Harvard University plans to bring up to 40% of undergraduates back to campus for the fall semester, including all first-year students, the school announced on Monday.
The university is requiring every undergraduate student who plans to return to campus to sign a social contract that "articulates their commitment to following health and safety protocols and to observing behavioral expectations created to promote the well-being of everyone" at the school.
A statement released by Harvard University reads: "This will enable first-year students to benefit from a supported transition to college-level academic work and to begin to build their Harvard relationships with faculty and peers".
The plans disclosed by the two schools, among the richest in the USA, are similar to those that Yale University announced last week. "We could not help but recognize the unique position that first-year students find themselves in, making the transition to college in these odd times".
Testing for coronavirus will be required for all students before returning to campus.
The plan also requires every person on campus, including visitors, to wear a mask at all times while indoors, expect when they are alone or in their living space.
"As one member of our planning group reminded us last week, we navigate this history-making moment without a roadmap", the school said.
How will life change on the Harvard campus?
The rule will apply only for the fall semester, and if the coronavirus situation does not improve by next year, priority would be given to graduating seniors to return to campus. Princeton has also announced a 10-percent reduction in tuition for all students, bringing tuition costs from $53,890 to $48,501. "COVID-19 is still a very new disease, and much remains unknown about it", Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a message to the student body on Monday.
The undergraduate tuition fee for the academic year will remain unchanged at $49,653, although students who depend on financial aid will receive $5,000 per semester, in case they are unable to return to the Harvard campus. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments.
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