Courtesy of Julia Schorr

The Ivy Leagues release their plans for the upcoming semester.

July 8, 2020

Cornell is Coming Back to Campus This Fall. Are Other Ivies Doing the Same?

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This fall, Cornell plans on welcoming all of its students back to campus — something that most of its Ivy League counterparts are not doing.

President Martha E. Pollack announced June 30 that the University will be following a hybrid learning model for fall instruction. All students will be permitted back on campus, given that they comply with Cornell’s behavioral compact.

COVID-19 testing will happen early and frequently. Study abroad has been canceled. And although the semester will feel very different than usual, tuition will rise at the same pace as it typically does.

Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania are permitting all students to return to their campuses. While the other six plan on having students on campus, their varying plans will not include all students.

Yale will bring back everyone but sophomores. Princeton will stagger theirs, welcoming freshmen and juniors in the fall, and sophomores and seniors in the spring. Columbia will welcome freshmen and sophomores in the fall, and juniors and seniors in the spring. Harvard will only permit freshmen and “select upperclassmen” to return to Cambridge.

In its typical quarters system, Dartmouth will only allow students on campus for two of the next four quarters. And Brown decided to alter its academic calendar to create three semesters, two of which students can come to Providence.

One commonality among most schools is a hybrid model of coursework, permitting students to be able to access all classes in virtually. Students returning to an Ivy League school must also sign a contract, promising to follow their respective school’s social distancing guidelines.

See how Cornell’s reopening plan compares to its peers.

Brown University

On Tuesday, the Rhode Island university announced that it will reopen on-campus and have a hybrid model this fall, while also making significant changes to its 2020 to 2021 academic calendar.

Brown administrators decided to implement a three semester schedule, where students will participate in two – in order to de-densify its Providence campus.

Juniors and seniors will attend the fall and spring semesters, freshmen will attend the spring and summer semesters and sophomores will attend the fall semester with an option to choose either the spring or summer for their second semester on campus.

Columbia University

Like Brown, Columbia announced its plan on Tuesday to divide their academic calendar into three parts. Freshmen and sophomore will be invited to campus for the fall, while juniors and seniors will be allowed to come in the spring.

Students will start classes on the same day as originally scheduled — Sept. 8 — but their spring semester will start a week early. This will allow for a moved-up spring and optional summer semester, allowing students to spread out their classes or take more of them, while still being able to participate in summer work.

All classes will be available in an online capacity, and they could also do a “HyFlex” model with rotating student groups coming to in-person class. Students will also have to sign the Columbia Community Health Compact.

Cornell University

The University will be following a hybrid instruction model, beginning classes on Sept. 2., with classrooms structured to follow social distancing guidelines.

“Residential instruction, when coupled with a robust virus screening program of the form we intend to implement, is a better option for protecting the public health of our community than a purely online semester,” said President Martha E. Pollack in the University press release.

Furthermore, students are required to abide by a behavioral compact and the community will be tested frequently.

Dartmouth College

One day before Cornell’s decision, Dartmouth announced students can return to campus, however, for half of the school year.

Dartmouth uses the D-plan — a quarters-based academic calendar. Students will be able to return to campus for half of their quarters between fall 2020 and spring 2021.

“This will give each student the opportunity to spend two terms enrolled on campus this academic year and to enroll via distance learning from home for one or both of the remaining two terms,” said President Philip Hanlon and Provost Joseph Helble in the email announcement.

Freshmen and juniors will get preference for the fall semester, freshmen and seniors in the spring semester and the Class of 2023 will be prioritized for the summer, one of the three quarters that a Dartmouth sophomore must typically be on campus.

Harvard University

Harvard — which has the most stringent policies of the eight schools — will only allow  incoming freshmen to come to Cambridge this fall, as well as “select upperclassmen.”

Aside from freshmen, Harvard will fill the remaining spots with students who meet various criteria, including students who require accessible learning resources or assistive technology on campus that is unavailable remotely, and those who have challenging home and family circumstances or shelter and food insecurities.

The last group that can petition are seniors whose theses require laboratories, as well as other work that cannot be completed virtually.

Although many will be learning from home, Harvard has already announced that tuition will not be reduced for the fall semester.

Previously, the university announced that six of its 12 graduate schools will be conducting classes entirely online for the fall semester.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania’s return plan is the one that most resembles Cornell’s, as it will include a hybrid model of learning and welcome all students back to campus.

The university intends to start at their previously-scheduled time of Sept. 1 and end in-person instruction Nov. 20, just before Thanksgiving break, finishing the rest of the semester online. Students on campus will have to sign the university’s Student Campus Compact, agreeing to daily check-ins, mask wearing and social distancing during the semester — much like Cornell’s behavioral compact.

Princeton University

Returning to campus at Princeton will be staggered by class, as freshmen and juniors will come to campus in the fall, and sophomores and seniors will be on campus in the spring. However, some exceptions will be made to this rule.

Princetonians will study at a reduced cost this upcoming year, as the university announced that tuition will be reduced by 10 percent.

Students will also be forced to keep small company, according to the social contract the university mandates that students sign. The contract states that students cannot host any off-campus guests and for on-campus guests, students can host “no more than two resident student guests at a time.”

Yale University

Sophomores will be excluded from the welcome back to New Haven, as Yale announced it will welcome freshmen, juniors and seniors on campus this fall. Sophomores will get to join the juniors and seniors on campus in the spring.

Although most students will be invited back to campus, most classes will not be held in-person. Only those that require university resources like a lab or studio can have in-person instruction.

Other changes to campus include altering dining options to grab-and-go and takeout options, and student spaces like libraries and common rooms can only operate at a 25 percent capacity.

Correction, July 8, 8:31 p.m.: A previous version of this article misstated Columbia’s reopening plan. Only freshmen and sophomores will be allowed to return in the fall, not all students. The article has since been updated.