Academic Continuity - Spring 2022

The FAS remains committed to in-person instruction, which means that no lecture, seminar, section, or lab should be taught online. (You may hold office hours either in-person or remotely). If you would like to request an exemption from in-person teaching for pedagogical reasons, please contact If you have particular concerns about teaching on campus due to your health or the health of someone in your household, please reach out to the assistant dean for your division/SEAS or the GSAS regarding accommodations. For more information about the University Disability Resources office, please see:

It seems likely that a significant number of students and instructors will have to go into isolation at some point this semester. The FAS is committed to maintaining academic continuity despite these disruptions; below you’ll find some suggestions as to how we can do so. 

Academic Continuity

Course Policies and Flexibility

Please review your syllabus to ensure that it’s flexible enough for an uncertain semester. Remind students that assignment or exam dates could change if classes need to be rescheduled for any reason. Please do not penalize students for missing class because they are in isolation, and please ensure that it’s possible for students to catch up with their work after falling ill.  

We will continue with our ordinary grading in the spring. If students are struggling in your course, they can avail themselves of the following College policies: 

  • Dropping a Course: Students may drop a course up until the Fifth Monday of the semester.   
  • Change to Pass/ Fail:  A course may be changed from letter-graded to pass/fail (with the instructor’s approval) or changed from pass/fail to letter-graded until the Fifth Monday of the term. 
  • Taking an Extension of Time: Students who are more seriously ill or have COVID-related extenuating circumstances may request an Extension of Time to complete their work. 

If a Student Goes Into Isolation

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate for at least five days; they are responsible for letting their instructors know. Here are some ways you can help your students keep up with your course even in isolation:  

  • Encourage students to identify a “study buddy” at the beginning of the semester.
  • Use your discretion to provide alternative assignments or other ways for a student to stay caught up in class if they need to isolate.
  • If the class takes place in a classroom already equipped with lecture capture technology, use that to record the class and make the recording available on Canvas.
  • For other instructional spaces, create a Zoom link for the student on your own device in the classroom, set Zoom to record, and share screen so that the student can follow along with slides or other presentations as you speak (note: you should not try to provide a fully interactive experience for the student but rather use zoom as low-tech way to record class), or 
  • Have a TF or fellow student they have identified use a smartphone to make a simple recording that can be uploaded to Canvas, along with any slides or presentations from class. ESS has compiled instructions for self-service lecture capture, which are available on their website.
  • Bring a laptop to class and utilize Zoom to include your student in the lecture.
  • If you choose to record your class, please be mindful of Harvard’s privacy policy on recording lectures. Education Support Services (ESS) has provided helpful guidance on best practices for recording your class sessions.  

Students can receive course materials in isolation through University Mail. The instructor should address mail to a student’s regular address if they are in their rooms and follow these guidelines if a student is in an isolation location other than their dorm room:  

If an Instructor or TF/ TA Goes into Isolation

Instructors who test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to isolate. More information about quarantine and isolation can be found on the University’s COVID-19 website, and the Faculty Affairs FAQ related to COVID exposure.

Instructors who are in isolation, or whose family members are in isolation, may teach remotely for the isolation period, if they are able to. If they’re not, they may reschedule missed classes or arrange for someone else to teach. Instructors may reach out to their department catalog coordinator or other department support staff for assistance with scheduling classrooms for makeup classes. 

Course Registration and Preview Period

Once again, students will be registering for their courses before the semester begins. Please ensure that your Canvas sites are live and your syllabi complete before Wednesday, January 12. Since students in isolation will not be able to visit classes, it is particularly important for faculty to post syllabi and course materials on Canvas sites to guide students in selecting their courses.   

Once the semester begins, students are free to add and drop classes without instructor permission from Friday, January 21 to Friday, January 28. Students may continue to add or drop with the permission of the instructor until February 7. After that date, students will incur a fee to add or drop classes up until February 22, the Fifth Monday of the semester.   

For more information about Course Preview Period, please visit the College’s Course Preview Guide.  

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who are unable to attend in-person for medical reasons must first consult with the Accessible Education Office (AEO) to discuss course attendance and participation modifications. The AEO will contact faculty as soon as individual assessments have been made and discuss reasonable implementation. This may occur at any time during the semester.

International Students

As a result of the pandemic and other travel restrictions, there may be international students enrolled in your courses who are unable to arrive to campus by the start of the term. If this is the case, we ask that you help to ensure their academic continuity so that these students are able to keep up with their studies in your courses, and grant some flexibility with requirements so that they’re not penalized in their grades. If you do have late arriving international students enrolled in your courses, Camila Nardozzi, Director of the Office of International Education, will reach out to you with specific details.

Faculty working with international TFs who are unable to enter the US should contact the GSAS Office of Academic Programs immediately. Similarly, students who are scheduled to teach this semester and are concerned about arriving on time due to COVID-19-related travel issues, should contact the GSAS Office of Academic Programs. GSAS international students who are unable to arrive by the start of the term and are concerned about their coursework should reach out to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs.

More Information

For comprehensive guidance on health and safety in classrooms, including testing and contact tracing, please visit the Environmental Health and Safety website, which is updated frequently.  

Keep FAS Healthy website 
COVID-19 updates and resources for the FAS community 

Guidance for On-Campus Activities 
The latest COVID-19 requirements and recommendations for on-campus activity. 

FAS Faculty Affairs COVID Updates 
FAQs for faculty, instructional staff, and researchers. 

Bok Center Academic Continuity Guidance
Advice for faculty on navigating academic continuity

FAS Return to Campus  
Resources for returning to campus from FAS Finance and Administration. 

News and announcements sent to graduate students. 

Harvard College Weekly Update 
News and announcements sent to undergraduate students.  

Keep Harvard Healthy 
University guidance and resources on COVID. 

Harvard University COVID Testing Dashboard 
Data from regular screening implemented as part of the University’s health and safety protocols.