Updated September 14 with the Heller Building Use Protocol.

We are excited to welcome new and returning students to Heller for the 2020-21 academic year. The Heller School is offering both online and hybrid instruction for the fall 2020 semester, with a focus on educational excellence and engagement. Hybrid courses will provide opportunities for both in-person and remote sessions, which may vary by course and over the duration of the semester. For students who are local to Waltham or plan to move to the area, we will offer some in-person community-building activities, all while following strict health and safety guidelines.

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.

We understand that you will likely have many questions as you consider your path forward. We are ready to help you navigate the upcoming semester in any way we can, starting with the FAQs and resources below. This page will be regularly updated.

University-wide FAQs and information

Visit the Plans for Fall 2020 at Brandeis page for details about health and safety, the COVID-19 Task Force report and more. 

Heller FAQs and Resources

Community Messages from Dean Weil

Students

Will courses be online or in-person in Fall 2020?

The Heller School will offer both online and hybrid instruction for the fall 2020 semester, at the highest standard of educational excellence and with an emphasis on interactive pedagogy. Hybrid courses will provide opportunities for both in-person and remote sessions, which may vary by course and over the duration of the semester. Our faculty are actively redesigning their courses and adopting best practices for online instruction, informed by our experience during the spring and summer.

We know that Heller’s collaborative culture is a big draw for many students, and we are committed to recreating that experience online and through socially distanced in-person activities as much as possible. To protect the health of our students, staff, and faculty, we are making a decision that ensures an equitable, high-quality educational experience for all. This includes a school-wide effort to enhance our academic mentoring and student support systems. Each academic program will provide additional information throughout the summer on our unique blend of synchronous, asynchronous, and small group methods to achieve our high standards of academic programming.

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

Can I use the Heller building to study?

Zinner Forum is now a COVID-19 asymptomatic testing site, processing hundreds of tests per day, so 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. You may begin to submit requests on Monday, September 21. The building will be open for approved users on Monday, September 28.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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?

Starting the week of August 10, all Brandeis community members who come to campus will be required to submit samples for COVID-19 testing. The Heller School will be one of the testing sites on campus.

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 will be 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. 

Visit the Quarantining Before the Start of the School Year page for more information and updates.

What will the tuition be for Fall 2020?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardships faced by many students, Brandeis has determined that there will be no increase in tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year. Tuition will remain at the same level as the 2019-20 academic year. The diverse community at Heller is an important part of the student experience, and Heller’s goal is to give students of all backgrounds an opportunity to join our programs. If your financial situation has changed, please contact Lynn Davis (ldavis@brandeis.edu) for assistance. 

Our talented faculty intend to provide the same high-quality Heller graduate school experience, using an interactive teaching model and extensive ancillary services. Heller students will also have access to the many services that make Brandeis an outstanding educational experience.

As noted on the Brandeis Fall 2020 FAQs website, “The costs of providing a Brandeis-quality educational experience have increased, not diminished, in light of the pandemic. Nor does our model of instruction this year seek to reduce costs; to the contrary, we are using technology to enhance the Brandeis experience and provide as much individual engagement with students as possible.” This remains true for the Heller School as well.

How have faculty and instructors altered their courses for online instruction?

Instructors are adopting a wide array of best practices for online instruction as they redesign courses for the summer and fall semesters. Some of these tactics include team teaching alignment of sessions; incorporating more frequent breaks and increasing asynchronous work to reduce screen fatigue; developing more breakout sessions for small-group discussion; rethinking evaluation and assessments, and structuring more interactive class discussions.

Will students be graded based on participation in synchronous learning? What if I live in another time zone?

Participation may continue to be part of a course grading formula for the fall semester, but faculty are instructed to consider participation more broadly than real-time attendance in online discussions. Other examples of participation may include responding to online forums, or connecting with classmates or the instructor outside of regularly scheduled class time. Faculty have been asked to be flexible and responsive to students who live in different time zones, or have disabilities impacting the access and use of online learning modalities.

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. We will also extend the Heller “Summer” Institute into Fall 2020. The Summer Institute is a free online program that provides opportunities for incoming students to meet one another, engage with our faculty, and helps incoming students brush up on foundational skills to prepare for grad school.

Throughout the fall, 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 the university offer a ‘credit/no credit’ option again this semester?

No. The university has determined that the fall 2020 semester will follow normal grading procedures, rather than the emergency ‘credit/no credit’ option offered during the spring 2020 semester.

What are the health insurance requirements for domestic students?

Each year, all full time students, regardless of their current insurance status, must either 1) enroll in the qualifying Student Health Plan (SHP) offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS), or 2) waive the plan and report their own comparable health insurance coverage. This is required by Massachusetts Regulations to ensure that students have adequate coverage.

Annual Student Health Insurance Policy Period and Premiums:

Policy Period: 08/15/2020 - 08/14/2021

Student Premium: $3,395

* the additional cost to add a spouse to the plan is $10,552, and child(ren) $9,427

Students who will be in the US must have an Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plan that provides emergency and non-emergency care in the area/state you are studying. If you will be in Massachusetts, your plan must provide care in Massachusetts. If you will be studying remotely from another state, you must have a plan that provides you coverage in that state.

There is an online enrollment form for students who know they want to use the University SHP plan.

If you wish to request a waiver you can use the online 2020-2021 Domestic Student Waiver Form. You MUST waive the SHP by September 15, 2020 otherwise you will be automatically enrolled.

You can use the Health Coverage Comparison Worksheet to help you determine if your  plan will meet the requirements.

Click here for more information about the Student Health Plan offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS).

Please contact Assistant Dean Ravi Lakshmikanthan (kanthan@brandeis.edu) if you have any questions.

What are the health insurance requirements for international students?

Each year, all full time students, regardless of their current insurance status, must either 1) enroll in the qualifying Student Health Plan (SHP) offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS), or 2) waive the plan and report their own comparable health insurance coverage. This is required by Massachusetts Regulations to ensure that students have adequate coverage.

Annual Student Health Insurance Policy Period and Premiums:

Policy Period: 08/15/2020 - 08/14/2021

Student Premium: $3,395

* the additional cost to add a spouse to the plan is $10,552, and child(ren) $9,427

Students who will be in the U.S. must have an Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plan that provides emergency and non-emergency care in the area/state you are studying. If you will be in Massachusetts, your plan must provide care in Massachusetts. If you will be studying remotely from another state, you must have a plan that provides you coverage in that state.

All new and returning international students in the United States are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Plan (SHP) and do not need to take any action.

International students who will be in the U.S. and have an insurance policy that meets the waiver requirements can waive the university SHP by using the 2020-2021 International Student Waiver Form. You MUST request to waive by September 15, 2020 otherwise you will be charged for the university SHP.

You can use the Health Coverage Comparison Worksheet to help you determine if your plan will meet the requirements.

Click here for more information about the Student Health Plan offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS).

Please contact Assistant Dean Ravi Lakshmikanthan (kanthan@brandeis.edu) if you have any questions.

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 Spring or Fall 2021 admission?

The application for the 2021-2022 academic year is now open. You can use this application to apply to both Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 entry terms.

Spring 2021 Enrollment (January):
  • MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence (COEX)
  • MA in Sustainable International Development (SID)
  • MS in Global Health Policy and Management (GHPM)
  • COEX/SID, COEX/GHPM, and SID/GHPM dual degree programs
Fall 2021 Enrollment (September):
  • All Programs

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. 

What are the plans for the Spring 2021 semester?

Heller will make a decision about online or in-person classes for the Spring 2021 semester sometime during the fall, following Massachusetts state regulations and Brandeis guidelines regarding the public health situation. We will keep all students apprised of the status of our spring semester through email communications and on this page.

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?

Zinner Forum is now a COVID-19 asymptomatic testing site, processing hundreds of tests per day, so 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. You may begin to submit requests on Monday, September 21. The building will be open for approved users on Monday, September 28.

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

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?

Starting the week of August 10, all Brandeis community members who come to campus will be required to submit samples for COVID-19 testing. The Heller School will be one of the testing sites on campus.

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.

Is the library open? I need to borrow/return books.

Starting August 3, the library will reopen by appointment only. The library also offers contactless pickup and ship to home. Visit the Brandeis Library website for more details.

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 Plans for Fall 2020 at Brandeis site for more information.