After careful deliberation and informed by extensive input from our community, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced plans to bring up to 40% of our undergraduates to campus, including all first-year students, for the fall semester. 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. Under this plan, first years would return home and learn remotely in the spring. We also will invite back to campus those students who may not be able to learn successfully in their current home learning environment.
Some of the attributes that we most value about our campus are exactly the things that make adaptation to pandemic conditions particularly challenging. Our bustling urban environment, the ease of grabbing the T into Boston, our intergenerational residential communities that house 98% of our undergraduates, our global research community of students, faculty, staff, postdocs and visitors from around the world – Harvard was built for connection, not isolation. Without a vaccine or effective clinical treatments for the virus, we know that no choice that reopens the campus is without risk. That said, we have worked closely with leading epidemiologists and medical experts to define an approach that we believe will protect the health and safety of our community, while also protecting our academic enterprise and providing students with the conditions they need to be successful academically.
Of note, this decision applies to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences only. Harvard’s professional Schools have made determinations and announcements about their plans for fall 2020 based on their own unique considerations. Information on each School's plans can be found here.