The Ivy Coach Daily

May 15, 2020

Ivy League Fall Plans

Ivy Fall, Ivy Plans for Fall, Ivy League Fall Plan
Columbia University is located in the world’s COVID-19 epicenter, New York City (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

It’s been about two weeks since we last reported on the fall plans of the eight Ivy League institutions. So what’s changed over the last couple of weeks? Will these schools be open in the fall? Will learning be entirely virtual? Is the college experienced canceled until 2021? Let’s go through the messaging of each of these schools so you don’t have to wonder any longer. And if the most recent update was released a couple of weeks ago, it just means no new messaging concerning the fall term has since been put forward by the school.

Brown Fall Plans

At Brown University, according to its website, “The University is planning for a range of different scenarios for the 2020-21 academic year. Brown’s senior leaders expect to make and communicate a decision about the planned approach for the Fall 2020 semester no later than July 15. Given the uncertain nature of the crisis’s continued effects on both public health and on travel between countries, Brown in May cancelled all University-sponsored undergraduate study abroad for Fall 2020.”

Columbia Fall Plans

At Columbia University, President Lee Bollinger wrote this May 14th message to the Columbia community: “We all wish to return to in-person instruction and campus life, and our intent is to make that possible as soon as it is safe to do so. The hard fact is, however, that we just cannot predict now when that moment will arrive. Yet, we can put in place structures that maximize prospects for that outcome and offer meaningful steps along the way. Our primary goal must be to create as rich an academic experience as possible, in whatever form that will take, while preparing to bring us back together at the earliest feasible moment. No doubt social distancing techniques will be with us for some time, which, of course, complicates the logistics of the return. Taking these and other factors into account, we have made one key decision: to prepare to use the three upcoming academic terms—fall 2020, spring 2021, and summer 2021—as a unit of time in order to provide us with the greatest amount of flexibility in organizing our educational experiences.”

Cornell Fall Plans

At Cornell University, President Martha E. Pollack wrote in an April 22nd message to the Cornell community, “We recognize that there is great interest in knowing Cornell’s plans for the fall semester. While we are committed to making a decision as early as possible, we are also committed to making that decision in a principled way, taking into account both the guidance of public health officials and a careful analysis of our own situation. We therefore don’t anticipate an announcement before the committees complete their work.”

Dartmouth Fall Plans

At Dartmouth College, President Philip J. Hanlon wrote this May 4th message to the Dartmouth community: “As we continue to prioritize keeping you and the broader community safe, we have several goals for fall term. First, we aspire, to the extent that they can be safely accommodated, to have as many faculty and staff working on campus again, and as much of our on-campus research enterprise back up and running as possible. We will begin to bring some graduate students and employees back to our research laboratories over the course of the summer. As we repopulate these labs, we will take extra precautions to minimize risk for those who work there. It is also our strong desire to bring some number of undergraduates back to live and study on campus this fall–the largest number we feel we can accommodate while minimizing risk for students, faculty, staff, and our neighbors in the Upper Valley. In the most likely scenario, we expect to have a mix of in-person and virtual classes in the fall for both undergraduates and graduate and professional students.”

Harvard Fall Plans

Harvard University announced yesterday that first-year medical students will begin classes online this coming fall term, which could be an omen of its fall plans for undergraduates. Harvard Provost Alan Garber wrote this April 27th message to members of the Harvard community: “The most important decision is a clear one: Harvard will be open for fall 2020. Our goal is to bring our students, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and staff to campus as quickly as possible, but because most projections suggest that COVID-19 will remain a serious threat during the coming months, we cannot be certain that it will be safe to resume all usual activities on campus by then. Consequently, we will need to prepare for a scenario in which much or all learning will be conducted remotely. Even if conditions do not allow for a traditional fall experience on campus, we are committed to ensuring that the learning and research of our students will continue at the highest levels of excellence and that we will do our part to enable them to achieve their aspirations.”

Princeton Fall Plans

At Princeton University, orientation activities for first-year students like Outdoor Action, Community Action, and Dialogue and Difference in Action will be virtual this fall. So instead of camping in the Shenandoah National Park, just think…students can roast s’mores online. Oy vey is right. As Marie-Rose Sheinerman reports for The Daily Princetonian in a piece on orientation for the Class of 2024, “President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 announced in an email on May 4 that the University will not be making a decision as to whether the fall semester will be held online or in-person until early July. But the University Orientation programming office wrote that, given the timing necessary to plan off-campus trips, they are unable to wait until July to make decisions regarding small-group experiences.”

UPenn Fall Plans

At the University of Pennsylvania, President Amy Guttman wrote in an April 27th message to the UPenn community: ” We are deeply engaged in a planning process so that we can reopen for on-campus instruction as soon as possible. All of our decisions will be driven by the most current scientific evidence and the guidance of medical experts. This is the only way to ensure that a return to on-campus living and learning will be as safe as possible for everyone—students, faculty, staff and visitors. To that end, we have established a Recovery Planning Group that is examining the elements that would need to be in place to allow a safe return to more normal campus operations.”

Yale Fall Plans

At Yale University, in a May 13th message to members of the Yale community, Provost Scott Strobel wrote, “The Academic Continuity Committee is developing educational contingency plans with input from the community. Even though we are all eager to know what to expect in the fall, many details cannot be resolved until we have more information about the path of the pandemic. We continue to make plans for both a residential education or for instruction online. As stated by President Salovey in his April 21 message, a detailed announcement about these plans and decisions for the fall will be released by early July. However, there is a key recommendation from the committee that we have accepted and can report now: Yale University will begin fall semester 2020 on time. Classes in Yale College will begin the week of August 31. Most graduate and professional programs will start on schedule beginning after August 15, although some orientation activities will be rescheduled or conducted remotely. To maximize the chances that we can hold classes in person, there may be adjustments to the academic calendar that will limit the number of times that students travel to and from campus, and the schedule of courses may be expanded to utilize all the hours of the work day and the work week to accommodate social distancing.”

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