Harvard will house select undergraduates on campus this summer, requiring them to undergo regular Covid-19 testing and follow public health guidelines similar to those in place on campus this semester, the Dean of Students Office wrote in an email to prospective summer residents last week.
Undergraduates invited to live in Harvard’s dorms in the summer months include students enrolling in the Summer School who spent the entire 2020-2021 academic year studying off campus. Harvard announced last summer it would waive the cost of up to two Summer School courses for those students. Students on financial aid who take advantage of the free summer classes will receive subsidized room and board.
Consistent with previous years, College students participating in Harvard’s Summer Undergraduate Research Village Program will also receive housing on campus. Students currently living on campus for the spring semester who face travel restrictions or extenuating circumstances at home were also able to petition to remain on campus through the summer — from the end of spring term until fall move-in.
The Summer School announced in December it will hold all 2021 classes online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Student travel is “likely to be very limited” and will depend on campus reopening levels this summer, per the Dean of Students Office website.
“It is essential for all students considering the invitation to be in residence to understand that the campus experience will be markedly different from the one you remember,” the DSO website reads.
Some students reacted negatively to the College’s summer planning announcement, including the restrictions it puts on residential life.
Giovanni Salcedo ’23, who plans to take advantage of the Summer School cost waiver, said he hopes restrictions on campus this summer take into account whether students are vaccinated against Covid-19 or not. Massachusetts expanded its vaccination program to residents 16 and older last week.
“I hope they don’t treat vaccinated students the same as people who haven’t gotten their shots,” he said. “I wouldn’t want my summer experience to be bogged down by too many restrictions, especially since I’ve already lost an entire year since I’ve been staying home.”
Salcedo said he thinks the College should allow indoor dining, small gatherings, and travel in the local area.
Some students criticized the College for the duration of the offered housing.
Students participating in free Summer School courses will move into their summer housing on June 19 or June 20 and will be required to vacate their dorms on August 8. The College will not offer housing to those Summer School students between May 16 — the final day of the spring 2021 semester — and June 19, or between August 8 and the start of the fall semester in late August.
Salcedo said he will incur what he perceives are gratuitous travel and storage fees as a result of the gaps in housing. Harvard will not provide on-campus storage for students over the summer.
“I would have to fly back home and then fly back again to Massachusetts, which is hundreds of dollars extra,” Salcedo, a California resident, said. “Unless I can find somewhere like a friend or family that could help me or somewhere I could stay for a couple of weeks.”
Will Dey ’23, who plans to take the two free Summer School courses and conduct independent research, said the housing arrangement, which concludes weeks before the fall term, will pose logistical challenges.
“My research is through the entire summer but the Summer School is only for one and a half months in the middle,” said Dey, a resident of Texas. “I’m going to be having to move to my own apartment for the first part of summer, then into campus, then back out of campus, and back into campus again.”
Though students participating in the Summer School tuition waiver program said they knew of their eligibility for summer housing since the fall, they said Harvard only confirmed it would offer them housing last week.
College spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote in an email that the College disclosed its summer housing plan as soon as possible “given the public health situation and the logistics of planning.”
—Staff writer Alex M. Koller can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexmkoller.
—Staff writer Taylor C. Peterman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @taylorcpeterman.