Princeton University

Princeton University Announces Plan for Fall 2020

Plan focuses on public health guidance and the health and safety of the University community

In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton University has announced that undergraduates will be able to return to campus for one semester during the 2020-21 academic year, with first-year students and juniors welcomed to campus for the fall semester, and sophomores and seniors for the spring semester. Most academic instruction will remain online. In a July 6 message to the University community, President Christopher L. Eisgruber reinforced Princeton’s goal to provide high-quality education remotely and offer residential options for undergraduates while protecting the health and safety of the community.

“Over the last two months, my colleagues and I have been studying the pandemic and identifying measures we can take to accommodate students on campus,” Eisgruber said in his message. “COVID-19 is still a very new disease, and much remains unknown about it. Several points have, however, become clear. Based on the information now available to us, we believe Princeton will be able to offer all of our undergraduate students at least one semester of on-campus education this academic year, but we will need to do much of our teaching online and remotely.”

More than 40 faculty and staff working groups studied the health, safety, academic and operational concerns that informed the University’s decision-making for the 2020-21 year.

Princeton’s plans follow public health guidelines for colleges and universities and abide by state rules that limit how many students can live in dormitories, require social distancing in classrooms and public spaces, and prohibit large in-person gatherings.

“New Jersey is reopening carefully and responsibly,” Eisgruber said in his message. “Both state law and public health guidance significantly restrict our options for the fall.”

Reducing density on campus is a critical component of Princeton’s plan, which will strive to accommodate students who are pursuing certain kinds of academic research or leading co-curricular programs that require them to be on campus in specific semesters.

All graduate students who wish to may stay in campus graduate housing for the upcoming academic year.

The University’s plans include robust cleaning protocols and appropriate health monitoring, including regular COVID-19 testing of students on campus.

“To our students, I look forward to having you back on our campus when you can come,” Eisgruber wrote. “To all of you, I look forward to collaborating with you and supporting you as we pursue our teaching and research mission energetically, imaginatively, and passionately in the face of one of the greatest challenges ever to confront our University.”

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