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Undergraduates Will Have ‘Very Limited’ Access to Campus Buildings This Fall, Gay and Khurana Say

On most days during the school year, Harvard Yard is bustling with students and tourists, rendering it quite challenging to avoid coming with six feet of another person.
On most days during the school year, Harvard Yard is bustling with students and tourists, rendering it quite challenging to avoid coming with six feet of another person. By Allison G. Lee
By Juliet E. Isselbacher and Amanda Y. Su, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard undergraduates living on campus in the fall will have “very limited” access to physical facilities, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote in an email to faculty and staff Thursday morning.

Administrators announced in early July that Harvard would house no more than 40 percent of undergraduates — including freshmen and upperclassmen who successfully petitioned for residency — in dorms for the fall semester. Regardless of whether they are invited to reside on campus, all enrolled students will have an entirely virtual course load.

Gay and Khurana wrote in their email Thursday that they were confident Harvard will successfully re-open its campus in accordance with its announced plan. Part of that approach requires prohibiting students living on-campus from accessing facilities beyond their assigned dormitory and dining hall, they added. Those living off-campus will not have access to any dormitories or dining halls.

“Our ability to expand on-campus opportunities and access for students later in the semester, something we aspire to do, will be determined by our ability to open successfully at the beginning of the term,” they wrote.

Though students both on and off campus are generally barred from accessing classrooms, laboratories, and libraries, Gay and Khurana noted a few exceptions have been granted, mainly to students who require access to complete their senior theses.

Gay and Khurana wrote that Harvard has banned all large performances, competitions, and other gatherings, adding that the Ivy League has also cancelled all athletics competitions for the fall semester.

“While we hope to make some performing art and recreational facilities available to students later this term, we are unable to do so at this time,” the pair wrote.

Gay and Khurana emphasized that faculty may continue to employ enrolled students, albeit remotely. They urged faculty to create work opportunities for students, but reiterated that — in accordance with Harvard’s normal policies — students who take a leave of absence are not eligible for student employment.

—Staff writer Juliet E. Isselbacher can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @julietissel.

—Staff writer Amanda Y. Su can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandaysu.

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