“Students entering Harvard Medical School this fall will learn remotely to help avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, while returning students will likely have access to at least some on-site research and clinical facilities, administrators announced Wednesday.
The state’s only public medical school, the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, said it expects to hold classes on campus for the fall but remote learning will likely be necessary to limit class sizes, an administrator said.
The differing decisions demonstrate the challenges facing academic institutions amid the uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.
Harvard Medical School hopes that all students can safely return to campus by January, but is “mindful of the many unknowns and will update our projections as new information becomes available,” four deans said in a message to the campus community.
Those who will study online in the fall include medical, dental, and graduate students, as well as professionals enrolled in executive education programs, according to the message signed by four deans.
Testifying for a Senate panel on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said there would be no vaccine before fall classes begin at the nation’s colleges and public schools and cautioned that it’s unlikely there will be a treatment widely available by that time.
UMass Medical School said in a statement it will observe all appropriate precautions in the fall “to align with the public health and workplace safety guidelines that are in place.” .
UMass Medical’s current guidelines include required testing for COVID-19, a universal mask policy, social distancing of at least 6 feet, frequent handwashing, daily sanitization of work areas, and other measures.”
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