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Unlike Majority of Harvard Schools, Harvard Business School Will Offer Hybrid In-Person and Online Instruction During Fall Semester

Harvard Business School will offer a mix of in-person and online instruction during the fall 2020 semester.
Harvard Business School will offer a mix of in-person and online instruction during the fall 2020 semester. By Robbie H Edwards
By Ellen M. Burstein, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard Business School will offer a hybrid of in-person and online instruction during the fall semester and will welcome all its MBA students back to its residence halls.

The decision makes the Business School one of only two of Harvard’s 12 degree-granting schools that has opted for in-person instruction.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria and Executive Dean for Administration Angela Q. Crispi announced the plan in a message to Business School affiliates July 1.

“For many of our students, Boston is their preferred (or only) place of residence while attending the Doctoral and MBA Programs. Given the number of students we anticipate living at or near the School, and the inevitability of campus activity (much as we experienced in the spring semester), we believe it is better to manage and channel these flows of people through our spaces,” Nohria and Crispi wrote.

Nohria and Crispi noted that “in-person instruction is key” to protecting the school’s many international students’ visa statuses. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that it will force students enrolled in online-only programs to either transfer to an institution offering in-person classes or leave the country. Harvard and MIT sued ICE over that rule Wednesday morning.

Courses will start online then transition to a hybrid curriculum, Nohria and Crispi wrote. Students will have the option to complete their coursework entirely remotely. Similarly, faculty will be able to elect to teach entirely online.

“We think the bonds you will form with one another and in sections will be strongest if everyone shares the same initial experiences, and that is best accomplished online,” they wrote.

The school will also allow students to the Business School’s residence halls, where they will live in single-occupancy suites with their own bathrooms.

HBS will require students adhere to a “Campus Access Protocol” and sign a community contract enforcing practices like social distancing and face coverings in public spaces. Students will also be required to submit to testing at least once a week and to monitor and report their symptoms using the University’s “Crimson Clear” app.

Nohria and Crispi underscored the potential health consequences of COVID-19 in their message.

“To our students, in particular, we must be forthright: if you want in-person classes, you will need to follow these guidelines. Though you may be in a demographic group where you feel the risk of contracting or falling seriously ill from COVID-19 is low, many members of our community have identified concerns—for themselves or a family member—that make contracting the virus of particular concern to them. You must respect that,” Nohria and Crispi wrote.

—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at ellen.burstein@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.

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