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Harvard Medical School hopes to have all students learning on campus by Jan. 2021. (Photo by Nathan Forget | CC BY 2.0)

All Harvard Medical School first-year students will have their first semester of courses taught remotely in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

Four HMS deans announced on May 13 that while all first-year students will be taught remotely, all returning students will have classes taught on campus and will have access to research labs and clinical facilities.   

The decision extends to its entire incoming medical, dental, and graduate student population, as well as participants in its executive education graduate programs. According to the announcement, HMS "hopes" to have all students learning on campus by January 2021.

Penn Medicine has yet to make an announcement regarding the fall semester for incoming first-year and returning medical students.

The HMS deans wrote that the decision by the Medical School is separate from the forthcoming decision by the undergraduate school, and specified the HMS decision required special consideration due to the need to maintain a workforce in the medical field. 

“We have sought to balance health and safety with the educational aspirations of our students and the need to sustain the healthcare workforce,” the deans wrote. 

In a March 27 statement, Harvard College Provost Alan Garber ruled out delaying the fall semester for undergraduates but did not state what form instruction would be in.