Deans at Harvard's medical and dental schools told students today that due to Covid-19, the fall semester for incoming students will start with only online classes - a couple weeks after a Harvard University official said that the main Harvard campus would be open to students in September.
In a letter to students today, the deans said they've spent the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how to safely let students start or resume studies in person and concluded it couldn't be done, at least not to start:
After deep analysis in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided that our fall 2020 courses will commence remotely for our entering classes of medical, dental and graduate students, as well as for our HMS-directed external education programs that would have been held on campus. Given the uniqueness of our education programs, which run for 12 months and emphasize hands-on learning, we hope to be able to hold in-person research and clinical experiences for our returning medical and graduate students and will continue to closely follow institutional guidelines and public health developments.
They add they're not yet even sure if classes can resume at the Longwood Medical Area campus in January:
We hope to have all of our students back on campus by January, but we are mindful of the many unknowns and will update our projections as new information becomes available. In the meantime, please know that we are committed to delivering high-quality, transformative educational experiences to our students. We are confident that we can uphold the excellence that is the signature of a Harvard education. We are also committed to assisting our teaching faculty in designing online courses that meet these high standards and in supporting technologies that bolster our teaching and learning initiatives.