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Planning for Fall 2021

Dear GSAS Students,

By now, you should have received a message from the leadership of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences which provides information on the return to campus this fall. I wanted to follow up with more information on GSAS’s plans for the upcoming academic year.

As the message outlined, all course instruction, including sections, will take place in-person this fall, and you should return to the Cambridge/Boston area if you are currently living elsewhere. This applies to both the taking and teaching of classes. The Harvard community will again have access to all in-person and virtual library services at the start of the fall term, and FAS Museums will reopen to the Harvard community in September. For those of you who need to access archives and field sites outside the area, Harvard continues to relax its policies on travel domestically and internationally.

If you need assistance meeting the FDA- or WHO-approved vaccination requirement, Harvard will operate onsite vaccination locations; these locations will be shared with you during the summer. Other public health protocols will be in place for the fall, but we cannot communicate them yet because of the evolving nature of the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Harvard University. More information will be shared with you closer to the fall.

GSAS is aware that some international students may experience delays in visa processing or other barriers that could impact arriving by September 1. GSAS will contact international students not currently residing in the US to request details about arrival plans, which should be submitted by July 15, and to provide information about how to manage arrival delays.

I am particularly thrilled to announce that the Student Center at Harvard Griffin GSAS will open its doors once again this fall, and the GSAS Commons will be open for dining. The administrators and student center fellows have done an outstanding job of providing robust virtual events over the past year, and I know that everyone is eager to add in-person social, intellectual, and recreational activities back to the calendar. You can stay informed and learn about upcoming events by visiting the Engage events platform.

I want to recognize the challenges of the past year, and to acknowledge that while many in the Harvard community are excited to return to “normal,” others may find it difficult to reintegrate. Some of you may be entering your second year of graduate study without ever setting foot on campus. Please know that GSAS resources are standing by to help you as you make your plans for the fall, and that rising G2s will be invited to participate in our GSAS Welcomes events and be able to access online orientation materials.

I wish you all the best for a safe and happy summer.

With all best wishes,
Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

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