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Many universities, including Penn, welcomed students back to campus in spring 2021 with limited access to campus buildings and hybrid learning models that blended in-person and virtual coursework.
Now, with COVID-19 vaccines available to all adults in the U.S., the eight Ivy League universities are planning to resume in-person learning for fall 2021.
University of Pennsylvania
Top University administrators announced in an email to faculty on March 15 that the University is planning for an in-person fall semester.
All students will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to campus, University administrators wrote in an email to the Penn community on April 22. Students who are unable to receive the vaccine before returning to campus will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine at an on-campus vaccination site and will be required to quarantine in between doses.
Students must also continue frequent COVID-19 testing, monitor symptoms on PennOpen Pass, and comply with the Student Campus Compact, which will be updated for the fall semester. Most faculty and staff will resume in-person work by the beginning of July and academic research will resume in-person in the fall.
On June 1, the University announced that faculty, staff, and postdoctoral students are required to be fully vaccinated by Aug. 1, prior to the start of the fall semester. Fully vaccinated employees will no longer be required to be regularly screened for COVID-19 or report symptoms on PennOpen Pass.
Dining halls and College Houses will return to regular occupancy and operation, but with some social distancing measures in place in accordance with public health guidelines.
Class times will follow a block schedule with standardized start times beginning in fall 2021 in order to eliminate back-to-back classes. Under the new block schedule, students will have at least 15 minutes in between classes.
Brown President Christina H. Paxson announced a return to in-person learning for the fall semester in an email to the University community on April 6.
All students who will be on campus will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless they qualify for medical or religious exemptions. Unlike Penn, all faculty and staff will be required to receive the vaccine and must receive the last dose no later than July 1.
While the majority of classes will be taught in-person, faculty were asked to consider conducting online or hybrid courses for students who are unable to return to campus.
The University plans to return to standard on-campus occupancy and class sizes.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, Brown used a three-semester academic calendar. Students were allowed to be on campus for up to two semesters in order to reduce the density of students on campus. The University will return to a two-semester academic year in the fall.
Columbia President Lee Bollinger announced in an email on March 17 that the University will resume in-person learning for the fall semester.
Students, faculty, and staff without medical or religious exemptions will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Columbia’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions. Those returning to campus must receive their last dose of the vaccine no later than Sept. 1.
A limited number of vaccines will be available on-campus for international students who are unable to receive the vaccine in their home country. Domestic students, faculty, and staff are expected to receive both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days prior to returning to campus and will be restricted from accessing campus if they do not comply with the vaccine requirement.
The University plans to resume full capacity in residence halls for undergraduate and graduate students.
Columbia, which implemented a three-semester system for the 2020-2021 academic year, will return to its traditional two-semester academic calendar.
Cornell is planning for in-person instruction for the upcoming fall semester, contingent on the University community achieving herd-immunity, or a degree of immunity sufficient to prevent the spread of virus, President Martha E. Pollack and Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff said.
The University will require all students to be vaccinated prior to returning to campus, unless they qualify for medical or religious exemptions, University administrators announced on April 2.
Cornell administrators outlined three possible plans for the fall semester.
If Cornell reaches herd immunity, classes will be completely in person and will operate normally. If there are high levels of immunity — meaning that even though the campus does not meet herd immunity standards, the majority of staff, faculty, and students are vaccinated — classes will be taught mostly in person with some online options. In the case of low levels of immunity — if less than 50% of students are vaccinated — classes will be a hybrid of online and in-person.
University employees are not currently required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Cornell COVID-19 vaccination Frequently Asked Questions.
The University is working with the state of New York to develop a plan to vaccinate students who are unable to receive the vaccine prior to returning to campus.
Dartmouth will resume in-person activities for the fall semester.
Non-exempt students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to returning to campus or shortly after returning to campus, Dartmouth Provost Joseph Helble announced on April 14. Faculty and staff are not required to receive the vaccine but are “strongly encouraged” to do so.
The college is currently exploring options to provide vaccines on campus and in the surrounding areas for unvaccinated students.
If the college does not reach herd immunity, Dartmouth will continue social distancing protocols, remote learning, and a hybrid residential model.
On March 22, Harvard Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay announced that Harvard would return to in-person classes and on-campus residential living for fall 2021.
In an email to the Harvard community, Gay wrote that the University is planning for researchers, faculty, and staff to be able to return to campus by Aug. 2, prior to the academic semester.
All students without medical or religious exemptions will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine prior to arriving on campus, Harvard administrators announced on May 5.
Students must receive the last dose of the vaccine prior to arriving on campus. Vaccines will be available on campus for students unable to receive the vaccine prior to arrival, and these students will be subject to additional requirements such as more frequent COVID-19 testing.
Vaccination guidelines for faculty and staff have not been announced yet.
“We expect that faculty, staff, and researchers working on campus will make every effort to be vaccinated as well,” the May 5 announcement reads.
Harvard anticipates “regular, full density accommodations” for undergraduate and graduate student residential buildings, Gay wrote. Gay added that the University has plans in place for reduced density housing if the state of the pandemic worsens.
Princeton administrators announced on May 20 that they are planning for a “fully residential” fall semester with courses, extracurriculars, and programming conducted in-person.
All students will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in an email sent to the University community that students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 1 in order to enroll in courses for the fall semester.
Eisgruber also noted the possibility of requiring faculty and staff to be vaccinated.
Dining halls and residential buildings will return to full occupancy.
Eisgruber wrote that depending on the status of the pandemic, some public health measures such as mask mandates and on-campus asymptomatic testing may continue to be enforced.
Yale announced on March 29 that it anticipated returning to a residential campus program in fall 2021 in light of increased vaccination rates in Connecticut.
Staff will return to campus for work in a staggered manner starting on Aug. 1 with all staff on campus by Oct.1.
In an email to the Yale community sent on April 19, University administrators announced all non-exempt undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies students will be required to be vaccinated. Students who are unable to receive the vaccine prior to arrival will be available to receive the vaccine from an on-campus vaccination clinic.
Yale administrators announced on May 14 that — like Penn — all faculty, staff, and postdoctoral and postgraduate trainees will be required to be fully vaccinated by Aug. 1. The University will likely not require regular COVID-19 testing for people who have been fully vaccinated, the administrators wrote.
University administrators wrote in the March 29 announcement that some health and safety measures, such as wearing masks in public spaces, may still be enforced.
Residential buildings and campus facilities will likely return to normal capacity with health guidelines in place.
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