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Harvard University will return to in-person instruction for the Fall 2021 semester.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Harvard University announced on Monday that undergraduate students will live on-campus and return to in-person learning for the fall 2021 semester. 

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay wrote in an email to Faculty of Arts and Sciences affiliates that the administration anticipates a full return to campus and in-person learning. Harvard will provide further information in late May about re-entry protocols, housing, public health protocols, and financial aid. The decision comes after several universities—including Penn—have announced plans for a return to in-person operations for the fall.

Gay added that Harvard is planning to provide regular, full density on-campus housing and additional accommodations in off-campus Harvard-affiliated housing if needed.

“Our goal is to ensure that every student who wants Harvard housing will be able to live in Harvard-affiliated housing,” Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana wrote in a follow-up email on Monday.

Penn administrators sent an email on March 16 to undergraduates announcing the plan for in-person, on-campus instruction for the fall 2021 semester. The University remains optimistic that the increasing availability of vaccines over the coming months will allow students and faculty to resume their lives together on campus in the fall, the email from administrators stated.

For the 2020-21 academic year, up to 40% of the Harvard undergraduate population was invited to campus. Only first-year students and students with special circumstances were permitted on campus in the fall, with seniors and students with special circumstances permitted on campus in the spring. All courses have been remote.

Gay wrote in the email that the University plans for College and Graduate School of Arts students to be able to take in-person classes in the fall. Faculty, teaching fellows, and other instructors will be able to teach on campus.

Harvard announced earlier on Monday that all faculty and staff will be allowed to return to work in person August. Most Harvard faculty and staff have been working remotely since last March.

According to Gay, the University expects to offer a full range of in-person academic resources in the fall, including libraries, archives, museums, and research facilities.

Gay encouraged international students to apply for visas knowing that Harvard will offer in-person instruction. Harvard only offered remote courses for the 2020-2021 academic year, so federal visa restrictions barred international first-years from arriving to Harvard’s campus.

Harvard is prepared to support staff in teaching safely should public health conditions need additional adaptations for in-person learning, Gay wrote.

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