Harvard University announced Monday it will only let 40 percent of its undergraduate students live on its Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus when the 2020-21 school year begins. But no matter where those students are learning from, they'll be taking all of their classes completely online to stem a resurgence of COVID-19.
Harvard will let first-year students live on campus in the fall so they can acclimate to college life, and will also prioritize housing for "those who cannot learn successfully in their current home environment," the school announced. Those students will still be encouraged to avoid socializing in person with other students, and will be subject to "virus testing every three days, face-masking, social distancing, and other measures," Harvard continued. In the spring of 2021, first-year students will largely head home and Harvard will let seniors return to campus instead, "unless public health conditions improve or worsen," Harvard said.
Harvard also announced that its annual tuition of $49,653 wouldn't be lowered despite the learning change, and didn't say if there would be a discount from the $72,391 cost of tuition, room, board, and fees combined.
Harvard says it came to its decision by looking at what other Ivy league schools and Northeast colleges have planned and took into consideration how hard the virus hit the dense area of greater Boston early on in the pandemic. Read Harvard's whole announcement here. Kathryn Krawczyk
The U.S. won't accept any refugees for nearly three weeks over COVID-19 concerns.
On Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration announced a temporary pause in refugee resettlement to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. That led the U.S. to pause its admissions until at least April 6, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.
The U.N. and International Organization for Migration — which is in charge of booking refugees' travel — implemented the pause after a number of countries limited travel in and out of their borders over COVID-19 fears. Decision-makers also said they wanted to limit refugees' exposure to the virus. "We notified our implementing partners to expect a refugee arrivals pause from March 19 through April 6," the State Department spokesperson said in an email to NBC News, with admissions expected to resume April 7.
The EU on Tuesday closed off its external borders, and the U.S. halted travel from Europe earlier this month. Just Wednesday, the U.S. and Canada closed their shared border in a mutual agreement. President Trump hasn't said he'll close the border with Mexico, but he did block asylum seekers from the country even though it has seen relatively few cases of COVID-19; this could be due to a lack of testing. Trump has slashed refugee admission numbers year after year during his presidency and has even reportedly toyed with the idea of ending them altogether. Kathryn Krawczyk