Harvard Announces Remote Learning Plan for Fall 2020 Semester

Princeton announced similar measures

Cabot House
Cabot House at Harvard.
Sam Lipoff/Creative Commons

What will higher education look like in the United States this fall, when COVID-19 will be an ongoing concern? It’s a question with plenty of variables, including students from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and the technological challenges of remote learning. One of the nation’s pre-eminent universities just announced how it will be handling the fall 2020 semester — and it’s an announcement that may have repercussions across the academic world.

At CNN, Amanda Jackson and Elizabeth Hartfield report that Harvard University has announced its reopening plan for this fall, and it involves a combination of in-person experiences and distance learning. The biggest takeaway from their announcement? Whether you’re logging in from your dorm room or the other side of the world, your courses will be online.

According to CNN’s report, 40 percent of Harvard’s undergraduates will be back on campus in the fall — including all first-year students. Harvard isn’t the only Ivy League school to announce a reduced opening: Princeton also revealed their plans for the coming semesters, which include allowing certain groups of students back on a staggered schedule.

Harvard has not yet announced its plans for the spring 2021 semester — though the article reports that the university is considering sending first-year students back to their homes and permitting the senior class to spend what will be their final semester on campus. A final decision will be announced in December.

The university’s plans to deal with COVID-19 also include regular testing of students and dedicated quarantine spaces. Will their approach find the right balance between education and safety? A lot of people will have their eyes on Harvard this fall.

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