COVID-19 threw business education into disarray in 2020, as everyone from the M7 business schools—a group of elite business schools in the US—to the rest of the pack shifted teaching online and had to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.
The majority of business schools in the United States are now planning to welcome students, staff, and faculty back to campus for the fall 2021 semester as they usher in the much anticipated return of in-person teaching.
Safety protocols will remain in place on some campuses, with mask wearing and social distancing not disappearing entirely. Schools are also asking students to get vaccinated before returning to campus, unless exempt.
Here, we highlight the latest COVID-19 campus updates for top business schools in the US. This page is regularly updated with the latest campus reopening plans for MBA students, and more schools will be added as information is released.
COVID-19 Campus Updates: US Business Schools
The M7 business schools
Chicago Booth School of Business
Booth’s Hyde Park and Gleacher campuses are only allowing Illinois residents to be permitted. For the school’s Yuen Campus, only Hong Kong residents will be permitted, and for the London campus at St. Paul’s, only residents of the greater London region are being permitted.
The wider university recently announced plans to resume on-campus activities fully for fall 2021, if the state of the pandemic and the health of the university community allow.
The planned resumption of in-person activities would include Booth’s campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong, in consultation with local health officials in those locations.
All teaching sessions are being recorded so they are available for both students who can attend on campus, and those who have to study remotely.
Harvard Business School
A memo from June 3rd, 2021, confirms that all remaining coronavirus restrictions in the state of Massachusetts, and the cities of Boston and Cambridge, have been lifted. Masks will continue to be mandatory on public and private transportation systems, in health care facilities, and in some other settings.
Individuals are encouraged to continue wearing masks and maintain social distancing until they are fully vaccinated. Generally, though, the state of emergency will be lifted, and all signals are to get vaccinated and resume pre-pandemic activities.
Across Harvard, some restrictions remain regardless of vaccination status. Masks and physical distancing will continue to be required indoors, there are capacity limits on gatherings, and weekly testing will be expected for faculty and staff coming to campus more than four hours per week on a regular basis.
The plan is for full in-person classes to resume for the fall 2021 semester. Vaccines will be required for all faculty, staff, and students by the fall, with exceptions granted for medical or religious reasons.
Kellogg School of Management
Kellogg is continuing its in-person instruction—which began in July 2020—this quarter. Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA students will be offered in-person classes, and there will be virtual options for those who cannot join in person because of health, safety or travel restrictions.
From June 1st, 2021, Evening & Weekend MBA students travelling from outside of Illinois will also be eligible to participate in in-person instruction.
The school’s Executive MBA students are being offered a hybrid teaching model on the Evanston and Miami campuses, which includes all students who reside in the US, as well as international students traveling from countries permitted by the US State Department and the CDC.
Full health and safety protocols are in place, such as social distancing, mask wearing, and enhanced cleaning. There is also a testing system in place, including contact tracing for any positive cases.
The wider university at Northwestern will require COVID-19 vaccination for all students attending from fall 2021.
From fall 2021, there will be in-person classes at MIT Sloan School of Management.
All students enrolled or enrolling in fall classes must be vaccinated before semester begins, unless they have an approved exemption.
Faculty and staff working on campus, and certain contractors and others working on campus or accessing MIT facilities, must have had their vaccination by July 30th, 2021.
Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)
Stanford GSB is operating a hybrid model as it transitions back to in-person teaching. A new MSX class arrives in July 2021, and MBA students are returning to campus in the fall. The school is still finalizing detailed plans for the new academic year based on evolving public health directives.
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania is planning for the full resumption of in-person teaching, research, and university operations for the fall semester 2021, in line with plans set by the wider university.
All students set to be on campus for the new academic year fall 2021 are required to get vaccinated, unless exempt for medical or religious reasons.
All current faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than August 1st, 2021.
Those not fully vaccinated will be required to continue to participate in daily symptom checks on PennOpen Pass, and partake in weekly Penn Cares screening testing, as well as to continue to wear masks indoors.
Other US Business Schools
Cornell anticipates that classes will return to in-person for the fall semester and the start of the new academic year in 2021. The school requires COVID-19 vaccination for all students planning on attending campus.
Cornell announced on May 18th, 2021, that it will accept all vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medical Association, and the World Health Organization.
Students are expected to be vaccinated as soon after their arrival as possible and will be eligible for vaccination locally. The school encourages incoming international students still awaiting their vaccination to arrive as early as possible to allow for vaccination before teaching commences on August 8th, 2021.
Fuqua School of Business
Things are looking up at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
“The situation on campus is improving almost daily as we are seeing vaccination rates steadily increase,” explains Russ Morgan, senior associate dean for full-time programs at Fuqua. “That has allowed us to increasingly provide connectivity across our community members and we have recently completed several in-person celebrations with our Daytime MBA graduates. With that has come a refreshing energy and optimism about the upcoming academic year.”
A hybrid model has been in place for the academic year 2020/2021, and in-person, co-curricular activities have all been virtual.
But for the upcoming academic year starting fall 2021, the plan is for Fuqua School of Business to return to as normal an operating environment as possible.
“When students arrive on campus in the new academic year, we will return to operating 100 percent in person. Because some incoming students may be challenged with immigration issues, we will be working with impacted individuals to ensure they have access to classes until they are able to join their program on campus,” Russ explains.
There’ll be in-person orientation, and student events will return to campus. A major factor in bringing students back to campus, Russ says, is Duke’s decision to require all students to be vaccinated.
Mask wearing will also continue, as will surveillance COVID-19 testing.
At American University’s Kogod School of Business the majority of summer 2021 classes will be held online.
The school plans to offer in-person teaching when the new academic year begins in fall 2021. All students, faculty, and staff will be required to have been vaccinated prior to being on campus.
Haas School of Business
From July 12th staff are expected to return to campus at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, in preparation for the fall 2021 semester, beginning on August 8th.
The school is planning for in-person teaching to resume at the start of the new academic year. It anticipates that some public health measures will still be required.
Classes with enrollments of 200 or more students will continue to be delivered remotely during the fall semester, although most courses will not have an ‘all-remote’ option. A limited number of remote teaching options are being made available to support the needs of international students who may be delayed entering the US. All students, staff, and faculty returning to campus will be required to get vaccinated, unless exempt.
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University’s Ourso College of Business is planning for a fully in-person teaching schedule for fall 2021. The school is also encouraging students who plan to be on campus to get vaccinated before the new academic year.
McDonough School of Business
MBA summer classes are being offered as hybrid this summer, and the rest are online. Faculty determined their mode of instruction this summer. The school's Executive Masters in Leadership is currently being taught in person.
McDonough School of Business is planning to resume in-person teaching for it's Executive MBA and MiM programs from fall 2021.
All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students planning to return to the Georgetown McDonough campus for the fall 2021 semester will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless exempt.
The school will help students who have not been vaccinated or who have received a vaccine that has not been authorized by the FDA or WHO to get an authorized vaccine on campus upon arrival.
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is continuing to offer a mix of remote, hybrid, and a few fully in-person classes to undergraduate and graduate students throughout the spring and summer terms.
Campus is open to faculty, staff, and students, and co-curricular experiences will be offered in remote, hybrid, and in-person formats consistent with the latest public health protocols.
The school plans a return to full in-person teaching for the fall 2021 semester, and students should plan to be back on campus for the start of the new academic year. The school is strongly recommending students get vaccinated—there’s a mandatory requirement for vaccination for any student living on campus.
For international students, the school will continue to monitor international travel restrictions, and will provide a hybrid model of teaching for students unable to attend.
NYU Stern School of Business has reduced campus capacity and placed a cap on classroom attendance. Two meters physical distancing is required in classrooms, and large events have been postponed.
As a result, the school has adopted its teaching method, and classes are currently following one of the following two formats.
Each class session will either meet in person, on campus, but in each session half of the students will be present in class and half will be online. There is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Or roughly half of the class sessions will be in person, and roughly half will be online. In each case, all of the students will be in the same format (in person or online) for each class session.
All students who plan on returning to NYU’s campuses in the US must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Students, faculty, and employees who have been vaccinated must upload proof of vaccination status.
Students must upload proof of vaccination by July 19, 2021.
TCU Neeley School of Business
At TCU Neeley, administration, faculty, and staff are all currently back on campus. The school is currently operating under a hybrid model of teaching for summer courses, but will return to campus completely in fall 2021.
Dartmouth Tuck School of Business is planning a full in-person teaching schedule for the fall 2021 semester.
The school requires all students who will be on campus for the new academic year to be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that has received full approval or emergency use authorization by the FDA, or full approval or emergency use listing by the World Health Organization. The College will offer medical and religious exemptions.
Yale School of Management (SoM)
Yale SoM will be open and ready for in-person learning again in fall 2021. Accommodations may be made for some students to attend virtually in the first term of the fall semester, due to uneven COVID-19 restrictions in other countries, but it is the school’s goal that all students be in-residence by the end of the first term.
This article was last updated June 24th 2021
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