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U. to announce decision on fall undergraduate teaching on July 2, says email to First College class of 2024

<h6>José Pablo Fernández García / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
José Pablo Fernández García / The Daily Princetonian

The University will release plans regarding undergraduate instruction for Fall 2020 on July 2, notes an email to all rising first-year students in First College on Monday afternoon. The message to rising first-year students also appears on the First College website.

Previous University communications indicated that Nassau Hall would announce a decision in “early July,” without specifying a date.


The message, which comes from Head of First College AnneMarie Luijendijk and the rest of the First College administrative team, further notes that “more details about orientation and the fall term” will arrive “in early July.” 

The Daily Princetonian received communications sent to members of the class of 2024 in all five of the University’s other residential colleges. None of these messages indicated a specific date, instead offering the “early July” timeframe previously described by University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83.

Asked to comment on this story, Deputy University Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss referred the ‘Prince’ to a previous statement from University Spokesperson Ben Chang in which he wrote that “[p]lanning continues in real time as we look towards announcing our plans for the undergraduate teaching program this fall.  We are still on track to announce those plans in early July.” Hotchkiss further indicated that the University’s “planning, which includes more than 40 working groups, is incorporating recently released state guidance for higher education institutions.”

First’s communication comes as colleges and universities across New Jersey, the Ivy League, and the country are finalizing their plans for instruction in the fall. Earlier today, Dartmouth College announced that half of its undergraduate student body will be permitted on campus each quarter, while last Thursday the University of Pennsylvania noted that all students would be permitted to return. Both schools will be utilizing a hybrid system of online and in-person teaching. 

Columbia University is expected to announce additional details on July 1, while unofficial messages at Yale University and Harvard University have sent mixed signals regarding the fall, with the former appearing likely to select a “residential/remote” model according to reporting from The Yale Daily News.

With 96 percent of undergraduates living on-campus for four years, it may be difficult for the University to accommodate students with proper social distancing guidelines. Schools such as the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, where a significant number of matriculants live off-campus, face a different calculus from those such as Dartmouth and Harvard, where students rely heavily on residential housing.


Operations such as research and graduate student advising have already begun phased reopenings, while the University intends to resume on-campus graduate instruction in the fall, varying by department.

The email from Luijendijk also informed students of the residential college’s recent name change away from Wilson College — a decision the University Board of Trustees announced on Saturday. Students “may encounter both names while we make updates,“ the First College administrators wrote.

Luijendijk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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