Harvard will allow some students on campus this fall so long as they take coronavirus tests every three days

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Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Maddie Meyer

Harvard University is welcoming freshmen and some other students back to campus this fall semester, but students will have to take coronavirus tests every three days, classes will still be taught online and it won’t discount tuition, the school announced Monday. 

Upperclassmen will be able to petition to return if they don’t have sufficient technology at home or have challenging family circumstances. The total percentage of undergraduates living on campus would be limited to around 40%.  

“Assuming that we maintain 40% density in the spring semester, we would again bring back one class, and our priority at this time is to bring seniors to campus,” Harvard said. “Under this plan, first years would return home and learn remotely in the spring.” It expects to release a decision about the spring in early December.

Harvard is the latest school to announce its fall semester plans as coronavirus cases continue to spike the U.S.

Harvard previously announced that all teaching would occur online. Today it also said tuition will not be discounted from $49,653, although students enrolled remotely won’t pay housing fees. The semester will begin as scheduled on Sept. 2 and all students living on campus will be expected to leave by Thanksgiving.

Students will have to undergo Covid-19 testing upon arrival and every three days afterwards.

Anticipating that many students under this plan will not live on campus for any part of the upcoming academic year, Harvard will allow all enrolled undergraduates studying remotely for the entire year to take two courses on-campus at the Harvard Summer School in 2021 with tuition waived.

Harvard’s plan is more restrictive than those of other universities that have announced their fall plans in recent weeks. Last week Yale University announced it would allow 60% of undergraduates to return to campus. Other Ivy League schools such as the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University plan to reopen most of its residential halls and hold some in-person classes.

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