It seems that colleges are plotting a return to normalcy in the fall with some of our nation’s elite universities announcing plans to re-open their campuses. As loyal readers of our college admissions blog know all too well, colleges tend to act as a pack and who are the leaders of this pack? That’s easy. America’s highly selective universities, especially the Ivy League institutions. And the leader of the pack within the pack? Again, that’s an easy one. It’s Harvard. So when Harvard announced Monday a “full return to campus” plan for fall 2021, well, you can imagine that other universities across America began preparing their press releases to announce a full return to campus in the fall — if they hadn’t made an announcement already.
As Alex M. Koller and Taylor C. Peterman report for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Harvard College Students Will Live on Campus, Learn in Person in Fall 2021, FAS Announces,” “Harvard will announce finalized fall 2021 plans in late May, according to [FAS Dean Claudine] Gay’s emailed announcement to FAS affiliates. ‘Though final decisions will not be available until late May, we are currently expecting a full return to campus in Fall 2021 and our planning is focused entirely on how to restart all campus-based activities safely,’ Gay wrote. In late May, Harvard will provide affiliates with further information on fall planning, including ‘re-entry protocols to housing, public health protocols to financial aid, and more.’ Gay wrote that Harvard is planning to provide ‘regular, full density’ on-campus housing as well as additional accommodations in off-campus ‘Harvard-affiliated housing’ if necessary.”
The University of Pennsylvania has similarly announced a planned return to in-person instruction in fall 2021. Princeton University has set the goal of returning to “a fully in-person residential program” in the fall. Columbia University, too, has announced its intentions to return to “in-person instruction and activities” in the fall. But it’s typically Harvard that proves the most important domino to fall. When Harvard makes a move, in our experience, the rest tend to follow. Only time will tell if Ivy Coach’s latest crystal ball prediction proves true.
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