Harvard moves to remote learning for three weeks in January, citing COVID-19

Harvard has a 97% vaccination rate, but school is still starting late in the spring, and students are required to receive booster vaccines.

Updated: December 19, 2021 - 8:07pm

Harvard University says classes will be mostly remote for the first three weeks of January due to a "rapid rise" in COVID-19 cases, despite the fact that 97% of all students and employees are vaccinated.

"The Omicron variant is expected to become the dominant variant across the country in the coming weeks, potentially peaking in the first few weeks of January," Harvard wrote Saturday in a letter to students. 

"Please know that we do not take this step lightly," the school asserted. 

The Ivy League school plans on returning to campus in late January, "public health conditions permitting." Harvard also encouraged students to get a school-mandated vaccine booster, mask-up, practice social distancing and get tested for COVID. 

"Being on campus with all the testing, the masking, the restrictions kind of defeats the purpose of in-person learning anyway. I’d rather take classes from a beach,” one Harvard student told the New York Post. “If we’re gonna be remote, then at least lower my f******* tuition!”

Other schools have announced similar measures.

Stanford University admitted "our positivity rate continues to be lower than the overall trends in the county and state." The school still plans to begin the first two weeks of winter quarter remotely and eligible students are required to receive the booster.

Princeton University is also requiring students and faculty members to receive booster shots before the spring semester. Undergraduate final exams are also moved online rather than in person due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Despite having a 97% vaccination rate, Cornell University closed down its Ithaca campus and moved exams online following a COVID-19 outbreak beginning last week. Students are "encouraged to consider receiving a booster," but they aren't required.