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Harvard hopes to return to full operations for the fall 2021 semester.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Harvard’s Dean of Students announced this week that she is hopeful for a "fully operational" fall 2021 semester. 

This spring, Harvard welcomed back 3,100 students, including seniors, juniors, and students with exceptional circumstances. Dean of Students Katherine O'Dair told The Harvard Crimson they are hoping to bring even more students to campus next semester.

O’Dair cited “positive trends” for her hopeful assessment of the fall semester, stating that “students are doing really well.” She said the College has seen strong compliance with Crimson Clear, an app tracking students’ daily health, as well as low COVID-19 positivity, with only three positive cases reported among undergraduates last week. 

The announcement of fall semester plans comes days after Harvard moved from “Level Three: Yellow” to “Level Four: Lime,” the fourth of six steps in Harvard’s campus reopening plan. Level Four permits groups of up to eight students to gather indoors and independent studying in dining halls. There is also a possibility for sponsored events outdoors.

Harvard introduced a color-coded reopening plan with six levels, starting at “Level 0: Purple,” followed by red, orange, yellow, lime, and green. The final reopening phase, “Level Five: Green,” will allow all residential common spaces, dining halls, and house gyms to reopen at a limited capacity. Undergraduates will also be permitted to gather in small groups in residential common spaces and suites. The College switches levels at the discretion of the Dean of Students Office.

Although O’Dair hopes for a more lively campus in the fall, she stressed the need to be flexible in these uncertain times.

While Penn has yet to release a statement on plans for fall 2021, nearby universities such as Temple University and Penn State have already shared plans for an on-campus semester.