Princeton University will not bring freshman and juniors back to campus in the fall, as originally planned, due to coronavirus cases that have “soared” in recent weeks, according to a statement from the president of the university.
Courses will now be fully remote for undergraduates in the fall semester, president Christopher L. Eisgruber said. Graduate students will be allowed on campus because of the “different instructional and residential programs.”
“This combination of health concerns and restrictions will significantly diminish the educational value of the on‑campus experience. It will also render that experience confining and unpleasant for most students,” Eisgruber said.
He also noted that students from 34 states would have to quarantine upon arrival in New Jersey for 14 days and that the phased opening for the state has been paused over fear of rising cases.
“New Jersey’s careful approach has helped to keep the pandemic in check, but public health principles and state guidance still limit very substantially what we can do on campus,” Eisgruber said.
The president said that the university will accommodate students who aren’t able to return home or study from home, as well as a limited number of students with previously approved exceptions, which recognized their need to be on campus for their senior thesis research or other work essential to their degree programs.
Eisgruber said that while he knows the news is “disheartening and disappointing,” the university is doing its best to prepare to welcome students back in the spring.
New Jersey was among the states hit hardest in the early stages of the pandemic, but has since seen some of the lowest daily infection rates. Gov. Phil Murphy has warned of late about rising numbers.