Harvard and Princeton announce plans to bring back students for the fall semester

Nation/World

Harvard and Princeton universities will bring back students to campus this fall, but not everyone will return at the same time.

The pandemic has forced universities to formulate plans to keep educators and students safe from Covid-19. From online learning to limiting the amount of people on campus, here’s how Harvard and Princeton plan to go forward with the fall semester.

Harvard University plans to bring up to 40% of undergraduates back to campus for the fall semester, including all first-year students, the school announced on Monday. In addition to first-year students, Harvard will allow students who need to be on campus “to progress academically” to return as well.

Princeton University will welcome undergraduate students back to campus in the fall with a reduced capacity, the school announced on Monday. First-year students and juniors will be allowed to return to campus for the fall semester, while sophomores and seniors will be welcomed back in the spring semester.

Princeton is also offering 10% discounted tuition for the school year.

Both universities will emphasize online instructions. At Harvard, all course instruction will be delivered online, including for students living on campus. Princeton said that most academic instruction will remain online.

“Over the last two months, my colleagues and I have been studying the pandemic and identifying measures we can take to accommodate students on campus,” Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in his message to the university community. “Based on the information now available to us, we believe Princeton will be able to offer all of our undergraduate students at least one semester of on-campus education this academic year, but we will need to do much of our teaching online and remotely.”

Testing will be required for everyone returning to campus, both universities announced, with regular testing throughout the semester.

Harvard will implement social distancing and dedicated quarantine space in dorms. Every person on Princeton’s campus, including visitors, will be required to wear a face covering when inside, except in a dormitory or apartment.

Princeton undergraduate students returning to campus must sign what the university is calling a “social contract” — which outlines their commitment to following the health and safety protocols designed by the school.

Harvard said that if the school maintains it 40% capacity for the spring semester, first-year students would return home and the priority is to allow the senior class to return to campus. The school anticipates making a final decision about that in December.

Last week, Yale University announced a similar plan to limit the number of people on campus. Yale will reopen in the fall without sophomores living on campus and then will be open in the spring without freshmen living on campus.

As coronavirus cases are steadily rising in the Los Angeles region, the University of Southern California announced last week that it is dropping plans to have undergraduate students back in the classroom and instead will offer most classes online.

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