WinterSession and spring semester

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community,

I’m writing to let you know that the School—with guidance from the University, staff, and our own faculty experts, and through careful deliberations within our COVID-19 Planning and Education Planning committees—has made the difficult decision to extend remote learning through WinterSession and the 2021 spring semester (Spring1 and Spring2). Unfortunately, the pandemic continues, and cases are rising in Massachusetts, across the country, and around the world. The risks and uncertainty are simply too great to have everyone back on campus.

The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff continue to be our top priority. We have heard your concerns about risk, as well as a desire to have some campus activity. We are exploring options for limited on-campus access for students and faculty who have space needs, organized to ensure we maintain the highest standards for safety and within the limits of overall density and available support staff. There are still many details to consider, and we will notify you about these options as soon as possible.

In a continuation of the fall semester’s policies and practices, we will be providing augmented teaching support for winter and spring courses, such as increased TA and instructional design assistance. Further, the School’s Committee on Educational Policy has decided that we will continue to offer opt-in pass/fail for grades (with PhD students guided by GSAS’s grading policy).

I encourage you to regularly check the COVID-19 FAQ page, which contains guidance for students, faculty, researchers, and staff that is updated as new information develops.

I’m very grateful to each of you in this community as we live our public health values during this challenging time. Thank you for your continued dedication to the School and its mission—and to each other.



Michelle A. Williams, ScD
Dean of the FacultyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School