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Princeton Reverses Its Decision To Bring Undergraduates Back To Campus

TOPLINE

Princeton University is the latest university to change its plans as Covid-19 continues to spread nationwide, announcing Friday evening that all undergraduate classes will be taught remotely in the fall.

KEY FACTS

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in a letter that the health risks were too high for in-person instruction, pointing to cases of the disease that have been reported at schools that have reopened and stricter restrictions in New Jersey than previously anticipated as the state has been unable to move to stage 3 of its reopening plan.

“This combination of health concerns and restrictions will significantly diminish the educational value of the on‑campus experience,” Eisgruber wrote adding, “It will also render that experience confining and unpleasant for most students.”

Princeton announced last month that undergraduates would be able to return to campus for one semester during the upcoming academic year, with freshmen and juniors welcome in the fall and sophomores and seniors in the spring, but most classes would be online. 

Princeton had said that all undergraduates must sign a social contract affirming that they understand the university’s health and safety regulations, including face covering and social distancing rules and a mandatory quarantine for students who were in close contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19.

Princeton previously announced a 10% tuition cut to $48,501 for the academic year but won’t make further tuition changes, spokesman Michael Hotchkiss told Bloomberg.

crucial quote

“In brief, the pandemic’s impact in New Jersey has led us to conclude that we cannot provide a genuinely meaningful on-campus experience for our undergraduate students this fall in a manner that is respectful of public health concerns and consistent with state regulations and guidance,” Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in a letter to the community.

tangent

Princeton has a $24.7 billion endowment, one of the highest per student in the country, and says it is used to subsidize every student as its “educational expenditures” are about double the tuition price. 

big number

4,858,596. That’s how many confirmed Covid-19 cases there have been in the U.S. as of Thursday, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

further reading

Fall 2020 update: Undergraduate education to be fully remote (Princeton)

As Covid-19 Resurges, More Colleges Revise Their Fall Plans. Here Are The Latest Changes (Forbes)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

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