It's like March, 2020 again at the Harvard Business School, which has ordered a week-long return to remote-only education for first-year MBA students, because it seems too many future masters of the universe have been ignoring basic Covid-19 precautions - to the point where the business school made up two-thirds of new Covid-19 cases among Harvard students this month despite comprising only 9% of the total school population.
In one of a series of messages to students, the school says it hopes a week of remote teaching will let the business school put a damper on what is now an "active cluster" and keep it from getting worse:
Harvard University leaders, advised by city and state public health officials, now tell us that we must consider the MBA Program an active cluster and escalate our approach - hit a "circuit breaker" and get in front of the virus rather than react to it. ... Feedback from the contact tracers who have worked with positive cases among our student population highlights that transmission is not occurring in our classroom or other academic settings on our campus. Nor is it occurring among individuals who are masked. Rather, it is occurring as a result of numerous unmasked, indoor activities - everything from sharing an Airbnb for the weekend, to dinner gatherings in an apartment, to larger parties.
Harvard's Covid-19 dashboard shows most of the 70 positive tests among Harvard students and staff between Sept. 19 and Sept. 24 were among graduate students. The site does not break out the numbers by school, however.
The dashboard says 95% of all students, and 96% of professors and staff, are fully vaccinated. Public-health officials have continued to urge people to socially distance and to wear masks indoors at parties and in such places as restaurants, because of the dramatically increased virulence of the delta variant.