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Community Notifications

June 16, 2020

Dear Members of the MCPHS Community,

As states across our nation begin phases of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, we write to inform you of the University’s reopening plan for the Fall 2020 semester.

MCPHS University plans to reopen in Fall 2020 in a hybrid format, providing a well-planned and comprehensive experience for our students on all three campuses. This hybrid on-campus and online experience will vary somewhat by campus and by school, as well as by programs within the schools. Our distinct goal is to provide a rich learning experience for every student, one that balances the advantages of on-campus instruction and experiences with strong online and remote learning—all while protecting the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff. If circumstances around the public health crisis change, however, we will adjust our plans accordingly based on CDC and state guidance.

As the nation’s most comprehensive healthcare university, we strive to provide students with exceptional experiences built around clinical rotations, hands-on work and simulations in state-of-the-art laboratories, research opportunities, and relationships with some of the world’s finest healthcare institutions. Our decision to reopen with a hybrid approach blends our passionate commitment to the best overall student experience with our priority of keeping every member of the MCPHS community healthy and safe.

Over the next few weeks, a detailed and comprehensive reopening plan will be completed and distributed to the entire MCPHS community. We will continue to work with deans and directors across the University regarding their academic plans. Given the broad range of undergraduate, professional, and graduate programs in health sciences, each of the Schools will communicate with their new and incoming students regarding more specific plans. The framework for conducting on-campus courses, labs, and clinical experiences—coupled with online and remote instruction—is already in place, and below is a brief initial overview of the University’s plan.

Classes will start on September 2nd as originally planned in our academic calendar and will combine classroom and online instruction. Please note one major change: on-campus class instructions will end by the Thanksgiving break, meaning that the last week of the semester and final exam week will be completed remotely. All clinical rotations/externships will continue to follow the schedules as outlined by their respective academic programs.

Instructional design of courses is now underway to make the best use of technology and software that can support the learning experience while encouraging proper safety. Those classes that do meet in person will be smaller, and we are working on dedensification plans to limit campus gathering sizes and make certain that social distancing guidelines are followed.

Other intensive efforts are underway to ensure each of our campuses provides the safest possible environment for students, faculty, and staff. We are evaluating new dedensification and safety protocols around dining facilities, residence halls, and building ventilation. We are working on new hygiene procedures, sterilization standards, and PPE distribution. Crucially, we will employ COVID-19 contact tracing procedures and obtain sufficient screening and testing supplies.

The full details around each of these areas will be distributed in the coming weeks, and the University will keep all students, faculty, and staff well informed with guidance for all procedures related to reopening as it affects them.

The University’s plan to reopen with a hybrid approach is the result of work done by the Recovery and Planning Task Force, formed in early May by Interim President Lessard and co-chaired by Interim President Lessard and Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost, Caroline Zeind. Seven Working Groups were formed: Campus Operations, Teaching/Research, Students, Faculty/Staff, Communications, Finance/Legal, and Institutional Research. The Steering Committee, made up of the Chairs and Co-Chairs of the Working Groups, developed likely scenarios for re-opening, charging the Working Groups with delineating issues and action plans.

At all phases of planning, the Task Force and University leadership have been integrally connected to statewide, regional, and local planning efforts. All plans for reopening are in line with CDC and the Massachusetts and New Hampshire state guidance and closely follow the latest guidance from several higher education advisory groups at the state and local level. Please know that we are also mindful of our international students as we work to solidify reopening plans. Our offices will stay in regular communication with and provide updated direction to our international students based on the latest travel guidance and the circumstances in the various countries involved.

Two hundred years of history have given MCPHS a depth of experience navigating crises and acting to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. We will continue to be nimble and dynamic in our response to challenges, and we are steadfast in seeing our community through this present one. We hope you all have stayed healthy and safe, and we thank you for your patience and efforts during this turbulent time. We remain committed to high quality education and excellent delivery of instruction in all modalities.

For the latest updates on the Fall 2020 reopening plan, please visit our COVID-19 website.


Richard J. Lessard, Interim President
Caroline S. Zeind, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost

May 19, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

On Monday, May 18, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker provided details on a four-phase plan to re-open the state. He emphasized that he wants to start the re-opening plan in a coordinated and cautious manner. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu began the Granite State’s phased re-opening on May 4, and has slowly added industries that can phase-in or expand services each week. While the specifics of Phase One for the Massachusetts re-opening were detailed on Monday, as expected, higher education was not slated in this first phase. Likewise, a timeline for a re-opening of higher education in New Hampshire has also not been established.

As a result, all University campuses will continue to operate in the same manner they have for the past eight weeks, with employees working remotely and continuing to follow the University’s interim Campus Visitation Policy. We anticipate this to be in place for the foreseeable future. As state and local guidance is released, the University will review each respective guidance, determine next steps with re-opening, and then communicate that with you all. When the time comes to re-open, we will work closely with our community to provide a safe and thoughtful return.

For now, we ask that our employees continue to be diligent in their efforts to follow guidance and best practices to manage the COVID-19 spread. Working remotely can be challenging, so we ask that you find ways to stay connected with your colleagues, and please don’t hesitate to ask others for help if needed. We appreciate your patience, support, and cooperation as we work together in this challenging environment to support each other, our students and our communities. Please stay healthy and safe!

Richard J. Lessard, Interim President
Dr. Caroline S. Zeind, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost
Kevin Dolan, Chief Human Resources Officer

May 8, 2020

The deadline to petitions for PC/NC grading has passed. No additional petitions may be submitted.

If you have submitted a PC/NC petition, the Registrar’s Office will notify you when your grades have been finalized.

May 5, 2020

As you know, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended the Stay at Home order to May 18. In addition, On May 1, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order with regards to face coverings. New Hampshire also issued similar guidance on face coverings on April 20. We urge our community members to follow these state recommendations.

As a reminder, to continue to manage the risk of COVID-19 spread, the University implemented an interim Campus Visitation Policy. All campus visitors, including contractors and visitors, will not be permitted to enter the campus unless approved as an exception. For those exceptions, individuals will be expected to complete a questionnaire to assess their possible exposure to COVID-19. If a campus visitor responds affirmatively to the questionnaire, they will not be permitted to enter the building.

In the meantime, we ask that our employees continue to be diligent in their efforts to follow suggested practices to manage the COVID-19 spread. We appreciate your patience, support, and cooperation as we work together in this challenging environment to support each other, our students and our communities.

Kevin Dolan, Chief Human Resources Officer
Kevin Nolan, Chief of Police

May 1, 2020

Dear MCPHS University Community,

As we near completion of the Spring 2020 Semester, we would like to send our best wishes to all students as you complete the Spring 2020 Semester. We are impressed and inspired by your commitment, flexibility and resilience during these challenging times. To our faculty and staff, we send tremendous gratitude for your dedication and significant contributions to advancing our educational goals despite the COVID-19 circumstances.

Since the Spring 2020 Semester ends this week, we wanted to update our Community that all academic programs across the University have prepared and communicated Summer 2020 Semester Academic Continuity Plans to faculty, staff, and students within their Schools. For academic programs that offer summer semester courses, each School has outlined a Summer Semester plan that includes continuity of instruction that will be delivered virtually through online venues and/or other forms of remote learning. Our goal is to make certain that students will be able to complete the Summer 2020 Semester using an alternate plan, so that all will keep moving forward in their academic programs.

The School Deans and their leadership teams have developed Summer 2020 Semester plans as they relate to their program requirements, including continuity plans for labs/practicums, on-site clinic education, as well as clinical rotations. Please be reassured that these areas have continuous monitoring as we receive updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH), accreditation bodies, clinical sites, and state and city COVID-19 directives. The Deans and Directors will continue to communicate updates to their Schools and all student cohorts within the programs during the Summer 2020 Semester, and thereafter.

We are developing plans for the Fall 2020 Semester. In doing so, we are continuing to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19, to follow guidance from the CDC and the DPH, and to assure compliance with requirements of the specialty accreditors and regulatory agencies that oversee our 26 professional degree programs. We look forward to keeping you updated about these plans as they develop.

Best regards,

Richard J. Lessard, Interim President
Dr. Caroline S. Zeind, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost

April 17, 2020

Dear MCPHS Students,

We are writing to update you regarding the Pass-Credit/No Credit grade option that is available for the Spring 2020 semester.

You received an email from your Dean or Program Director regarding your eligibility for this and submission deadline. Please review this as you consider grading options for your courses this semester.

When you access the petition, you will see the list of courses in which you currently are enrolled. The petition will allow you to select course(s) to receive a grade of PC/NC.

  • After making your course selection(s), you must check one of the responses at the bottom of the form to confirm your decision. After submitting your petition, a copy will be emailed to your MCPHS email account.
  • If you wish to review, change or cancel your petition, you may return to the petition form, select different course(s), and re-submit the petition. Please note that the last petition that you submitted prior to the submission deadline will be considered by your Dean or Program Director.
  • After grades are finalized, your Dean or Program Director will review your petition. If your petition is approved, your Dean or Program Director will instruct the Office of the Registrar to change your grade to PC or NC.
  • As previously stated, a course recorded as Pass-Credit must meet the minimum grade requirement based on the Good Academic Standing chart in the University Catalog and the Student Handbook.
  • All approved petitions will be processed by the Registrar starting the week of May 11th. The Office of the Registrar will notify you via your MCPHS email when the change has been applied.
  • After a PC/NC grade has been applied to the official transcript, the grade cannot be altered. If you need documentation regarding your original letter grade, the Office of the Registrar will provide a supplemental document that identifies the original letter grade.

To clarify, “Pass-Credit” (PC) and “No Credit” (NC) grades are defined as:
A grade of Pass-Credit (PC)

  • Results in award of academic credit for the course and fulfills the relevant degree requirement
  • Is not included in the GPA calculation

A grade of No Credit (NC)

  • Does not result in award of academic credit for the course; the course or its equivalent must be repeated to fulfill the relevant degree requirement
  • Is not included in the GPA calculation

If you have questions, please contact your Dean or Program Director for assistance.

Sincerely yours,

The Office of the Provost

April 7, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are staying well and safe! We wanted to pass along an updated guidance from the CDC and its recommendation for cloth face covers to prevent possible transmission of COVID-19 even if individuals lack symptoms. Please review the guidance, which also has an instructional video on how to create a cloth face covering. In addition, for those within the city of Boston, Mayor Walsh announced strict new measures for social and physical distancing for Boston residents, effective today.

The University recommends following these guidelines to better manage the spread of COVID-19 and help keep you safe.

Kevin Dolan, Chief Human Resources Officer 
John Tummino, Director of Environmental Health and Safety 

April 1, 2020

Dear MCPHS Community Members:

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended the order to close all non-essential businesses in the Commonwealth to curb the spread of COVID-19. The order is extended until at least Monday, May 4, 2020.

Essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open. While MCPHS is not considered an essential business, the Governor’s order includes language that will exempt certain college and university employees from the ban in order to maintain essential campus services. These services include facilitating distance learning and providing services to the students who remain on campus.

Our physical campuses remain closed to all but residential students and essential personnel. However, all coursework will continue through our online platforms. Schools will receive continuing guidance from the Provost Office regarding the Academic Continuity Plans for the University.

Employees will continue to work remotely but those essential employees who may be required to be on campus will be notified by their Dean or supervisor.

The Manchester campus will operate under the same guidance as the rest of the University.

We will continue to update the MCPHS community as the situation unfolds. In the meantime, if you have questions, you may contact the University by telephone, 617-879-5999, or email, The hotline is staffed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All updates will also be posted on the COVID-19 pages of the website.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and resilience as we navigate this unfamiliar landscape.

All the best,
Richard J. Lessard
Interim President

March 30, 2020

To date, MCPHS is aware of seven (7) community members who have tested positive for COVID-19. Some of these cases have been confirmed by a local department of public health or the CDC; others were self-reported. The individuals are receiving appropriate care as recommended by DPH and the CDC. In each case, the University and/or local DPH has worked to identify anyone who may have had close contact with the infected parties and advise them on monitoring for symptoms and self-quarantine. We will continue to update this message for accuracy. Consistent with guidance from Massachusetts DPH and the CDC, we also ask that you respect the privacy and confidentiality of those impacted by COVID-19. Anonymity for these individuals is paramount.

March 28, 2020

Dear MCPHS Students,

We are writing to share with you that given the impact of COVID-19 on our students, the University is planning for the following changes to its grading assignment policy for the Spring 2020 Semester. Given the complexity of our approximately 100 degree programs at the undergraduate, professional, and graduate levels, we have summarized the University’s grading assignment policy below. Please note that for all students at the University, the deadline for a student to withdraw from a course has been extended to April 17.

As you are aware, we have students in undergraduate and pre-professional programs, as well as students in professional and graduate programs. If you are unclear on your stage within your academic program, in terms of how this information below applies to you, please send an email to this address:, and we will respond to your questions in a timely manner.

For our Undergraduate and Pre-professional students in the School of Arts and Sciences

  • A Pass/No Credit (P/NC) grade option will be available for the Spring 2020 semester only.
  • A course recorded as “No Credit” will be excluded from calculation of the student’s GPA. The course will be included in the transcript and the grade recorded as NC.
  • A required course that is recorded as “No Credit” must be retaken.
  • A student may petition to have a maximum of 2 courses graded on a P/NC basis.
  • The minimum grade for Good Standing for a student’s program defines a “Pass”. For students in a pathway program or progressing into a professional degree program, receiving a “Pass” means meeting the minimum grade requirement listed in the Good Standing Chart in the University’s Catalog and Student Handbook.
  • The deadline for a student to petition a P/NC grade option is April 17.
  • For students who receive a standard letter grade in a course, there will be no final grades of “F” assigned; an “F” will be replaced with an “NC”.

Given the requirements by our 26 specialty accreditors for our professional programs, the University will follow the following process outlined below. Please note that Deans/Directors of our Schools listed below will communicate any modifications to their policies with their students.

For our Professional and Graduate Students:

  • Grade assignment policy remain at the discretion of each of the schools and is governed by the student’s program.
  • This includes programs in Acupuncture, Public Health, Chemistry, Dental Hygiene, Healthcare Business, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and the School of Medical Imaging & Therapeutics.

Please know that the safety and well-being of our students remains the top priority of our University. The administration and faculty/staff continue to offer their full and unwavering support to help you.

Sincerely yours,
Richard J. Lessard, Interim President
Dr. Caroline S. Zeind, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost

March 22, 2020 

MCPHS has been notified by the City of Worcester Division of Public Health (WDPH) that it has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a member of our MCPHS Worcester community. We are working closely with the WDPH and want to assure our community that all of their guidelines and protocols are being strictly followed.

The WDPH informed the University that the individual has had no contact with anyone on campus. The community member is in self isolation. The WDPH will continue to monitor the individual until they are released from isolation. The WDPH further advised that so long as the case follows the guidance provided, there is very little risk to anyone on campus.

The anonymity of this individual is extremely important and we must completely respect their privacy so they can focus on their health.

We will continue to update the MCPHS community as we receive more information from the WDPH. In the meantime, if you have questions, you may contact the University by telephone, 617-879-5999, or email, The hotline is staffed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

March 20, 2020

Dear Graduates,

Since my communication earlier today regarding the very difficult decision to cancel our May 9th University Commencement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has received feedback from our graduates, and their families and loved ones, expressing disappointment that we will not be able to celebrate your significant achievements as planned on May 9th.

In my announcement I mentioned that we will explore various options for honoring you and for celebrating your time at MCPHS. While a virtual experience was one potential option, please know that the University has not made a decision. In collaboration with the Provost and Dean of Students, I have decided to form a task force with key representatives from across the University, which will include, most importantly, representatives from our MCPHS Class of 2020. This task force will be formed in the coming week and we will solicit input from our graduating class and our MCPHS Community. The task force will bring forward recommendations to the President and Provost Office for honoring the Class of 2020.

In the meantime, with regards to your graduation fee, you will receive a full refund if you have been charged for the May 2020 Commencement.

Thank you once again for your feedback and for your patience. These times of unprecedented challenge have brought us together as one MCPHS Community, and we will work together to determine the best way to make your celebrations memorable and meaningful. Please be assured that the University is fully committed to achieving this outcome.

Interim President Lessard

March 23, 2020

Dear members of the MCPHS community,

These are clearly challenging times for us all, where our daily lives have been upended and our routines disrupted. I want to offer my support to you all, as well as my gratitude, for your extraordinary efforts in keeping our community healthy and safe.

Students across all of our campuses have had to adjust to new norms at a moment's notice. Classes have been moved online, many students have been asked to move out of their dorms, events have been canceled, and services have been adjusted. We are taking guidance from the CDC, as well as state and local authorities, as we continue to respond to this evolving crisis.

To our students and their loved ones who have had to deal with these trying circumstances - thank you for your continued patience with all that you have had to endure. I want to also thank our faculty and staff who have been required to transform their approach to supporting our community in a profound and immediate manner. They have embraced these changes in an extremely positive way and are implementing timely and effective strategies.

Because this new normal is constantly evolving, I ask you to keep a close eye on your emails, MCPHS social media accounts, and this MCPHS COVID-19 website. The University will be in regular communication regarding updated policies and response measures to the coronavirus, and we will update this website frequently.


  • MCPHS has extended spring break through Sunday, March 22. Beginning Monday, March 23, we will resume the spring semester and instruction will be delivered virtually through online venues and/or other forms of remote learning for the remainder of the semester. The move to distance learning will not affect international students’ visa status. Academic programs will provide our students with additional guidance relative to their coursework.
  • At this point, students on clinical rotations will continue to receive information from their academic programs/clinical education teams as to the plans for their schedules moving forward. The University is continuing to closely monitor the situation in conjunction with our clinical sites.

Campus Services

  • All MCPHS campus locations have modified their services in response to the current situation. Please check the website for detailed information about your campus location.
  • In order to help keep our students, employees and patients as safe and healthy as possible, all clinics and treatment centers have temporarily closed effective Tuesday, March 17. Please see the clinics and treatment centers pages for more details.

Please know that a cross-section of University leadership has been meeting each business day and is working across the institution to respond to the situation as it evolves and to ensure that we are adequately prepared. We understand that our students and their families will have questions. Therefore, MCPHS is operating an information hotline, and those who have questions may call 617-879-5999 or email The hotline is staffed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Again, thank you to the entire MCPHS community for your cooperation, flexibility, and understanding. I am confident that the measures we are taking during this time, while difficult, are in the best interest of our entire University community.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Richard J. Lessard
Interim President

Flexplan 2020

Flexplan Our plan for the safe reopening in the fall

Our plan for the safe reopening in the fall.

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Information Hotline



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