Health and Science

Harvard will allow some students on campus this fall so long as they take coronavirus tests every 3 days

Key Points
  • Harvard University is welcoming freshmen and some other students to campus this fall semester but teaching all classes online amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Tuition will not be lowered from $49,653, although students enrolled remotely will not pay room and board fees.
  • Harvard said it hopes to invite seniors to campus for the spring semester assuming conditions allow the college to maintain 40% residential density.
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer

Harvard University is welcoming freshmen and some other students to campus this fall semester, but students will have to take coronavirus tests every three days, classes will 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 in 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 afterward.

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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 been announcing their fall plans. 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 their residential halls and hold some in-person classes.

Princeton University also announced Monday it would bring freshmen and juniors to campus in the fall and sophomores and seniors in the spring, with Covid-19 testing upon arrival and "regularly thereafter." Most classes would be remote. Rutgers University, also in New Jersey, announced Monday that its fall semester would feature a majority of remote classes and "extremely limited" on-campus housing.