Exemptions for new students:

  • New international students whose student visa processing is delayed due to COVID-related issues may enroll online as a temporary measure, until their visa is processed. Note that international students who need to begin the fall semester online must receive special permission to do so, and will be expected to meet specific requirements.

For more details about qualifying for exemptions, read Dean Weil's letter to the community on May 18.

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

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.

Proof of vaccination should be provided before the start of the fall semester by uploading your completed vaccination card to the Campus Passport. 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.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Brandeis Vaccinations page includes information on where to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and what health and safety protocols are different for vaccinated individuals on Brandeis campus. 

Can I use the Heller building to study before Fall 2021?

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.

What health and safety protocols do I have to follow if I wish to visit campus?

As the pandemic evolves, so do Brandeis' campus health and safety protocols. Please visit the university's Before Coming to Campus page for the most up-to-date information about the campus passport and the steps needed to maintain a green passport status while on campus. Generally, these steps include completing an online COVID-19 training, signing up for asymptomatic testing, completing a daily health assessment, and wearing a mask in certain settings.

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. 

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

Students seeking accommodations 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 (

Who should continuing international students speak to regarding visa questions?

Please contact Executive Director of Global Program Sandra Jones ( or Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Services Ravi Lakshmikanthan ( 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 ( or Ravi Lakshmikanthan ( if you have any questions or concerns.

If you need equipment to access your online classes, email 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 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 For an oral communications tutorial, please contact Angela Tribus Ramos at

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 ( or Associate Director Marc Kiredjian ( Brandeis also offers additional graduate student resources.

Faculty and Staff

Do faculty and staff need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes. All Brandeis faculty, staff, and affiliates who access campus must be vaccinated, and must upload their COVID-19 vaccination documentation by August 26, unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.

Proof of vaccination or request for religious or medical exemption must be uploaded to the Campus Passport (exemption requests may be submitted beginning the week of July 19th).

More details available in the June 16 email to the Brandeis community.

Can I come work in my office at Heller?

Heller faculty and staff may enter the Heller-Brown and Heller-Schneider buildings at will, with no advanced notice to administration. Staff will access the building via Brandeis ID card swipe. Note that Brandeis Passport protocols are still in place. Please contact Ron Etlinger ( with any questions.

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. Faculty and staff will be asked to develop their return plan in the early summer, with the goal of easing into the return to campus through late summer.

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

As the pandemic evolves, so do Brandeis' campus health and safety protocols. Please visit the university's Before Coming to Campus page for the most up-to-date information about the campus passport and the steps needed to maintain a green passport status while on campus. Generally, these steps include completing an online COVID-19 training, signing up for asymptomatic testing, completing a daily health assessment, and wearing a mask in certain settings.

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 ( 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 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 ( for assistance.