COVID-19 Updates for Faculty and Students

The following outlines Harvard Extension School’s plans to limit the spread of COVID-19 among the community. The plans are in accordance with the University’s response (see the Harvard COVID-19 info page).

Below is information for students. Faculty and teaching assistants should visit the Faculty Handbook site for the latest updates and the Teaching and Learning site for support moving their courses online.

On-Campus Classes and Resources Move Online


  • All Harvard Extension School spring courses are now online. This includes active learning weekends and online courses with a required weekend on campus.
  • Changes in format will have minimal affect on course meeting schedules.
  • No labs, section meetings, exams, or official Harvard Extension School student groups will be held on campus. 
  • The Active Learning Weekend course, MUSE 109, has been rescheduled for April 3-5 and the format has changed to online.
  • The Active Learning Weekend course, MUSE 122, has been canceled.

Harvard Extension School Buildings and Business Operations

  • HES administrative offices and classrooms are closed to visitors and students until further notice. HES continues to offer email, phone, web conference, and online student service and all departments are functional. Visit Contact Us. We want to answer your questions and concerns.
  • Academic Services (transcripts and verifications). While working remotely, the Academic Services continues to monitor email ( during regular business hours. Please allow 3-5 business days for processing transcripts, letters of enrollment, loan deferment forms, and education verifications. Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate expedited mailing requests or in-person transcript pickups at this time.


Changes to Course Formats

If you are unsure what format your course is offered in, search for your course in the course search to find its format. 

Courses with On-Campus Weekends

If you are registered in one of the following formats, your instructor will communicate with you directly regarding the virtual course plan:

  • Active learning weekend
  • Online with required on-campus weekend (that has not met on campus yet)

Courses Offered "On Campus or Online"

You will no longer have an on-campus option. Your course will meet entirely online at the usual meeting time using Zoom (live) and will be recorded for viewing on demand. You'll find both your Zoom link and the recordings in the usual place on Canvas, as of Monday, March 23. The Zoom links will be different than they were previously, so please make sure that you access them through Canvas rather than relying on bookmarks.

Courses Offered "On Campus"

Your course will no longer meet on campus. Your instructor will be in touch with you about the format of course meetings going forward, but most likely your course will meet for the rest of the term via web conference using Zoom.

No Change

If you are registered in one of the following formats, your courses will continue to be offered online as scheduled:

  • Online course
  • Online thesis and precapstone tutorials
  • Online (live) web conference
  • Online (live or on-demand) web conference

Learning Zoom 

It is likely that web conference may be the instructional delivery mode for most courses moving from on campus to online; therefore, we recommend that if you don’t already use the web-conferencing platform Zoom that you become familiar with Zoom and review our guidelines for using this platform. Also view the Zoom help video or attend a training.

Technical Help

Online support for questions and computer/software troubleshooting is available:

Phone: (617) 998-8571 Monday through Thursday, 10 am–11 pm; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 am–8 pm


On Campus/Residency Requirements

Any spring course that was scheduled to fulfill the on-campus requirement for our degree programs will continue to fulfill the on-campus requirement for all students who complete the course with the required grade. It is unlikely that on-campus requirements will ever be waived again. You should not consider this current waiver as a precedent-setting decision. The residency requirement is critical to our ability to offer quality degree programs at Harvard. After this term, we will continue to require all students to come to campus to meet these requirements. 


If you determine that you cannot complete your course in the new format you can submit an appeal through the Financial and Registration Committee to drop the course for a tuition refund (tuition only; we cannot reimburse for lodging, travel, or other course-related expenses).

The deadline for filing a refund appeal April 24. Each student's appeal will be reviewed individually and a decision will be made based on each student's statement, supporting documentation, and the merits of the case.


The spring withdrawal deadline, April 24, as well as our regular withdrawal academic standing policy has not changed. (Note: active learning weekends and PSYC 1770 have different withdrawal deadlines. Check the individual course descriptions).

Harvard Library

The library has suspended all print-based services until further notice. This will have a significant impact on you, even if you are off-site, because it includes our Scan & Deliver service (electronic scans of print book chapters and print journal articles), Library Reserves in print in the libraries, as well as all borrowing and returning of physical items.

However, we still have a variety of options of library resources, services, and collections:

Library Guide for Harvard Extension School remains a primary resource for library information. The homepage of the guide provides the best two links to receive COVID-19 updates: Coronavirus Library Updates and Harvard Library FAQs regarding COVID-19.

The Research Help page on our Library Guide will help direct you to online resources, such as HOLLIS, our Databases page, and our Research Guides. While many more resources are coming online, not all will become visible in HOLLIS, so it’s be a good idea to get in the habit of doing a three-point check for any one item or topic: 1) HOLLIS, 2) the likeliest database, and 3) your web search of choice. 

Mary Frances and Jonathan remain available for questions and troubleshooting via email, phone, and Zoom. Please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our Ask a Librarian page offers an online chat service, email help (emails enter a queue where the best librarian to answer the question will respond to you), research appointments, and FAQs. 

We will provide extended hours for our chat service. Starting Sunday, March 22, the hours will be: Sunday 12pm-9pm, Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.


Harvard University will hold a virtual Commencement event in the morning on Thursday, May 28, to award degrees. The Harvard Extension School will hosts its own special online event in the afternoon. Details about both events will be sent to our extraordinary 2019-20 graduates as soon as they become available.

Harvard Summer School

We have made the difficult decision to cancel all of our 2020 Harvard Summer School Study Abroad programs. As of today, we are planning to run all other courses as scheduled, but we will make a decision regarding general program on-campus courses soon.

From the Interim Dean

Your education is paramount to us. The staff is working around the clock to continue to offer you the highest quality academic experience. Moving 100+ courses to an online format will require the entire Extension School community to be understanding and flexible. I thank you in advance for your cooperation as we navigate, to the best of our ability, this challenging and unprecedented global public health event.


Henry Leitner​
Interim Dean
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
and University Extension

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