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COVID-19: Clark University has made significant changes to our operations.

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COVID-19 Information

Update from President Angel

In this video, President David Angel has a special message for students as they begin online classes at Clark University.

There is one confirmed case of COVID-19 at Clark University.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are key questions related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We will continue to share updates and information directly with the campus community via email as new information about COVID-19 emerges.

In parentheses after the questions below, we have inserted the most recent date at which the content of each answer was updated.

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Precautions and Exposure

Today we learned and announced to the campus community that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

As a reminder, most people with COVID-19 infection develop mild to moderate illness without the need for medical care. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

The individual with COVID-19 has been in isolation at home since developing symptoms of the virus and getting the test taken. We wish this staff member a speedy and full recovery. We intend to honor the federal law that obligates us to protect this person’s privacy and as a result will not release their name.

The local Department of Public Health (DPH) has identified all close contacts of the individual with COVID-19. “Close contacts” has a specific health meaning in this context. Clark University’s Health Services, under the direction of the local DPH, has notified all close contacts and provided them with the necessary quarantine instructions. Please note that if you have not been notified by Health Services, no action is needed at this time. University Health Services has confirmed that none of the close contacts are students.

Our COVID-19 Response Team and Emergency Response Cabinet have been deliberating extensively the potential implications of a positive test result in this instance or should another such instance emerge. The health and safety of our faculty, students, and staff remains our highest priority. We also know our community supports the essential societal goal at this time of increasing social distancing and protecting the health of the most vulnerable. In this light it is important for you to know that students and all others on campus should continue to operate as follows:

  • When possible, err on the side of interacting or conducting business with all others on campus through email, phone, or video conferencing. All formal meetings should be conducted in this manner.
  • Arrange living and workspaces as needed to eliminate close contact if at all possible.
  • Scrupulously follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves and others.

One of the most important insights from public health authorities, in the U.S. and around the world, is that how a community responds to emerging cases can have direct impact on the outbreak’s duration and severity. By looking out for ourselves and one another and heeding the public health expertise available to us, we can help to slow the spread of the virus.

If students, faculty, or staff seek counseling support, please know it is available to you. Information is available on this website under the heading “Counseling Services.”

If you are a student, during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) call (do not visit) University Health Services at 1-508-793-7467. After Health Services’ regular business hours, please take these steps:

  1. Call University Police at 508-793-7575. University Police will advise you of a plan of care developed in conjunction with Health Services.
  2. Refrain from contacting the doctor on call for information about COVID-19.
  3. If you are in need of medical care unrelated to COVID-19 symptoms and cannot wait unto Health Services is open, contact the covering doctor at 508-793-8830.

If you are a faculty or staff member:

  1. Immediately contact your healthcare provider. Do not come to work.
  2. If at work, leave work immediately.
  3. Follow CDC guidelines.
  4. Inform your manager in accordance with University and departmental policy.
  5. Call Human Resources to alert them to your situation: 508-793-7294.
  6. For staff, complete your biweekly timesheet and/or monthly leave reports using available sick time.
  7. Only return to work when healthy and free of fever for at least 24 hours.

Should a laboratory confirm that an individual on Clark’s campus has tested positive for COVID-19, University Health Services will work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to identify and contact anyone who may have come into close contact with the affected person. The University will provide all close contacts with detailed CDC and DPH information on related healthcare and monitoring, testing and isolation procedures. Should this situation arise, the University will also share relevant information immediately with the campus community via email and will post that update here.

Should any students believe they have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask them to immediately call (not visit) University Health Services at 508-793-7467 during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.).

After hours or on weekends, please take these steps:

  1. Call University Police at 508-793-7575. University Police will advise you of a plan of care developed in conjunction with Health Services.
  2. Refrain from contacting the Health Services doctor on call for information about COVID-19.
  3. If you are in need of medical care unrelated to COVID-19 symptoms and cannot wait unto Health Services is open, contact the covering doctor at 508-793-8830.

Should any faculty or staff believe they have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask them to take the following two steps immediately:

  1. Call (not visit) their healthcare professional.
  2. Immediately call (not visit) University Health Services at 1-508-793-7467.

This information comes from the CDC website:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website..
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask, including:

  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.

The CDC lists the symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Note that these symptoms are similar to those of other, more common respiratory illnesses, such as influenza. At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

If you are a student and you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 during regular business hours (M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), please call Health Services at 1-508-793-7467. But after Health Services’ regular business hours, please take these steps:

  1. Call University Police at 508-793-7575. University Police will advise you of a plan of care developed in conjunction with Health Services.
  2. Refrain from contacting the doctor on call for information about COVID-19.
  3. If you are in need of medical care unrelated to COVID-19 symptoms and cannot wait unto Health Services is open, contact the covering doctor at 508-793-8830.

Should any faculty or staff believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, we ask them to take the following two steps immediately:

  1. Call (not visit) their healthcare professional.
  2. Immediately call (not visit) University Health Services at 1-508-793-7467.

Based on advice from the CDC, current healthcare practice is that healthcare providers will determine, based on each patient’s symptoms, if a test is warranted. Please note this related statement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which reads, in part, “…clinicians who have patients they think may have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 who meet the current CDC definition of a Person Under Investigation can contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to discuss their patients and receive authorization to submit specimens for testing.”

According to the CDC, “quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.” Quarantines are typically used for individuals who are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 – particularly those who have had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, while not using recommended precautions for caregivers.

Self-isolation refers to the guidance for individuals to stay home and monitor their health following travel to Level 3 countries; at this time, that includes China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.

For COVID-19, when applicable those in self-isolation should:

  • Limit public activities for the duration of the 14-day period and practice social distancing. According to the CDC, social distancing means avoiding group settings, avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, ride share), and maintaining distance (approximately six feet) from others.
  • Try not to leave home, but if leaving home is imperative, try to do so during off-hours and avoid places where people are congregating.

As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states: “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.”

Learn More on the CDC Website

Events: Commencement, Athletics, and Alumni

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of large crowds in one place, Clark will not be able to hold a normal commencement this coming May 17. We understand that this is hugely disappointing for everyone in the University community, starting with our graduates and their families. Working with student leadership representing the class of 2020, University leaders are developing alternative ways through which we will celebrate these graduates. In the weeks ahead, Clark will share with how we are going to provide an alternative Commencement that is fun and joyous, engages each of our graduates individually, and recognizes their achievements.

Effective Friday, March 13, campus events and activities with more than 20 attendees must be cancelled, postponed or shifted to a video-conference format. Wherever possible, please use video-conference technologies for meetings.

For now, Clark University has suspended all Admissions campus visits and events. We are still conducting online interviews for prospective undergraduate students who are interested in applying to Clark next fall. We already have many virtual options in place, but we are continuing to add even more virtual ways to get to know Clark on a regular basis. Visit the Admitted student page for updates.

We recommend that prospective students take our virtual tour and join ZeeMee, a social media platform for current Clarkies and prospective students.

If you are an admitted student, we will be sending other unique opportunities to get to know Clark through email communication so that you can better understand our campus community as you look to make your final decision on where to attend college.

Yes. The NEWMAC athletic conference has voted unanimously to cancel the spring regular season schedule and associated spring championships effective Monday, March 16, 2020. Clark is cancelling all spring non-conference play and all associated practices.

It is with deep regret that we have decided to cancel Reunion 2020. This difficult decision was arrived at after much careful consideration, and with the recognition that the health and safety of our entire Clark community, including our alumni, should always be our top priority. We are discussing ways to combine Reunion Weekend with next year’s Reunion 2021 and will keep alumni informed as plans progress.

Clark has cancelled all alumni events hosted by the University anywhere off campus. The University also has prohibited staff — including our Alumni and Friends staff — or faculty to travel off campus on University business except for rare exceptions.

Students: Living, Summer Funding, Work

No. As of Wednesday, April 1, students no longer have access to Clark Dining Services, and will be expected to prepare their own meals in their apartments.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker extended the order closing non-essential businesses, as well as the accompanying stay-at-home advisory, through May 4, 2020. These actions are vital to our community’s efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and mitigate demands on our health care system.

The adjustments we have made in campus operations will continue through May 4:

  • Courses will continue to be taught in an online format.
  • The Registrar, Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Career Connections Center, Academic Support Services, and other offices in the ASEC building will provide services online only during regular business hours.
  • These offices will continue to be available to students during regular business hours, all by card access only:
    • Higgins University Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
    • The Academic Commons is open noon to 8 p.m. daily.
    • Jonas Clark Hall is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • All other buildings are locked and are only open to those with designated card access.
  • Undergraduate students remaining on campus have been re-located to Blackstone Hall, where the students have access to kitchens in their apartments. Student Council maintains a food bank for non-perishable items in the Rosenblatt Conference Room, University Center.
  • Consistent with Gov. Baker’s order, area food stores, pharmacies, healthcare and other essential services remain open.
  • University Police are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be reached at 508-793-7575.
  • Clark student escort service is operating out of the Academic Commons from noon to  8 p.m. daily.
  • The ITS Help Desk is available online.
  • When possible (in light of state and federal laws), the Center for Personal Growth (CPG) is available for counseling support online during the day (counseling@clarku.edu). CPG After Hours enables crisis tele-therapy from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. by following the prompt in calling 508-793-7678.
  • Student employees working at Clark will continue to be paid over this period. This includes student employees who are currently working for Clark, and a small number of students who are scheduled and approved by their hiring manager to work on campus during a particular pay-period, but are prevented from doing so as a direct result of the Governor’s directive only. We will continue to review our guidelines on student employment as needed and as the situation changes.
  • Whether you are on the Clark campus or at home, please continue to follow CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, hand washing, and other preventative health measures.

We realize that off-campus living situations present specific challenges, including disruption in online service. We suggest you investigate resources for temporary free online access. Spectrum, a local provider, is offering free broadband and Wi-Fi service through May 16 to students who are not already subscribers.

To support our students, Clark-sponsored opportunity funding for off-campus summer projects, research, and internships is still available. Please note below how deadlines and procedures have been updated to reflect the changing availability of these opportunities due to COVID-19.

On-campus faculty-sponsored summer research experiences — including application and participation — are currently suspended pending how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

For more information, please consult the opportunity funding page or your academic department.

Upcoming application deadlines extended to May 1, 2020

  • Application deadlines for undergraduate funding that have not yet occurred are postponed until at least Friday, May 1, 2020. Please consult the opportunity funding page or your department for specific revised deadlines.
  • When students apply for funding, they must submit written proof that the opportunity is still happening. For example, this may be a forwarded email or letter from the organization.

Next steps for students already awarded funding

Students who have already been awarded funding for early-decision funds (e.g., Condakes, Steinbrecher, Green, LEEP early decision, HERO):

  • To receive funding, students will need to provide documentation that their opportunity is still happening.
  • Alternatively, these students may submit revisions to their projects that will allow them to complete their internship or project remotely. Deadline to submit revisions will be the same as the revised application deadline (May 1, 2020 or later).
  • Funding for research-based projects will need to be rescinded if students are unable to revise their research plans.

Travel considerations

  • International travel: At this time, applications for international projects, internships, or research will not be accepted.
  • Travel within the United States: While travel within the United States is not currently prohibited, please exercise good judgment when planning travel as part of your summer 2020 plans. Consider:
    • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisories
    • Local, state and federal restrictions on travel
    • Your exposure en route, for example in airports, train stations, metros, etc.
    • How others might be negatively affected by your travel and increased exposure to COVID-19 — for example, elderly or sick members of your household, etc.
  • The opportunity funding committees reserve the right to reject applications in which a student’s travel plans pose a clear and unnecessary risk of COVID-19 exposure to the applicant or others.

Disbursement of funds

Funds will be disbursed around June 1, 2020. As always, students will be required to set up direct deposit in order to receive funds.

The University will refund or credit, at the choice of the student, on a pro-rated basis the room and board charges for student vacating residence halls. For further details and instructions, students should refer to the email sent to them about this matter on March 13.

International Students

Effective Wednesday, April 1, the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)has suspended in-office services to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and students alike.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), the U.S. agency overseeing the F1 visa program, has issued new guidance permitting school officials to email I-20s to the student address listed in SEVIS, which will make the transition to providing comprehensive remote services possible.

All services will be provided remotely. If you have an immigration question or concern, please send an email, and someone will get back to you right away.

We will continue to provide a full range of services from a distance as indicated below:

  • Advising Appointments: Available by appointment with an adviser on Microsoft Teams or other videoconferencing platform
  • Email: Professional staff will check the ISSO inbox <href=”mailto:isso@clarku.edu” aria-label=”Email the International Students and Scholars Office”>isso@clarku.edu< Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, all staff will be checking their email regularly to answer your questions and set up virtual appointments as needed:
  • OPT Processing: OPT processing and I-20 issuance will continue. Students are responsible for mailing their applications directly to USCIS and for all processing fees, including the cost to have their I-20 with OPT request sent to them through eShip Global. If you wish, you can schedule a 15-minute virtual meeting with Abigail Nolan (abnolan@clarku.edu) to discuss your OPT application. Please allow approximately five business days for processing. If you have already applied for OPT, the ISSO will mail you any documents sent to our office.
  • Travel Signatures: If you require a travel signature, please email isso@clarku.edu. We will issue you a new I-20 with “travel” listed as the reprint reason and email the signed document to the email listed in your SEVIS record. If you required a DS-2019 travel signature, we will send you a new DS-2019 via regular mail.
  • COVID-19 Travel Tracker: Please update us with your travel plans so we can better assist you. If your plans change, you should submit the form again: Clark’s International Student Travel Tracking Form

Please contact ISSO at isso@clarku.edu or 508-793-7362 to discuss the risks to travel and OPT.

As long as you are maintaining your F-1 status, your CPT authorization will continue. However, you should work with your employer to determine whether it is still safe for you to report to your workplace or if you can make arrangements for remote work. Please contact ISSO at  isso@clarku.edu or 508-793-7362 to let us know if you will not be able to complete your CPT placement since in that case ISSO will need to adjust your I-20.

F-1 immigration regulations state that students may reenter the U.S. after a temporary absence of no more than five months. An exception to this rule exists for students who are enrolled in approved full-time study abroad. At this time, it is our understanding that given the recent guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, students who choose to return home and continue their studies online will be maintaining their student status even if they are outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months.

Keep in mind, however, that if you are not able to return to full-time study in the U.S. for the fall semester, requiring you to take a leave of absence, this may cause an interruption of your F-1 student status. In this case, you may require a new I-20 and you would not be eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) until you have been in the U.S. in F-1 student status for two full semesters.

You will receive communication from the ISSO throughout the summer and we encourage you to contact us to discuss your individual situation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has waived restrictions for international students completing their coursework in an online format. Clark’s International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO) is contacting international students directly for further guidance about their immigration status.

Counseling Services

Yes. However, out of consideration for the goals of social distancing that can help protect everyone’s health at this time, Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) will not be offering face-to-face counseling and psychiatric services for the rest of the semester. Instead, we will do so through a telehealth platform.

While we ask that you not come to the Counseling Center in person, we urge you — if you think you might benefit at all from these services — to please reach out to us for the robust counseling that we can provide thanks to technology. We will support and assist you however we can through this situation.

Here is more information about changes in our services:

  • Counseling Services: Clark’s Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) can offer you telehealth services (phone- and video-based services) that are aligned with the laws and regulations pertaining to psychological practice in Massachusetts and professional ethical guidelines.

However, for now, we recommend that you seek care in your local community. See related FAQs under “Counseling Services” on this COVID-19 Information page about (1) finding a therapist in your community and (2) using teletherapy and telepsychiatry services.

  • Psychiatry (Medication) Appointments: If you have a follow-up psychiatry (medication) appointment scheduled, Dr. Cutler can see you for your appointment through telehealth services. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please email us at counseling@clarku.edu.
  • CPG After Hours: CPG After Hours is still available for all students any time of the year. This resource provides telephonic mental health support by professional therapists when CPG is typically not open. To access CPG After Hours, call the Counseling Center between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. at 508-793-7678 and use Option 2 to automatically reach a therapist.
  • Worcester Community Counselor Collective (WCCC): If you are a student who is receiving therapy from a therapist in the WCCC, please call your therapist to make arrangements for future care.
  • Group Therapy and Student Support Network (SSN): All group therapy sessions and SSN classes are cancelled. We will offer the same groups and SSN in the fall, and you are welcome to rejoin.

Here is the essential information students need to know about using teletherapy and telepsychiatry services:

  • Email the Counseling Center to schedule an appointment or ask questions: To contact the counseling center during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.), please email (do not call) counseling@clarku.edu. We are consistently monitoring our email and will respond to your questions and requests in a timely manner. To reach CPG After Hours, call 508-793-7678 and use option 2.
  • Scheduling individual therapy: We are using a telehealth platform called doxy.me. It is similar to Skype, but is also compliant with privacy laws, including the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).Once you have set up an appointment via email, we will send you an email prior to your appointment with instructions on how to connect with your therapist via doxy.me. To ensure we can support as many students as possible, all teletherapy sessions will be 30 minutes in length.
  • Remote counseling prohibited: For those of you who are returning home to a state outside of Massachusetts, we are able to offer you consultation sessions with the focus on helping you get connected with a therapist in your area. However, Massachusetts state law prohibits therapists from conducting remote counseling in other states.
  • Consent form: Prior to your appointment, you will be emailed a form (in PDF format) called a “Teletherapy Informed Consent Form.” Before each appointment, you must fill in this form, sign it (electronically is fine), and email it back to your counselor. This form will be emailed to you the day before your scheduled appointment. We must have this form from you, for each session, in order to conduct teletherapy.

The Center for Counseling and Personal Growth will be using a telehealth platform called doxy.me. It is similar to Skype, but it is compliant with privacy laws (a federal privacy law commonly referred to as “HIPAA”). You do not need to create an account or download any software.

Here are the instructions to proceed with the connection:

  • Make sure you use the Firefox or Google Chrome web browser.
  • Click on the link that your therapist will send to you via email the morning of your appointment.
  • For the first time you connect with your counselor, make sure you give your browser permission to access your microphone and camera.
  • A “check-in” box will pop up where you can enter your name.

After you complete these steps, you will be placed in a virtual “waiting room.” When your counselor is ready, they will click on your name, and you both will be connected.

There are several resources you use to find a therapist in your community, including the Psychology Today Therapist Finder tool (which searches by zip code in the United States and by town or postal code in 15+ other countries) and your insurance company’s provider search tool.

Before starting to search, ask yourself:

  • What am I looking for in a therapist?
  • What do I want help with? (e.g., anxiety, depression, etc.)
  • Do I want someone with specific skills? (e.g. cognitive behavioral training, experience with trauma, etc.)
  • Do I want the provider I choose to hold particular identities?
  • Do I want to use my insurance? In the United States, the Psychology Today Therapist Finder  has a filter where you can choose your insurance (if you are using insurance).

 Tips for Choosing a Therapist

  • Using the Psychology Today finder, filter by therapy type, gender, and many other categories. Or, if you do not have specific requirements, start with a wide search and refine if too many results come back.
  • Read about therapists who interest you. Choose three or four that you are interested in exploring further.
  • Call or email (usually easier) the therapist using the information listed on their profile. If you choose email, give a brief description of who you are (e.g., college student) and what you need (e.g., help with anxiety); days and times you are available; any insurance you have; your email address and phone number, including when you are available for a return call (make sure your voice mail is set up, and is not full).
  • You may need to follow up a second time, as many therapists are solo practitioners and handle all their email and phone calls after their workday.
  • Be persistent. If someone does not return your call or email after two tries, consider looking for another person.
  • If you use your insurance website, you will see all therapists who accept your insurance. However, these lists are updated infrequently and there may not be much information available. If you identify a therapist on your insurance website, you also then can search for them on the Psychology Today finder and perhaps find more information.

For more tips on finding a therapist, visit https://theshrinkspace.com/faqs

This public health crisis has ushered in a time of uncertainty, chaos, and a way of life that is far from what we have been used to. It is incredibly normal to experience increased worry, stress, and emotions during this time.

Here are some tips for how to navigate this difficult time.

  • Monitor incoming information: There is a lot of information about the virus constantly coming our way. It is important to seek out reliable information. You can stay informed with the information coming from sources and websites of the CDC, World Health Organization, and Clark University. However, it is critical to have some distance from the barrage of incoming information. Take some time away from the news reports and social media to avoid information overload and increases in panic.
  • Focus on what you can control: It is easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed. But there are things you can do to help contribute to your health and the health of the public. Those prevention practices that the CDC recommends, including frequent, thorough handwashing and other precautions covered on this COVID-19 Information page under “COVID-19 Precautions and Exposure.”
  • Create some structure: When our day-to-day activities are disrupted, the lack of structure in our daily life can be a challenge. Even if you are staying at home, try to establish some sort of routine and schedule for your days. Perhaps try setting regular times to wake up and go to sleep and plan your days to have structured time blocks for meal times, coursework, hobbies, phone/video contact, etc.
  • Isolating physically, does not mean isolating emotionally: It is important to still engage with friends and family during this time, even if that means remotely. Humans are social creatures, and we need one another, particularly in uncertain or stressful times. Get creative with technology and take active steps to connect with your support network regularly.
  • Move your body: Research has shown the incredible impact exercise has on mental and emotional well-being. In this time, a lot of free fitness and yoga resources have been cropping up online. Take time to each day to move your body and get your heart pumping. It will help!
  • Get outside: If you live somewhere where you have access to non-crowded nature spaces, try to get outside. Time outdoors has been shown to help improve your mood.
  • Reach into the coping skills toolbox: Now is an especially important time to make self-care a priority. Use coping skills that have worked for you in the past and try adding some new ones. Engage in breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation practices, calming rituals, journaling, coloring or other artistic acts, and hobbies you enjoy.
  • Stay connected to Clark’s resources: Despite the physical distance, we are still a community. Be on the lookout for information coming from Clark about efforts to support you. One weekly resource to check out is Wellness Wednesdays on IGTV of our Instagram account: @clark_cpg).  Erica Beachy, director of wellness education, will be publishing short 10-minute videos leading you through a relaxation or grounding technique.
  • Seek therapeutic help and support: It is important to recognize that individuals may respond quite differently to this crisis, but some common reactions may include worry or fear about your own or loved ones’ health status, fluctuations in mood, disruptions to your sleep or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, or increased use of alcohol or other substances. If you find yourself experiencing any of these or other reactions that concern you, reach out to CPG at counseling@clarku.edu for support. We can help give guidance for mental health treatment during this time.

Adapted from:  American Psychological Association: “Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus”

Yes. Check out these resources:

  • Clark University Police: Extension 7575 on campus or 508-793-7575 off campus
  • UMASS Memorial Medical Center Emergency Mental Health (EMH) Services: 508-344-3562
  • Community Healthlink Mental Health Emergency Hotline: 1-866-549-2142
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Samaritans: 1-877-870-4673
  • Pathways for Change 24-hour hotline (sexual assault): 1-800-870-5905
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “GO” to 741-741

Faculty and staff members seeking assistance may call the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-828-6025.

COVID-19 and Clark Operations

Please see the top of this page for the latest information on this question.

No. Under the provisions of the governor’s order, colleges and universities can remain open “for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.” The University will remain open for the purpose of delivering these essential services, including to continue teaching courses in our new comprehensive on-line format and supporting faculty in doing so.

The work arrangements for employees deemed essential will continue as previously communicated to you through your department head. We are especially grateful to all of you who are working to keep the essential services of the University functioning.

Non-essential employees should not come to campus through May 4 and should work from home where possible. Please follow the guidance provided by the Office of Human Resource on recording COVID-19 related absences on administrative leave reports and timecards.

Yes. All Clark employees will continue to receive their regular compensation through this extended period of limited operations ending May 4. Retaining our talented employees and avoiding interruptions in compensation are, and will remain, a key priority.

Student employees working at Clark will continue to be paid over this period. This includes student employees who are currently working for Clark, and a small number of students who are scheduled and approved to work on campus during a particular pay period but are prevented from doing so as a direct result of the governor’s directive. This excludes students who have gone home or whose jobs have been terminated.

Yes. Faculty will continue to have access to campus to teach their online courses. We recognize that faculty likely will be delivering courses extensively from home. If you have questions regarding this or any related matter, please contact Davis Baird in the provost’s office (provost@clarku.edu). Consult the Academic Continuity guide for details around how to access individual support for your courses.

Many campus buildings will remain closed or have limited hours as previously announced. Faculty and staff have access to offices, laboratories, and designated classrooms to perform essential services and conduct their courses.

Clark Facilities Management has added custodial staff on both weekday and weekend shifts and increased the frequency with which normal cleaning procedures are conducted from once per day to two to three times per day. This includes the cleaning and disinfection of hard surfaces, hard floors, and “hot spots”: common areas, bathrooms, classrooms, and the gym and fitness areas.

How is the University organizing its response to COVID-19? (March 5)

Clark has formed a COVID-19 Response Team, which is comprised of senior administrators representing every area of the University and is closely monitoring developments in this rapidly changing situation. As needed, it will implement procedures and protocols that can help safeguard the health and well-being of the campus community. The members are: (Chair) Paul Wykes, chief budget officer; Francy Magee, dean of students; Betsy Huang, dean of the college; Robin McNally, director of health services; John Labrie, dean of professional studies; Daniel Roderick, director of facilities management; David Everitt, director of human resources; Alissa Kramer, director of study abroad; Anthony Penny, business and auxiliary services manager; Kate Sawicki, director of residential life and housing; Jim Keogh, assistant vice president for marketing and communications; Stephen Goulet, chief of police; and Michael Newmark, general manager of dining services.

Clark continues to monitor travel advisories and health information from a variety of sources, including the World Health Organization,  U.S. Department of State, CDC, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We will adjust University policies and plans as needed based on advisories and recommendations from those agencies.

Employee Guidance

Yes, to every extent that can be done without interfering with the University’s critical obligations to students and others during this time. The University is providing department heads and managers with information about the types of operational matters that they should evaluate with their offices in these deliberations as well as flexible work options that include, among others, flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, changes in standard work schedules, a condensed workweek and other options. These decisions are subject to the approval of the relevant supervisor or vice president in each department, depending on the request.

Many functions of the University cannot be done remotely without interfering with critical obligations to students or others. Therefore, a top priority of department heads and managers is to guide where relevant the development of flexible work plans that enable offices to do so. Options include, for example, changes in standard work schedules, a condensed workweek and other options that HR has provided to department heads. These decisions are subject to the approval of the relevant supervisor or vice president in each department, depending on the request. The University will prioritize the health and well-being of our employees and strives to balance that imperative with its obligation to meet the needs of students and others who depend upon Clark.

If that arrangement is approved by the relevant supervisor or vice president in your department, depending on the request, follow these steps:

  • In consultation with your manager, identify priority work and projects, including any deadline-driven responsibilities.
  • In addition, if telecommuting is part of your flexible work arrangement:
    • Make sure you have access to the minimum requirements necessary for telecommuting, namely (a) a computer with access to the internet and your Clark email account and (b) a phone.
    • Refer to Clark’s ITS Business Continuity Guide for help setting up a remote workstation on the computer(s) you will use for this work.
    • Arrange with your manager a temporary schedule for regular check-ins.
    • Review your telecommuting arrangements with your manager on a weekly basis and make any necessary adjustments based on University direction.
    • Continue to comply with University employee guidelines and policies while working off campus.
    • Note that non-exempt employees who are telecommuting are expected to abide by wage and hour laws and submit time sheets accurately and in compliance with University policy.

Such flexible work arrangements might include, as examples:

  • Shift the start and end time of your workday.
  • Condense your regular working hours into fewer days (e.g., 35 hours in four days, 40 hours in four days).
  • Work from home for part of the day and come into the office for part of the day.

Such decisions are subject to the approval of the relevant supervisor or vice president in each department, depending on the request. See additional related information in these FAQs.

If your child’s school is closed for an extended period, you should discuss the possibility of a flexible work arrangement with the appropriate manager or supervisor in your office. See additional related information elsewhere in these FAQs.

We understand that this is a stressful and challenging time. To that end, we are asking all employees to take the following steps to protect their health and pursue self-care, including:

  • Scrupulously follow CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others.
  • Minimize close contact with others wherever possible, including at work.
  • At work, whenever possible, err on the side of conducting business with others through email, phone, or video conferencing. If needed, arrange creative workspaces to eliminate close contact if at all possible.
  • Seek flexible work arrangements, when applicable to your role at the University, as outlined elsewhere in these FAQs.
  • Contact the Employee Assistance program, E4Health, where counseling services for you and family members can be obtained: 1-800-828-6025

If a family member has tested positive for COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider and follow CDC guidelines, which include self-quarantine at home for 14 days. We are also asking that you:

  • Do not come to work if you are caring for a family member who has tested positive.
  • Inform your manager in accordance with University and departmental policy.
  • Complete your biweekly timesheet and/or monthly leave report using available sick time.
    • Follow the CDC instructions for preventing the spread of the virus in homes and residential communities.

Please review the FAQs on the COVID-19 website closely, and if you still have questions about related employee policies and procedures write HR@clarku.edu. All other questions about the University and the COVID-19 situation should be addressed to COVID-19-info@Clarku.edu.

Resources for Faculty

Faculty should follow Clark’s Academic Continuity Guide, which was created for faculty by our academic leadership and technology team. It will be updated as necessary to support the needs of Clark’s academic programs. As faculty use the guide, they should bring any related questions to their department chairs, who will coordinate with the Dean of the College, the graduate dean if relevant, and ITS to provide support on these matters.

In addition, faculty may find a wealth of resources on the Moodle site for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) (requires sign on via email address and password).

In addition to following the University’s Appropriate Use Policy, please take note of the policies and recommended practices below.

Privacy Policy

Zoom meetings (or any other remote conferencing service), and their corresponding recordings, including transcripts of chats and discussions, are considered “education records” and therefore covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

When sessions are being recorded, all participants will see a notification on their screen. It is a best practice, however, for faculty to announce their intention to record a session. Students’ participation in the session is an assumed consent to the recording. Recordings may not be made available to a wider audience, other than those officially participating in the course, without prior consent from the student.

If recordings will be subsequently made available to the class for review or a later playback, the recording should be accessible only to the members of the class through a valid means of authentication.

Recommended Practices

When recording Zoom class sessions, faculty will have two options: “record to your computer” or “record to the cloud.”

Clark Information Technology Services recommends “record to the cloud.” This will save the class’ recordings to Panopto, Clark’s internal video streaming service. By default, those recordings will be available only to the faculty member teaching the class. However, the faculty member can easily move those recordings from their private Panopto folder to their Course Panopto folder. Therefore, they can protect students’ privacy by restricting these recordings to only those enrolled in the course, and make them easily available in Moodle. Learn how to move recordings in Panopto.

The faculty member should control who has permission to record the session. Recording should be limited to the host of the session to ensure proper reposting. Students should not use any other forms of technologies to independently record remote sessions.

Restricting access only to students registered for the class applies to recordings that include student images and/or voice and written comments.

Faculty are free to post videos of themselves on more public sites (e.g., Youtube) provided there are no references, images, or comments by or about specific students.

Library staff are continuing to update online holdings with publisher/vendor offers as well as trials for streaming video services. View updates to library services.

In addition, faculty might want to explore:

  • Trial access to Kanopy streaming video service is available through April 3. Goddard Library staff encourage all faculty to use it soon as part of an assignment. After April 3, videos available through Kanopy may be licensed for classroom use at a rate of $100 per title (this is the COVID-19 discount rate; the fee is typically $150 per title).
  • The library community’s list “Vendor Love in the Time of COVID-19.” Clark also is working with vendors to make resources available through our Discovery Service and our A-Z List of Databases. If faculty become aware of resources we may have missed or that did not yet make the “Vendor Love” list, please let Goddard Library staff know so that they can initiate contact with those providers.

In addition to this page’s Frequently Asked Questions covering Academic Policies and Guides, Research Policies, and more, faculty can find all of the emails collected on a special COVID-19 Moodle site managed by the Provost’s Office (requires sign on via email address and password).

Classes, Academic Policies, and Guidelines

Yes. Here are changes to due dates:

  • The due date for dissertations and graduate theses have been moved ahead two weeks, from April 1 to April 15.
  • The due date for undergraduate programs to finalize departmental honors courses, final papers, or projects, and evaluate them before submitting to the registrar has been extended from April 28 to noon on Tuesday, May 12. However, the Registrar’s Office would appreciate submission of departmental honors designations before the May 12 deadline.

These dates will remain the same:

  • Last class: Monday, April 27
  • Reading days: Tuesday-Wednesday, April 28-29
  • Exams: Thursday, April 30, through Tuesday, May 5
  • Graduating student grades due: Noon, Thursday, May 7
  • All other grades due: 4 p.m. Monday, May 11
  • First day of summer session: Monday, May 18

For updates and information, visit the interactive calendar on the Registrar’s website.

In light of the recent decision to move classes online for the rest of the semester and to give faculty and undergraduate students time to transition to this new model, we are delaying the advising and registration period by two weeks.

The delay does not apply to graduate students in the School of Management or School of Professional Studies. Registration for those graduate students for the fall term remains July 7.

The delay in advising and registration only applies to:

  • Current undergraduate and graduate students in Arts and Sciences, including International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)
  • Undergraduate students in the School of Professional Studies (SPS)

Course grids opened on March 18, and advising began Monday, March 30. Registration now begins April 14, according to student’s level and/or class (see schedule in the FAQ below). Web-registration will open at 11 a.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time) to help accommodate students in different time zones.

  • ARTS/SCI continuing graduate students (including non-resident students):Monday, April 13 (11 a.m.)
  • ARTS/SCI continuing undergraduate students
    • Senior class for registration purposes: Tuesday, April 14 (11 a.m.)
    • Junior class for registration purposes:  Thursday, April 16 (11 a.m.)
    • Sophomore and first-year class for registration purposes: Monday, April 20 (11 a.m.)
  • School of Professional Studies continuing undergraduate students: Monday, April 13 (11 a.m.)
  • School of Management (SOM) graduate students:  Tuesday, July 7 (9 a.m.)
  • School of Professional Studies (SPS) graduate students: Tuesday, July 7 (9:00 a.m.)

Once students begin registering, web registration will remain open through the end of the fall semester’s add/drop period, Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 11:59 p.m.

Yes, the Registrar’s Office is working out the details for summer classes, and will post these details in advance of the summer registration period.

All students may register for:

  • Full Summer and Summer I Module: Wednesday, April 22, 11 a.m., to Wednesday, May 27, 11:59 p.m.
  • Summer II Module: Wednesday, April 22, 11 a.m., to Wednesday, July 15, 11:59 p.m.

To obtain their registration PIN (required every time a student accesses web-registration), students must communicate with their advisers via email, phone, or another electronic means. Advisers should communicate directly with advisees any special instructions or direction concerning how they wish to handle this process remotely.

PINS will continue to be released the same as always through faculty’s CUWeb advisee listing. Faculty can their advising listing by logging into their ClarkYOU account and clicking the “advising” link under CU Web.

Students have been told to email the course instructor if they need an over-ride for permission courses, a waiver of a pre-requisite, or any other restriction.  As usual, you can enter those over-rides directly via your CUWeb account.

As usual, all dates and course grids are available on the Courses and Schedules page of the Registrar’s web-site. The office will remain open and available to help faculty with any advising and registration questions. Please call 508-793-7426 or email registrar@clarku.edu. In addition, www.clarku.edu/registrar has faculty resource guides available for faculty to review (PIN release, overrides, etc.).

Yes. All undergraduate students planning to study abroad in fall 2020 will be allowed to register for Clark classes, despite the fact that they, their program providers, and the University continue to evaluate their options. The Registrar’s Office strongly recommends that all continuing students meet with faculty to select and register for fall classes to keep their options open.

The Registrar’s Office will accept emails in place of any forms requiring signatures from faculty or department chairs.

In addition, faculty may submit forms as email attachments. Please use your ClarkU accounts and email registrar@clarku.edu.

As usual, majors should be declared by the end of a student’s sophomore year. If a student is a sophomore but still has not declared a major, they need to do so now or else they will not be able to register for classes.

Students should email the department/program chair of the major they wish to declare. If approved, the chair will email all the relevant information to the Registrar’s Office on the student’s behalf.

For any undergraduate student wishing to declare or add a major/minor/concentration, the receiving department should email registrar@clarku.edu with the student’s Name, ID, program declaring and who the new advisor will be.

It is important that this email comes from the program the student is entering. This is the only way the Registrar’s Office knows that the department has approved the student and can assign the appropriate adviser. This will reduce a lot of unnecessary back and forth emails.

The Registrar’s Office cannot process an email from a faculty adviser in another department. For example, a faculty advisor in biology informing us their undeclared advisee is declaring a major in English.  In this case, the email should come from the English Department.

Faculty advisers should encourage students to email the chair of the department/program they wish to enter.

Current juniors with at least 20 units earned were previously instructed to submit their Graduation Clearance Forms by March 23. The Graduation Clearance Form is available online. A fillable version was emailed to faculty on March 16 and also is available online.

The Registrar’s Office asks faculty to fill out and sign this form as they usually would when talking to students about fall courses.

After having met with all their advisees, faculty may forward the forms to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the semester.

A few key points:

  • At a later time, the Registrar’s Office will manage the minors, double majors, or concentrations the students are pursuing.
  • Faculty should fill in the top portion of the form, paying particular attention to the box specifying in which term the student plans to graduate (please ask the student). Faculty may want to speak to students instead of using email.
  • Faculty should gather as much information as they can now, rather than waiting until the fall.

For all students, undergraduate and graduate, we are extending the deadline for selecting to have a course graded Pass/Fail to Monday, April 27, 2020.

The default option is for students to receive a grade. Students need to notify the registrar only if they want the Pass/Fail option for a particular course.

An email explaining the changes was sent on March 20 to:

  • Students, from the Dean of the College
  • Faculty, from the Academic Administration

Students have until April 27 (the last day of classes) to take the Pass/Fail grading option.

However, we strongly suggest that students wait a while before making the decision for each class. Before making a decision, they should speak with their faculty advisers, instructors, and the Academic Advising team, and participate in remote coursework for a few weeks.

Students should talk with their faculty adviser(s) to help them determine if they should choose the Pass/Fail option for their courses.

They also can reach out to staff in Academic Advising at advising@clarku.edu for help in determining this.

Students can choose which courses to convert on a case-by-case basis, and we also encourage students to consider each class individually.

They could convert all of them, none of them, or any number in between.

To select the Pass/Fail option, students should email the Registrar’s Office at registrar@clarku.edu with the following information:

  • Name
  • ID Number
  • CRN, Course Prefix plus Course Number (example: 30206, ENG 020)

Yes. Program restrictions on the allowable number of Pass/Fail courses shall be waived for courses taken during this term, including any minimum grades required.

Students will be allowed to take required courses as Pass/Fail this semester, and these courses will still count toward their majors, minors, and concentrations.

Yes, this policy does extend to students’ grades from abroad. Students should submit their requests by emailing their requests to the Registrar’s Office. They should include the course names and any associated course numbers as indicated in course registration with the program/university abroad.

Students should submit the Pass/Fail request by the April 27 deadline, the last day of classes at Clark for the spring semester.

Yes, but the April 27 deadline still applies. Students should simply email registrar@clarku.edu to rescind their initial request. They should include the course CRN, prefix, and number along with their name and ID number.

No. The last day to choose the Pass/Fail option is Monday, April 27, the final day of classes for the spring semester.

The only exception is if students have extenuating circumstances related to this request; in this case, students must complete a College Board petition requesting the change.

Submitting a College Board petition does not mean a student’s request will be granted automatically; these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Students should remember that the “P” grade neither helps nor hinders their GPA. A “P” or Pass will help to maintain a GPA but not improve it. An “F” grade issued for a Pass/Fail option, on the other hand, will be negatively factored into GPA calculations.

Consistent with our current practice, faculty will still be required to enter a letter grade that will be converted to P or F (unless the course has already been approved as Pass/Fail at the graduate level, where faculty may enter the P or F grades). A grade of C- or better is required for a Pass in all undergraduate courses. A grade of B- or better is required for a Pass in all graduate courses.

No, an audit does not award the unit attached to the course where a Pass/Fail does. Students are still expected to be actively engaged in the class, completing all their assignments, and focused on quality academic output.

No, the course will still be graded based on work through the end of the semester.

We are in an unprecedented time and certainly employers, organizations, graduate schools and internship sites will be very aware of the challenges we are currently facing. Like Clark, they too will adjust and are likely to be very flexible and accommodating.

Election of Pass/Fail options this semester will not disadvantage students for eligibility and/or final acceptance into the accelerated degree programs (ADP). The GPA requirements will still apply and will be based on grades issued. The policy requiring 15 units of gradable courses in the sophomore and junior year will be waived.

They will receive their PINs the same as always. They will have a virtual advising session with their faculty adviser during the advising period (which started Monday, March 30). After they have met with their adviser, their adviser will release their PIN via email so they can register for fall courses.

Juniors and seniors should contact their faculty advisers, who will assist them in filling out this form. Advisers will return the forms to the Registrar’s Office on behalf of the students.

For undergraduate students, the Dean’s List criteria remain in effect: three units of graded coursework (including no grade lower than a B-, NR, NC, NS, and IN grades) and the applicable GPA.

The University will not provide or verify the letter grade submitted for students who select the Pass/Fail option.

No. Unless the course was previously approved with only the Pass/Fail grading mode, faculty may not convert the entire class at this point.

The Pass/Fail option for each class is exclusively the choice of the student.

The Undergraduate Academic Board (UAB) and Graduate Board have released the guidelines below in regard to student incompletes.

Clark’s undergraduate policy on incompletes begins: “Students who experience extenuating circumstances that impede their ability to complete the requirements of a course within the semester may petition for a grade of incomplete. The student must first obtain support for the petition for incomplete from the instructor, who will identify the work that is to be completed along with a deadline for submission of the work.”

Graduate school policies are much less prescriptive and tend to leave the issuing of an incomplete “…at the discretion of the faculty.”

While we are all in an extenuating circumstance this semester, within this new normal, there will be some particular students who will be affected by the circumstances in an extraordinarily extenuating way. It is these students for whom an incomplete may be appropriate. Some example situations are listed below.

  • The student or a family member becomes sick.
  • A student is quarantined upon returning to a home city or country.
  • A student is unable to access course resources remotely.
  • And, of course, other situations that would always have qualified for an incomplete.

In such situations, faculty and students may look to the incomplete as an option for an “extension” in completing coursework.

The normal process for requesting an incomplete for undergraduates will remain intact, although there will be a new request form available toward the end of the semester that will simplify the process for College Board’s review.

Issuing large numbers of incomplete grade requests, however, should not become the default nor the norm for this semester. Giving out large numbers of incompletes will unnecessarily extend the semester’s stress into the summer for both students and faculty.

Faculty are encouraged to be flexible and responsive to the diverse challenges that our students are currently facing. Our principal aim should be to guide the majority of students to complete their courses by the end of the spring semester.

To accomplish this goal, faculty should feel comfortable adjusting and reducing the original expectations and requirements of their courses as necessary. Course expectations should be reasonably adjusted to reflect a week of cancelled classes, a transition to unfamiliar online learning, varied challenges in working from home, stress of the current situation on their personal lives, and students mourning the loss of their on-campus experience.

The Undergraduate Academic Board (UAB) and Graduate Board have released the guidelines below in regard to students’ withdrawals from classes.

Clark’s undergraduate policy on course withdrawals is as follows: “A student may drop a course at any time during the add/drop period without having a W recorded on their transcript. After the add/drop period ends, a student may withdraw from courses through the final day of regularly scheduled classes (i.e., prior to Reading Period) in any given semester by completing a course withdrawal form. For course withdrawals taken before the last day of classes deadline, a final grade of a W will be recorded. The W grade will not be calculated into the GPA and no credit will be awarded toward earned units. Students who wish to voluntarily withdraw from all courses prior to the last day of classes deadline must contact the Dean of Students and, as noted above, the W grade will be recorded on all courses.”

While the course withdrawal policy is similar for graduate programs, graduate programs in the School of Professional Studies and the School of Management have a different dates:

  • April 20 for the School of Management and SPS-Graduate withdrawal date:
  • April 27 for Arts and Science Undergraduate/Graduate and SPS-Undergraduate

It is recommended that this policy remain as is for the spring 2020 semester, but instead of forcing large numbers of withdrawals, faculty are encouraged to guide students toward completing their courses, and to adjust the courses in reasonable ways to enable the majority of students to be able to complete them.

The Undergraduate Academic Board (UAB) and Graduate Board have released the guidelines below in regard to synchronous vs. asynchronous teaching.

 Regarding the ongoing discussion about synchronous versus asynchronous distance learning platforms, we believe that there are merits and shortcomings for each. We do not believe that there is a one-size-fits-all solution that will be best for all our courses and all our students.

So as faculty members continue to adjust their courses, we encourage them to maintain the engagement that Clark students have with their professors and classmates, as this is one of the feature that makes Clark a special place for students.

Many students benefit from structure and connections, which can be offered through synchronous activities or through other types of regular individual contact, even if it is only through quick check-ins. Other students will need options that are best provided asynchronously, especially if their circumstances or location prevent them from being able to meaningfully participate in zoom lectures.

We know that for many of our students there is a stigma against “online courses” and an expectation of personal contact with faculty. We hope that this personal contact can be provided regardless of the overall format of the course.

If faculty members do choose to teach synchronously, they are encouraged not to change the regular scheduled meeting time of a course. Students have tightly constructed course grids and changing course meeting times has been creating unanticipated conflict with the other courses that students are taking simultaneously (and sometimes they won’t tell you that they are skipping another course to attend yours).

The Undergraduate Academic Board (UAB) and Graduate Board hope the vast majority of students will be able to complete the courses within the semester with appropriate flexibilities and modifications to the course expectations.

However, if faculty have students who are unresponsive to their communications, not persisting, or who are already in danger of failing, please submit a CARE Team form.

Research Policies

Yes. Due to new and unforeseen risks of COVID-19 explosure, Clark University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) has temporarily suspended (or paused) all human subjects research at Clark University involving additional in-person interactions. “Additional in-person interactions” implies that participating in the research will cause people to come into additional personal contact with other people — including researchers, subjects or others.

This pause applies to all research conducted under Clark IRB approval that fits the above description, regardless of location (i.e., on or off campus). This includes multi-institutional (collaborative) research projects operating under Clark IRB approval. That is, if the project fits the above description and is operating under the oversight of Clark’s IRB, it is subject to this temporary suspension of activities.

If you are in doubt as to whether this suspension applies to your project, please assume that it does apply unless instructed otherwise by the IRB.

Research subject to this suspension includes, but is not limited to, activities such as:

  • In-person interviews or surveys (not conducted remotely)
  • Focus groups
  • Experiments requiring subjects to be present in person
  • All other activities with in-person contact between researchers and subjects, regardless of how “close” these additional in-person interactions might be (e.g., six feet apart)

Yes. The suspension does not apply to:

  1. Interactions conducted remotely — such as via Skype, Zoom or telephone — that cause no additional in-person contact involving subjects.
  2. Surveys or data collection conducted online, via telephone/mail, or using other remote methods.
  3. Circumstances wherein the researchers and subjects will already be in identical degrees of in-person contact regardless of the research taking place. An example would be in-school classroom observations during regular classroom activities, where observations are conducted by a teacher who would be present in the classroom regardless of whether the research takes place. For this exception to apply, researchers must submit a request to the IRB; the waiver request is explained in the FAQ below.
  4. Data analysis from human subjects interactions that have already taken place — and hence require no further in-person contact.
  5. Other types of human subjects research that can be conducted without in-person contact.

Researchers conducting in-person research that they believe falls under exception No. 3 (outlined in the above FAQ: in-person research that will not cause additional in-person contact) must submit a formal request to continue this research during the pause.

No in-person (i.e., face-to-face) research of any type is allowed during the pause without explicit prior approval of the IRB.

Submit requests, along with clear explanation and justification (and the original IRB protocol number), to humansubjects@clarku.edu.

We will process these requests as soon as possible.

Researchers may request a waiver of this in-person suspension under particular circumstances, which will be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) on a case-by-case basis. There is no specific form that must be completed. Submit these requests via email, along with clear explanation and justification, to humansubjects@clarku.edu.

All requests must include the original IRB protocol number and previously approved proposal (as an attachment).

Cases in which waivers might be granted include:

  1. Research for which the researchers can demonstrate clearly that the benefits of continued in-person interactions outweigh the risk due to COVID-19. Except in rare cases, these waivers will not apply to most types of social and behavioral research conducted at Clark.
  2. Research for which the researchers can demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the proposed in-person interactions will not increase the probability and magnitude of harm from COVID-19. (The IRB cannot currently envision cases where this would apply at Clark, but is leaving this option open to address unforeseen circumstances.)
  3. Other research for which the researcher can present a clear and compelling reason why in-person interactions need to occur or continue as part of the project. (The IRB cannot currently envision cases where this would apply at Clark, but is leaving this option open to address unforeseen circumstances.)

Yes. The IRB encourages researchers to request a formal modification of their research protocols so that research can continue via remote means.

To do so:

  • Submit these modification requests via email, along with clear explanation and justification, to humansubjects@clarku.edu.
  • Include the original IRB protocol.
  • Attach your previously approved proposal with “tracked changes” (preferred) or highlights to identify the modifications to your original protocol that are requested in order to allow research to continue during the suspension. For example, interviews or even focus groups can potentially be held via remote platforms such as Skype or Zoom.

The IRB will review and approve these modification requests as soon as possible to enable research to continue.

As mentioned in the above FAQs, human subjects research that involves only remote data collection (e.g., via internet or telephone) does not require modification and can continue as originally approved by the IRB.

If you have questions about whether your research is subject to this mandated pause, please contact the IRB Chair, Robert Johnston, rjohnston@clarku.edu.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) will lift the suspension as soon as conditions demonstrate that in-person research interactions will not place subjects or others at significantly increased risk due to COVID-19.

We understand that this will be difficult for many of us at Clark, and regret any disruption that this may cause. The IRB may issue updates to this policy as conditions dictate or to address questions as they arise.

Please address any questions regarding this policy to the IRB Chair, Robert Johnston, rjohnston@clarku.edu.

We realize that questions may arise concerning this policy. If in doubt, your affirmative duty as a researcher at Clark is to protect the rights and safety of your research subjects.

Travel, including Study Abroad

Effective March 12, Clark recalled students from any study abroad program that has suspended in-country site operations. Clark also has recommended that students from other programs consider returning home as soon as possible due to the rapidly changing and unforeseeable travel disruptions.

Yes. All non-essential University travel, both within the United States and internationally, is cancelled effective immediately. The standard for exceptions will be extremely high.  If staff seek exceptions, they should contact their area vice president. If faculty seek exceptions, they should contact the provost. This prohibition will proceed at least through summer 2020. Further announcements will be made if this timeline is extended.

Yes. As long as you are remaining enrolled in the same courses as you were taking on-site, Clark will evaluate your transcript exactly as it would have had there been no interruption in your studies from the COVID-19 situation.

Students who have submitted applications for the summer and fall will receive guidance and a revised timeline via e-mail in the coming weeks.

In addition, students are still eligible to submit study abroad transfer credit applications for summer academic work.

Please see answer above, under “Classes, Academic Policies, and Guidance.”

Have More Questions?

If you have other questions not addressed by the information above, please email those questions to COVID-19-info@clarku.edu.

Helpful Resources

If you are seeking more information, we recommend referring to sources considered credible and informed. This includes the following sources:

Latest Update from Clark

April 1, 2020: Dear Clark University Employees: Yesterday Governor Baker extended the order closing non-essential businesses, as well as the accompanying stay-at-home advisory, through May 4, 2020. These actions are vital to our community’s efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and mitigate demands on our health care system. This response has our full support.

As during the past week, the University will remain open for the purpose of delivering essential services and to support the work of our faculty in teaching courses in an on-line format. The commitment of our faculty, staff, and the whole Clark community to supporting our students has been extraordinary. Thank you. …

Read More on the latest COVID-19 Update

Additional Updates from Clark