Harvard University plans to bring some of its students back to campus in the fall. The Ivy League school said on Monday that it will allow 40% of undergraduate students to return to campus, while continuing online classes in an effort to prevent the spread of .
"Without a vaccine or effective clinical treatments for the virus, we know that no choice that reopens the campus is without risk," University President Larry Bacow wrote. "That said, we have worked closely with leading epidemiologists and medical experts to define an approach that we believe will protect the health and safety of our community."
The university said it will be accepting freshmen on its campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the fall to help them make the transition into college life. If the plan to limit capacity continues into the spring, Harvard will allow some seniors to return to finish their undergraduate career on campus. The university will also allow some students who don't have access to the technology required to learn from home.
Harvard said it will test all students upon their arrival to campus and then require regular testing once every three days. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be isolated. The university said it has the capacity to isolate 250 students at a time.
The university also said it will ban visitors, including other Harvard students who are not currently living on campus.
Harvard's plan is one of the many schools grappling with how to reopen after switching to remote learning in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yale announced last week that it will bring 60% of its students back to campus in the fall. California State University, the nation's largest four-year public university system, said in May that classes across its 23 campuses will primarily be virtual for the fall semester.
The continued shift to online learning may pose a dilemma for some international students. According to new guidelines announced on Monday by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, international students whose universities remain online-only in the fall are required to transfer schools or leave the US.
As of Monday, there are more than 2.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US and more than 130,000 people have died, according to John Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 11.5 million people have contracted the coronavirus and over 500,000 people have died.